Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids

Welcome to Family Fun Twin Cities! We’ve been exploring the Twin Cities with kids for almost 20 years individually and together. In 2013, Anne, Gianna and Joy merged their individual family fun websites to bring you the best of Minnesota family entertainment and attractions all in one place. We have visited plenty of playgrounds, acres of parks, and tons of museums and historic places. We share our experiences and the experiences of our reader community here with you.

Here are some of our favorite things to get started exploring:

Top 6 Twin Cities Kid-Friendly Museums to Explore

Find our full list of MINNESOTA MUSEUMS & HISTORIC PLACES here. This short list includes some of the most family-oriented museums in the metro area:

1. Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 West 7th Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
A great starter museum for even the youngest family members. MCM has galleries geared toward crawling babies and toddlers, plenty of preschool investigation opportunities and fun activities for school-age kids.

Read More: Minnesota Children’s Museum

Little girl cleaning police car window at the Minnesota Children's Museum.
Minnesota Children’s Museum

2. Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Visit on a Free First Saturday to get both free gallery admission and kid-friendly activities to help families delve into the current exhibits at this world-famous art museum. Get outside and explore the sculpture garden when you visit. It is lovely year round, but a must-see in the summer.

Read MoreWalker Art Center

Walker Art Center

Explore Further12 Minnesota Sculpture Parks to Visit with Kids

3. Science Museum of Minnesota

120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102

With three floors of exhibits and an Omnitheatre, there is so much to see at the science museum, that you can’t do it full justice in one visit.

Read MoreScience Museum of Minnesota

Explore FurtherSTEM Fun: 6 Places for Hands-On Science with Kids in the Twin Cities

4. Mill City Museum

704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401 

Who would think a museum about the flour industry would offer so much family fun, but this former flour mill located in downtown Minneapolis delivers. Visit in the summer, so you can get outside and explore the Mill Ruins and the Stone Arch Bridge for a full-day of fun.

Read More:

Little Girl playing with train table at Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota

5. Minnesota History Center

345 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102

Research Minnesota history with hands-on exhibits.

Read MoreMinnesota History Center: Top Things for Kids

Girls playing in diner exhibit at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul.
Playing Diner

Explore Further: 61 Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites

6. Minnesota Transportation Museum

193 Pennsylvania Ave E, St Paul, MN 55130
Lesser known than the top 5 museums, this hidden gem in Saint Paul is a train-loving kid’s dream come true. Families can explore a maze of train cars inside the gallery, take a short ride on a real train and even play with toy trains.

Read MoreFamily Fun: Minnesota Transportation Museum & Jackson Street Roundhouse

Girl by train car at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, MN
Minnesota Transportation Museum – Jackson Street Roundhouse

Explore FurtherMinneapolis/St. Paul: A Train Lover’s Destination

Have a Day of Fun at the Mall of America

Gianna has enumerated the best entertainment for the whole family at the MOA in her comprehensive Floor-by-Floor Guide the the Mall of America. Here are some of our 4 favorite fun things to do when shopping the largest mall in the United States.

1. Nickelodeon Universe

5000 Center Ct, Bloomington, MN 55425
You can’t really have a family day at the Mall of America without at least visiting Nickelodeon Universe. If you get all-day wristbands, you can spend your entire mall visit at this indoor amusement park. Kids of all ages will find something to do at Nick Universe.

Read MoreNickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America

East Entrance of Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota
Enter Nickelodeon Universe on the east side from the MOA Rotunda

2. Crayola Experience

300 South Avenue Level 3, Bloomington, MN 55425
Fun for a one-day visit or frequent visits. A membership is a good deal if you plan to visit the mall often and want to stop off to play in the indoor playground and make some art together.

Read MoreCrayola Experience, Mall of America

Small kids playing with sidewalk chalk in Scribble Square at the Crayola Experience in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

Explore Further: Arts and Crafts for Kids Around Town

3. Sea Life Minnesota

120 East Broadway East Side, Level, Bloomington, MN 55425

No matter how bustling the mall may get, Sea Life is a calm and quiet oasis where visitors can get close to ocean life.

Mermaid Sitting with Little Girl at Sea Life Mall of America
Sea Life often hosts special events, like Mermaid visits

Explore FurtherFamily Fun: Aquariums in Minnesota

4. LEGO Store Play Area

164 South Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55425

Parents can take a load off and rest while the little ones build with LEGO blocks at this small play space right outside Nickelodeon Universe.

Read MoreLEGO Imagination Center, Mall of America

mom and son building at LEGO store

Explore Further:  Got Preschoolers? Twin Cities Spots to Entertain & Educate All Week Long

Many visitors choose to stay at the nearby GREAT WOLF LODGE with its indoor water park, when the Mall of America is their destination.

Read More7 Tips for Visiting Great Wolf Lodge Bloomington

Kids enjoying a family guest room at Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington, Minnesota

An Adventure at the Zoo

The metro area has two zoos. Both have their charm and deserve a family day of their own:

1. Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Blvd, Apple Valley, MN 55124

The Minnesota Zoo is huge with both indoor and outdoor trails to follow. If the weather is not agreeable, you can spend the day indoors and not run out of interesting animals to visit.

Read More:

Grizzly Coast at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota
Grizzly Coast

2. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

1225 Estabrook Drive, ST. Paul, MN 55103
Como Zoo is the FREE Zoo located inside of Como Regional Park in Saint Paul. Besides the zoo, the park holds the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Como Town Amusement Park, mini golf, Cafesjian’s carousel, a historic streetcar station, a small water park and more.

Read MoreFamily Fun: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Summer Checklist

Toddler Girl Looking Through View Scope at Como Zoo, Saint Paul Minnesota
Checking out the big cats at Como Zoo

Twin Cities Parks Highlights

Minneapolis and Saint Paul both have award-winning park systems and then their are the amazing county and suburban parks. Find a park or playground to fit any family day out in our giant park directory, sort by area of the metro, amenity or name. Anne has reviewed the Top 10 Twin Cities Playgrounds here or try these popular favorites:

1. Bde Maka Ska Park

3000 Bde Maka Ska Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Formerly known as Lake Calhoun, both the Minneapolis Parks Department and the Minnesota DNR have recently returned to the Dakota name for this lake and the park surrounding it. This is the largest of the Chain of Lakes and is a popular biking and skating park.  There is also a beach at this park.

Read MoreBde Maka Ska Park and Beaches, Minneapolis

Fishing Pier installed at Lake Calhoun Park (now Bde Maka Ska) in 2013. Image Courtesy Minneapolis Parks
Fishing Pier installed in 2013. Image Courtesy Minneapolis Parks

2. Minnehaha Regional Park

4801 S Minnehaha Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417

Best known for the beautiful Minnehaha falls, this park has plenty of room to picnic, three public gardens, historic sites to explore, hiking and biking paths, a disc golf course, a wading pool and playground area and public events throughout the year.

Read MoreMinnehaha Regional Park, Minneapolis

family taking a break from biking the Minnehaha Falls bike trail in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnehaha Falls Bike Trail – Exploring the Twin Cities with kids by bicycle has become one of Anne’s family’s favorite ways to spend time together.

3. Hidden Falls Regional Park

1313 Hidden Falls Drive, St Paul, MN 55116
A little off the beaten path. Hidden Falls park also has a waterfall, picnic areas, and hiking trails along the Mississippi River.

Read More:

oy playing by the Hidden Falls Park waterfall in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Hidden Falls Waterfall

Things to Do This Weekend in the Twin Cities!

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Leave a comment and share your best tips for exploring the Twin Cities with kids. We’ll pass on your ideas to our community.

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids”

    1. Yes! Type your name and email address in the box on our home page that says, “Get access to our
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  1. Just moved here from 6 1/2 hours north by the Canadian border with my hubby and four kids, aged 15,13,12 and 8. We are always looking for adventure! We are a but north of the cities in Scandia, and have llamas, alpacas, bunnies, chickens, dogs, cats, birds, and a hedgehog named Daisy! I enjoy taking the kids on day trips that teach them and they can grow closer as siblings and closer to friends. I am looking for friends I can hang our with now and then, too ! Thanks for your site!

    1. Thank you for reading our site! We’re kind of amateurs compared to you. We’ve only just started the double-digit parenting this year. We’d love to hear what works with the teens and what doesn’t. We are all sort of dreading that day when our oldest children no longer want to participate in our adventures.

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