Family Fun: 7 Spots for Hands-on Science with Kids

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Wondering where to take your small fry where they can get hands-on with science? Here are seven ideas of places that offer education programs for a wide range of ages, many of them ongoing, and one free annual event you won’t want to miss!

Raptor Center Tours @ Gabbert Raptor Center
1920 Fitch Ave, St. Paul

When: Every half hour, 10:30am-3:30pm, Tues-Fri & 12:30 pm-3:30pm, Sat/Sun
Cost: $3-$5/pp
Details: Bring kids of any age for a fun and educational visit to the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. Check out their remodeled raptor habitats, and get up close to bald eagles, kestrels, owls and falcons. The Raptor Center treats about 800 injured birds a year with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. Read more about taking kids to the Raptor Center here.

girlsscience-thumb[1]Girls, Science & Technology @ Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul

When: Saturday, Nov. 14 • 10am-4pm
Cost: Up to 4 kids FREE w/ paid adult ($13) available only with this coupon available on the Fox 9 Girls, Science & Technology page.
Details: Join Fox 9 and prominent female scientists from around the state for this important community event. It’s a brilliant and fun opportunity for girls to be introduced to the exciting worlds of science and technology.

2012-11-17_15-26-06_744[1]Math & Science Family Fun Fair @ University of Minnesota TC
Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Nov. 21 • 10am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: It’s a day jam-packed with hands-on STEM fun. (And this is coming from a mom who didn’t appreciate math and science until she had her own kids!) Highlights include free ExploraDome shows, playing with robots, and really cool exhibits that truly get kids excited about chemistry, engineering, physics and much more. Get the complete schedule here and note that the special “Physics Force” and “Energy and U” shows require (free) tickets that are picked up at the event check-in. My own kids had a blast at this event; plan to spend several hours.

Science Studio: Autumn Foods @ Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Nov. 21 • 10:30am-4:30pm
Cost: $10/adults, $8/students & seniors, under 4 FREE
Details: Discover the science of favorite autumn foods— corn and candy corn! Learn about how corn grows and the history behind the harvest trio “the Three Sisters.” Cultivate your estimating skills and prepare kernels of corn that you can bring home and grow yourself! Participate in a challenge to build towers out of candy corn and do experiments to see what melts those classic treats.

Tech Take Apart @ The Works
9740 Grand Ave, Bloomington

When: Saturday, Nov. 21 • 11am-4pm
Cost: $8/pp
Details: Dig into the guts of machines and electronics and figure out how those gadgets work! All supplies provided

tm-science-museum-preschool-playdates-3[1]Preschool Playdates @ Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

When: Ongoing Tuesdays • 9:30am-noon
Cost: Kids ages 5 & under admitted FREE with paid adult ($13). Note: Minnesota Children’s Museum members all receive FREE admission to the museum for the preschool playdates program!
Details: Science is fun for even the littlest explorers! Visit on Tuesday mornings and enjoy special activities and live theater performances especially for preschoolers.

Big River, Small Fry: Nature For Curious Kids @ Kroening Interpretive Center
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis

When: Thursday, Nov. 12 • 9am-noon
Cost: $5/pp
Details: Take time to explore nature and science with your little one. Participate in sensory learning, science activities, hikes, ideas for home, and more. Children must attend with an adult. Stay for an hour or the whole morning. Reservations required by the Tuesday prior. *We apologize for not posting this information in time to sign up for the Nov. 12 class, but the winter session of Big River, Small Fry begins Dec. 10 and can be found here.

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.

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