This is exactly how my kids refer to the American Swedish Institute: “Going to play in the castle!” And while on the facade it’s more imposing stone fortress than Disney fantasy, this castle has got plenty for children to enjoy.
Such as the aptly-named Kids at the Castle program. Hosted the third Friday of each month, the program is aimed at kids ages 2-5 and involves simple activities that typically tie into ASI’s current exhibitions. I was pleasantly surprised the day I visited that the program, which is held before the museum opens to the public, also included a structured circle time with music and movement, and a themed storytime.
After the event, we were free to explore the nooks and crannies of the Turnblad Mansion. On the don’t-miss list for families with kids:
- the play nook high in the turrets of the castle. Stocked with a pretend café, picture books and an art project, we could easily have spent hour in that room alone.
- the interactive “Swedes Rock!” exhibit where your little rockstars can jam to tunes made famous by Swedish recording artists. Now through October, 2015.
- ASI’s Outdoor Playcart – props for outdoor play and discovery on the lawn. Pack a lunch to bring along and eat outside while the kids play or purchase food from the FIKA cafe.
- Find Tomte’s mailbox and write the Swedish Christmas elf a letter.
- When my son was 6, I purchased ($2 at the time) a special children’s tour booklet, available in the gift shop, to make the most of his visit.
Location: American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue Minneapolis, 55407
Next Kids at the Castle: Friday, August 21, 2015 • 11am, check in at the registration desk in the Nelson Cultural Center.