Text: Family-Friendly Museums & Historic Places in the Twin Cities & Greater Minnesota. Family Fun Twin Cities. Background of kids exploring the Minnesota History Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

61 Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites

A few years ago, The Washington Post claimed that there are more museums in the U.S. than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. We believe this may be true for the Twin Cities. There are so many tiny specialty museums & historic sites, that every time we think we know of all of them, we find more. For a quick overview of these places and their best deals, check out the lists below.

If you want more information, click on the museum’s name to go to a more-detailed entry. Check back regularly for new ideas; we’ll keep adding new ideas for museums & historic sites as we discover them ourselves.

We also cover dozens of museums and historic sites across greater Minnesota that are super fun to visit with kids! Time for a road trip?

61 TWIN CITIES METRO AREA MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES

 

MINNEAPOLIS AND ST PAUL MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES

 

*Alexander Ramsey House

265 Exchange St S, St Paul, MN 55102
Alexander Ramsey was Minnesota’s first territorial governor. His family’s Victorian-era home near downtown St Paul is still filled with thousands of original family items and furnishings. Tours are sprinkled with Minnesota history during Ramsey’s era and are available Saturdays during the summer.

Family-friendly: Special events of interest to kids are occasionally offered by the Alexander Ramsey House as well as a summer day camp.

Costumed guide in front of the Alexander Ramsey House in St. Paul, MN


American Swedish Institute

2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
The American Swedish Institute encourages visitors of all ages to explore Swedish traditions, immigration, handcraft and art. ASI is housed primarily in the castle-like Turnblad Mansion, which makes a trip extra awe-inspiring for kids (and, honestly, adults too). Make sure to wander the floors from top to bottom and stop in at FIKA, the cafe, if you need a snack break. Open year-round, Thurs-Sun. $6-$12/pp regular admission. See deals below.

Family-friendly: The third Friday & Saturday of every month, the museum offers Kids at the Castle, a chance to play and roam around the Turnblad Mansion. Don’t miss ASI’s Family Gallery, which rotates interactive, play-based exhibits throughout the year.

Deals: Kids at the Castle program is just $8/family or check your library for a smART Pass.; Beginning in September 2022: Free Thursday Nights from 3-8pm!

Two girls playing on a Dala Horse rocking machine at American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Ard Godfrey House 

28 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
FREE Public Tours of this historic home in Chute Square are offered on Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August from 1pm-4pm. The historic house is the oldest surviving frame home in the Twin Cities, quietly aging near the bustle of the Minneapolis riverfront. Joy’s family enjoyed their tour a few years ago and offer tips for families here.

Walkway leading up to the Ard Godrey House Museum in Chute Square Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Open Houses are held on Saturdays and Sundays in the Summer

 


Bakken Museum

3537 Zenith Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416
This one-of-a-kind museum explores the mysteries of our electrical world with appealing, hands-on STEM exhibits. The Bakken hopes to inspire a passion for science by helping people explore the history and nature of electricity and magnetism. Your kids will have a hair-raising good time, we promise! Open year-round, Tue-Sun – 10a.m. – 5p.m. Admission is $6-$11/pp.

Boy learning about circuits at Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Learning about circuits at the Bakken Museum

Bell Museum of Natural History

2088 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul, MN 55113
The brand-new Bell Museum is chock full of exciting exhibits about astronomy and space, wildlife dioramas, and a touch-and-feel room for kids. Make sure to catch a show at the planetarium. We guarantee there will be something to ignite interest in any visitor to the Bell.

Deals: The Bell Museum offers a very generous income based programs. Read more HERE.

Girl exclaiming over large skull at the Bell Museum of Natural History in St. Paul, MN


Federal Reserve Bank

90 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Federal Reserve Bank tours are available for families to walk through the facilities and learn about our banking system. These tours are best for teens and adults and require over an hour of walking.  Tours are free (age 12+) by reservation. TOURS HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED.


Firefighters Hall & Museum

664 22nd Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Kids will get super FIRED up about climbing into a fire truck cab, tinkering with switchboards, sliding down the fire pole and dressing up to pretend they’re on the job. In the past, it has been possible to ride through the neighborhood on a real fire truck, (very thrilling for my kids as shown) but you’ll want to call ahead to check if this option is available for your visit. Check their Facebook page for contact details. Currently open 2nd/4th Saturdays of the month, 9am-4pm.

Deals: Check your library for a smART Pass.

Collage of children exploring interactive children's exhibit at the Minnesota Fire Museum in Minneapolis, MN

 


*Fort Snelling (Historic Fort Snelling)

200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55111
Historic Fort Snelling, perched atop a bluff at the confluence of the Mississippi & Minnesota Rivers, is an imposing reminder of the roots of the Twin Cities we know today. It was built as a frontier outpost in the 1820s and evolved into a military training facility from the days of the Civil War through World War II. Open Memorial Day – October. $8-$12/pp.

Family-friendly: Visitors can explore a wide variety of eras in Minnesota history through 11 interpretive stations that should appeal to a range of ages. Take special care to learn the stories of the many diverse people involved in the fort’s history – folks who called this land home long before we did.

Deals: Fort Snelling, managed by the Minnesota Historical Society, participates in Museums On Us program; Admission is FREE for military veterans, plus up to 5 accompanying family members.

Boy and costumed soldier characters at Fort Snelling Historic Site in St. Paul, MN


Gallery of Wood Art

Landmark Center, 75 W 5th St #222, St Paul, MN 55102
The gallery is operated by the American Association of Woodturners. See live demonstrations of woodturning from 12-3pm on the third Sunday of each month. 
DEMOS HOPE TO RESUME SOON.

Family friendly: There is a room in the gallery (Touch This!) that invites anyone to touch the wood to learn about it.

Deals: The gallery is always free to visit.

Exhibits at the Gallery of Wood Art found in the Landmark Center in St. Paul, MN


Germanic American Institute

301 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
The Germanic Institute does not have public hours but holds annual events open to the public. Several, like its spring egg hunt and Holiday Open Haus featuring German model trains and crafts for kids, appeal to little visitors.

Deals: Deutsche Tag weekend events in June and the holiday open house in December are free to attend.

Children participating in an Egg Hunt at the Germanic American Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota
Spring Egg Hunt. Image courtesy of Germanic American Institute

Goldstein Museum of Design

1985 Buford Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
If you’re on the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota (bowling at the Student Center, perhaps?), stop in for colorful, ever-changing textile and design exhibits.

Deals: Admission is always free.

Two dresses exhibited at the Goldstein Museum of Design in St. Paul, MN


Hennepin History Museum

2303 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
The museum’s mission is to bring the diverse history of Hennepin County and its residents to life through exhibitions, library, collections, public events, and educational programs.

Family-friendly: This is a very small museum that you can thoroughly tour in 15 minutes.

Deals: FREE on first Thursdays or check your library for a smART Pass.

Collage of paintings at the Hennepin History Museum showing familiar Minnesota landmarks


*James J. Hill House 

240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Located near the Cathedral of St. Paul on historic Summit Avenue, the James J Hill House is a magnificent Gilded Age mansion. Hill, the magnate who built the Great Northern Railway, and his family resided in the mansion during the mid to late 1800s. Guided tours currently run Thurs-Sun; it’s always a good idea to call or otherwise check the schedule before heading out. $8-$12/pp.

Family-friendly: Occasionally, tours and events at the James J Hill House cater to younger historians, but these options tend to change from year to year. There have, for instance, been Easter egg hunts offered and special self-guided holiday tours. You can get an idea of what taking kids to the Hill House might be like on our list of 5 family-friendly annual events at the James J Jill House.

Deals: Participates in Museums On Us program.

Family participating in snow Easter Egg Hunt at the James J. Hill House in Saint Paul, Minnesota


Julian H. Sleeper House Museum

66 St Albans St S, St Paul, MN 55105
We have yet to venture to this museum within a private residence, but we’re under the impression it appeals to antique art and furniture aficionados. We’re not enthusiastically recommending a visit with squirrelly children. All tours are $9 and by appointment only.


Landmark Center

75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102
Beautiful, historic Landmark Center, in downtown St Paul, was saved from becoming a parking lot a few generations ago, and thankfully now serves as a cultural center for music, dance, theater, exhibitions, and public forums.

Family-friendly deals: Kids will enjoy the free Urban Expedition and Ballet Tuesdays programs. Sunday cultural events (usually free) often include entertainment kids will enjoy. You’ll want to check the events calendar for more information about these fun opportunities.  Landmark Center also houses two FREE museums that may appeal to children:  check out the entries on this page for the Schubert Club Museum & the Gallery of Wood Art.

Winter exterior of the Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota


*Mill City Museum

704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Mill City Museum – housed in the historic ruins of an old flour mill – is perfect for a wide range of ages. Throughout the museum are interactive exhibits, puzzles, trains and a fun lock and dam water play area that help tell the stories of Minneapolis’s milling history. Don’t miss the exciting Flour Tower, though it may startle your youngsters. Arm yourself with this list of 10 Things for Kids at Mill City Museum before you go. Open year-round, Thurs-Sun, starting at 10am. $8-$12/pp.

Deals: Mill City Museum participates in Museums On Us program.

Kids in front of window showing the Ruins Courtyard at the Mills City Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Minneapolis Institute of Art

2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
We understand that exploring a world-class art museum can be tricky with kids. That’s why we’ve written out a handy list of family-centric amenities you’ll want to take note of before your visit. Historically, on the second Sunday of each month, Target has sponsored a Family Day at the MIA jam-packed with art activities, live performances and other creative ways for kids to explore the galleries. Currently, those Sundays are on pause, but we hope they resume soon.

Deals: The MIA is always FREE, but for special exhibits, check your library for a smART Pass. Also, take advantage of their FREE Membership because you will get mailings with special members-only free dates to special exhibits.

Boy playing on the Family Room Pillows at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota
We call it the “Block Room” – A great reason to visit the MIA.

Minnehaha Regional Park Historic Sites 

Minneapolis, MN
All of the historic sites within the sprawling park are within a stone’s throw of the great, thundering Minnehaha Falls. Kids won’t be able to resist the waterfall; climb down to the creek and dip in your toes. If you can coax them out of the water on a summer afternoon (good luck with that, by the way), pop into the Minnehaha (Princess) Depot, Longfellow House & Garden, and John H. Stevens House – all FREE during summer open house events.

Overhead of visitors viewing the Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota


Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

1256 Penn Avenue N. Fourth Floor Minneapolis, MN 55411
Families can learn about the rich history and contributions of Blacks in Minnesota through exhibits, special programming and community events.

Family-friendly: The museum keeps a Children’s Reading Circle shelf with picture books and offers storytelling and art classes to kids.
Deals: Always FREE.

Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery Logo


Minnesota Air National Guard Museum

670 General Miller Drive, Building 670, St Paul, MN 55111
The Minnesota Air National Guard Museum was created to share historically significant aircraft and ancillary artifacts, historical documents, photographs, manuscripts and books related to aircraft. The museum is not open to the public; call to arrange a private tour.


Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
The entire museum is packed wall-to-wall with fun, educational exhibits for kids up to age 12. All of the FFTC Team’s offspring have grown up enjoying this very special spot in the midst of downtown St Paul. You can get all the details on what’s in store for you on our Minnesota Children’s Museum directory page. Open year-round, Wed-Sun, 9am-4pm. Tickets are $14.95/all ages.

Deals: The Minnesota Children’s Museum is FREE each first Sunday of the month, or check your library for a smART Pass.

Exterior of the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul, MN


*Minnesota History Center

345 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
Minnesota History Center does a phenomenal job of appealing to all ages through its highly interactive, entertaining and educational exhibits. You will have no problem at all finding plenty to intrigue your kids – get our
Top Things for Kids list to see for yourself how much fun you might have. Open year-round, Thurs-Sun. $8-$12/pp.

Deals: Admission has historically been FREE from 3-8 pm on Tuesdays. This perk has been put on pause for the time being; we hope it will resume soon. The Irvine Gallery and Gale Library are always FREE to visit. The Minnesota History Center participates in Museums On Us program.

Greetings from Minnesota Sign at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, MN


Minnesota Museum of American Art

350 Robert St N, St Paul, MN 55101
The Minnesota Museum of American Art, located in downtown St Paul, has assembled an esteemed collection of paintings, work on paper, sculpture, and craft.

Family-friendly: The Minnesota Museum of American Art occasionally offers Family Days filled with art-making activities. You’d best check their website to plan ahead. Admission is always free to this museum.

The Minnesota Museum of American Art Logo


*Minnesota State Capitol

75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN
It surprises many longtime residents of the city how accessible this art treasure of a building is – while being simultaneously useful and functional. Personally, I was surprised (and delighted) when my teenaged daughter requested the Capitol for a family outing one summer day. Read on for tips on making a visit fun with kids if you prefer not to take a guided tour.

Family-friendly: The Department of Administration created a mobile app that contains maps, photo spots and a scavenger hunt game to play during your visit. The app is free and available for download on the App Store or Google Play Store. Or, you can choose to purchase the scavenger hunt booklet for a couple of bucks to support the historical society.

Deals: A visit to the Minnesota State Capitol is always FREE. Tours request a free-will offering.

Girl showing her Art Treasures Scavenger Hunt at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, MN
Art Treasures Scavenger Hunt at the Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota Streetcar Museum – Como-Harriet Line

4200 Queen Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410
The Minnesota Streetcar Museum maintains a fleet of eight historic Minnesota streetcars at the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line in Minneapolis. All aboard! Hop on and take a charming trolley ride through the lovely Lake Harriet neighborhood. Rides run April-October. Please see the website for times and special themed events.

Deals: Rides are an affordable $2.50/pp.

Old street car with boy in front


Minnesota Transportation Museum – Jackson Street Roundhouse

193 Pennsylvania Ave E, St Paul, MN 55130
The Minnesota Transportation Museum is a train-lover’s dream come true. Full of old train cars, the kids can explore from one car to the next, pretending to be passengers, engineers and conductors. There are many exhibits to tinker with and weekend visits may include a ride on a real passenger car. Those with the youngest train enthusiasts will want to consider booking a trip to the Tots & Trains program, select Wednesdays. $7-$15/pp.

Deals: Affordable family rates are available – $30-$45/family.

Girl standing by train car in the Minnesota Transportation Museum - Jackson Street Roundhouse in St. Paul, Minnesota


Museum of Russian Art

5500 Stevens Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419
The Museum of Russian Art is a renovated historic building in South Minneapolis that features the art, history and culture of Russia through its exhibits. Admission for adults is $14, kids to age 13 are always FREE.

Family-friendly deals: Currently, the museum is offering a FREE Storytime in the Gallery the third Saturday of the month with no charge for adults to accompany their kids. Take home a copy of the story and explore the galleries with a scavenger hunt. 9:30-11am. They also participate in the Museums for All program that gives free admission to families enrolled in qualifying programs, including WIC and MA.

Visitors standing at the exterior door of The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, MN


Schubert Club Museum

Landmark Center, 75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102
The small museum tucked away inside the grand building includes rare instruments and large sculptures of instruments, correspondence of  famous composers. Kids will love experimenting with a whole room of hands-on instruments and other exhibits that are fun and interesting to kids.

Deals: The Schubert Club is always FREE to visit.

Girl trying bell tree at the Schubert Club Museum in Saint Paul, MN


Science Museum of Minnesota

120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
The Science Museum of Minnesota is a spectacularly cool outing for all ages! Explore multiple levels of exhibits that pique interest in dinosaurs, the human body, mathematics, sports, geology and lots more. Pair your visit with a film at the Omnitheater. Open year-round, Wed-Sun. Admission is $14.95-$19.95, not including film tickets. Parking is $5 in the museum ramp.

Deals: We consider the Science Museum to be a splurge outing, especially for families with kids.  Discount programs are available for limited-income families and there’s a student discount Fridays after 5pm.

Dinosaur Skeleton at the Science Museum on Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN


Somali Museum of Minnesota

1516 E Lake St #011, Minneapolis, MN 55407
The Somali Museum of Minnesota was created to preserve traditional Somali culture. Visitors will find a collection of over 700 pieces of traditional Somali arts and the permanent exhibit “Somalis + Minnesota” moved from the Minnesota History Center.

Family-friendly: Kids might like a hands-on activity showing visitors how to load a camel for travel across the desert and hut exhibit displaying a dwelling used by peoples in rural Somalia.


Theodore Wirth House

3954 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
The Theodore Wirth House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is furnished with period artifacts. Admission is FREE during specified open house tours – these, however, are extremely rare.


Twin City Model Railroad Museum

668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114
If you have train enthusiasts (really of any age) in your family, the museum has the best collection of model trains in the Midwest and continues to add interactive exhibits. It’s a delight for kids to push the buttons to operate the trains and set off other animations. Adults will recognize many city landmarks artfully scaled and rendered along the tracks. Open weekends & Mondays, $10/pp. Special seasonal events extra.

Deals: A discounted family rate is available and children under 5 are always FREE.

All Aboard for Night Trains - Nighttime Model Train Scene


Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
To make it the family-friendliest of visits, definitely pick one of Walker’s First Free Saturdays where admission is waived for all ages and there are tons of activities geared for kids (films, gallery hunts, art projects, etc). Sensory Friendly Sundays are a free event designed for kids, teens, and adults with sensory processing differences. Families can expect a calm environment with accommodations such as quiet spaces, noise-canceling headphones, and sunglasses available. Special art-making activities and films are offered as well.

Deals: Walker Art Center offers FREE Thursday evenings and FREE first Saturdays. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is always FREE to roam around in.

Boy in front of the iconic Cherry & Spoon at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, MN


Weisman Art Museum

333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55455
The museum’s collection showcases early twentieth-century American artists, as well as a diverse selection of ceramics and contemporary art.

Family-friendly: Weisman Art Museum very occasionally hosts special Sunday programs aimed at families with kids. Watch their website or social media channels for these opportunities.

Deals: Admission is always FREE to the Weisman Art Museum.

Public talk at the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis, MN


TWIN CITIES MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES:

NORTH METRO

Anoka County Historical Society

2135 N 3rd Ave, Anoka, MN 55303

Deals: Admission is always $3/adult & $2/children.


Eidem Farm

4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
Learning about the good old days is extra fun when you pick one of the days the historic farm offers Daily Life on the Farm. Kids can help out with farm chores, visit the animals and explore the restored farmhouse.

Deals: Eidem Farm often hosts free events during the summer including morning & evening storytimes and free movies on the barn. Keep up to date with these on the city’s website.

Costumed guide showing girls how to pump water at the Eidem Homestead in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota


Fillebrown House

2228 4th St, White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Tour the 1879 lakeside cottage at the corner of Lake and Morehead Avenues in White Bear Lake. In December the house gets a Holiday makeover and there are occasional inexpensive events aimed at kids.

Members of the White Bear Lake Historical Society decorating the tree in front of the Fillebrown House in White Bear Lake Minnesota
Image courtesy of the White Bear Lake Historical Society.

Gammelgården Museum

20880 Olinda Trail N, Scandia, MN 55073
There’s plenty to see on the green of the Gammelgården(translates to “Old Farm”), which is a collection of preserved buildings that tell the story of early Swedish immigrants to the Scandia area.

Family-friendly: Kids will not want to miss seeking out the four colorful Dala horses scattered about the property.

Deals: FREE days to visit the GammelgårdenMuseum include Immigrant for a Day (May) and Midsommar (June). Remember, it’s always free to explore the park-like museum grounds without taking a formal tour. There is play equipment and space to picnic.

Girls in front of Dala House at the Gammelgården Museum in Scandia Minnesota


Gibbs Farm

2097 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul, MN 55113
Gibbs Farm is a treat whether you’re visiting at your leisure or during a scheduled program. Tour the historic farmhouse and one-room schoolhouse, get acquainted with the farm animals and travel through the restored prairie to find other pieces of living history.

Family-friendly: Gibbs Farm typically hosts an Apple Festival and a Halloween event in the fall and day camps for kids throughout the summer.

Girl playing apple game at Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life


Hay Lake School Museum & Erickson Log Home

14020 195th St N, Marine on St Croix, MN 55047


New Brighton History Center

700 Park Drive, New Brighton, MN 55112
The New Brighton History Center, housed in a charming restored train depot, is open weekends, June-September, 1-4pm. Admission is always free.

Family-friendly: Kids will love clambering aboard the caboose. Make a day of it in Long Lake Park with a stop at the large sandy beach (one of the best in the Twin Cities in our opinion) and one of the playgrounds.

Kids on back of caboose at the New Brighton History Center in Minnesota


*Oliver H. Kelley Farm

15788 Kelly Farm Rd NW, Elk River, MN 55330
Explore the new visitor center, tour the historic farmhouse, lend your hand at farm chores, and check in on the animals. You’ll develop a whole new appreciation for modern conveniences at this farm permanently set in the 19850’s. Open June through Labor Day. $8-$12/pp.

Girls watching horses at Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River, MN


Pierre Bottineau House

Elm Creek Park Reserve, 12400 James Deane Pkwy, Maple Grove, MN 55369
The historic Pierre Bottineau house is only open for special programs and by appointment. This restored 1854 wood-framed house has been transformed into a mini museum of the life of frontiersman Pierre Bottineau.

Family-friendly: Even if an indoor visit to the historic house is not in the cards, Elm Creek Park Reserve has a giant playground, a swimming pond and a nature center to interest kids.

Historic Pierre Bottineau House in Maplewood Minnesota
Image courtesy of Three Rivers Park District

TWIN CITIES MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES:

EAST METRO

Bruentrup Heritage Farm

2170 County Rd D E, Maplewood, MN 55109
Bruentrup Heritage Farm is an historical farm run by Maplewood Historical Society. The buildings and exhibits are only open for special events and select Sunday and Mondays in the summer but the public can walk on the grounds and the trail of the nature preserve.

Kid-friendly: Poke around and you’ll find interactive farming displays. Special events have included an apple festival, Halloween event, holiday open house and farm-to-table summer camps.

Girls goofing around at Bruentrup Heritage Farm in Maplewood, MN


Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway

114 Depot Rd, Osceola, WI 54020
All aboard! The historic Osceola & St Croix Valley Railway train excursions run every weekend from early May through late October through the scenic river valley.

Family-friendly: Kids are huge fans of specialty rides such as the Pumpkin Express in the fall and pizza dinner trains.

Riders boarding Osceola & St Croix Railway


Warden’s House Museum

602 Main St N, Stillwater, MN 55082
The historic structure sits along lovely Main Street in Stillwater, originally built in 1853 as the residence of the Minnesota Territorial Prison warden. The museum contains 14 rooms decorated in late 19th and early 20th century style and exhibits moments in Washington County history.


Washington County Historic Courthouse 

14949 62nd St N, Stillwater, MN 55082
The courthouse sits on the National Register of Historic Places and offers ​The courthouse offers free self-guided or guided tours as well as year-round community events.

Family-friendly: When visiting with kids, you can take a Courthouse Scavenger Hunt, play dress up with vintage clothes and stop by the kid’s corner to touch and feel courthouse artifacts.

Exterior of the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater Minnesota


TWIN CITIES MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES:

SOUTH METRO

Dakota City Heritage Village

4008 220th St, Farmington MN
Dakota City Heritage Village is a living history museum and sweet five-acre village that includes 22 buildings dating to the early 1900s. Minnesota’s rural past further comes to life with costumed interpreters and demonstrations. Our kids have really enjoyed interacting with the “residents” of the village when we’ve visited for special events. Christmas in the Village is especially charming.

Deals: Pick Friends & Family Fun Day (typically held in June) or Dakota County Fair’s free day (first Monday of the Fair’s run) for a free peek at the village.

Kids at Dakota City Historic Village Store in Farmington Minnesota


Holz Farm Park

4665 Manor Dr, Eagan, MN 55123
Pay a visit to historic Holz Farm Park to experience what life was like on the farm between the Great Depression of the 1930s through the 1940s World War II era. Outside the special events, the park grounds are open to explore freely on your own.

Family-friendly: Three family festivals, one in spring, one in fall and one at holiday time, are held annually in the park. Activities are either free or inexpensive. Get our list of 7 fun things to do with kids at Holz Farm Park.

Girl milking toy cow at Holz Farm in Eagan, MN


LeDuc Historic Estate

1629 Vermillion St, Hastings, MN 55033
This Civil War-era Gothic Revival home welcomes you to learn more about the LeDuc family (the patriarch was a Civil War hero among other notable things). Throughout the year, special events such as a Civil War weekend and a day camp are hosted by the LeDuc House, in care of the Dakota County Historical Society. It can be hit or miss as to whether or not the scheduled programming will appeal to kids, but it’s worth a check to their website when planning to spend a fun day in Hastings.

Family-friendly: The Hastings Dairy Store is directly across the street from the LeDuc Estate and has the BEST chocolate milkshakes!

Exterior of LeDuc Estates - in Hastings Minnesota
LeDuc Estates

*Sibley Historic Site

1357 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota Heights, MN 55120
At the Sibley Historic Site, step back in time to visit a collection of Minnesota’s oldest buildings and explore life in the early 1800s, when the post of Mendota was a major center of the region’s fur trade. Tour restored buildings and learn the stories of the American Fur Company as it engaged with the area’s Dakota people.

Family-friendly deals: Special events, such as the Fur Trade Weekend and a Fourth of July celebration, appeal to kids. (Mine pictured, playing old fashioned lawn games – we visited during the annual Mendota Days parade, when free admission was offered to the Sibley site. Forever on the hunt for bargain entertainment!)

Kids learning about traditional toys from a costumed tour guide at the Sibley Historic House in Mendota Heights, Minnesota - Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites


Stans Museum – Scott County Historical Society

235 Fuller St S, Shakopee, MN 55379
Family-friendly
: The historical society offers regular programming, including the monthly free Kids Craft series. Aimed at kids ages 4-8, it consists of a craft and a related story.


The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park

2187 County Rd 101, Shakopee, MN 55379
Get a glimpse of life in the Minnesota River Valley 150 years ago. Costumed interpreters and authentic buildings recreate late 19th-century life in Minnesota. Immersive family programs at The Landing are affordable edutainment for all ages. The programs are scattered throughout the year (find a schedule on the Three Rivers Parks page) or the public is welcome to take a free, self-guided tour during open park hours. (It’s also a great path for a bike ride!)

Kids standing in front of the J.W. Mach & Sons General Merchandise building at the Landing in Shakopee Minnesota


TWIN CITIES MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES: WEST METRO

Charles H. Burwell House

13209 E McGinty Rd E, Minnetonka, MN 55305
The Burwell House is Minnetonka’s contribution to historic homes in the Twin Cities. Free tours are offered seasonally and two special events are hosted at the house during the year.

Family-friendly: Kids, take note. You can trick-or-treat at the Burwell House during the Minnetonka Halloween Spooktacular!

Exterior of Historic Burwell House in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Image courtesy of the City of Minnetonka.
Historic Burwell House. Image courtesy of the City of Minnetonka.

Cycling Museum of Minnesota

Quality Bicycle Products Building, 6400 W 105th St, Bloomington, MN 55438
In November of 2022, the cycling museum announced that it had finally found a permanent home where it can display its cycling collection.

Family-friendly: Once settled in their new home, CMM hopes to lead bicycle rides at Hyland Lake Park Reserve, which is right next to the building and to host events. Stay tuned! I the meantime, find coloring pages on their website.

Edina History Museum

Arneson Acres Park, 4721-4761 W 70th St, Edina, MN 55435
The Edina Historical Museum, located in a 13-acre park in Edina that is also home to the city’s greenhouse and and 28 gardens, is open to the public, though currently by appointment only. Learn about Edina history, including the Edina Mill and archaeological exploration of the Mill. Admission is always free.


Gideon Pond House

Pond Dakota Mission Park, 401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
The historic 1856 Gideon and Agnes Pond House is an educational site that preserves the history of early Minnesota settlers, Christian missionaries and the Dakota people of the era. Visit the surrounding Pond-Dakota Mission Park for a self-guided interpretive trail or attend one of the FREE Saturday open houses at the Pond House.

Family-friendly: Saturday open houses always feature living history activities, presented by lovely volunteers, that kids will enjoy. There is no formal charge for the program, but donations are always appreciated to keep this gem running!

Exterior of Gideon Pond House in Bloomington Minnesota during winter


Grimm Farm Historic Site

Carver Park Reserve, 55386, 7400 Grimm Rd, Waconia, MN 55387
Visiting Carver Park Reserve on a summer Saturday? It might be possible to stop in to see the restored 1870s house and fields of the Grimm Farm Historic Site. The farmhouse has been open for free tours in the past, Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Costumed interpreters will talk with you about the importance of the Grimm family and engage kids in living history pastimes. Make sure to consult the Three Rivers Parks website to check if there are any upcoming open houses scheduled before heading out.

Young girl playing with old-fashioned toys at the Grimm Farm House in Waconia, Minnesota - Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites


Minnesota Streetcar Museum – Excelsior Line

The historic Excelsior Line of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum boards on Water Street between 3rd and George Street or at Old Excelsior Blvd. Who’s not up for a trolley ride?

Deals: Rides are an affordable $2.50.


Pavek Museum of Broadcasting

3517 Raleigh Ave, St Louis Park, MN 55416
The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting preserves the history of broadcasting and displays a fine collection of antique radio, television, and broadcast equipment.

Family-friendly: We recommend this museum for kids over the age of 5; there are some displays and hands-on exhibits to interest older kids.

Collage of exhibits at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting


The Works Museum 

9740 Grand Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420
The Works Museum has exhibits, programs, and design challenges that engage kids in science, technology, and engineering. There isn’t a single thing in the museum that kids can’t tinker and experiment with.

Deals: The Works hosts select PreK Mondays during the school year where kids ages 2-5 are admitted for just $5.50. Regular price admission – $11.00 – still applies for adults and kids over 5. Kids under 3 are always free.

Preschool girl trying out large harp at the The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota - Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites


Wayzata Depot & Museum

402 Lake St E, Wayzata, MN 55391
The Historic Wayzata Depot does double duty as the the Wayzata Historical Society Museum and is the perfect outing for a train lover of any age. Kids will love miniature garden railroad located outside the depot. It’s just one of 10 fun things for families at the historic Wayzata Depot. Admission is always free; make sure to check the website for current hours of operation (typically weekends, Wednesdays & holidays, April-December.)

Girl watching miniature train at the Wayzata Museum in Minnesota - Twin Cities Museums & Historic Sites


*Minnesota Historical Society Deals:
A $79 Household Membership to MHS will get your whole family into museums & historic sites with a “*” for FREE for the whole year (plus more sites across the state). Or pick up the FREE 6th Grade MN History Pass to get your 6th Grader in for free. For more Membership Ideas: Membership; The No-Clutter Gift of Together Time.

 


We know we haven’t covered them all. So what Museums & Historic Sites did we miss that you would add to your list? Leave us a comment and we’ll share your recommendations with the community!

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