I had way too much fun doing the research for this article — poring over trip journals and photos from adventures taken with our growing family as well as mapping out road trips to new destinations this season! It was especially enjoyable to stretch well beyond the borders of the Twin Cities — out of our comfort zone, you could say — to share ideas for family fun. Here’s just a taste of the attractions opening in the month of May. If there’s a family favorite you don’t see on the list that you’d recommend we add, please let us know!
PLAN THE BEST FAMILY VACATION: 101 MINNESOTA MUSEUMS & HISTORIC SITES TO VISIT WITH KIDS!
Greater Minnesota Attractions Opening in May 2023
Opens April 29, 2023
3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd., Two Harbors, MN 55616
Just one of dozens of gems to see along the beautiful shore of Lake Superior. The visitor center is open nearly year-round; access to the lighthouse begins daily in May. Choose from three different tickets: a grounds pass for a self-guided tour, general admission to the buildings (including the lighthouse) or a 60 minute private tour.
More family fun near Two Harbors, Minnesota: Prior to, or after, your lighthouse tour, stop for a delicious slice at Betty’s Pies, a few miles south of the historic site.
Opens May 1, 2023
106 Old Hwy 61 S, Hinckley, MN 55037
Housed in the rebuilt train depot, media and exhibits tell the story of one of Minnesota’s worst modern natural disasters – a raging firestorm in the woods. The material is presented in a sensitive manner. Open 10am-5pm, Tues-Sun. $2-$5/ages 7+.
More family fun near Hinckley, Minnesota: On the road to Hinckley, pull over for a couple hours at the SNAKE RIVER FUR POST in Pine City (opening Memorial Day Weekend) for an interactive tour.
Opens May 1, 2023
26715 Co Rd 39, Freeport, MN 56331
Completely family owned-and-operated, the zoo is a treat for animal lovers. As our website caters to families from the Minneapolis-St Paul metro area, Hemker Park & Zoo could make for an ideal day trip or perhaps fit neatly into a drive to the cabin or camping trip. More than 50 species are waiting to meet you with opportunities to feed a few. A brand new (and huge) play structure opens with the zoo this year. Open daily, 10am-6pm. $18.25-$20.25/ticket.
Opens May 3-5, 2023: Minnesota Pizza Farms
Pizza night on the farm is one of our favorite ways to do a summer picnic. Since these destinations are typically a drive for most people in the mid-metro area, we recommend packing up the car and making a day of it at a nearby park, bike trail or other attraction. Remember, you’re not at a restaurant down on the farm! BYO seating, utensils, side dishes, beverages and trash receptacles. FIND THE BEST PIZZA FARMS NEAR MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL!
10063 110th St E, Northfield, MN 55057
Wednesdays are Pizza Night on the farm – required reservations open at 4 pm on the Friday prior to the Wednesday you wish to visit. Pizzas are also served the third Sunday of the month. Opening night, May 3, 2023.
41142 160th Street, Waseca MN
With multiple menu items including creative pizzas and a special dessert, Pleasant Grove is open for the following hours in May: Fri 4-8p; Saturday 4-8p; Sundays 1–7p. June, July & August add Thursday nights to the mix. Costs range from $20-$25/pizza. Make sure to check the website’s event section to see what band might be playing when you come for your pizza picnic! Your kids will love the resident farm animals, lawn games & nature trails.
Opening Memorial Day Weekend – Greater Minnesota Attractions
1620 Lindbergh Dr. S., Little Falls, MN 56345
All ages can explore the interactive exhibits in the visitor center and horse around in the adjoining CHARLES A LINDBERGH STATE PARK. Older kids and adults might like a tour through the home Lindy grew up in. Tours Fri & Sat only, 10am-4pm. $8-$10/pp.
26468 US-71, Park Rapids, MN 56470
Growing up, us parents knew this roadside stop as World of Christmas; now we bring our own kids for mini-golf, laser tag, bumper boats, train rides and all the rest. Open starting the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, 11am-5pm. Find wristband prices here.
More family fun near Park Rapids: Crossing the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi at ITASCA STATE PARK — how much more Minnesotan can kids get? Not to mention that you could lose yourself for days within the recreational opps at the park.
21899 Co Rd 118, Preston, MN 55965
Immerse yourself in the bustling remnants of a 19th-century town and interact with the locals. My son, for instance, found a worthy checkers opponent on the porch of the general store. Open Thurs-Sun starting Memorial Day Weekend, 11am-5pm. $8-$10/pp.
More family fun near Preston, Minnesota: Older kids might enjoy hunting down the disappearing river in FORESTVILLE-MYSTERY CAVE STATE PARK.
37200 Wild Mountain Rd, Taylors Falls, MN 55084
Choose from a variety of ticket combos that can include the dry rides (slide, GoKarts and a free fall) and/or the water park with its tube slides, lazy river and kiddie splash zone. Mix and match or purchase a pass for a day of all-inclusive fun. $26-$40/pp.
More family fun near Taylors Falls: One day in the area might not be enough; here are the TOP 8 THINGS TO DO NEAR TAYLORS FALLS WITH KIDS, including a climb up, down and all around the Pothole Trail at INTERSTATE STATE PARK.
Greater Minnesota Attractions Opening in June 2023
June 1, 2023
27160 County Road 2, Comfrey, MN 56019
Kids can get hands-on in the visitor center or take a self-guided tour at your own pace. The fascinated site includes thousands of rock carvings that tell the stories of Native people who once called the prairie home. Open Thurs-Sun, 10am-8pm (open 12-5 Sundays). $8-$10/pp.
More family fun nearby: Step back into the pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder at the namesake museum in nearby Walnut Grove or catch the Wilder Pageant weekends in July. Little train lovers might enjoy a trip to the End-o-Line Railroad Park & Museum a few miles away in Currie.
June 2, 2023
12551 Voyageur Lane, Pine City, MN 55063
The reconstructed fur trading post (formerly known at the Northwest Company) comes alive with costumed interpreters, demonstrations and special events. Just look at my little ones, getting educated on their summer vacation! Open Fri-Sat, 10am-5pm. $8-$10/pp.
Greater Minnesota Attractions Not Announced To Be Open in 2023
We fervently hope these attractions will be back open for business in 2023, but we may have to wait until 2024.
66250 Co Rd 21, New Ulm, MN 56073
Explore the 1870s-era general store, still stocked with original merchandise. What kind of characters will you meet on the porch?
More family fun nearby in New Ulm: Make a day of it by touring the August Schell Brewery (kids can roam the gardens, seek out the peacocks and guzzle free 191 draft root beer). Finish with a dip in the sand-bottomed swimming pool at FLANDRAU STATE PARK – only $7 for a park permit.
1302 McKinley Park Rd, Soudan, MN 55782
Travel a half-mile underground to explore the depths of an iron-ore mine as it was abandoned in the 1960s. This can be a very interesting and educational tour for kids, but note that the experience requires wearing a helmet, traveling in a small elevator, a length of walking plus stairs, and a brief moment in pitch darkness. Surface tours only in 2023, underground mine tours to resume in 2024 due to construction.