Saint Paul Toddler Activities: Tot Times & More in St. Paul, MN

Saint Paul Toddler Activites - Two moms hanging out with their tots

Looking for Saint Paul Toddler Activities? Anne, our resident St. Paulite, has all the details on the Parent & Tot Open Play times offered by St. Paul Parks and Rec as well as a list of other locations that are great to visit with tots. Indoor tot times are fun ways that kids can learn basic social skills, get exercise no matter the weather and bond with their caregivers. When the weather is nice, get out for some outdoor adventures.

ExploraTots Outdoor Adventures

ExploraTots is an ongoing outdoor adventure program for kids ages 3-5 and their caregivers. Each session begins with choice time activity stations on a theme and follows with a story time, a hike and a take-home activity. The program is designed to help preschool children connect to nature, socialize and  practice skills that can improve school-readiness.

Sign Up for ExploraTots

The program is FREE. However, space is limited and registration is required for each session, which are offered at various parks around Saint Paul throughout the year. Find more information and Register Here (search Keyword: Exploratots).

Exploratots Program held at Crosby Park
Exploratots Program

Note: Find Saint Paul Pool Tot Times Here.

Indoor Saint Paul Toddler Activities
for Cold Winter (or Hot Summer) Days

Have all the unscheduled snow days and frigid temps been successful at driving you and your little ones stir-crazy yet? Are you about desperate to find a place where they can truly burn off some energy while you might find some grown-ups to bond with over entertaining tots during long Minnesota winters?

Saint Paul Toddler Activities - Toddler playing basketball at North Dale Recreation Center tot time
Saint Paul Toddler Activities

Tot Times at St. Paul Recreation Centers

Chances are you’ve heard about the drop-in Parent & Tot Play Time program at recreation centers across St. Paul. It’s fun, unstructured, nearly always free and a total sanity-saver during our cold months. I used it routinely when my firstborn was a toddler. He thrived on the small bikes, balls, tumbling mats and other provided equipment for free physical play. (And naptime was a GIVEN afterwards!) Children must be 5 years of age or younger to attend and must be accompanied by their caregiver. I found that – particularly at the most popular rec center gyms – it wasn’t as easy to bring crawlers along and not have to worry about them getting in the paths of the big kids.

Follow the link to find current St. Paul Rec Centers offering Parent & Tot Play Times and registration information (if applicable). This list updates seasonally. Families with older kids can find St Paul open gym times here.

3 More Fun Places to Visit with Toddlers in Saint Paul

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.

Because admission is free you can take as much or as little time exploring the wildlife in the zoo and beautiful flowers in the conservatory as works for your tot.

Best Time: Visit on Thursday mornings at 10am for the Lil’ Explorer Program.
Address: 1225 Estabrook Drive, St Paul, MN 55103.
Admission: Free will donation.

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

Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Geared toward the younger kids, MCM is one of those hands-on children’s museums where you can let your tot be a tot.
Address: 10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102.
Admission: $16/pp (buy online and save $1)

Toddler boys climbing the Scramble at the Minnesota Children's Museum in Saint Paul, MN.
Climbing up to the top

Science Museum of Minnesota 

Much of the Science Museum will appeal more to your older children, but when you visit with just your tot, you can limit your time to the dinosaur area, which is conveniently located right next to the cafeteria.
Address: 120 W. Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, MN 55102.
Admission: Adults: $30; children 4-17/$20. Tots: FREE.

Science Museum of Minnesota

Parent Tot Times Outside St. Paul

Minneapolis Tot Times, Open Gym Hours and other Toddler-friendly outings:

If you seek opportunities in Minneapolis, try searching the Park & Rec Board site and type “tot” into the search box. Minneapolis open gym times can also be found at the same link, type “open gym” into search box.

Waite Park Gym
Waite Park Gym

4 More Fun Places to Visit with Toddlers in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Week days are a great time to visit with Toddlers. Even if you never leave the first floor Family Room to explore the artwork, your tot will have plenty of toys and books curated for creative play. Bonus, mom and dad can grab a drink from Agra Culture Coffee Shop and relax a bit, too. Did I mention FREE admission?
Address: 2400 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Admission: FREE

MIA Family Room Pillows.
We call it the “Block Room” – A great reason to visit the MIA.

Wild Rumpus Bookstore

Particularly appealing to tots will be the front door of the shop that is just their size and purple! And, of course, the store’s menagerie of pets. Ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations and you can come home with a book perfect for snuggle time.
Address: 2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Admission: FREE

Girl standing in front of the tiny people door at the Wild Rumpus Bookshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota
A special purple door just for short people

Walker Art Center

Although Free First Saturdays are aimed at families with children of all ages, a one-on-one weekday visit with your tot is affordable (kids are FREE) and the museum is quiet. Wander the galleries at your child’s pace with the time to view the art with their eyes.
Address: 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Admission: Adults: $15; Tots: FREE

Three children at a listening station at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Midtown Global Market

It is really fun to visit when the market isn’t crowded. Because it is set up like an indoor version of an outdoor market, you can enjoy shopping the booths with brightly colored fruits and veggies and global wares.
Address: 920 E Lake St #G10, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Admission: FREE

Greater Twin Cities Tot Times & Toddler Attractions:

And for the surrounding metro suburbs, we have included many on our list of Get Moving: Tot Times, Open Play, Gym & Swim Spots for Tots in the Twin Cities.

Toddler Scribbling on wall with red crayon - "Stir Crazy?! Tot Times, Open Play, Gym & Swim Spots for Tots in the Twin Cities"
Click here for tot times around the Twin Cities

These are places in and around Saint Paul that we have taken our own toddlers and preschoolers with great success. We’d love to hear your favorite Saint Paul place to visit with Toddlers, babies and preschool kids.  Leave us a comment and we’ll share with the community.

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