We are always on the lookout for fun activities to do with our kids. For the past couple years we've visited the Minnesota Children's Museum and our kids get SO much out of it every time. I've partnered with the Minnesota Children's Museum to share five reasons you NEED to make a visit as soon as possible!
We live in rural Minnesota but many of our favorite attractions for kids are in "the cities"-for Minnesota locals, that means the St. Paul/Minneapolis metro area. Since our kids are still little (ages two and five) I sometimes feel like we're ushering them through activities quickly and not letting them take the lead. The only place I haven't felt this way is at the Minnesota Children's Museum! Every time we visit, I'm thrilled to let the kids lead the way and spend as much time as they want on the exhibits they truly love.
5 Reasons You NEED to Visit the Minnesota Children's Museum
- Kids can explore with all five senses at the Minnesota Children's Museum. With four floors full of exhibits, it's no surprise kids can explore with sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste! Upon entering the museum, our kids like to explore the Creativity Jam area which currently houses a large variety of percussion instruments.
When I actually stopped to think about how much kids learn from playing musical instruments, it made me want to get them into music lessons right now! They can spend so much time here exploring how and why different sounds come from the same instrument. It's awesome to see them try different techniques and figure out (all by themselves!) how to make music.
One of our favorite things to do is explore touch and textures with the colorful crayons in Creativity Jam!
On the fourth floor, you can find the Tip Top Terrace with more exhibits perfect for exploring senses. Listen to the bustle of St. Paul while you smell and touch a variety of herbs and plant-life growing on the roof. The basil and mint smell exquisite! Plus, check out the birdhouses with doors that open and eggs to touch.
Travel back downstairs to Forces at Play where your kids will want to spend hours washing and drying an awesome car exhibit! In this exhibit alone, kids can see, touch, smell, and hear (though I'd encourage no tasting!).
To explore taste, you'll want to head to the Tomāto Tomäto Cafe for lunch. Located in the heart of the Minnesota Children's Museum, it's the perfect place to grab a meal or snack without having to leave and return.
We ordered kid's meals and wraps for ourselves and were very happy with the amount of food we received for the price. The cafe is so cute and has some fun souvenir options to look at while you dine.
- The museum gives kids a chance to socialize with new people. Our kids LOVE to play with other kids, and they have the opportunity to do that when we get out of the house. At the Minnesota Children's Museum, you can often find multiple kids checking out an exhibit and there's always cooperation and conversation going on as well.
On The Scramble, I frequently see kids helping each other climb the four-story vertical adventure! I'm always amazed at how brave children are as they take on the giant tube slide while others cheer them on.
- Kids learn so much just by playing! One of the coolest things about parenting is watching your kids figure things out on their own. While I like to interact with my kids and ask them questions while they're exploring, I could also just keep an eye on them while they figure out how things work at each exhibit. The Minnesota Children's Museum highly encourages open ended play and suggests letting children lead the way!
For example, it took my kids a few minutes to figure out the stop-motion machine but soon they were creating their own videos and loving it! Our daughter spent a lot of time on this exhibit while her brother moved onto building with blocks. Both of them were exploring things that were interesting to them, which is the perfect formula for learning!
- The Minnesota Children's Museum has exhibits that explore the world we live in. In Our World, kids can visit a simulated city where they can pretend to be postal workers, firefighters, grocers, chefs, and more!
With real-world experiences like sorting mail, working a cash register, and creating delicious meals, our kids always spend at least a couple hours in this exhibit. The post office was a huge hit during this visit, while our kids worked with others to distribute packages and mail.
There is truly so much to see in the Our World exhibit-you'll have to check it out yourself!
The Studio is another exhibit where kids can learn real-world skills and explore their artsy side. Last time we visited, kids could use real tools to learn about electricity and make a light bulb glow. This time, the main focus was on sewing which was a huge hit with our daughter. She was occupied for a long time sewing her own little pillow and she's been asking me to buy some sewing tools since ever since!
Our son tried out a more age appropriate version of "sewing"! He used a hole punch to put holes in a cardboard circle and then threaded yarn through the holes. I love that the Minnesota Children's Museum has activities for children of ALL ages.
- The traveling exhibits are worth a museum visit all by themselves! While the majority of exhibits at the Minnesota Children's Museum are set (with a bit of variety in each area) the traveling exhibits change throughout the year. Each one we've visited, we've loved, and this trip was no exception!
The current traveling exhibit happens to be from one of our favorite shows: Dinosaur Train! The whole room is filled with amazing things for the kids to explore. We spent hours there and returned at the end of the day-if the museum had been open later I have no doubt we would have spent even more time there!
Children can grab a ticket (our daughter loved being the ticket seller!), deposit it into a collection box, and head onto the life-size Dinosaur Train! There are many seats on the train and some fun activities for kids to play and learn while they travel through the era of dinosaurs.
After riding on the train, kids can check out The Big Pond where they can find fossils!
With dress-ups and a Pteranodon Nest just like in the show, kids can pretend to be their favorite characters and really let their imaginations thrive!
One of our favorite parts of this exhibit was the Junior Conductor Academy where kids can discover all kinds of things about dinosaurs! You can sort dinosaurs based on their traits, learn about dinosaur bones and fossils, discover the difference between plant or meat eaters, and even design your own dinosaur!
The Dinosaur Train Traveling Exhibit will be available through September 9th, 2018. Coming in January 2019 is another exhibit we are SO excited to see-Wild Kratts: Creature Power! Our whole family loves this show because it's entertaining and educational, so we can't wait to check out the collaboration between the Kratt brothers and the museum.
I think it's clear by the sheer number of photos I took just how incredible the Minnesota Children's Museum is! We love the museum so much that we've decided to become members so you'll be seeing much more from this incredible location and our visits throughout the year.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the Minnesota Children's Museum to facilitate this post. As always, all opinions are my own.