Visiting Minneapolis March 9 - 14, Seeking Suggestions for Family Activities

Updated on February 15, 2013
J.T. asks from Flower Mound, TX
12 answers

We are visiting the MSP area March 9-14. I'd love to hear of any fun family friendly activities.
I have a 6 year old daughter and mu 9 year old nephew and 11 year old niece will be joining us.
Let me know of anything fun, adventurous or truly unique!

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So What Happened?

Hi Everyone,
Yes, we traveled from beautiful Texas to the cold Minnesota weather. I appreciated all of your suggestions. We enjoyed our trip, checked out the Leg brickmasters and the Minnesota History museum.
We also spend lots of time outside in our snow clothes sledding.
Thanks for all of the ideas!

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Water Park of America, MOA nick Universe, children's Museum, science Museum, MN Zoo....(Como Zoo tends to smell really bad in the winter so I avoid it when the weather is cold).

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answers from Appleton on

Check out the Guthrie (sp) Theater. At one time they gave tours and everything needed for a play was made at the theater, including wigs and all costumes.


answers from Rochester on

The Science Museum is fun, and I hear the Children's Museum is great although I've never been there myself.

There's always the Mall of it in the morning, if you go...with Camp Snoopy or whatever they're calling it these days. Not Camp Snoopy. There's also a huge underground aquarium...and it's neat to ride the elevators and look down on the amusement park.

I PERSONALLY love the Walker, but use discretion based on how mature the children are. It IS a museum for modern art, but it's also a ton of fun.

You can also check if there are any events going on at the Target Center, etc...maybe check with Ticket Master. I know Disney on Ice is going on sometime soon...not sure when, though.

If you were going later I would suggest ValleyFair, but of course it won't be open yet. ;(

Am I reading this correctly, that you are in Texas? :) Why in the world are you coming to Minnesota? Just curious!!

(***If you're going to do a zoo, do Como Park. The MN Zoo, while more humane and "natural" sucks for kids. Every time I've been there, my children have been so disappointed because they weren't able to actually see any of the animals.)



answers from Minneapolis on

You've come to the right place!

Children's Museum
Science Museum
Como Zoo (depending on weather)
MN Zoo (any weather; plan to spend hours, maybe do an IMAX movie)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Mall of America
Wild Rumpus bookstore (spend time in Linden Hills; check out the toy store, and get free bread slices from Great Harvest)
See a play at Children's Theatre
Ice skate at the Depot downtown



answers from Minneapolis on

You have a lot of good suggestions here but why not embrace what you can't get in TX? SNOW! What about tubing or ice skating at The Depot?



answers from Minneapolis on

The Science Museum is our kids favorite hang out spot when we go up. They never get tired of it.

On March 9th (Saturday only), Brickmania Toyworks is open to the public from 10-4 pm. Much cooler than Legoworld at the mall. Check it out at

Since you'll be here to enjoy some of our winter wonderland, try to get out skiing or tubing! Afton Alps is a short drive away. When our family visited from FL 3 years ago, we took them tubing at the Badlands Snopark, just over the border in Wisconsin. Maybe a 30 minute drive from Minneapolis. They still talk about it to this very day. If you want to just tube, I'd pick Badlands over Afton. They have several hills, and some are just wicked.

Nick Universe at Mall of America is pretty fun. Usual rides you'd find at 6 flags, but not as big. Can be pretty pricey & frankly, you can do rides anywhere so there are better things to do.

Get down to the Mississipi. There are places you can see bald eagles 'fishing.' If you are up for a 1/2 day trip, drive down to Wabasha Minnesota and visit the National Eagle center. About a 2 hour drive along the Mississippi - beautiful views as you pass by Lake Pepin and other areas. We drive that road at least once a year just for the view of the river and bluffs. Be sure to attend one of the seminars. Wabasha is where Grumpy Old Men was set so that might be a fun prelude to the trip.

A tour of the beautiful state capital in St. Paul is sure to impress. And check out the beautiful cathedral near by. It is also open for tours. Also nearby is the James Hill House on Summit Avenue. Open for tours Wednesday through Sunday, it is an amazing property. My kids are begging me to go back for a Nooks and Crannies tour this summer.

Como Zoo and conservatory has some neat indoor displays. Don't miss the bonsai tree exibit. Free!

One more note - I second what Janis said about the weather. Check the forecast 2-3 days before you come. We've had blizzards in mid-March. And then there was last year when my son spent the entire day March 18th down at the lake fishing and playing in the creek barefoot because it was 80 degrees out. When I tried to roust him at 5 pm for dinner, his jeans were rolled up to his knees, butt covered in mud, and jacket was long lost. I had to take pictures just so I remembered the date correctly!



answers from Raleigh on

Mall of America! They have Nick Jr Park or whatever they call it now. Used to be Camp Snoopy but now it's Dora.

They also have the American Girl Doll store you could check out.

Rainforest Cafe is also at the MOA. Love and miss that mall a lot!

If you enjoy Greek food my favorite restaurant was Dinos. They have 2 locations but the one I always went to was in Edina on France Ave. They have kids meals that my daughters used to enjoy.

Have a great visit!



answers from Minneapolis on

I recommend:

The Science Museum (St. Paul)
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis)
The Works Museum (Bloomington)
The Como Zoo (St. Paul)
THe MN Zoo (Apple Valley)
The Walker and Sculpture Garden (Minneapolis)
The Mill CIty Museum (and the Stone Arch Bridge if the weather is nice for a walk) (Minneapolis).
The Bell Museum (on the U of M Campus)

The Raptor Center (also on the U of M St. Paul campus)

Also - if the weather is nice, going for a walk around Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoon is fun too!

If you have any questions - feel free to message me! :)



answers from Minneapolis on

You've gotten some great suggestions so far and I second almost all of them. Unfortunately, our weather is very unpredictable that time of year. You could get a snowstorm and below zero temps or it could be 45 degrees and sunny (or warmer). You just never know. Places for tubing/outdoor adventures are Buck Hill in Burnsville, Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls or Afton Alps in Afton. Many of our county parks rent cross country skis and snowshoes.

Near the Mall of America, but not associated with it, is an indoor water park with a north woods theme. It is the Waterpark of America.

We have a lot of great museums that have already been mentioned. The History Center is downtown St. Paul is within view of the Capitol and the Cathedral and it has very kid-friendly, interactive exhibits. It also focuses a lot on MN history, which would definitely be unique for your kids. There is currently a special exhibit on the Dakota Indian War, which was a huge part of our history. I don't know if that would be too intense for the ages of your kids. There are also the permanent exhibits, which includes a grain elevator the kids can explore and burn off a little steam.

Oh, I don't remember what is showing at the Children's Theater, but it is nationally recognized as an outstanding children's theater and has shows for all ages. It is also adjacent to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) so those could be combined into one outing. The MIA has a kids play area and the information desk provides "scavenger hunts" to make the museum more interesting and interactive for kids.

Have fun!


answers from Minneapolis on

Mall of America if you avoid the weekend's at all costs. (I can't STAND it there but out of town guests always want to visit) If you are going to do it, do it all. Buy the wrist bands for the kids only for rides, check out the aquarium. Private message me your address and I will send you some coupons.

I adore the children's museum but your kids might be a little old for it. The science museum in St Paul is pretty hands on and amazing.

Winter isn't dependable by then. Last year it was 70 degrees by St Patrick's day so don't set your hopes on outdoor winter activities.

How about the sculpture gardens? The cherry on the spoon is a huge mpls symbol. Great picture spots, too.

Twins do private tours and group tours of the new twins field for the big fans in your life.

Take the train...runs from mpls right near the twins field to the mall of America. About a 45in ride end to end. My son loves it. Super cheap!

Skyzone indoor trampoline park is awesome fun. One in Plymouth and one in Oakdale I believe. Avoid Saturday and Sunday's...perhaps a late afternoon during the week. I know they are closed Mondays and open at 3ish tues - Wednesday.

Stone arch bridge over the Mississippi is beautiful. Some great places to eat. I highly recommend the Wilde Roast Cafe. Reasonable prices, amazing food and right on the river there. Park for cheap on the street right there and an easy walk to bridge.

The arboretum is in the far west suburbs, depends where you are staying.

And definitely combo zoo/conservatory over the MN zoo. Soooo damn expensive and just not a great zoo.



answers from Minneapolis on

If you do decide to spend some time around the Stone Arch Bridge area, you might also consider visiting the Mill City Museum (closed on Mondays), which has the flour milling history of Minneapolis--very cool museum.

It's also near Gold Medal Park, the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Visitor Center. Anyway, there's a lot of cool stuff within a small area:


answers from Sioux City on

When I lived up there I enjoyed the Swedish Art Institute. It has been many years since I have been there though. We love the Science museum. The Mall of America is fun. We always have to go to Cossetta's Restaurant. It is fairly inexpensive.

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