MINNESOTA CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
There are no “Do not touch” signs to be found in this highly immersive, kid-friendly museum in the heart of downtown St. Paul.
After $28 million in renovations, it’s no wonder this amazing museum’s new tagline is “Bigger, Better, Bolder!” A space designed for inquisitive children, the Minnesota Children’s Museum does not believe in “do not touch” signs, and kids can discover Minnesota’s unique habitats up close without leaving downtown St. Paul. Imagination and fun collide in highly interactive exhibits that put immersive Minnesota environments like forests, prairies and wetlands under one kid-controlled roof. Emphasizing learning through play and hands-on experience, the exhibits allow kids to crawl, color, build and use their imagination.
The Scramble is perhaps the perfect place for your children to burn off that extra energy scampering up a four-story vertical adventure, with two climbing towers, a spiral slide and a netted catwalk suspended more than 40 feet high. Fear of heights got you worried? Fear not, and head over to the action-packed Super Awesome Adventures exhibit featuring a ninja laser maze, carpet skate park (what?!?), balance boards and a green-screen climbing wall.
For the more science-minded youngsters, head over to the Forces at Play Gallery where tots build air-powered ping pong ball launchers and scrub a wacky vehicle in a sudsy car wash. In The Studio Gallery, youngsters can tinker, make and create to their hearts’ content with real tools and authentic materials. Move on over to the Creativity Jam for less tools and more hands-on creations in this lively, collaborative space with face-painting, loose parts (yes, loose parts!) and surprising materials for that next Michelangelo.
Let your children’s imagination soar as they step in “adult” roles in the vibrant Minnesota city that is the Our World Gallery. Complete with a fire station, hardware store, post office, food stand and more, the gallery is appropriately sized to let children rule this world. If role playing is not their style, take the kids to Imaginopolis, an array of fantastical objects that inspire young minds to shape and share their own adventures.
The aptly named Sprouts Gallery is a utopian play area for infants, toddlers, preschoolers—and parents!—alike. Every detail has been thought of in this beautiful and safe environment that encourages and welcomes movement and exploration.
Depending on the time you visit, be sure to head out to The Backyard—a new outdoor space with a human-sized bird’s nest, fanciful animal sculptures and earthy activity stations—or the Tip Top Terrace, the rooftop patio where visitors make music, sketch and talk about the city around them.
Wear socks! You, nor your children, can enjoy The Scramble without them. Also, park in the World Trade Center Ramp (on Seventh Street between Cedar and Wabasha) and bring your ticket into the museum for a discount. No need to worry about refueling anymore; the museum now has a café and coffee bar. Wear clothes that can get wet. You know how irresistible water is to kids, so expect both you and your children to get wet—both Forces at Play and Sprouts use water in various, exploratory forms!