Minnesota Spring Break ‘Staycations’ for All Ages

By Caitlin Rick

Spring break is just around the corner. The kids will be home from school. Do you have plans to keep them busy? There are plenty of things to do and see in Minnesota, both indoors and out, for all ages. From children’s museums for younger kids to sipping an IPA with your college student on break, your Minnesota staycation awaits.

Elementary & Preschool

Aquariums and ZoosMinnesota Zoo aquarium

Do your kids go wild for animals? Escape the cold and immerse yourself in tropical weather on the Minnesota Zoo’s Tropics Trail or pay a visit to their newest addition, a baby Malayan tapir. Stroll through the Como Zoo to see a variety of animals and watch Chloe the sloth while being surrounded by lush tropical plants.

Go underwater at Sea Life at Mall of America or the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. To view animals in their natural habitat, visit the North American Bear Center and International Wolf Center in Ely, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, the Wildlife Center in Columbus or the Raptor Center in St. Paul.

Museums

A Minnesota staycation can be educational, too, at one of the state’s many museums. Explore the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato and let the kids blow off some steam at the Mankato Clinic Tree of Forts Climber. In downtown St. Paul, treat your kids to a day at the newly renovated Minnesota Children's Museum, which added 10 new permanent exhibits in 2017.

The Headwaters Science Museum in Bemidji features more than 70 hands-on interactive exhibits. Kids can hold a snake or bunny, make a harmongraph picture, watch the kinetic sculpture and gaze at the saltwater aquarium.

Theater & Entertainment

Your little ones will love seeing their favorite stories come to life. The Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins will be showing "The Nightingale," and in Minneapolis, the Children’s Theatre Company is performing a rendition of "Corduroy," based on the beloved books by Don Freeman. Enter our spring theater sweepstakes for a chance to win theater tickets at participating venues.

Only in Minnesota: Visit LARK Toys in Kellogg to see one of the largest toy stores in the country. Take a ride on the hand-carved wooden carousel, browse the LARK-made wooden toys, games and puzzles, or enjoy handmade fudge in the cafe.

Middle & High School

Museums

At the Science Museum of Minnesota, the "Towers of Tomorrow" exhibit (opening March 16) brings you face-to-face with some of the world's most grandiose feats of engineering like New York’s Empire State Building, Japan’s Tokyo Skytree Tower and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Resort, with just one minor difference—these towers are made entirely out of Legos! And yes, you can build your own.

Shop ‘Til You Drop 

Twin Cities Premium OutletsMinnesota is a haven for shopping, and Mall of America is just the beginning. If you’re looking for the latest styles or a one-of-a-kind antique, there are plenty of spots to explore. Score a great deal at an outlet mall like the Twin Cities Premium Outlets, the newest addition to the Minnesota shopping scene in Eagan. Take a few days and go on a mall crawl from Albertville to North Branch.

Only in Minnesota: What do you get when you mix basketball, hockey, lacrosse and bumper cars? You get WhirlyBall! This fun sport is a great group activity in Maple Grove. The entertainment destination also features the largest laser-tag arena in the state.

Fly through Mall of America on the Barnacle Blast, the largest indoor zip line in North America, or experience Dutchman’s Deck, an adventure course featuring the tallest ropes course in the world, challenging guests to climb 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe.

College

Concerts & Shows

Minnesota has a wide array of venues that attract local independent artists and world-renowned bands. The Twin Cities have been a hot spot for decades with venues like First Avenue, the Turf Club and the Cedar Cultural Center, but other areas of the state are also draws.

Sports

Have you ever wanted to try rock climbing? Vertical Endeavors caters to families looking for an afternoon of fun and can even challenge serious climbers. The St. Paul location is the largest indoor rock climbing facility in the country. Vertical Endeavors also has locations in Duluth and Minneapolis. Rental equipment is available.

beer_1040628.jpgOnly in Minnesota: Check out the craft beverage scene across the state. Some notable spots for local beer include Canal Park Brewery in Duluth, and Voyageur Brewing in Grand Marais, which uses the clean waters of Lake Superior to brew its beers. LynLake Brewery is located in an old movie theater in Minneapolis, and Excelsior Brewing is in the heart of this charming town. Swing by Surly Brewing to marvel at the destination brewpub.

Fun for the Whole Family

Hit the Slopes

Minnesota has some of the highest hills in the Midwest and offers something for every level, from bunny hills to terrain parks. Spend your spring break along the North Shore at Lutsen Mountain or visit Minnesota’s newest ski area, Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes.  Many ski and snowboard areas offer snow tubing for even more thrills. Browse our database to find a ski area near you.

Make a Splash at a Water Park

Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria’s tropical-themed park has three 4-story waterslides and a relaxing lazy river. Little swimmers will love the children’s fort area with water sprayers, geysers and a 500-gallon splash bucket.

In Thief River Falls, visit The Seven Clans Casino waterpark to enjoy four large waterslides, three mini-slides, two hot tubs, a lazy river and more. Click here for a full list. Or, click here for a list of water parks without lodging attached.