There are plenty of things to do and see in Minnesota, both indoors and out, for kids of all ages. From children’s museums for younger kids to indoor rock climbing with your high schoolers, your Minnesota school break staycation awaits whether it's winter, spring, fall or summer.
ELEMENTERY & PRESCHOOL
Aquariums & Zoos
Do your kids go wild for animals? Escape the cold at one of the many zoos in Minnesota! You can immerse yourself in tropical weather on the Minnesota Zoo’s Tropics Trail or pay a visit to 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.
The Headwaters Science Center 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. The Bell Museum is is home to 10,000 year-old fossils, incredible wildlife dioramas, a full-scale wooly mammoth and the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium.
Find indoor play spaces at the MiniSota Play Café in Maple Grove, Edinborough Park in Edina, Good Times Park in Eagan, or Lookout Ridge Indoor Playground in Woodbury.
Theater & Entertainment
Your little ones will love seeing their favorite stories come to life. The Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins and the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis are designed for families, offer rush tickets and more. Past productions have included Matilda Jr., Spookley the Square Pumpkin, A Year with Frog and Toad, Alice in Wonderland and more.
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
The Science Museum of Minnesota's vibrant, open space spans four floors of engaging exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to the human body, the Mississippi River, race, questionable medical devices and Legos. More of a moviegoer? Kids love the Science Museum’s 90-foot, giant dome screen Omnitheater.
Minnesota 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 in Eagan. Take a few days and go on a mall crawl from Albertville to North Branch.
What do you get when you mix basketball, hockey, lacrosse and bumper cars? WhirlyBall! This fun sport is a great group activity in Maple Grove and Bloomington. In St. Louis Park, step into virtual reality at REM5 Virtual Reality Lab, where groups can rent a VR Pod to access a catalog of world-class VR experiences.
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. Find other thrills at FlyOver America, Moose Mountain Adventure Golf or The Escape Game.
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.
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. For a special experience, check out their special laser tubing nights. Browse our database to find a ski area near you.
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. Near Mall of America, Great Wolf Lodge boasts 75,000 square foot water park with several water slides, ropes courses, climbing walls, a zero-depth pool for little ones, their interactive adventure game, MagiQuest and more.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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