Recently we visited the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul. I had purchased an online 2-for-1 deal this spring (offered by Star Tribune’s “Steals”). It’s the second time we did so and the kids had a blast! We went in June when crowds are lighter and the air conditioning feels soooo good.
We spent about 3 hours at the museum and saw pretty much everything. We started in the limited “Run! Jump! Fly!” exhibit, where both Heidi and Thor tried all kinds of cool machines and activities. Heidi surfed on the surf/snow board in front of a huge screen that changes scenes from waves to snowy hills.
Just outside the exhibit was a table where kids can paint their own faces. My husband and I painted a heart and a flower on Heidi’s cheeks which she loved! (You can see her cheeks in a picture below.)
We also explored the limited run Dora and Diego exhibit. Here it was like walking into a Dora and Diego cartoon!
There was a pirate ship, a space ship, a space age-like animal clinic, a garden and much more.
Heidi’s checking an animal in the animal clinic. They have several stuffed animals you can put in a “scanner” and a woman’s voice will recognize it and tell you its diagnosis.
Heidi and Thor had fun playing in the space ship.
The other exhibits include a “Habitot” room specifically for infants and toddlers – they even have a private room for nursing mothers which is really nice. There is also an “Earth World” exhibit where you can climb an “ant hill” and feel like you’re a forest critter. I really like the thunderstorm that kids can control from above. Kids can wheel clouds along the ceiling, and when all the clouds reach the wall, a dark cloud comes up and a simulated thunderstorm begins! This picture of Heidi in a turtle shell is from our previous visit.
We also visited all of our other favorite exhibits in the museum, including Our World, which is my own favorite. When I was a kid, if I were to create a perfect play world for kids, it would be this! It’s a mini “world” for kids, with a bus they can go in, a grocery store, a restaurant, a “house” with a front yard (the house is just the front of a house with a door), a post office, a hospital, and a studio where kids can dance in an ongoing music video! They can pick a song from a control board and then dance with props in front of a green screen, while looking at a monitor that shows cool backgrounds like a dance floor or underwater. Heidi is normally very shy and was timid trying this when we visited a few months ago – but this time she just ran right in and took the stage with some other kids!
Thor’s favorite thing here was the grocery store, where he filled up his grocery cart several times and then “checked out” with Heidi at the register!
What’s nice about the museum is that all the exhibits are staffed by volunteers who are there to guide kids, show them how things work (if they need help) and make sure everyone is safe.
Of course, there’s much more – including a “World Works” exhibit, a science-themed area where kids can play with water and pretend they’re in a warehouse, and a “Rooftop ArtPark” which is an outdoor exhibit merging nature and art that’s worth a visit if the weather’s good.
Some quick info for your visit:
- Admission is $9.00 each, for ages 1-101. HOWEVER – Look for deals from online sites like Star Tribune’s “Steals” as they have been offered a couple times per year (you can buy more than one deal – we got 2 deals both times we visited to cover 4 of us). The most recent deals were last October and this past May.
- You don’t get a map but maps are on each level by the elevators.
- Park in the World Trade Center ramp which offers a special deal for Children’s Museum visitors: $4 for 3-hour parking.
- Food options are limited. There are vending machines and a gift shop with some snack options, and there’s a separate eating area on the first level. You can bring your own food so plan in advance. We brought some snacks and drinks but also ate at Subway which was nearby and on the way to the parking ramp. However, note that this Subway’s prices are higher than at other Twin Cities area Subway restaurants. Also, they are more health conscious and kids meals come with only one side option: apples. This is a good thing, except that my kids don’t like the apples and always like chips (Sun Chips – the healthful kind!) – so we bought chips along with the kids meals.
Oh skip the Subway. Go to the Chinese place across the hall. My two year old loves the Lo Mein and my five year old goes nuts over the orange chicken with rice. And if you get there when they’re cleaning up, they box up the food and sell it way cheap. (Used to be $3/box… I think it’s up to $4 now. I was in there every day when we pulled my 5 year old from preschool and that was our dinner most nights)
TC Frugal Mom says
Gina, we thought about going to that Chinese place, but the kids got excited about chips and chocolate milk…I wanted the Chinese though! I’ll have to convince them next time…great to know about the “clean-up” deal!