Kids Rule at Children's Museums
Minnesota's innovative children’s museums have a refreshing “please touch” attitude. Check out these special destinations for young museum-goers.
Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul welcomes kids ages 6 months through 10 years of age to fully explore six galleries with interactive adventures. Kids can crawl through a giant anthill, create a thunderstorm, operate a giant crane, shop for groceries at an international market, and much more. Babies and toddlers have their own crawling habitat. Check the museum web site for special programs and performances.
Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester is a new satellite location of the popular St. Paul museum, and it also specializes in hands-on exhibits and programs for children ages six months through ten. Kids crawl, play, and get busy in immersive exhibit environments and enjoy art making and other activities. Current exhibits include Ball-o-Rama, which demonstrates physics with golf balls, and Go Figure!, a fun-filled take on math. The museum is located in a newly renovated space in River Center Plaza.
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, located in Mankato, features hands-on activities appropriate for visitors up to ten years old. Highlights include the Little Hands Farm, where kids can enter into imaginative play on a Minnesota farmstead complete with buildings, tractors, crops, and farm animals. A zoo menagerie offers another interactive environment for exploration and role play. Toddlers explore cause and effect with an exciting array of props. The museum also features several “do it yourself” activities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
The Duluth Children’s Museum was founded in 1930, and it has developed a large collection that includes dolls, toys, art, natural history specimens, musical instruments, Native American objects, and much more. In addition to displaying parts of its collection, the museum has STEM programs, interactive learning environments, camps, and other activities. The museum, currently housed in the Duluth Depot, has plans to close sometime in May and to reopen in a temporary space on May 29 while renovations are underway on the museum’s permanent home in a former brewery.
Many other museums offer family days, exhibits, and programs that embrace young visitors. The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, which currently features the Real Pirates exhibit, is a favorite. Historic sites and museums throughout the state, operated by the Minnesota Historical Society, have great appeal for kids, though note that some sites are open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.