When you’re heading off for a day out with kids in Minneapolis, the only problem is which destination to choose. The Twin Cities have an amazing choice of great places to visit, with something to delight everyone from tots to teens, plus moms and dads too!
Whatever the weather outside, you’ll find plenty to do at the Mall of America, all under cover. This massive mall contains more than 500 stores, some great places to eat, and all kinds of fun activities for the kids. The biggest indoor theme park in the US, Nickelodeon Universe, is based here, as well as the Sea Life aquarium, a giant Lego store packed with displays, the new American Girl store and much more.
Sea Life Aquarium MOA
One of the mall’s top attractions is the Sea Life aquarium, which is among the world’s largest. Here, the kids can have exciting encounters with everything from a giant turtle to a stingray or an octopus! There are over 10,000 sea creatures here, including sharks, which the kids can see swimming above and around them from the breathtaking 300-foot ocean tunnel. Feeding times and educational talks add to the fun, and you can even stroke a starfish or crab at one of the touchpools. The aquarium is bound to be a hit with all kids, including the tiniest.
Amazing Mirror Maze
Another fun place for kids at the Mall of America is the Amazing Mirror Maze, where they can get lost amid a dazzling range of glass formations. Finding your way through the multi-colored reflections is quite a challenge, and your kids may want to go back for more!
A.C.E.S Flight Simulator
For high-flying youngsters, the mall’s A.C.E.S. Flight Simulator gives a taste of what it’s like to be a fighter pilot. Your kids can virtually fly a helicopter, a Boeing 737 or even a World War Two plane. This attraction is especially aimed at tweens and teens, from 10 upwards, though some younger budding pilots enjoy it too!
Science Museum of Minnesota
You’ll need a full day to take in the Science Museum of Minnesota, another top attraction for families in the Twin Cities. The amazing interactive exhibits mean kids can discover life-size dinosaurs, taste the power of a tornado and experience the magic of the Mighty Mississippi. There are many special exhibitions and events here, plus an Imax theater for added fun!
Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley)
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, just a 10-minute drive from the Mall of America will take you to Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. This is the state’s biggest zoo, spreading over 500 acres, with exciting themed trails and animals ranging from Russian grizzly bears to Amur tigers and African fruit bats. The zoo also stages outdoor concerts and has a food court offering a choice of places to eat with the kids.
Another fantastic choice for fun-packed outdoor adventures is Lake Harriet. Kids can swim at the north and southeast beaches, where there are lifeguards in summer…or just build sandcastles. They can also enjoy boating, paddle boarding and kayaking and discover the paths laid out for walking and biking. An unusual extra attraction here is the Elf House at the base of a tree, where younger kids love to leave notes for the elf in residence! There’s also a great playground nearby.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take the family for a picnic, Minnehaha Park could be the answer. This is one of the most popular parks in Minneapolis, with a spectacular 53-foot waterfall and beautiful views of the Mississippi. There are four picnic shelters in the Waburn area, but it might be hard to tear the kids away from the park’s nearby wading pool long enough to eat dinner! Bike rentals, including quad bikes, offer a fun way for all the family to explore the park.