20 Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities for Kids in Minneapolis

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family visits SeaQuest Aquarium

Located across the Mississippi River from the capital city of St. Paul, Minnesota, Minneapolis is a bustling, friendly metropolis in the United States’ Upper Midwest. The two cities are known as the Twin Cities, and both host various activities for your family to enjoy. Though the weather can be cold in the winter, the locals tend to make up for the weather with their welcoming behavior. Whether you’re visiting Minneapolis or St.Paul for a family vacation, or you already live nearby and are searching for ideas for your family, here’s a great list of activities to entertain the whole family! 

Indoor Activities for Kids in Minneapolis

The Target Center

The Target Center is the world-renowned stadium in the heart of Minneapolis. Whether you want to see an NBA game featuring the Timberwolves, the US Olympic Trials for the women’s gymnastics team, or a famous touring band, the Target Center houses a variety of acts that can entertain your whole family. All you need to do is book tickets in advance to save your seats. 

The Target Center also has various concessions that can satiate any picky eater in your family. Although the options may vary depending on the event, rotating stands like the Chicken Shack, Rolling Smoke, Frozen Spoon, or Northwood Diner provide restaurant-quality dishes. With dinner and a show, you’ll make memories for years! 

Vertical Endeavors

Vertical Endeavors is the premier rock climbing facility in Minneapolis. Although they have facilities all over Minnesota, the Minneapolis gym has walls over 58 feet tall and several bouldering areas. If your family is new to climbing, they also offer lessons for anyone interested, and they provide summer camps if you’re looking for a week-long project to immerse your child in climbing lessons and techniques.

Wild Rumpus Books

Wild Rumpus Books is an independent bookseller in Minneapolis that is a great place to share any bookworms in your family. Not only do they offer a wide selection of fun and educational reads for your whole family, but they also offer events. From story time for your kids to book clubs for your teens, there is just about anything to capture the wild imaginations of any kid — no matter their age. Even better — the store houses a wide variety of pets like cats, chinchillas, and birds that your kids can cuddle with while reading their new favorite book.

SeaQuest Roseville

Located in a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul, SeaQuest Roseville is an aquarium attraction that allows you and your children to interact with animals from five continents. You play enrichment games or even feed the animals. It is a fun way for children to learn more about wildlife and conservation. In addition to interacting with animals, kids can meet and take pictures with characters such as mermaids and pirates.

Animal Encounters at SeaQuest Roseville

At SeaQuest, encounters differ depending on the actual animal, including: 

  • Crested Porcupine Interaction: Have you ever wondered what a porcupine feels like? Look no further — meet Quilliam, the porcupine here at SeaQuest, and learn about his unique species while hand-feeding him his favorite snacks!
  • Sloth Interaction: Meet the adorable sloths! You’ll get to feed, pet, and touch them in this once-in-a-lifetime experience, all while learning about the sloth species and their natural habitats! Be sure to bring your camera for a selfie during your hand-feeding session.
  • Fishy Kisses: Dip your feet into a tank of fish, which will gently “kiss” your toes, removing dead skin cells. 
  • Snorkel With Stingrays: Splash on in with SeaQuest! Bring your suit and towel and jump in the water with rays, tropical fish, and non-threatening sharks for an ultimate up-close animal experience.
  • EpicQuest: During EpicQuest, your group engages with every animal in the park – from sloths to otters, stingrays to sharks, and beyond. Are you fascinated with exotic mammals, bird or shark training, or squid dissection? We lead the Safari, but you decide how to allocate the time in your three-hour Quest.

No matter your kid’s favorite animal, SeaQuest will provide them with an experience to further develop their passion for animals.

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Mall of America

Reserve a day to visit the Mall of America in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. It’s the largest shopping mall in the United States and includes so many other attractions that it is almost more of an indoor theme park. The Crayola Experience offers creative activities, the Escape Game encourages cooperative problem-solving among parents and older children, and the Nickelodeon Universe features 27 attractions and rides, including an indoor roller coaster. With so much to do under one roof, the Mall of America is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis with kids.

Bell Museum

Located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, the Bell Museum teaches kids about natural history in a fun, interactive way. It contains over a million specimens from around the world, including from every county in Minnesota. Dioramas and artifacts provide a glimpse of the state’s biodiversity and history in terms a child can understand. The Bell Museum is educational and fun for the whole family.

Children’s Theatre Company

Minneapolis is sometimes known as the Mini-Apple, a play on its name but also a comparison with New York City. Like New York, Minneapolis has a thriving theatre scene, and taking your kids to the Children’s Theatre Company is a great way to introduce them to live performing arts. Not only does the Children’s Theatre Company put on plays designed to appeal to kids, but it also helps make things easier for parents by providing a quiet room in the back for kids who get fidgety or cranky, as well as a snack bar that allows you to order snacks before the show and pick them up at intermission.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Located in St. Paul, the Minnesota Children’s Museum is designed to encourage creative thinking and curiosity with its interactive activities. Comprising three floors of exhibits, the Children’s Museum is an immersive experience equally appropriate for toddlers and older kids. For example, they have an imaginary town with a fire station, vet clinic, post office, and food stand, perfect for young kids. They also have a laser maze and a climbing wall for older children. 

Local Libraries

If you’re looking for free activities, look up local libraries in the area. The Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, in particular, may capture your family’s attention with its wide variety of books and events — all free for the community’s benefit! This library offers storytime that your kids will love and hosts Spanish, German, and French clubs so your family can learn a new language. They also offer unique events like “Read With an Animal,” where your kids can gain the confidence to read aloud thanks to the therapeutic benefits of animals. In addition, they also offer “Story Strolls” that encourage families to walk around the scenic library grounds while reading educational materials.

Young boy holds parakeet at SeaQuest

Boy Holds Parakeets at SeaQuest

Outdoor Activities for Kids in Minneapolis

Whether you’re looking for a park to romp around in to enjoy the fall foliage or a water park to cool off during the dog days of summer, Minneapolis has a host of outdoor activities you can enjoy for every season.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

One of the best things to do on your family trip to the Twin Cities is to visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This 11-acre park is part of the Walker Art Center and features various whimsical and colorful installations. Most of these exhibits are permanent, but they do add new ones from time to time.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden offers fun family photo ops. Kids enjoy running around while looking at the artwork; you’ll appreciate that it’s a free attraction.

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park is fairly close to the Mall of America in East Bloomington, making it the logical thing to do next. If you have teenagers and younger children, this is the place to keep them entertained simultaneously. The waterslides and aquatic rides are each assigned a thrill level so that you can choose age-appropriate activities for all family members. Artificial waterfalls, play areas, swimming pools, and other exhibits exist.

Minnehaha Regional Park

Artificial waterfalls can be fun, but if you’re more interested in the real thing, you should visit Minnehaha Regional Park, conveniently located near the city. In the Dakota language, Minnehaha means “rushing water,” and you’ll find plenty of it at Minnehaha Falls. In addition to the rushing water, Minnehaha Regional Park also offers abundant trees, lush gardens, public art installations, and gorgeous landscapes. It is a great place to escape the city scene and enjoy refreshing air in a quiet, peaceful setting.

Stone Arch Bridge

One of the best things to do in Minneapolis with kids is to see the Mississippi River. The Stone Arch Bridge, reserved for bicycles and pedestrians, is an excellent way to see the Mississippi up close. St. Anthony Falls is significant to Minneapolis’s history, and the Stone Arch Bridge puts you practically on top of it.

Lake Harriet Bandshell Park

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and while that figure may be a rough estimate, the nickname is well-earned. One of Minneapolis’s most popular things to do with kids is visit the Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Lake Harriet is a must-visit of the five lakes that comprise the chain. Like the rest of the Chain of Lakes, Lake Harriet offers outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, swimming, and boating, with paddleboards and kayaks available for rent. Additionally, it offers concerts and other live events at its ornate bandshell.

Paradise Charter Cruises on Lake Minnetonka

Located west of Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka is the largest lake in the Twin Cities area. It covers 14,000 acres and comprises a system of smaller basins. Paradise Charter Cruises offers boat tours of Lake Minnetonka that include food, music, and other forms of entertainment. This is one of the most unique things to do in Minneapolis with kids.

Hitching Company Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours

If you’re looking for a quieter activity that’s still appropriate for kids of all ages, you can take a horse-drawn carriage tour of some of the city’s sites from the Hitching Company. You can relax and enjoy a leisurely tour of the city while learning about its fascinating history from the narration. The tour lasts about an hour and is an excellent way to avoid crowds at other attractions. 

Carriage tours run year-round — perfect for any season. In particular, a snow sleigh ride may be an excellent holiday pastime! 

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

If you have a budding family of birders, look no further than the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. This park has over 600 plant species for more than 130 bird species to flock around, so your family has plenty of wildlife to spot and enjoy. Within the park, they have multiple shelters and gazebos dedicated to quaint picnics and multiple hiking trails to run off some steam or flag various birds in the wild.

They also host tours, where a certified naturalist will walk you through the garden, educating your family and others about notable plants and birds. 

Afton Apple Orchard

Nothing is more picturesque than an apple orchard during the prime autumnal months in Minneapolis. Afton Apple Orchard is more than just an apple orchard, though. This family-owned operation also grows raspberries, strawberries, cherries, corn, pumpkins, and other produce you can pick. This means they have plenty of produce for you to pick through the fall and summer. 

They also have a sunflower orchard where you can build bouquets and a corn maze to puzzle with the rest of your family during the fall. No matter your kids’ preferences, there’s something for everyone at Afton Apple Orchard.

Valley Fair

If your kids seek thrills, look no further than the Valley Fair. They have plenty of rides for kids of all ages, from small rides like Planet Snoopy for your younger family members to bigger rides like Renegade that’ll put a smile on everyone’s face. They also have a waterpark to cool off in the summer and plenty of other events to look forward to throughout the year. 

St. Paul Saints Baseball Game

America’s favorite pastime still exists for a reason — baseball is still fun today for your kids! It’s also very much alive in the Twin Cities with the St. Paul Saints, a minor league baseball team in the area. If you’re worried about how engaged your kids will be, fear not! The Saints team also has an entertainment squad full of mascots, clowns, and other actors who will engage with the audience throughout the game. The facility also has a play zone featuring a 12-foot climbing wall, a bouncy house, a life-size Candyland board game, and more to entertain your kids.  

These are not the only things to do in Minneapolis with kids, but they are some of the most popular and exciting! Take a fun family adventure around the Twin Cities and  experience all the area has to offer!

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SeaQuest is committed to protecting our world’s oceans, wildlife, and endangered animals. We focus on how to be proactive in finding solutions. To learn how your family can purchase yearly memberships for fun family adventures, visit SeaQuest today or stop by any of the following locations: Utah, Las Vegas, Dallas-Fort Worth, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Lynchburg, and New Jersey.

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