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Wander, Minnesota: Spring Break Staycations

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(credit: waterparkofamerica.com)

(credit: waterparkofamerica.com)

Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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Schools around the metro are taking that week-long (more or less) holiday known as spring break, now through mid April.

Whether going out of town isn’t in your financial picture right now, or you’d just rather stay home, here are some ideas to keep your family from going stir-crazy—especially if it snows again next week.

The classic kid-venture spots never fail to entertain: the Science Museum of Minnesota (especially with the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit having just opened, and it’s fantastic), which might be paired with a trip to the Minnesota Children’s Museum, which just opened its Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit; The Works is offering spring break day camps, including sessions on engineering and fun park rides; and the Bakken Museum are all popular with families, and for good reason.

It’s a great time to expose your kids to art and history too. The Russian Museum of Minnesota has the Romanov exhibit through March 23, giving a glimpse into the world of Russian czars; the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts just opened the magnificent Matisse Masterworks exhibit, giving your kids the chance of a lifetime to see the works of a major artist; and the Walker Art Center just premiered the Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process exhibit, a look at the work and process of Edward Hopper. You also can’t go wrong with a visit to the Minnesota History Center, which is such a family friendly place, as is the Mill City Museum.

The Minnesota Zoo will have its Farm Babies event in the Wells Fargo Family Farm area from April 1 – April 30. On April 19, Peter Rabbit will make an appearance, and there will be kids’ activities. Over in St. Paul, the Como Zoo is open daily year-round, but will start having later hours on April 1.

Longing for swimsuit weather? It can’t be guaranteed this time of year, but you can visit an indoor waterpark without having to drive all the way to the Dells. The Waterpark at the Depot in Minneapolis is open only Friday-Sunday in March and April (and will be open on Easter, April 20). The Waterpark of America, by the Mall of America, will be open daily from now through April 6. Note: this waterpark is attached to a hotel, so you might want to go early in the day or call ahead—the Waterpark of America can restrict access to hotel guests only during busy periods.

The Firefighter’s Hall and Museum is open only on Saturdays, but if you’ve got a budding firefighter in your family, this is the place to go. They’ll even have a chance to slide down a fireman’s pole. Starting in April, visitors can get a ride on a fire truck too. Note: if you have a group of 10 or more, you can make an appointment to visit during the week.

If you’ve got a train enthusiast in your family, this one’s for you. The Jackson Street Roundhouse – part of the Minnesota Transportation Museum system – is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It gives kids a hands-on view of the golden days of railroad, including caboose rides on Saturdays.

Get a different perspective on the city of Minneapolis by visiting the Foshay Museum and Observation Deck, open daily at noon. Call ahead if weather is bad to see if they’re open (612-215-3783).

Next week: culinary adventures with your kids.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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