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Best Parent Gathering Places In Minnesota

January 17, 2014 7:00 AM

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Here are nine enormous opportunities for Minnesota moms or dads to meet one another. See other suggestions in an earlier CBSLocal article Best Activities To Do With Dad.

Tuesdays and Saturdays At Choo Choo Bob’s
Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store
2050 Marshall Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 646-5252
www.choochoobobs.com

Dates: Various Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Engineer Paul leads the group in songs and tells train stories with kids, parents and grandparents all gathered around. After the get-together, parents can sit on benches and catch up with one another while their young train-lovers play on the train tables enjoying the morning at their favorite train store. The store is so popular that there is now a television show.

Related: Family Fun Guide To The Best Indoor Activities

Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate & Free First Saturday
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 375-7600
www.walkerart.org

Date: Second and fourth Tuesdays, first Saturdays each month

Parents and kids meet up at The Walker Art Center. Youngsters three to five years old can bring their mom or dad to the Walker on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month free with gallery admission. Then Arty Pants arranges for a variety of joint participation in art projects, films, gallery activities and story time each week. Kids aged six to 12 can bring their mom or dad to enjoy live performances, films, gallery adventures and hands-on art making. Gallery admission is free on the first Saturday of each month.

Photo Credit: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Photo Credit: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Lil’ Explorer Thursdays
Visitor Center
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55103
(651) 487-8272
www.comozooconservatory.org

Dates: Thursdays September through April at 10 a.m. to noon

Bring your one- to three-year-old to meet animal and plant visitors. Experience the world of bugs, dinosaurs, frogs, birds or teddy bears depending upon the theme that week. Stay for story time, play games and participate in many fun activities. While you are there, escape from a Minnesota winter by enjoying the humidity and warmth of the rainforest area.

Saturday Live!
St. Paul Public Library, Central Library
90 W. 4th St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-7000
www.sppl.org

Dates: Saturdays at 11:15 a.m.

Parents may want to expand their children’s experience in the joy of reading and the thrill of the library. “Saturday Live!” is an entertaining multicultural experience designed to motivate young audiences. Families should enjoy the variety of puppets, magicians, wild animals and storytellers all promoting literacy. Check out this week’s program on the website.

Related: Best Things To Do In Minnetonka

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

‘Then Now Wow’ Any Day Of The Week
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd. W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
www.minnesotahistorycenter.org

“Then Now Wow” is designed especially for children. The hands-on, interactive exhibit uses a wide range of story-driven features to explore immigration, transportation, family life, natural environments and Minnesota industries like fur trade, mining and agriculture. Kids will love the Grainland play area, where they can trace the journey of wheat and corn, wiggling through bins and sliding through chutes. Parents will love the benches below where they can strike up a conversation with other museum-goers.

Family Day On Second Sunday
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
(612) 870-3000
www.new.artsmia.org/family-day-dinner-party

Dates: Second Sundays of the month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mark your calendar for Family Day on the second Sunday of next month. Then find the many free family events and activities scheduled that day by checking the MIA website. Families, kids, adults and the young at heart spend Family Days producing art, adventuring through the MIA’s galleries and encountering local artists, musicians, dancers and storytellers.

Parents of Teens Meet Sundays
Wooddale Church
Eden Prairie Campus
6630 Shady Oak Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
(952) 944-6300
www.wooddale.org/young-families

Date: Sundays at 9:45 a.m.

Parents of junior high and senior high students meet Sundays at 9:45 a.m. to connect in a low-key environment to learn together, explore issues and support one another. Dave Schmid estimates that about 80 people attend every Sunday. The group generates and discusses relevant and current issues, although he invites guest speakers occasionally. Through this experience, participants may also find spiritual growth through Bible study, fellowship and prayer. Contact Dave or Lisa Schmid at (952) 939-0239 for more details.

Parents of Children With Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
656 Transfer Road
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55114
(651) 603-0720
www.dsamn.org/programs-services

Support and information for parents of children with Down syndrome can be found in just about any community in the metro area. New members should find this a safe place to share the joys and challenges of parenting a child with Down syndrome. You’ll find support, information, new ideas and other parents of children with Down syndrome who understand. The Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota dedicates itself to providing information, resources and support to persons with Down syndrome and to their families. Simply call (651) 603-0720 or 1-800-511-3696 to learn more about it.

Related: Best Things To Do In Eagan

Family Fridays at the Global Market
Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 872-4041
www.midtownglobalmarket.org

Dates: Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Take your family to Global Market on Friday evenings for live music and a children’s play area. The first 50 children get free balloons. Pull into the 10th Avenue parking ramp and have a business validate up to three hours of parking with purchase.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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