Minnesota has weather and Minnesotans are better prepared than most for whatever comes our way. Several previous articles have showered us with great suggestions of where to take the kids the next time Mother Nature has a change of heart. Some obvious places to go are the indoor playgrounds and the Minnesota Children’s Museum suggested in Best Bad Weather Activities For Kids In Minnesota. But have you heard of The Wild Rumpus Book Store or have you ever thought of climbing at REI touted in Best Rainy Day Activities With Your Kids In The Twin Cities? You can also find many great ideas by reading Best Twin Cities Indoor Family Spots, featuring Water Park of America, Science Museum of Minnesota, Roller Garden, Mall of America, Mill City Museum, Edinborough Park, Minnesota Children’s Museum, Park Tavern Bowling, Bell Museum of Natural History and Walker Art Center. If these are not enough, here are five more of the best rainy day activities in Minnesota.
Family Fridays at the Global Market
Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Dates: Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If it’s Friday after school and the kids are bouncing off the walls looking for something to do, pack up the car and head to Lake Street. Not only does the market feature places to eat and shop, but also the family-friendly activities and music will liven up any gloomy Friday. Stroll the mall and choose from one of many snacks such as Italian pasta at Fresco’s Pasta Bar, a Mexican sandwich at Manny’s Tortas or sweets from Salty Tart Bakery.
American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
With every major exhibit, the third floor of the Turnblad Mansion transforms into a unique area for youth and families, bringing the subjects to life for inquisitive minds of all ages. Youngsters can interact with items in the gallery by reading and touching each display and getting creative with hands-on activities. While the remainder of the historic building must be respected by not touching, the museum staff encourages talking and asking questions. They also encourage parents to engage them in conversation about the exhibits, sharing their thoughts and asking questions. Don’t forget to take a ride on Gustav II, the world’s only mechanical Dala horse.
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
The Hill House is at ease with young visitors of any age. Tour guides love to share stories about the lives of the Hill children and grandchildren as a part of the regular tour. It may be wise to check in advance to see what special events are on the schedule.
Firefighters Hall and Museum
664 22nd Ave. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Slide down a real fire pole, drive a till truck or ride a real fire truck. Kids will love to pretend they really are firefighters and will gain an appreciation of fire-fighting culture. Other highlights are the 1894 steam fire engine, a 1919 American LaFrance ladder truck and a 1932 FWD pumper built by the Minneapolis Fire Department shop.
The Works Museum
9740 Grand Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55420
Very few museums “give a child the power to make stuff, break stuff and make it better,” but that is exactly what The Works does to expose children to the concept of engineering and technology. The weather outside won’t matter when a kid can see new possibilities in the 23-foot K’nex Ball machine made of 100,000 K’nex pieces. Kids also get to navigate a maze by sneaking past the hidden sensors throughout, control their environment in a light and music-filled room, control projected images by manipulating sensors and build their own machines with sensors. Kids will love The Works Design Lab that features continuously updated design challenges using circuits, magnets, balloons marbles and other imaginative objects.
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.