Kids learn through creative play with loads of stimulating environments and activities to discover at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. This St. Paul-based museum is a must-do for families with young children who live in or visit our area. Before stopping by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, learn the secrets of where and when to go, and how to do it economically. Make sure to check out this list of tips and tricks to make your visit easier.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 W. 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Voted many times as one of the Best Children’s Museums in the U.S., the Minnesota Children’s Museum is a trailblazer for bringing top-notch, hands-on fun and learning to kids. For over 30 years, the museum has been helping families and children connect through imaginative play and creative learning environments. A little-known fact is that the Minnesota Children’s Museum is also the nation’s leading developer of traveling children’s museum exhibits. More than 15 million kids and adults in North America have been able to enjoy the collection of traveling exhibits that were created here.
Best Time To Visit
Every Tuesday is “no group” Tuesday at the museum. This means that no school groups are scheduled on this day so visitors will find a more relaxed pace. It is a great time for families with very young children to enjoy the museum without the loud noises and activity from the bigger school-age kids. Weekday afternoons also quiet down at the museum when most families leave for nap time.
Where To Park
Park at the World Trade Center parking ramp located kitty-corner to the museum. You’ll find it at the cross streets of Wabasha and 7th. You can make the short walk to the museum via skyway or on the street. Be sure to bring your parking ticket with you to the Museum’s Box Office and receive the discounted parking rate of $4 for three hours.
How To Save Money
Admission on the third Sunday of each month is free thanks to the Target Corporation. This day tends to be popular, especially on poor-weather days, so leaving the stroller at home is a good idea. Another way to save money is taking advantage of free Metro Transit rides to and from the museum on the second Saturday of each month. A downloadable ride pass can be found on the museum’s website and visitors also save $2 on admission this day when they show their ride pass at the Museum’s Box Office.
Related: A Guide To The Minnesota Zoo
What Exhibits To See
Time is running out for the visiting exhibits “Native Voices: New England Tribal Families” and “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire & Ice” as both come to an end in May 2014. But upcoming exhibit “Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails” opens June 14, 2014 for Thomas the Train fans. The most popular permanent gallery is “World Works” on the second floor. This favorite houses water tables, a paper pulp factory and a movable crane. Spare clothing is available for young visitors who have a little too much fun at the water tables and get wet.
Where To Eat
Mickey’s Dining Car
36 W. 7th St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
If you are looking for nostalgia, eat at Mickey’s Dining Car right next door to the museum. This Art Deco dining car is on the National Register of Historic Places and kids will love sitting on the swivel stools while eating a heaping pile of blueberry pancakes. This option is recommended for kids over the age of three due to the tight quarters – strollers and high-chairs just won’t work here. For families with smaller kids, pick up some healthy snacks like fruit salad, sandwiches, hummus and pita chips in the KidSpark store in the lobby of the museum. Visitors can also bring their own food from home to enjoy at the special eating areas located on museum grounds.
Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. She is also a public relations and event planning professional. Her most important job is mother to her young daughter, who is her partner-in-crime when checking out the family entertainment scene in the Twin Cities. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.