Summertime doesn’t mean the learning has to end! Keep the kids’ minds sharp with any of the various programs happening around our state all summer long. The following picks are both learning-based and fun so young ones will willingly go along for the educational adventure. For more ideas locally, check with your neighborhood library, parks office or community center.
Grand Portage Junior Ranger Program
170 Mile Creek Road
Grand Portage, MN 55605

Along the North Shore of Lake Superior, you’ll find this historic U.S. National Monument that once served as a trading post. Young visitors can immerse themselves in hands-on activities and learning through the Junior Ranger Program. Kids complete a booklet that guides them through both the Heritage Center and Historic Depot, as well as encourages them to engage with a park ranger. They’ll learn about Ojibwe life, the fur trade and Minnesota’s rich history. When the activity book is complete, turn it in to a park ranger for a personalized certificate, junior ranger badge and a replica 1802 voyageur contract to take home.

(cerdit: Amy Rea)

(cerdit: Amy Rea)

Gammelgarden Museum Children’s Programs
20880 Olinda Trail
Scandia, MN 55073

Swedish immigrant heritage is celebrated at this adorable museum in Scandia. Kids ages 6 and older can enjoy Dala-Palooza on July 14, Aug. 6 or Sept. 17 to design and decorate their own dala horse, dine on Swedish food during a picnic, hear historic stories and more. The Gammelgarden Museum also hosts immigrant immersion activities with Comin’ to Amerika on July 19 & 21, and Little Immigrants from August 8-12. Reservations are required for some programs.

Minneapolis Institute Of Art Family Days
2400 3rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Young and old gather at the MIA on the second Sunday of every month for a free family event to make art, meet experts and discover a new and exciting topic. On July 10, don’t miss “Seeing Nature,” where families can make tiny terrariums, learn how to create a print using natural materials and listen to Hawaiian songs about nature. Coming up on Aug. 14, it’s “ART-lympic Games” to celebrate the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Visitors will learn about ancient athletes through stories, games and other activities.

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(credit: Minnesota Twins)

(credit: Minnesota Twins)

Target Field Educational Tours
1 Twins Way
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Target Field hosts a wide variety of tours for preschool age up to adults. The Science of Baseball Tour discusses the physics of the sport and tests players’ reaction time, complete with a swing inside the batting cage.  The Li’l Sluggers Preschool Tour teaches the basics of baseball and kids will observe the ballpark through shapes, colors and numbers.  During the Environment & Sustainability Tour, children discover how Target Field handles the issues of recycling, transportation, water use and other challenges.

International Wolf Center Adventure Programs
1396 Highway 169
Ely, MN 55731

The International Wolf Center is a fabulous place to learn more about local wolves and wolf-types around the world. Programs at the center include the Intergenerational Wolf Discovery for grandparents and grandchildren to observe animal behavior, wolf tracking and more over the course of a few days from July 10-15. An option for the whole family is the Wolf Pup Bus Trip on July 30 from Brooklyn Park to the center in Ely for a day of wolf exhibits and films, plus seeing the pups and adult wolves up close. Wolves After Dark is an overnight adventure from August 12-13 for kids over the age of 12 with an adult to document data on wolf behavior and sleep next to the wolf viewing windows.

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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 son and daughter, who are her partners-in-crime when checking out the family entertainment scene in the Twin Cities. Her work can be found on