Jordan Ninja Park - Family Friendly Things to do in Minnesota

36 Family Friendly Things to do in Minnesota in 2024

Welcome to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and endless family-friendly things to do in Minnesota! Whether you’re a family of nature lovers or culture enthusiasts, Minnesota has something for everyone.

Minnesota is famous for its beautiful nature, including lakes, rivers, hills, and forests. The state is a great place for families who enjoy nature, with bald eagles, black bears, and moose among its attractions.

But that’s not all! Minnesota also has a lot of great history, a vibrant music scene, world-class museums, and a thriving arts community. You can enjoy various family-friendly activities, from the iconic Mall of America to historic landmarks along the Mississippi River.

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Why is Minnesota a great destination for families?

So why is Minnesota such a great destination for family fun? For starters, the state is incredibly welcoming to families of all ages. You’ll feel right at home as you explore all that Minnesota has to offer.

Plus, there are endless opportunities for hiking and biking, fishing, and boating. If the weather is bad, you can go indoors to visit the museums and attractions in Minnesota.

Pack your bags and bring the whole family to Minnesota. You’ll make unforgettable memories with the natural beauty and cultural richness.

Top Outdoor Family-Friendly Things to Do in Minnesota

Minnesota is a great destination for families who love outdoor activities. When you come to Minnesota, you have to spend some time in the best features. Here are some of the top outdoor activities in Minnesota that are perfect for families:


Minnesota has many state parks and nature reserves that offer hiking trails for all levels. Some popular hiking spots include Gooseberry Falls State Park, Tettegouche State Park, and Itasca State Park.


Minnesota has over 4,000 miles of paved bike trails. The longest is the famous Paul Bunyan State Trail. Families can also enjoy scenic bike rides on the Root River State Trail, which is a personal favorite for its flat ride, as well as the Mesabi Trail.


Minnesota is known for its abundant lakes and fishing opportunities. Families can go fishing for walleye, bass, and other species in many lakes across the state. Some popular fishing spots include Lake Mille Lacs, Lake Vermilion, and Lake of the Woods.


Minnesota has many state parks and private campgrounds that offer camping options for families. Families can camp in tents, RVs, or cabins. Plus there is a campfire, nature walks, and stargazing either solo or with the park’s nature programs.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Minnesota has many lakes and rivers that are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Families can rent canoes or kayaks to paddle through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Mississippi River, or other waterways in the state. There are tons of rental opportunities if you don’t have your equipment.


Minnesota has many lakes with beaches and swimming areas, including Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Lake Nokomis, and Lake Superior’s Park Point Beach.

Rock Climbing

Families can go rock climbing at popular spots like Blue Mounds State Park or Interstate State Park. Many companies offer guided rock climbing tours for families.


Several Zipline companies operate in Minnesota, including North Shore Adventure Park, Brainerd Zipline Tour and Sand Creek Adventures. Families can zip through the trees and enjoy the beautiful views.


Minnesota has some great waterfalls around the state. What most people don’t realize is just how many are in the Twin Cities. Like Minnehaha Falls and Vermillion Falls. You can also find them all along the North Shore, in Grand Marais, Duluth, and Two Harbors

Wildlife Watching

Minnesota is home to tons of wildlife, including moose, deer, bears, and wolves. Families can go wildlife watching at state parks, nature reserves, and wildlife refuges.

Most moose and bears are only found north of the Cities, but Bald Eagles are common around the rivers. Consider going to the Vince Shute Wildlife Center, Wolf Center in Ely or the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.


Families can have fun with geocaching, a GPS-based activity where they search for hidden containers called “caches” that have small trinkets and treasures. Minnesota has many geocaching opportunities in state parks and other public areas.

North Shore Adventure Park

Indoor Play Areas and Cultural Attractions in Minnesota

Minnesota has a wide variety of indoor play areas, museums, zoos, and theaters that are perfect for families. Here are some great options:

Edinborough Park

This indoor play area in Edina features a giant indoor playground, a swimming pool, and a skating rink.

Minnesota Childrens Museum

The Children’s Museum in St. Paul has fun exhibits for kids 6 months to 10 years old. Kids can learn about art, science, and culture while playing.

Science Museum of Minnesota

The Scenic Museum in St. Paul features interactive exhibits on science and technology, including a giant T. Rex.

Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is home to over 5,300 animals from around the world, including bears, and sharks. The zoo has educational programs about animal behavior and conservation and exhibits about Minnesota’s native wildlife, like the Minnesota Trail exhibit.

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Como Zoo is a free zoo and conservatory located in St. Paul. It has many different animals and plants, including a Japanese garden and a butterfly exhibit.

Chanhassen Dinner Theater

This theater in Chanhassen offers family-friendly shows and dinner packages, perfect for a night out with the family.

The Bakken Museum

This museum in Minneapolis features exhibits on electricity, magnetism, and other scientific topics, with interactive exhibits for kids.

Mall of America

This mall in Bloomington has more than 500 stores, including an indoor amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe, SeaLife Aquarium, and various other attractions.

The Works Museum

This museum in Bloomington features hands-on exhibits on engineering, technology, and design, perfect for kids who love to tinker.

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

This theater in St. Paul hosts a variety of family-friendly performances, including musicals, dance shows, and concerts.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Also known as the MIA, the museum has so many great works of art, plus it is free. It’s definitely worth checking out in Minneapolis.

Bell Museum

This museum is fabulous with its natural history displays of things found in Minnesota, including prehistoric creatures. They also have a planetarium.

The Science Museum of MN

Educational Experiences in Minnesota

Minnesota offers many educational experiences for families, including historic sites and landmarks, nature centers, and more. Here are some great options:

Split Rock Lighthouse

This historic lighthouse is on the North Shore of Lake Superior. They offer tours and educational programs on the history of the lighthouse. It’s a landmark everyone needs to experience.

Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling historic site in St. Paul has a reconstructed 1820s military fort and offers educational programs on its history and its role in Minnesota’s development.

Mill City Museum

The Mill City Museum in Minneapolis tells the story of the flour milling industry that made Minneapolis famous. They have educational programs about the history of flour milling and its role in developing the region.

Minnesota Historical Society

This organization runs many old sites and museums in the state, such as the James J. Hill House in St. Paul, the Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River, and the Historic Forestville in Preston.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

This nature center in Chaska features over 1,200 acres of gardens, tree collections, and natural areas, and offers educational programs on horticulture, conservation, and ecology.

International Wolf Center

This nature center in Ely features live gray wolves, educational exhibits, and programs on wolf biology and behavior.

Great Lakes Aquarium

The downtown Duluth aquarium focuses on the animals and ecosystems of the Great Lakes. It also offers educational programs on freshwater ecosystems. It’s right next to Canal Park.

Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary

The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Orr features live black bears. Open during evening hours, get up close and personal with wild black bears in Minnesota. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

This nature center in Lanesboro offers educational programs on ecology, conservation, and outdoor skills, and features a variety of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, canoeing, and hiking.

Bear Sanctuary

Family-Friendly Places to Stay in Minnesota

There are many hotel options for families in Minnesota, depending on your budget and preferred location. Here are a couple of options:

Great Wolf Lodge Minnesota

Located in Bloomington, The Great Wolf Lodge features a massive indoor water park. Your kids will be talking about it for years! Inside is a variety of dining options, and spacious family suites that can accommodate up to eight guests.

The hotel also offers a range of activities for kids, including a ropes course, a mini-golf course, and an arcade. And with programs like nighttime dance parties and morning yoga, you’ll have a great time!

Radisson Blu Mall of America

The hotel is in Bloomington and connected to the Mall of America. It has stylish rooms and suites, perfect for families with lots of space. The hotel also has a fitness center, a restaurant, and a heated indoor pool. The hotel’s location makes it easy to explore the mall and other nearby attractions.

Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center

Located in Alexandria, this family-friendly resort offers a range of activities for kids, including a massive indoor water park, a mini-golf course, and a game room. The resort also has several dining options, a golf course, and a full-service spa.

Grand View Lodge

Located in Nisswa, this family-friendly resort is set on a beautiful lake and offers a range of activities for kids, including swimming, boating, fishing, and biking. The resort also has several dining options, a spa, and a golf course.

Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior

Located in Tofte, this resort offers spacious suites and town homes with stunning views of Lake Superior. The resort also has a heated indoor pool, a spa, and several dining options. The location of the resort makes it easy to explore the North Shore of Lake Superior and nearby state parks.

Staying in MPLS

Check out some of the great family-friendly hotels in my deep dive on Minneapolis Favorites. I’ve got the full list of hotels perfect for families.

Best Indoor Waterparks in Minnesota

What are you waiting for?

Minnesota is one of the best destinations for family fun any time of year. You’ll find me with my family out there exploring most weekends. The best things are trying a new museum, on a hike someplace, or enjoying some of the great dining. Are you ready to get out and start exploring Family Friendly Things to do in Minnesota?

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