36 Family Friendly Things to do in Minnesota: The Top Activities for All Ages
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 known for its breathtaking natural beauty, from the pristine lakes and rivers to the rolling hills and dense forests. The state has bald eagles, black bears, and moose, just to name a few, making it the perfect destination for families who love the outdoors.
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. From the iconic Mall of America to historic landmarks along the Mississippi River, there’s so many different family-friendly activities to keep you entertained.
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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 to fishing and boating. And when the weather isn’t cooperating, you can head indoors to explore the many museums and attractions that Minnesota has to offer.
So pack your bags and bring the whole family to Minnesota, where the natural beauty and cultural richness are sure to provide unforgettable memories for years to come.
Top Outdoor Family Friendly Things to do in Minnesota
Minnesota is a great destination for families who love outdoor activities. When you come it 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 (personal favorite for its’ flat ride) or 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 are enjoy a campfires, nature walks, and stargazing either solo or with the parks nature programs.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Minnesota has many lakes and rivers that are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Families can rent canoes or kayaks and paddle through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Mississippi River, or one of the many other waterways in the state. There are tons of rental opportunities if you don’t have your own 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.
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 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.
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 bear are only found north of the Cities, but Bald Eagles are common around the rivers.
Families can participate in the fun activity of geocaching, which involves using GPS to locate hidden containers or “caches” that contain small trinkets and treasures. Minnesota has many geocaching opportunities in state parks and other public areas.
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:
This indoor play area in Edina features a giant indoor playground, a swimming pool, and a skating rink.
Minnesota Childrens Museum
The Childrens Museum in St Paul features interactive exhibits on art, science, and culture designed for kids ages 6 months to 10 years.
Science Museum of Minnesota
The Scenic Museum in St. Paul features interactive exhibits on science and technology, including a giant T. Rex.
The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is home to over 5,300 animals from around the world, including, bears, and sharks. The zoo offers educational programs on animal behavior and conservation, and features several exhibits that focus on Minnesota’s native wildlife, including the Minnesota Trail exhibit.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
The Como Zoo is a free zoo and conservatory in St. Paul features a wide variety of animals and plants, including a Japanese garden and a butterfly exhibit.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
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
Located in Bloomington, this mega-mall has over 500 stores, an indoor amusement park Nickelodeon Universe, SeaLife Aquarium, and a variety of 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 is Free. Defiantly worth checking out in Minneapolis.
This museum is absolutely fabulous with their natural history displays of things found in Minnesota, including prehistoric creatures. They also have a planetarium.
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 on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The offer tours and educational programs on the history of the lighthouse. Its a landmark everyone needs to experience.
The Forst Snelling historic site in St. Paul features a reconstructed 1820s military fort and offers educational programs on the history of the fort and the role it played 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 offer educational programs on the history of flour milling and the role it played in the development of the region.
Minnesota Historical Society
This organization operates several historic sites and museums throughout the state, including 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
This aquarium in downtown Duluth focuses on the animals and ecosystems of the Great Lakes region, and offers educational programs on the biology and conservation of 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.
Family Friendly Places to Stay in Minnestoa
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 night time dance parties and morning yoga, you’ll have a great time!
Radisson Blu Mall of America
Located in Bloomington, the hotel is connected to the Mall of America and features stylish rooms and suites with plenty of space for families. 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 townhomes 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.
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.
What are you waiting for?
Minnesota is one of the best destination for family fun any time of year. You’ll find me with my family out there exploring most weekend. 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?