21 Things to Do With Kids in Minneapolis

overhead vie of the Minneapolis skyline

Introducing guest blogger Kassidy from Kassidy’s Journey

Are you looking for the best things to do with kids in Minneapolis? There are so many great activities in this family-friendly Minnesota city to keep you busy all day long!

Minneapolis offers a variety of attractions for families with children of all ages, including parks, museums, and amusement parks. From playing outside to snuggling up inside, you can enjoy yourselves no matter the day.

Whether you’re traveling with young children or teenagers, you’re sure to find plenty of activities to keep your family busy and entertained. 

In this post, I’ll share with you some of the very best things to do with your little ones to make the most of your visit to this great Minnesotan city.

This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals


1. Splash at an Outdoor Waterpark

One of the best ways to enjoy your time outdoors with kids in the summer is to take them to an outdoor waterpark to splash around. And in Minneapolis, you’ll find no shortage of great outdoor waterparks to enjoy!

On the top of the list of best waterparks is Soak City, which is found inside the Valley Fair amusement park. Here you’ll find towering waterslides, a relaxing lazy river, and a thrilling wave pool. Plus many areas for little ones to splash around.

Another great option is North Commons Waterpark, found right in Minneapolis, with lots of waterslides, splash pools, and fun for everyone of all ages.

Cooling off at a waterpark is the perfect way to enjoy the Minnesota sun!

2. Go Camping At Local Campgrounds

If your family loves the outdoors, what better way to enjoy nature than by going camping? There are several campgrounds in Minnesota that are within a short distance of Minneapolis. Plus, getting out to these campgrounds allows you to escape the busyness of the city!

One of the very best campgrounds for kids is Kamp Dels, which is just a short 1-hour drive from Minneapolis. Here you’ll find a full waterpark with slides, a lazy river, a climbing wall, and more.

Campground Kassidys Journey

If you want something a bit closer, Minneapolis KOA Northwest Journey is another great option, featuring a pool and a perfect spot to spend time outdoors!

Many state parks nearby also offer camping, such as Lebanon Hills State Park, Wild River State Park, and William O’Brien State Park.

3. Play at Nickelodeon Universe

Every kid loves a good amusement park, and why not have one that you can visit year-round, whether it’s sunny, rainy, or snowing? At Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America, you can enjoy the magic of Spongebob, Dora, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more, all while indoors!

This unique indoor theme park features plenty of rides that are kid-friendly, as well as rides that are more suited for adults. Kids can enjoy riding all day long with an unlimited ride pass. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat in the theme park.

And because it’s located in the Mall of America, you can enjoy shopping and checking out all of the other great attractions in the building.

Nickelodeon Universe Kassidys Journey

4. See the Powerful Minnehaha Falls

Waterfalls are fascinating for people of all ages to see, and a stop at Minnehaha Falls in the middle of Minneapolis is a must.

This plunging waterfall drops over 50 feet back into the Minnehaha Creek, and is something that you wouldn’t expect to find in the middle of the city.

You can see the falls up close, which are surrounded by mossy outcrops, and then wander around the trails that wind through the park.

There are picnic tables scattered around to enjoy lunch at, or stop at the nearby Sea Salt eatery for a bite to eat.

Minnehaha Falls Kassidys Journey

5. Make Crayons at The Crayola Experience

Also found in the Mall of America is The Crayola Experience, which gives kids the chance to be creative and try something unlike anywhere else.

Within the Crayola Experience, you can check out over 25 attractions, including turning your selfie into a coloring page, creating and naming your own crayon, and learning about how Crayola crayons are made.

Not only will kids have fun, but parents will also love getting to see their kids creative side shine.

6. Go Swimming at the Lakes

As the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it would be wrong not to spend some time on the lake during a visit to Minneapolis! There are over 20 lakes in the city of Minneapolis alone, and most are great for boating, swimming, or doing any other lake activity.

Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis are three of the best lakes to plan a visit to. All of them have their own beach, as well as rentals available for paddleboards, kayaks, and other fun water equipment to give a try.

Swimming Lake Kassidys Journey

7. Visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum

One of the best ways to let children play is by allowing them to learn at the same time, and you can do just that at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul.

There are three floors of exhibits and fun spaces for your kids to let out their energy and play. From climbing structures to sensory play spaces and interactive crafts and activities, your kids will learn so much as they play here!

Kids of all ages are welcome, as there are exhibits that are fitting for everyone, from toddlers to pre-teens.

8. See the Animals at the Minnesota Zoo

Animals are often the first love of children, so when they’re able to see all sorts of wild animals at the zoo, their faces will surely light up!

From tigers to bears to penguins and monkeys, there are animals from all over the world at the Minnesota Zoo.

Throughout the year, the zoo puts on special events, such as the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Halloween, and the Nature Illuminated tour at Christmas. So you can find something fun to check out for your family!

9. See a Show at the Children’s Theater Company

Spending an afternoon at the Children’s Theater Company is one of the best things to do with kids in Minneapolis, especially if you love watching theater productions!

Musicals for all ages are put on at the theater and shows like Snow White, Cinderella, and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas are a few productions that have graced the stage.

The performances are designed for kids and aren’t as serious as shows that you might see at theaters like the Ordway or Orpheum.

10. Enjoy Great Wolf Lodge

While outdoor waterparks are great during the summer months, they aren’t available during the winter. So visiting Great Wolf Lodge during that time is a great alternative!

This is the largest waterpark in Minnesota and features exciting water attractions, from thrilling water slides to lazy rivers and wave pools. 

Additionally, the Great Wolf Lodge has a variety of family-friendly activities, including mini-golf, a ropes course, an arcade, and much more.

Whether you grab a guest pass and just visit for the day or stay for an entire weekend, time at Great Wolf Lodge is well spent!

11. Build a Sculpture at the LEGO Store

Found in the Mall of America, a stop at the LEGO Store will be perfect for kids with creative minds and love to build with these toy blocks.

Wander around and see all of the fascinating sculptures that have been built with LEGOs, from life-sized animals to a massive robot that measures over 30 feet tall!

And before leaving, be sure to build your own set of LEGOs from the Pick-a-Brick wall, which features nearly 200 different LEGO pieces.

After visiting, check out all the other great attractions in the Mall of America!

12. Wander Through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Parents and kids can both enjoy time spent at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which features a variety of large, outdoor art sculptures.

Among the most famous is the Spoonbridge and Cherry, which can be seen from the interstate as you drive by, but is better seen up close.

Since this sculpture garden is outdoors, your kids can burn off some energy wandering around the sculptures, and you enjoy the fresh air.

13. Eat Dinner at the Rainforest Cafe

After enjoying all of the fun attractions in the Mall of America, grab a seat at the Rainforest Cafe for lunch or dinner.

This immersive experience allows you to sit underneath a lush, tropical rainforest complete with animatronic animals, cascading waterfalls, and simulated thunderstorms.

Listen to the sounds of jungle creatures growling and hear rain trickling down onto the leaves and vines that crawl up the walls of the restaurant.

The menu features a variety of American and tropical-inspired dishes, including burgers, salads, and seafood, as well as fun, themed drinks and foods for the kids.

And be sure to save room for dessert, because their Sparkling Volcano lava cake is a fan favorite

14. Learn at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Imaginations will run wild at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where kids can put all of their imaginative skills to the test at the exhibits.

With exhibits that will teach both you and the kids about space, the natural world, our human history, dinosaurs and fossils, and more, you’ll leave with more knowledge than you came in with!

Kids will love exploring the dinosaur fossils, experiencing a simulated earthquake, and interacting with live animals in the museum’s Touch and Feel Gallery.

Many of the exhibits are interactive, so you can take part while you learn about our world.

15. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Valley Fair

Visiting a theme park is a great way to spend some time outdoors and get the adrenaline pumping for those thrill seekers.

The park features over 75 rides and attractions, including thrill rides like the Wild Thing roller coaster and the Renegade wooden coaster, as well as family-friendly rides like the Ferris wheel and bumper cars.

Additionally, Valleyfair is home to a large water park, known as Soak City, with a wave pool, lazy river, and multiple water slides.

You could spend an entire day wandering around Valley Fair and still have more to come back and do next time!

16. Splash at a Splash Pad

If you’re looking for a free way to enjoy some time outside this summer in Minneapolis, then check out a few of the splash pads that are scattered around the city.

These small areas typically feature dump buckets, sprinklers, fountains, and more. They’re perfect for little ones, and can often be more fun for them than waterparks.

Some popular splash pads in Minneapolis include the Wabun Park Picnic Area Wading Pool, Currie Park Splash Pad, and Lake Hiawatha Wading Pool.

Most splash pads also have playgrounds and picnic tables, so your family can enjoy an affordable day out, while still having fun playing!

17. Visit the Mill City Museum

While this activity might not be as great for younger kids, older kids may appreciate the learning experience that they’ll have at the Mill City Museum.

Here you can learn about how Minneapolis became the flour milling capital of the world back in the 1800s. You can wander through the museum and see all of the artifacts from back in the flour milling days.

There are exhibits to explore, interactive activities to take part in, and a beautiful overlook that allows you to admire the Twin Cities skyline over the Mississippi River.

18. Wander Through a Mirror Maze

The Mall of America is home to yet another few great activities for kids in Minneapolis, including the Amazing Mirror Maze.

This unique activity is great for the entire family to try together, and you can use your skills to get out of the maze!

You’ll find over 2,500 square feet of a mirrored maze to wander through, which can be tricky at times since you won’t know where you’re going. It’s one of the largest mirror mazes in the world, so if you’ve made it out, it was no easy feat!

19. Check out Fly Over America

Want your little ones to experience some of America but haven’t gotten there yet? Then check out Fly Over America!

This immersive experience straps you into a chair and takes you on a flight over some of the best sites in the country.

Your feet will dangle below you as you fly over places like Niagra Falls, the Grand Canyon, and New York City. Plus, feel the wind blowing through your hair, the mist on your face from the falls, and the sounds of the city.

This unique experience is one you’ll never forget, and you don’t even have to leave Minnesota!

20. Watch a Sports Game

If you’ve got a kiddo who loves sports, then watching a professional sports game is one of the best things to do with kids in Minneapolis!

Whether it be baseball, hockey, football or otherwise that they love, there’s a team in Minnesota for them to watch.

Minnesota Vikings Kassidys Journey
Watch the Vikings play at US Bank Stadium

During the winter season, you can catch the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Timberwolves playing at the Xcel Energy Center and Target Center. When fall comes around, the Minnesota Vikings play at US Bank Stadium. And during summer, the Minnesota Twins play baseball at Target Field.

Year-round, there are sports going on, so be sure to check the schedules to see which team you can watch!

21. Visit Como Park

Como Park is a popular destination for visitors of all ages. With all sorts of attractions to check out, this is a one-stop shop for all fun in the Twin Cities!

Enjoy visiting the animals at the Como Zoo, from seals to gorillas and giraffes. Or wander through the Centennial Garden Conservatory or the many other outdoor gardens and see what’s growing.

Kids can also have a blast riding the select rides that are found at Como Town including a vintage carousel, bumper cars, and small roller coasters.

Como Regional Park is also a beautiful place to visit, with a large lake for boating and fishing, as well as a large pool with waterslides to enjoy.

Wrap-Up: Things to Do With Kids in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is a very family-friendly city with so much to do for kids of all ages! From little ones to teenagers, you can stay busy!

From the interactive exhibits at the Science Museum of Minnesota to the thrilling rides at Nickelodeon Universe, everyone will have a blast!

With all of these great things to do with kids in Minneapolis, you can see that it should definitely be added to your list of must-visit kid-friendly cities!


About the Blogger – Kassidy

Kassidey from Kassidys Journey Travel Blog

Kassidy is a Minnesota native who loves exploring her home state! Her favorite area of Minnesota is the North Shore. She loves to share her adventures on her blog, Kassidy’s Journey.

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With thanks to Kassidy for her contribution to our guest series.  You may also like to read about exciting things to do with kids in Duluth, or how about crossing to Wisconsin and learning more about Milwaukee?


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