Family activities in Minneapolis
City view of Minneapolis by the 3rd Avenue Bridge

The 10 Best Family-Friendly Activities in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, the City of Lakes, is located in the state of Minnesota and is the largest city in the state. It offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, attracting visitors from all over the world. Whether it’s outdoor adventure or indoor fun, Minneapolis ticks all the boxes.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 family-friendly activities that you can do in Minneapolis.

A male and female brown bear show affection for each other at the Minnesota Zoo via Getty Images.

Visit the Minnesota Zoo

The zoo is home to over 4,500 animals from around the world, including Amur leopards, brown bears, and Malayan tapirs. Guests can explore a variety of habitats, including a tropical rainforest, a marine center, and the tundra.

The zoo also offers daily animal shows, and children can connect with nature in the new nature-play experience in the Hanifl Family Wild Woods.

Explore the Science Museum of Minnesota

This hands-on museum offers various interactive exhibits and activities. You can explore a dinosaur and fossils exhibit, do physics experiments, and learn about the human body. At the William L. McKnight – 3M Omnitheater, visitors can watch educational films on a giant domed screen. 

The museum sits near the Mississippi River, providing visitors with scenic views while they explore the exhibits.

Have Fun at Nickelodeon Universe

Located in the Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe is one of the largest indoor theme parks in the United States. The park features over 25 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and a zip line. 

Children can also meet characters from popular Nickelodeon TV shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. 

The park is open year-round, making it a great place to go during the winter when it’s too cold to be outside.

A scenic Minnesota lake.

Go for a Bike Ride Around Lake Harriet

Beautiful Lake Harriet is in the heart of Minneapolis and is a popular destination for families wanting to go for a stroll or a bike ride. With stunning views and many surrounding parks, Lake Harriet is a great place to enjoy the beauty of nature while getting some exercise.

Families can also visit the lake’s two beaches, where they can swim or rent a pedal boat. The park offers free concerts and movies in the summer, making it a perfect evening destination.

Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art houses over 90,000 works from around the world. It features exciting temporary exhibits as well as collections ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary paintings.

You can also enjoy enriching programming for all ages, including a monthly Family Day. During a visit, you can also relax at the Family Center or drop by the museum’s coffee shop and café for a bite to eat.

The museum offers free admission, so is an affordable activity for families.

Fall in at the Waterfalls in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis via Getty Images

Go for a Hike at Minnehaha Regional Park

Minnehaha Regional Park, near the Mississippi River, features a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, and multiple picturesque gardens. You can hike on the trails, have a picnic, or go for a swim in the natural wading pool. 

There are free summer concerts, too, making this a great destination for families to enjoy nature and music together.

Visit the Children’s Theatre Company

The Children’s Theatre Company is a professional theater that produces plays for children and families. It provides visitors of all ages with an opportunity to experience the magic of live theater, from classic fairy tales to contemporary stories. 

The theater also offers educational programs, workshops, and summer camps for children, allowing them to explore the performing arts and gain new skills. The theater is located in the Whittier neighborhood and is easily accessible by public transportation.

Conservatory at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory via Getty Images

Explore the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

This unique, family-friendly destination is in St. Paul, just across the Mississippi River from Minneapolis. The zoo houses a wide variety of animals, including primates, big cats, and penguins, while the conservatory features both indoor and outdoor gardens filled with an impressive range of plant species. You can also enjoy a ride on the historic carousel or take a relaxing walk around the lily pond. 

Enjoy the Thrills at Valleyfair

Valleyfair is a 125-acre amusement park located in Shakopee, about 30 minutes southwest of Minneapolis. The park features over 75 rides and attractions, with roller coasters, water rides, and a planetarium. At the waterpark, families can wade in the splash pad or enjoy a thrill on a waterslide. The park also has live entertainment and a variety of food options are available.

Visit the Mill City Museum

The museum tells the story of the flour milling industry in Minneapolis. You can explore exhibits showcasing the industry’s history, including interactive exhibits where you can experience the milling process for yourself.

The museum also offers baking demos for children and adults, allowing them to learn new skills while having fun. The museum is located in the historic Mill District and offers stunning views of the Mississippi River.

The 10 Best Family-Friendly Activities in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is a fantastic city that offers many family-friendly activities. Visitors can learn about history, science, and art or, for the more active among you, enjoy a bike ride around Lake Harriet, a hike in Minnehaha Regional Park, or a thrill ride at Valleyfair.

So, whether you’re a resident or a tourist, don’t miss out on these top 10 family-friendly activities in Minneapolis. The possibilities really are endless in this dynamic and exciting city.

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