Sperling’s “Best Places to Live” listed the Minneapolis metro area as one of the top 50 Happiest Metro Areas For Families in 2009, and judging by the list of available family-friendly activities the area boasts, it’s not hard to see why. Magazines like the Minnesota Parents and Minneapolis Magazine: Family Edition keep residents and visitors up to date on the latest children’s activities in the area, including special free events. Beyond seasonal, there are several tried and true venues for kids of all ages
Underwater Adventures Aquarium
It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside, children can always come indoors and see sharks, the largest collection of jellyfish in the world, sharks swimming above them, and the opportunity to pet stingrays.Ã’ The aquarium offers a small playground and stickers for those that touched the stingray that announces they touched a shark. As of 2010, individual pricing ranges from $13.50 to $19 a person, or families can opt for a 90 dollar annual family membership. Visitors find the aquarium underneath the Mall of America at 120 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN’š 55425.
In 2010 the Minnesota Zoo added a Faces of The African Forest Exhibit to their already large offering of 504 animal species. Children are able to play in seasonal family farms, visit a butterfly garden, and watch feedings of the many playful animals. In 2010, membership prices for year-long admission are 95 for a family. Individual pricing is $10 for children under 12 and $16 for teens and adults. The zoo is 10 minutes south of The Mall of America at 13000 Zoo Boulevard,Apple Valley, MN 55124
The Minnesota Children’s Museum
The children’s museum boasts seven hands-on galleries where children learn by touching, playing, and having fun. Employees at the museums are called ‘funstigators’ and help children interact with the different exhibits and play stations. As of 2010, all ages cost $8.95 for admission, but a Passport memberships admits families year-round for $89. The museum is in downtown St. Paul. at 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102.
Within Mall of America is an amusement park featuring television characters from Nickelodeon. Admission inside the park is free, as is seeing characters and enjoying any entertainment offered on the stages that day. Family rides and rides sorted by height are available to purchase individually, or with an unlimited daily wristband. Prices vary monthly depending on promotions, but annual passes are available per person. Children under 47″ cost $220 and adults are priced at $250 as of September 2010. Information centers guide guests through the mall to the park at 5000 Center Court, Bloomington, MN.