Minnesota is a great state to raise a family and the state also offers many family friendly activities to do year around including the winter months.  Jake Juliot from Explore Minnesota joined me on WJON to highlight some activities.

When it comes to family fun, Minnesota is second to none. New kid-friendly attractions open every year, joining an already impressive roster of museums, amusement parks, zoos and more that cater to kids by making history, science, nature and culture fun for the whole family. Here are some great family-fun activities you can do this winter, no matter what the weather is!

MALL OF AMERICA/Nickelodeon Universe

We all know about the Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe, but some new and exciting things are happening at the mall this winter! Nickelodeon Universe just opened a brand new ride, Boots Banana Swing, perfect for kids! Visiting Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe is a great way to spend a winter day and ride a bunch of cool roller coasters as well as other rides for all ages. There’s also so much more to do like an aquarium, movie theater, arcades, mini golf, virtual reality experiences and a whole lot more, you could easily spend a whole day here and not do it all. Some other attractions include the Crayola Experience, where your kids can name and wrap their own crayons along with two dozen other colorful activities. Find fun and excitement at the new The Fair on 4 where your family can savor fair-inspired foods like cheese curds and house-cut fries, compete in axe throwing (with parent or guardian), drive a go-cart and more.

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There’s so much to do at in the Twin Cities for kids. Find two attractions in one at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and the Children's Theatre Co., which share a beautiful building just south of downtown. Mia hosts family days one Sunday a month, and the venerable Walker Art Center does the same the first Saturday of the month. At the Walker, the adjoining Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is always free, and a great place for kids to run off some energy.

Downtown St. Paul has long been home to a trifecta of Minnesota’s best-known family attractions, all within blocks of one another—the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota History Center. The Children’s Museum features over a dozen exhibits, including a four-story indoor playground called "The Scramble."

Outside of downtown, the Bell Museum tells the story of the area's natural history through lifelike wildlife dioramas, a massive woolly mammoth replica and the country's first seamless dome planetarium.

Minnesota Zoo
Minnesota Zoo


The Minnesota Zoo is open all year long and features great indoor and outdoor exhibits. New in 2023 is the addition of the Treetop Trail. The 1.25-mile walking path brings guests up to 32 feet above the ground and provides a year-round and accessible journey into nature for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.


At the International Wolf Center, four-legged residents Boltz, Denali, Grayson and Axel live on-site to further the public's education about this magnificent species. Daily educational programs are included with admission, and special evening and weekend adventure programs offer additional immersion into the lives of wolves.

Ely is also home to the North American Bear Center, the only black bear and wildlife educational facility of its kind. The center helps dispel the many myths that people believe about bears as ferocious animals to be feared. Four resident bears live in 2.5 acres of natural forest that includes man-made dens and a pond, where they roam freely and forage for food.


Two top-tier attractions draw families to this scenic stretch of the Great River Road. Less than two hours south of Minneapolis-St. Paul in downtown Wabasha, the National Eagle Center is perched on the bank of the Mississippi River, where bald and golden eagles nest outside the center's floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, resident eagles are on display and part of daily educational programs. The center also hosts many special programs, including eagle field trips and the Soar with the Eagles series in March, when visitors can see other birds of prey that are brought in from around the region.

Continue about 10 minutes south and you'll hit LARK Toys in Kellogg. In addition to the store's handmade wooden toys, this popular destination has a museum of classic toys, an indoor carousel and cafe.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Jake Juliot it is available below.



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