The Twin Cities are bursting with unique things to do…thrilling opportunities both inside and out to keep your family busy any time of year. There are museums, playgrounds, and amusement parks, oh my! The biggest challenge can be having time to do it all! Not a bad problem to have.
But sometimes in busy seasons like school breaks, it can seem like the whole metro had the same idea you had for that day. When the crowds get overwhelming, it’s good to have a few off-the-beaten-path ideas in your back pocket to explore. Check out some of these surprising lesser known ideas the next time you are looking for a different kind of fun with your family.
If your kids love the Science Museum of Minnesota, then you must check out the Bakken Museum. The exhibits explore similar science and technology fields with unique things to do and interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. Plus it’s much smaller, lesser-known, affordable entrance fees, and even free parking! Make movies in the Spark exhibit, meet the mother of science fiction in Mary & Her Monster, and test out some of Ben Franklin’s favorite experiments in the Electricity Party Room. There are also events throughout the year to take your learning even further. With the location next to the beautiful Lake Bde-maka-ska, there’s even more to see in the area after making the drive.
Bakken Museum | 3537 Zenith Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
Hours: Tue – Sun 10 AM – 4 PM
Cost: $7 for Children 4-17, $13 for Adults, Children 3 and under free.
Rock ‘n Roll!
Who wants to party like it’s 1989? Lace-up the roller skates and take a spin around the local skate rink! Cheap Skate Roller Rink is a great place to visit with kids because the bounce house offers alternative fun for those less interested in skating. They also have lessons or adult-only skate nights.
Cheap Skate Roller Rink | 3075 Coon Rapids Blvd, Coon Rapids, MN 55433
Hours: Public skate hours change daily. Check the schedule for updates.
Cost: $6.99 Admission to skate or bounce; $8.99/both. Download the Kids Skate Free App for 2 free kid passes.
Skate rental: $4.49-$5.49
Let’s Go to the Movies!
What is it about a dark movie theater and a big box of popcorn that feels so magical? An afternoon at the movies is a great option to get out of the house when you’re cooped up. Movie theaters have become incredibly high tech but that also means they can get pretty expensive and crowded. Sometimes it’s the classic theaters at affordable rates that bring the best cinematic experience. One of our favorites is the neighborhood movie theater at Riverview Theater in South Minneapolis. Step back in time at this historical art-deco theater while still enjoying state-of-the-art cinematic technology and comfy seats. There is a family feature offered each week.
Riverview Theater | 3800 42nd Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Cost: Matinees are $5 every day and there are great snack deals for kids.
Bowl Me Over!
Bringing a little friendly competition into your family with a round of bowling is a fun way of spending a quiet afternoon. We love visiting locations that also offer delicious food to make a whole experience out of it. Elsie’s in North Minneapolis is known for having fantastic eats in a fun environment. You could also check out their sister locations in South Minneapolis, Wyoming, and Hopkins. Looking to save even more money with your bowling experience? Visit Kids Bowl Free to register for two free kid passes at participating locations over the summer.
Elsie’s | 729 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis, MN
Cost: Weekdays before 5 PM $3.95+Tax Per Game or $30.00 + tax Per Hour, Per Lane. Weekends before 5 PM $4.95+tax Per Game or $39.99 + tax Per Hour, Per Lane. Shoe rental $4.
I am not a video game person so when I tell you I love going with my family to Can-Can Wonderland, you can believe it must be worth the hype. If you have a game-loving kid in your family but the idea of an arcade sounds expensive and exhausting, you might want to check out this alternative. With more than 100 vintage and electric video games to choose from in a huge warehouse space, you will never be bored. Can-Can Wonderland is simply full of unique things to do. Plus, you only pay one price for unlimited gaming. The room filled with the usual arcade game fair is fun for the kids, but our family actually has the best time in the brighter more chill vibe section of the vintage games. Even my four-year-old who is terrible at every game spent endless time attempting one successful roll up the skee ball ramp. Not to be forgotten is the wall of tap beer making it fun for the adults, as well. Go early to avoid crowds, particularly those game-hogging adults. Note there is also put-put golfing which looks like a ton of fun but is really expensive and fills up quickly.
Can Can Wonderland | 755 Prior Ave N Suite #004, St Paul, MN
Hours: Wed-Thurs 4 PM – 10 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM – 1 AM, Sun 11 AM – 7 PM. Special spring break hours: open every day by 11 AM.
Cost: $10 per person on Wednesday,$12 per person Thursday through Sunday. No cover for kids 5 and under.