The Twin Cities embrace the outdoors with family-friendly attractions such as Valleyfair amusement park and the Minnesota Zoo, but there’s plenty inside to keep kids busy when the weather’s too hot or wet.
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Minnesota Children's Museum
Minnesota Children's Museum
| Credit: John Noltner

Minnesota Children's Museum 

Exhibits like "The Scramble," a four-story tube slide, and "Maker's Space," a studio offering lessons from a rotating lineup of artists, as well as an expanded toddler area, delight kids at the recently renovated museum. As a bonus, wander a few blocks to sweetly nostalgic Candyland candy store. 

Beaches 

You'll find beaches throughout the Twin Cities and their lake-dotted suburbs. Our picks? Lively Lake Harriet (2 beaches!) with a cool bandshell, canoe rentals and a rose garden, or the quiet beach in Fort Snelling State Park.

Science Museum of Minnesota
Credit: Courtesy of Science Museum of Minnesota

Science Museum of Minnesota 

Don't miss Science Museum adventures like walking through a prehistoric swamp, stirring up a tornado or getting blasted by a surprise sneeze. Insider freebie tip: Kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge at the National Parks Service Mississippi River area in the museum's lobby.

Minnesota Zoo 

This zoo's specialty—animals from the lush jungles of southeast Asia—feels especially welcome on rainy days (as does the colorful aquarium), but it's also great to get outdoors to see the grizzly bears, Amur tigers and Minnesota wildlife. The farm area is popular when babies are born each spring.

Minnesota Twins at Target Field
Credit: Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Twins Baseball 

Watch the sunset paint the Minneapolis skyline while cheering on Twins baseball players at Target Field. Feast on Minnesota eats such as porchetta egg rolls, Valentini's meatballs, and walleye and chips.

Valleyfair 

Teen thrill-seekers will beeline to Valleyfair's Steel Venom coaster that launches below-track riders into a spiral, the Power Tower with its 275-foot free fall, and Wild Thing, a behemoth coaster with one of the world's largest weightless zones. Younger kids can find mellower options among the 70-plus rides, along with live shows and a water park.

Nickelodeon Universe
Nickelodeon Universe
| Credit: Courtesy of Mall of America

Nickelodeon Universe 

At the heart of Mall of America, this naturally lit indoor amusement park draws kids like a magnet with a Ferris wheel and speedy, spinning and looping coasters—plus one that plunges shrieking riders almost straight down.

Sea Life Aquarium 

Take a trip from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond at one of Mall of America's top attractions. Highlights include walking through the shark tunnel, experiencing a touch tank and watching the groovy disco-lighted dance of jellyfish.  

Historic Fort Snelling

The "Boom!" of a cannon echoes above the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers and adds authenticity to this historical military outpost. Costumed soldiers perform drills, and characters tell tales from the early 1800s.  Families can also see demos of hearth cooking, blacksmithing children's games and a school lesson.

Mill City Museum
Credit: Jennifer Coleman

Mill City Museum 

Creatively built out of the ruins of an old flour mill along the Mississippi River, this museum looks at Minneapolis' heyday as milling capital of the world and its legacy as the hometown of Pillsbury, General Mills and Betty Crocker. Take an educational (and explosive) elevator ride, play with a model of river locks and dams, and see what's up in the baking lab.