Ways to Explore Minnesota Both In and Outdoors In June
The warm weather we've already received in Minnesota this summer has many of us focused on outdoor activities. Jake Juilot from Explore Minnesota joined me on WJON to talk about both indoor and outdoor activities Minnesotans can take part in yet this summer. His highlighted list is below.
MALL OF AMERICA/Nickelodeon Universe
We all know about the Mall of America but Nick U is celebrating it’s 15th birthday this year and there are tons of festivities happening all summer long. This is a great way to beat the heat and ride a bunch of cool roller coasters. 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.
MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. PAUL
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. Nearby, Como Zoo & Conservatory has been welcoming families for decades and opened a new sea lion exhibit in 2021.
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, and mini-golf outside in the summer months.
BRAINERD LAKES AREA
Families flock to this lakes area, especially in the summer, where lazy days at area resorts are coupled with amusement park and zoo visits, trips to the ice cream shop and weekly turtle races in downtown Nisswa. The classic Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd will leave a lasting impression on your kids as soon as they arrive; the giant lumberjack here may greet them by name. Nearby, Safari North Wildlife Park is home to bears, big cats and giraffes you can feed and camels you can ride.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Jake Juliot it is available below.