This past weekend, our lovable, wonderful cousin Mel and her little, adorable daughter
invited us to join them at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. She had a friend who had given her free passes and so ultimately with only purchasing one ticket, we were getting in for an incredibly cheap price.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum (MCM) is located in St. Paul at the corner of Wabasha and 7th St. Currently–during the fall of 2012–there is major road construction with the addition of the light rail and the road repairs. It is a huge mess. Basically, I am saying, good luck getting there. It is possible, but it can be a challenge if you are coming in from the east side of the city. So keep that in mind when you make plans to visit.
The parking ramp is kitty corner from the museum on the northeast corner of the intersection. If you park in the ramp, you should get your parking ticket validated at the museum so that for the first 3 hours, you pay $4. It’s lovely.
The museum is open Tuesday-Sundays. And on Tuesdays, the museum restricts large groups from “invading.” The third Sunday of each month, Target sponsors Free Family Day, and on the second Saturday of each month, you can ride the metro transit bus for free and get discounted tickets at the museum.
The price of admission is the same for everyone ages 1 to 101: $9.50. Anyone under age 1 is free. If you want to become members, the first level of membership is called Passport Membership and it’s $95. There are 4 tiers of membership that cost $129, $179, and $250. If you are interested in more information about the different options of membership, you can go here to find out. There is so much to do at MCM that you definitely get your money’s worth. I am toying with the idea of membership because if our family went even just twice in a year, we would have it paid for. Plus, how awesome would it be to tell my disappointed-to-leave kids that we will be coming back next week–or whenever.
MCM offers many different galleries of different play:
- Our World : This a very busy gallery! Very busy, but incredibly fun! This explores our communities by interactive social pretend play. With a music studio, city bus, doctor’s office, city workers dress up station, post office, supermarket, front porch, cafeteria, foam blocks for creations, and a special toddler area to crawl in a explore you can play in this gallery alone for 3 hours.
- World Works: another busy gallery swarming with people, this one is a bit overwhelming as you explore mechanisms and the power of water. You can learn how make paper or operate a crane or move foam blocks on an assembly line. You can work with blocks and build towers, learn about shadows, play in the word gallery. I think one of the most popular places in this gallery is the water station in the back of the room. Learn about how water can move and how fast it can go and its power. Play with bubbles and their magical components
- Earth World This gallery is located on the 4th floor which is less crazy. In Earth World you learn about the earth. You can explore a giant anthill as an ant, create a thunderstorm (that will ultimately scare your 4 year old), play in a a small stream, pretend to be a turtle, discover a woodchuck’s home, and more.
- Rooftop Art Park : This gallery is open from the spring to the early fall, so alas, we were unable to explore this gallery. But it looks interesting especially for my artistic girls.
- Habi-TOT: Is designed for children until age 4 and their families. With the 4 different Minnesota habitats to “explore”– the pond, the bluffs, the prairie, and the forest– Habitot is a perfect place to keep your little ones safe. In the Habitot room, there is a bathroom designed especially for short people and a nursing room. After a crazy, busy day my favorite nook was in this room. There was an entire room with a couch, some chairs, books, and big windows that overlooked St. Paul. It was a nice quiet place to regroup.
From the moment you walk into MCM, your children are engaged.
Now, you can journey through a sea of pictures to determine if this is something worth checking out.
Driving the bus
On stage in the music video studio
Behind the soundboard
police officer reporting for duty!
“But I have to deliver the MAIL!”
“Did you find everything you needed?”
Discovering the movement of water
Working in the foam block factory
Trying to shoe the horse like a blacksmith during the medieval era.
The princess is looking to the book of wisdom for answers.
In Earth World
They were just so cute, I had to put all the turtle pictures in.
Playing in the stream.
Ants in the anthill.
Creating the thunderstorm
Ball-o-rama fun was short lived
Habitot was enjoyed by even the oldest–who were only there as family members.
the reading nook
And that was our long day at MCM.
If you are going to go, make a day of it and take your time. Don’t be in a rush. Playing and learning go hand in hand. If you rush playing, there won’t be as much learning or as much fun!
Minnesota Children’s Museum • 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 • 651-225-6000 • Fax 651–225–6006