Remember summer in MN? The beach? The playgrounds? The picnics and the sunshine? Yeah, it was wonderful. It seems like 100 years ago!
We are in the middle of another MN winter, and we are almost to winter break. This is the time of year that kids and moms, especially stay-at-home-moms, get a little stir crazy! Here are my suggestions for when you need to get out of the house and let your kids play a bit! They are my favorite five indoor play places, and my “pro tip” for each one to make your visit easier!
1. Edinborough Park in Edina
This is a must-visit for Twin Cities families. It features a giant play area, and a huge open gym with scooters, balls, and blow up jumpers.
Kids can spend hours roaming around this huge place. Great for very active kids who need an outlet for their energy! I think it’s totally worth the $7.50 admission.
It’s best for kids who are elementary age, but there is a whole section for younger kids too.
PRO TIP: Divide your time between the jungle gym area and the open gym with a lunch break in between. There is a snack area, or bring your own lunch!
2. Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka
This is a brand new play area opening in December 2017! It is huge, about the area of two store fronts! When you walk in, it feels more like a children’s museum rather than a play area! It’s centerpiece is a huge apple tree play structure with red “Apple” balls everywhere. There are suction holes that pull the balls up to the top of the tree and kids can push the balls out of holes so it looks like apples are falling off the tree.
There’s also a “light and shadow” area, a huge train track, a fishing area, and a section for toddlers! All for FREE.
PRO TIP: Park at Nordstrom’s. When you get there, sit in the middle of the L shaped area so you can see the whole area from one vantage point!
3. Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley
You think of going to the zoo in the beautiful summer months, but did you know that the Zoo has plenty of indoor attractions to keep your kids busy in the middle of a MN winter?
Make a morningtrekto the indoor aquatic area with a touch pool and seal show! Or on the coldest days, stroll through the tropics trail and daydream about palm tres and beaches.
One often overlooked area is the toddler room by the cafe where little ones can dress up like bumblebees and build a “hive” of hexagonal blocks.
As far as the price goes, a Zoo trip is not cheap. But do the math- if you plan on going three or more times, an annual membership will be worth the price.
PRO TIP: Bring the stroller. Even for the big kids. You’ll be grateful for it when the kids shed the layers and ask you to carry the jackets, hats, gloves, water bottles, lunches, and so on and so on.
4. Williston Fitness Center in Minnetonka
This is a hidden gem! You feel like you’re in the middle of a neighborhood, and then you turn a corner and a huge fitness center is tucked in the woods. There are many areas, but the section I want to highlight is the Treehouse.
It’s a massive climbing area, with a nice eating area for birthday parties. I like that it has good seating for parents and only one exit. It does cost $6 per kid, so plan on staying for the afternoon to make it worth your while.
PRO TIP: Bring snacks and water bottles because the only food is vending machines!
5. IKEA play area in Bloomimgton
Your favorite home store can also be your child’s favorite play area! Check in the kids in the play area and you have an hour of uninterrupted strolling and shopping! There’s also a great restaurant on the 2nd floor with inexpensive kid meals and a children’s seating area.
PRO TIP: Kids have to be potty trained! And there’s a limit to the number of kids that can be in there, so avoid peak times!
That’s my list of my favorite five indoor places to bring the kids in the winter! What would you add? What are your pro tips??