While most people know to head to Mall of America, a Twins game and even the Minnesota Zoo when visiting the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, there’s so much more to do in our family-friendly area. We’ve got the inside scoop on 9 fantastic places for families looking for even more excitement when visiting the area.
1. Bunker Beach Waterpark - There’s no better time than summer to cool off in the water at Minnesota’s largest waterpark. Located in Coon Rapids, Bunker Beach will entertain all day with something for every age. Take a spin on one of six water slides, ride the surf in the wave pool, float along the lazy river and shoot hoops in Rocket Bay, which also features two Aqua Climb walls. Younger family members can build sandcastles in the Sand Box, swim in the zero-depth entry Adventure Pool or see if they can make it across the Wiggly Water Walk. When it’s time to refuel, take a break at the park’s Concession Stand before getting wet once more.
2. Wargo Nature Center - Experience the natural beauty of Minnesota firsthand in Lino Lakes. Rent a kayak or canoe from the Wargo Nature Center and take your crew out on area lakes, creeks and rivers for a peaceful paddle, looking for birds and wildlife along the way. Experienced paddlers may want to try kayaking the 23-mile Rice Creek Water Trail from Lino Lakes all the way to Fridley. Spend time back at the Nature Center to explore gardens full of butterflies, see a variety of birds attracted by the center’s bird feeders and ask questions of the naturalists on hand.
3. Tropics Indoor Waterpark - You might be in Minnesota, but you’ll feel like you’re in the tropics at this tropical-themed indoor waterpark at the Shoreview Community Center. Their amazing three-story Shark Attack water slide lets riders choose from more than 100 songs to listen to, along with a custom light show, as they twist and turn their way down to the bottom. Play water volleyball and basketball in the main pool, float atop a giant sea creature or get soaked in the zero-depth play area with a shipwreck boat slide, water walk and splashing palm tree. There’s even a quiet escape for parents with a whirlpool and patio.
4. Bunker Park Stable - Got a horse lover in your family? Bring them to Bunker Park Stable, the area’s only riding stable. Staff will educate your family about horses and guide you on a trail ride through beautiful Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids. Kids younger than 8 can enjoy a 20-minute long pony ride led by a parent or you can experience a horse-drawn hayride anytime of year with your whole family or group. Wagons can hold up to 35 people, so bring the extended family and friends!
5. Zero Gravity Trampoline Park - Need to let your kids release some energy? Look no further than Zero Gravity Trampoline Park j in Mounds View where they can jump and play to their heart’s content. They can slam dunk in the basketball area and go soaring into the foam pit. But trampolines are far from the only entertaining options at this park. You’ll also find laser tag, a dodgeball court, arcade, an Aerial Challenge Course and a climbing wall. Everyone will need a nap after this one!
6. Springbrook Nature Center - Get up close with wildlife at the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, which lets visitors see resident turtles, snakes, salamanders and frogs. Plenty of other animals live in the natural habitat outside the center like bats, flying squirrels, beavers, birds and owls for which you can also be on the lookout. Be sure to take a walk along the Center’s 3 miles of hiking trails that wind past ponds, aspen trees, oak trees, floating boardwalks and native prairies. Families can also try geocaching, which is real-life treasure hunting in the great outdoors using global positioning systems to locate “caches” of goodies left by others.
7. Lilli Putt Family Entertainment Center - How about a game of mini golf to get the family smiling? Lilli Putt Family Entertainment Center in Coon Rapids offers a full mini golf course and other activities as well to make for a longer visit. Take a spin on the Go-Kart track and see which family member takes the checkered flag and hop on the Bumper Boats for some water-based bumper car-style action.
8. Island Lake Golf - If your family is looking for more than mini golf, they’ll find it at Island Lake Golf in Shoreview. This family-friendly golf course offers affordable play for Dad, Mom and the kids, along with a full driving range, and even mini golf for the kids. The course winds through ponds with water on seven of nine holes and it plays as a family-friendly executive length nine-hole course. Kids will love glow golf played after the sun goes down with a light up ball and glow sticks lighting the targets!
9. Brunswick Zone XL Blaine Lanes - If you happen upon a rainy day or are ready to get out of the sun, don’t miss Brunswick Zone XL, a 38-lane bowling alley -- and a whole lot more! -- that will keep the family busy in Blaine. In addition to all the bowling you can handle, kids can hang in the arcade, play a round of laser tag, enjoy a game of billiards and everyone can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. You’ll even find free WiFi for posting all your Twin Cities photos on Instagram. Let the bowling begin!
Now that you’ve got all of our secrets for family fun in the Twin Cities, we hope you’ll plan a visit to experience our beauty, action and love of Mother Nature.