You probably want to head to Mall of America or a Twins game when visiting the Twin Cities. What’s next? There are plenty of family-friendly activities for you to enjoy, just minutes from downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. Choose from 22 lodging properties for your base camp and check out these 13 secrets for summer season family fun in the Twin Cities Gateway.
Catch a Wave at Bunker Beach Waterpark - There’s no better time than summer to cool off in the water at Minnesota’s largest waterpark in Coon Rapids, Air-generated 3’ waves make you feel like you’re swimming in the ocean. Six waterslides will twist, turn and drop you into the water. The 900’ lazy river tube ride provides a tranquil and relaxing journey. The plunge pool is home to the “wiggly water walk.” This one will challenge even the most athletic as the wiggly water walk requires you to balance walking across the pool on lily pads while hanging on to a suspended cargo net. Full concessions and lockers available. Open 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily thru Labor Day.
Take a Hike at Springbrook Nature Center - Your entire family will enjoy a uniquely diverse natural area of native habitats and wildlife with 127 acres of native prairies, oak and aspen forests, oak savannah, and extensive wetlands. Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley features three miles of hiking trails, and floating boardwalk for a hike through nature in the heart of the metro area. The interpretive center and its live animal exhibits let visitors see resident turtles, snakes, salamanders and frogs. An outdoor playground is also available for the younger set. Open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.
Fly into Urban Air Trampoline Park - Your entire family will enjoy a uniquely diverse natural area of native habitats and wildlife with 127 acres of native prairies, oak and aspen forests, oak savannah, and extensive wetlands. Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley features three miles of hiking trails, and floating boardwalk for a hike through nature in the heart of the metro area. The interpretive center and its live animal exhibits let visitors see resident turtles, snakes, salamanders and frogs. An outdoor playground is also available for the younger set. Open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.
Saddle Up at Bunker Park Stable - Got a horse lover or a young cowboy in your family? Bring them to Bunker Park Stable in Coon Rapids. Pony rides are a real treat for your young horse lovers age 7 and lower. If you’ve got older kids, the entire family will enjoy a trail ride through the forests ad prairies of Bunker Hills Regional Park. How about a private hayride when you’re looking for something special for all ages for a birthday party, family reunion, or special occasion? Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday.
Jump into Zero Gravity Trampoline Park - Take a leap as high as you dare at Zero Gravity Trampoline Park in Mounds View, where you’ll find 11,000-square feet of leaping, jumping, bouncing and flipping fun. In addition to an open jump arena packed with trampoline surfaces, the park offers a basketball slam dunk zone where you can live out your Michael Jordan slam-dunk fantasies, a traverse-style climbing wall, an aerial challenge court with net, rope and other challenges, a dodgeball zone, laser tag, plus an arcade. A tot spot ensures that little ones tackle challenges that are safe and sized right for their age, including a mini obstacle course and climbing wall. Your whole family can somersault in the air, flip into a foam pit, bounce off walls here: There’s no excuse to sit still. Open 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday; 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays.
Splash into Tropics Indoor Water Park - The water’s always warm and welcoming at Tropics Water Park at the Shoreview Community Center. Fun for all ages, the park boasts pools with floating sea creatures to climb on, twisty slides, an interactive splashing palm tree, the zero-depth Shipwreck Beach play area with a boat slide, a challenging water walk, water volleyball and more. The three-story “Shark Attack” water slide boasts a one-of-a-kind jukebox-type system that lets riders choose from over 100 songs and enjoy a custom light and sound show during their ride. For family members age 18 and older, there’s also a relaxing whirlpool. Pool wristbands also grant access to the Tropical Adventure indoor playground, basketball and volleyball courts, fitness center and indoor track. The younger set will really enjoy the all-new Bamboo Bay for their own adventure. Open daily from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 12:00 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. Friday; 10:00 a.m. – 7:45 p.m., Saturday; and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sunday.
Paddles Up at Wargo Nature Center - Experience the natural beauty of Minnesota by renting a kayak or canoe from the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes and take your crew out on area lakes, creeks and rivers for a peaceful paddle. For a full-day adventure, try the Rice Creek Water Trail that runs 15 miles from Peltier Lake to Long Lake in New Brighton. Near the visitors’ center you will find our wild bird feeders, visited by much more than just a variety of birds. You will also see our many gardens; some to attract butterflies, another to increase water quality, and all are beautiful to look at. Of course, you will always find experienced and friendly naturalists and staff to answer any of your questions and to learn more about our natural environment. Open 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesday – Friday; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m, Saturday; and 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday.
Strike it Big at Bowlero - Bowling is big at Bowlero in Blaine: 38 black light bowling lanes are flanked by massive HD video walls and plush lane-side lounge seating. Bowling is fun for all ages: Bring Grandpa (he might win)! Bowlero also offers a giant arcade with more than 50 games, a state-of-the-art laser tag arena equipped with cutting-edge technology to ensure each blast is accurate, billiards and balladium. What’s balladium? A fast-paced, interactive ball-blasting game played in an eye-popping black light arena: Load your air cannons with soft foam balls and race to outscore the other team before time runs out. Between games, a retro-inspired sports bar is ready to serve if hunger strikes or if sipping craft beer or one of the signature cocktails is more to your liking.
Start Your Engines at Lilli Putt Family Entertainment Center Remember how much fun you had on a go-kart track when you were young? Lilli Putt is a family entertainment center in Coon Rapids that will have all member of your family smiling. In addition to the Go Kart track, everyone will enjoy a round or two of Mini Golf. Regardless of age, be prepared to get wet and laugh a lot as you try to out-duel your family members on the Bumper Boats. Have a birthday party or family reunion coming up? Check out the special packages.
Tee it Up at Island Lake Golf - You and your kids will never forget an evening of Glow Golf in the dark, held every Friday and Saturday night. Whether a novice, hacker, or low handicapper, all family members will have a chance for par at Island Lake Golf, a beautifully landscaped and challenging nine-hole executive course. Accompanying this fun course is a practice range with well positioned targets, an 18- hole miniature golf course and Slicer’s Deli - a snack bar inside the clubhouse. Both the practice range and miniature golf course are lit for evening play. Spend an hour or spend the day! Tee times recommended. Open daily.
See the Delight at Eagles Nest Indoor Playground - You’ll see the delight on their faces as younger children thrill to the experiences of fun at the Eagles Nest Indoor Playground in New Brighton, which has quickly become the destination for kids and their imaginations. A sample list of the activities in the playground includes: 23′ high Web Tower Challenge, 36′ long Quadruple Wave Slide, Walk-on Piano Keys Player, Tight Rope Walk, 14′ Trolley Challenge and Hanging Foam Forest, a Ball Pit and a one-of-a-kind Eagles Nest and Tree Climb. The toddler area has increased in size and includes: Climb-on Sculpted Foam Play Pieces, Activity Panels, Tree Slide, 16′ Lily Pad Walk, Walk-on Piano Keys Player, a themed carpet play area and Toddler Ball Pit. Open daily, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday thru Saturday and 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday.
Find the Formula for Family Fun at The Fun Lab - Friends and family can spend quality time together, socialize, interact, play , create lasting memories, be entertained and enjoy great food at the same time at The Fun Lab in Blaine. Offering unique and amazing attractions not found anywhere else, The Fun Lab feature 22,500 square feet of awesomeness. Attractions include: Laser Tag, Mini Bowling, Ropes Course, XD Theater, Bumper Cars, Ballocity, Virtual Reality, Laser Maze, and Arcade Don’t believe us? Come by and discover why The Fun Lab is the perfect formula for fun. Open daily, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Monday thru Thursday; 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Friday; 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday; and 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sunday.
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.