Family Fun in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Part 2: St. Paul

This is my second post about our family's visit to Minnesota and Wisconsin. You can see the first post here. Because I blog about educational travel, I received media rates, complimentary admission tickets, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone and I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I am sharing is something that I whole-heartedly recommend.


Family Fun in St. Paul, Minnesota 

We got up early on Saturday, July 30 and walked a few blocks to catch the Metro from Minneapolis to St. Paul. We walked by Landmark Plaza, home to Peanuts sculptures (and a seasonal ice rink, I'm told. It was only 9:00 am and already ridiculously hot and humid, so an ice rink would have been nice.) Anyway, we're big Peanuts fans, so it was fun to see this tribute where Charles Schultz spent his early years. 

Our first appointment of the morning was at the outstanding Science Museum of Minnesota. We started with 'Into America's Wild' in the Omnitheater, then began exploring this enormous museum.

I have been to a LOT of science museums, so it takes something special to impress me. The Science Museum of Minnesota impressed me. A lot. There were fun and interactive exhibits that I haven't seen elsewhere and fresh takes on concepts I have seen in other museums.  

The Science Museum of Minnesota has all the expected exhibits, such as ones about space, the human body, light, and dinosaurs. But exhibits on varied topics, including the Mississippi River, race, collections, and pseudoscience, made this place stand out from other science museums. 

One of my favorite exhibits was Sportsology. Through hands-on experiences, guests learn all about the science of motion and how the human body works. 

Initially, Trevor was ahead in this sprint, but ultimately the dinosaur beat him. 

The Weighing the Evidence exhibit was awesome. "Radium sales dropped off... after his jaw did." Speaking of which, if you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it (affiliate link). 

I loved trying out the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair and seeing all the questionable medical devices on display. 

Cardboard City is a temporary exhibit, which is a shame because it is AWESOME. You could add on to the city, create something unique, or build your own cardboard car and test it on a race track. 

Sometimes, the small details can add so much. The Science Museum of Minnesota themed their social distance signage to match each exhibit area. So clever!

The Science Museum of Minnesota overlooks the Mississippi River. 

Fun fact: the 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi that includes St. Paul is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a division of our National Parks. There's a small visitor center in the lobby of the science museum. 

Trevor was excited to see this eagle wingspan. He knows all about what goes into making them

In the visitor center, we had to stay 1/5 of the Mississippi River apart. 

After a morning of fun at the museum, we headed to Cossetta for lunch. It was fantastic. Part cafeteria-style restaurant, part tavern, part bakery, and part Italian grocery, you'll find a huge assortment of options for eating there or elsewhere. 

Definitely finish with gelato! Or start with it. 

Our next destination was the Minnesota History Center

During our visit, we learned a lot about the interesting history and geography of the Gopher State. Did you know that the Mississippi River starts as a mere trickle flowing out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota? It flows for 2300-ish miles until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. 

The immersive exhibit about mining for iron ore was fun. 

The museum did an excellent job of covering not only the important events in Minnesota, but offered a look at the Native people and the many immigrants who are part of Minnesota history. 

I found this artwork about Native foods very interesting. 

This exhibit talks about the catastrophic bridge failure on the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River. On August 1, 2007, 13 people were killed and 145 injured when the bridge fell into the river during evening rush hour. This exhibit does a great job of balancing the facts with stories about the brave heroes who risked their own safety to help others. 

Our next stop was at the Minnesota State Capitol.  

We thoroughly enjoyed our self-guided tour of this beautiful, historic, air-conditioned building. 


I did NOT want to go back out into the heat and humidity, but we had an Urban Adventure Quest to solve! You know how much I love them. This one was unusual in that it had the least amount of walking we've done for all 20+ Quests we've completed. It was a good thing, because we were seriously overheated. 

We finished the Quest in record time and learned a lot about St. Paul. As always, the Quest showed us things we never would have found on our own. 


Ordinarily, I feel the same way. But then, all I wanted was an icy cold drink. 

There's the Liberty Bell Replica in the distance to the immediate right of the sign. I'm not sure what caused the delay, as it should have been done 6 months before COVID hit. 

Dinner was at Burger Moe's. What a great choice it turned out to be! The food was fantastic and the service was equally so. I highly recommend the burgers and the cheese curds. 

After an extremely full day exploring St. Paul, we headed back to Minneapolis and basically collapsed into bed. The next day wouldn't be quite as packed, but it was just as fun. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh...love the architecture of the historic building -beautiful.:)


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