Our house is just starting to learn the wants and needs of a tween child. Their nuances, their moods, their ability to sleep, snap, snark and snack more than they ever have before – it’s all a learning curve. But the one thing I DO know about older kids is that they are STILL KIDS. And kids still like play (whether they admit it or not). They just like to look cooler doing it.
If you have a tween or teen in your home during these cold Minnesota months, don’t be afraid to get them out of the house and into some adventure. To make that job easier, I’ve compiled a list of some of our very favorite go-to “big kid” outings around the Twin Cities.
FOR THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS
- What is it? Indoor rock climbing and a great workout for the whole family
- Locations in: Bloomington, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth
- Price: $22 for a day pass
- Website: https://www.verticalendeavors.com
- What is it? Indoor rock climbing and a great workout for the whole family; a special youth section and a “parents night out” option for kids ages 5-12
- Locations in: Minneapolis
- Price: $16/adult and $12/youth for a day pass
- Website: https://minneapolisboulderingproject.com/
- What is it? Indoor adventure park with (depending on location) trampolines, climbing walls, go-karts, ninja course, dodge ball, ropes course, playground and more
- Locations in: Plymouth and Coon Rapids
- Price: Range from $16-$40/day pass depending on package
- Website: https://www.urbanair.com/
- What is it? Indoor trampoline park with (depending on location) trampolines, obstacle course, jousting, dodge ball, and more
- Locations in: Edina, Maple Grove, Blaine, St. Paul
- Price: Range from $12-$25/day pass depending on duration of jump time
- Website: https://www.skyzone.com
- What is it? Indoor low impact paintball arena that is perfect for a birthday party (it still hurts – wear long sleeves and pants!)
- Locations in: Minneapolis
- Price: $35/person and includes 100 paintballs (can purchase more ammo for $10/100+)
- Website: https://www.splatball.com/
- What is it? 25,000 square foot indoor skate park and skate shop open to BMX bikers, scooters, roller skaters and skateboarders
- Locations in: Golden Valley
- Price: $15/session (usually about 3 hours long)
- Website: https://3rdlair.com
- What is it? Indoor archery target shooting lanes to introduce, educate and equip people for the sport of archery
- Locations in: Coon Rapids
- Price: 2-hours of open shooting + equipment rental starts at $14/person. Also offer beginner classes or family fun nights for around $30/person.
- Website: https://averagejoesarchery.com/
- What is it? Indoor skydiving using a wind-tunnel and accessible for all ages and abilities – great birthday party option!
- Locations in: Minnetonka
- Price: 2 flights ranges rom $65-$85/person; 3, 4 and 5 flight options also available
- Website: https://www.iflyworld.com/
- What is it? Indoor ninja warrior training course with full and smaller-scale obstacles for all levels and abilities
- Locations in: Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Blaine, Woodbury
- Price: Open gym (1 hour) range from $16-$20 depending on location. Punch passes and monthly membership available.
- Website: https://www.conquerninja.com/
10. Indoor Open Gyms
There are plenty of fieldhouses, schools, community centers and health & fitness spaces that open their gymnasiums up to youth and adults who want to enjoy the freedom of open gym. Shoot hoops, kick around a soccer ball, even pickleball is an option at certain ones! Usually only available during winter months and very limited times during the week, but do a Google search for “open gym time near me” and you’ll likely find a few options. Some cost a low amount of money ($3-5 max) and some are just plain old free.
FOR THE SMARTSY & ARTSY
1. Mess Hall
- What is it? Custom-booked, hands-on, and super messy art experience for adults, kids, or the whole family (includes options to paint splatter, spin art, tie dye, and more)
- Location in: Golden Valley
- Price: Ranges from $35-50+/person for one session
- Website: https://www.messhallmn.com
- What is it? Kid and family cooking and baking classes with clever themes like Master Chef, Nailed It, Chopped Challenge, sushi and Mexican classes and more!
- Location in: Eden Prairie
- Price: Around $85/person per 90 minute class
- Website: https://waycoolcookingschool.com/
3. Bell Museum
- What is it? Recently updated, this natural history museum and planetarium on the U of M Campus is a great way to explore the worlds of geology, astronomy, botany, zoology and more. The indoor planetarium is absolutely beautiful!
- Location in: St. Paul
- Price: $9/museum + $6/planetarium for kids; $12/museum + $8/planetarium for adults
- Website: https://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/
4. Live Theater
From live music to incredible Broadway performances, the Twin Cities has no shortage of theaters to choose from, each with its own unique twist. St Paul’s Ordway, Minneapolis’s Orpheum and Guthrie Theaters, and even the Chanhassen Dinner Theater all offer wonderful shows with plenty of variety. Oh, and don’t leave out the Minnesota Orchestra – they put on some great movie/music combo shows that kids would thoroughly enjoy! The Children’s Theater Company puts on some great stuff too and they clearly state in the show description for which ages each production is appropriate and locally-owned and supported Strike Theater is a crazy funny spot for some live improv and sketch comedy teenagers will love.
- Ordway Theater, St. Paul: https://ordway.org/events
- Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis: https://hennepintheatretrust.org/events/
- Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen: https://chanhassendt.com/
- Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis: https://www.guthrietheater.org/
- Jungle Theater, Minneapolis: https://www.jungletheater.org/
- Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis: https://childrenstheatre.org/
- Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis: https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/tickets/calendar/calendar
- Strike Theater (improv and sketch comedy), Minneapolis: https://www.strike.theater/shows.html
- What is it? A cafe where you can interact with, pet, love up and even adopt a lot of calm and awesome cats (plus order coffee and food in the cafe space). Reserve your cat lounge experience ahead of time.
- Location in: Minneapolis and (soon-to-be) New Hope
- Price: $10/person on weekdays and $15/person on weekends for one hour of cat lounge time. Fees go towards covering the feeding, caring for, and housing of the cats.
- Website: https://thecafemeow.com/
- What is it? The most haunted place in Minnesota, go inside the Wabasha Caves for a fun (potentially educational) tour of your choice (the Fall “Ghosts & Graves” tour would be fun for your brave teen).
- Location in: St. Paul
- Price: Depends on the tour (Cave tour: $10; Gangster tour: $40; Lost Souls tour: $15)
- Website: https://wabashastreetcaves.square.site/
- What is it? A reuse art store which combines waste management with art making, you can pop in here and stock up on art scraps, factory rejects, and overstock items. All you need is creativity and an open mind.
- Location in: St. Paul
- Price: Limited hours for in-store shopping. Spend what you choose.
- Website: https://www.artstart.org/artscraps-reuse-store/
- What is it? One of the coolest experiences – swim with stingrays right inside Roseville Mall’s Sea Quest! A smaller tank, but filled with plenty of rays, sharks and fish. Must be able to swim. Other animal encounters are available as well (porcupine, otter, sloth, and more)
- Location in: Roseville
- Price: $49.99/person
- Website: https://roseville.visitseaquest.com/product/snorkel-with-the-stingrays-session/
- What is it? Pick out a piece of pottery, paint it right in the store, and pick it up later after they fire it. Deals and special events available on their calendar – a fun activity to do with friends.
- Locations in: Maple Grove, Eagan, Woodbury
- Price: $10 studio fee + price of the pottery you choose
- Website: https://www.colormemine.com/
- What is it? Engineering, designing, creating – this is a place to learn project building and personal growth in a space with like-minded creatives. Use your hands and get stuff built – great for confidence-building too!
- Location in: Minneapolis
- Price: $85/full day workshops; $20/90-minute workshops; other programs available (including summer camps)
- Website: https://leonardosbasement.org/
- What is it? A Christian-based nonprofit, Feed My Starving Children is always seeking volunteers of all ages to help pack meals to be sent around the world to reverse undernutrition. It’s a fun and fulfilling experience for the whole family or a group of friends to do together.
- Locations in: Chanhassen, Coon Rapids, Eagan
- Price: Free volunteering sessions are 90 minutes each
- Website: https://www.fmsc.org/get-involved/volunteer
FOR THE LOVERS OF THE GAME
- What is it? This family-owned escape room is one of the Twin Cities’ best! They offer remote and take-home options, but your older kids or full family would dig their in-person private experiences. Rooms are marked on their website if kid versions are available – and the themes are right up their alley – and just hard enough.
- Locations in: St. Paul and Minneapolis
- Price: Depends on your number of people – ranges from $34.99/person (if you have 1-2 people) to $25.99/person (if you have 6+ people)
- Website: https://www.trappedpuzzlerooms.com/
2. Grand Slam
- What is it? An inside paradise for your energy-driven kiddo. Choose from laser tag, mini golf, bumper cars, video game arcade, ninja course, batting cage, trampolines and more.
- Locations in: Burnsville and Coon Rapids
- Price: Can buy individual activities or 3-hour play packages (a better deal) that all sit around the $20 range. Their “Specials” pages have awesome deals listed too.
- Website: Burnsville Website OR Coon Rapids Website
3. The Fun Lab
- What is it? 22,000 square feet of awesome attractions, including laser tag, mini bowling, bumper cars, virtual reality, ropes course, lazer maze, video games, ballocity and more.
- Location in: Blaine
- Price: Can buy individual activities or 2-hour play packages ranging from $17.99 to $39.99 a person.
- Website: https://thefunlabcenter.com/
- What is it? A virtual reality lab where you pay for your own pod (with up to 5 people) and choose your games to play for a certain amount of time. It’s interactive, realistic and SO SO SOSOSOSOSOSOSO much fun!
- Location in: St. Louis Park
- Price: Per pod: 30 minutes: $40; 60 minutes: $60; 1.5 hours: $85; 2 hours: $110
- Website: https://www.rem5vr.com/
- What is it? Restaurant and entertainment venue with massive video game arcade, food and drinks
- Location in: Edina and Maple Grove
- Price: Can purchase a card with any amount to play the games
- Website: https://www.daveandbusters.com/
- What is it? An old-school vintage arcade with State Fair food and drinks and incredibly-unique artist-designed mini golf the whole family will enjoy
- Location in: St. Paul
- Price: $10/person allows open play for 100+ vintage arcade games and mini golf is $13/kids and $15/adults
- Website: https://cancanwonderland.com/
- What is it? An indoor (or virtual) live game show experience for groups of 6+ with a minimum age of 10, you can choose a Classic Showdown (think Family Feud/Price is Right) or Primetime Showdown (think Minute to Win It/Match Game). Lasts about an hour.
- Location in: Hopkins
- Price: $29.95/person for in-person with your private group or $19.95/person for the virtual experience
- Website: https://www.gameshowbattlerooms.com/minneapolis
8. Top Golf
- What is it? Giant multi-level venue where you rent your own driving range space towards multiple targets, play games, and use high-tech balls that will score themselves. Also includes sports bar and restaurant.
- Location in: Brooklyn Park
- Price: Usually ranges from $29-$49/person depending on day of the week; Specials available for 1/2 price days and other deals.
- Website: https://topgolf.com/us/minneapolis/