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Zoos & Museums

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Winter Fun at the Children’s Museum

By Jeff Pollari, Local Writer for St. Cloud Area Living Magazine

Six years and $30 million dollars later, the Children’s Museum’s reopened in 2017 with more attractions for kids and adults than you can throw a ball at. From a four-story slide to a café and coffee bar, you can be sure that the Children’s Museum will be a definitively good time for the entire family. It’s also an excellent way to fortify your family from the winter blues and cabin fever with all the fun you kids can imagine.

                Consider, for example, the possibilities promised by the new and improved face-painting station. Is there any better place to unleash your child’s inner tiger, princess, or dragon than in the Scramble, a vertical adventure land with netted catwalks, spiral slides, and climbing towers four stories up? As a former ropes course instructor, I can tell you that these structures offer one of a kind experiences to your child’s growth. Not only do kids get to build the muscles and coordination but they can test their resolve to explore the unknown. With plenty of their peers to show them how much fun they can have and the encouragement of their parents, kids can make unforgettable milestones that inspire them to get the most out of life.

                Even the boldest adventurer, however, will be hard-pressed to do everything at the Children’s Museum. The ‘Forces at Play’ exhibit, for example, gives kids ball launchers powered by air alongside a crazy car wash. Then there is the Super Awesome Adventures area featuring green-screen wall climbing, balance boards, carpet skates and a laser maze! If your kid needs to have a bit gentler time, however, they may wander to the Creativity Jam or the Imaginopolis. The Creativity Jam allows for the kids to decorate a large white room in stickers while fiddling around with instruments while the Imaginopolis has plenty of pool noodles and ambient light.

                Perhaps one of the most interesting of play spaces is the ‘Our World’ exhibit that gives the kids a mock cityscape with an actual St. Paul firetruck that has been donated and renovated for the little one’s enjoyment. They can also simulate riding the light rail, eating at a taco stand, shopping at the farmer’s market, and delivering city mail. Parents who are paying close attention may realize that each activity is suited to encouraging valuable skills and attitudes their children will need as adults. Indeed, the museum features real tools, like a sewing machine, which helps the kids to feel like grown-ups.

                Speaking of which, if you’re wondering what to do while they have so much fun, look no further than the café which features Caribou coffee, vegan dining, and several other delicious dishes including kid-friendly items like pizza and hot dogs. The entertainment is, of course, brought to you by the endless amusement children in the museum.

                In case you’re wondering, it’s called the children’s museum because it actually has a philosophy behind its design. According to their core beliefs, play is what children need to develop the skills required to thrive. Furthermore, all kids should have equitable access to such play without undue pressures, like adults micromanaging their every move. That means more rest for you and more recreation for the kids.

                In sum, the Children’s Museum is an all-around win for the family. At just $13 per admission for hours of fun, it’s one of the best deals for passing the time this winter.