Today's Top 10: Spring Activities to Enjoy in the Twin Cities

Get outside

Minneapolis is a city for outdoor lovers with tons of things to do, no matter the season. But the variety of outdoor activities worth trying explodes each spring. Take a bike ride along the river with Nice Ride. Easily rent and return bikes at any of the Nice Ride stations throughout the city. Next, go for a canopy tour, where you can whiz past trees at Kerfoot Canopy Tour in Henderson (a short drive outside of Minneapolis). The tour has been ranked the No. 1 zipline destination in Minnesota many times over, in part because of its gorgeous views of ravines and forests. If you have older kids, simply hop on a Segway and see the historic districts via the Segway Magical History Tours, or take a half-day guided tour on a canoe through Wilderness Inquiry, where families can paddle along the city’s skyline. Here are a few other exciting activities families can embark on in Minneapolis. 

Visit the Science Museum of Minnesota 

Do your kids love looking at fossils and dinosaur bones? Then you should plan on spending a day at the Science Museum of Minnesota—home to one of the only four Triceratops fossils on display in the world. The science museum is a mecca of hands-on experimentation; kids can operate a small steam engine, watch a live tornado form out of thin air and visit the Cell Lab to look at specimens through a microscope. The Perception Theater is a popular stop especially for older children where optical illusions play mind tricks on your mind. You can immerse yourself in a larger-than-life Omnitheater that takes you on explorations of national parks and historic cities like Jerusalem. New this year is the Sportsology exhibit which takes a look at all of the factors that play into an athlete's ability. This highly interactive exhibit allows kids to run, throw and play all while learning about the science and strategy behind an athlete's performance. Word by Nature has praised the museum, calling it a place to revert to a child-like state full of wonder and intrigue.

See live harness racing 

If your kids like competition (and love horses), head over to Running Aces Casino and Racetrack, where you can see live harness racing most weekends and some weekdays from May to early September every year. You can even contact the racetrack in advance to schedule a visit the stalls to meet and greet some of the prizewinning horses. Running Aces also has a restaurant, Trout Air Tavern, that serves dishes like fish tacos, Asian pork chopped salad and bison burgers. Trout Air Tavern is also a lively entertainment spot for outdoor concerts featuring bands like Blues Traveler and more.

Go to a Twins game (or two) 

Catch a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field to see why it was called the No. 1 baseball stadium experience in North America by ESPN magazine. At Target Field, the spectacular field design means every seat in the house has a good view.  From April to September, families can watch the Twins go head to head against division rivals like the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and 2015 World Series Champ Kansas City Royals. One of the best reasons to visit Target Field isn’t even necessarily for the baseball; it’s for the food. A number of local and national restaurants have food outlets inside the stadium. You can get hot dogs, sure, you but you can also get pork chop on a stick, bacon sloppy joes and walleye skewers. The Twins’ 2017 schedule, you can (and probably should) purchase tickets online in advance. Target Field is one of the most conveniently located baseball stadiums in the entire country. In fact, the Metro Transit METRO Blue and Green Line trains stop directly at Target Field, bringing in people from all corners of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Plan a staycation downtown 

You don’t have to be an out-of-towner to enjoy an urban weekend in Minneapolis. Ranked as the 8th best city for staycations, Minneapolis is the perfect place to plan a local trip for a weekend this spring and stay at one of the city’s historic hotels like the The Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot. Be surrounded by the unique architecture of a 19th centruy train depot. The Depot is an easy walk to tons of shopping, dining establishments and entertainment venues. World-class museums and entertainment venues like the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum (located in a defunct flour mill building) are kid-friendly and easily accessible any time during the day. Be sure to take your family on a walking tour throughout the downtown area to learn more about the architecture along the riverfront as well as the history that made the city it is today. After the tour, you and your family will have a greater sense of this city’s history and be able to navigate your way around easier.

Explore the arts at Art-A-Whirl

It wouldn't be spring in Minneapolis without celebrating the arts! Head to Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis where you can tour various studios and galleries, chat with the artists about their work and purchase your favorite pieces. Stop at any of the local food trucks to grab a bite to eat or just enjoy walking around and exploring the Northeast neighborhood. You may even run into some live music and artist demonstrations! Learn "how to whirl" with your kids! Art-A-Whirl runs May 19-21, 2017.

Attend the May Day Parade and Festival

The May Day Parade and Festival is quickly approaching its 43rd year of oversized puppet parades. Each year, hundreds of participants gather to make larger-than-life (some 10 feet tall) puppets of ravens, wolves, sun gods, luchadore wrestlers and dragons, among dozens of creative inventions. Decorative floats and volunteers in elaborate costumes accompany the puppets in the parade, which takes place annually in early May. The festival includes day-long concerts and visual performances from contortionists, acrobats and dancers. Families in town a month before the event might want to pitch in and help create some of the best costumes and puppets at one of their 16 workshops throughout Minneapolis. Don’t miss the Tree of Life Ceremony, where guests can enjoy the intoxicating rhythm of a beating drum circle to welcome in spring.

Explore the museum with your kids

Minneapolis is an oasis for the arts and is full of museums catering to kids. Participate in interactive exhibits and work on arts and crafts. The Children’s Museum consists of seven galleries packed with hands-on features and craft-making activities. The Walker Art Center is widely recognized for its contemporary art exhibits that will challenge the kids’ imaginations. Families can head inside to browse through some of the best abstract art pieces in the region. Find more ideas on how to enjoy the best of Minneapolis arts and culture with your kids.  

Find the best family-friendly restaurants

Rated as one of the top foodie cities, Minneapolis is well-known for its culinary advances and fabulous restaurants. However, when it comes to bringing along children, the city has plenty of family-friendly restaurants to satisfy both parents and kids. While it may sound taboo, the kids will love Hell’s Kitchen, where the eclectic surroundings will entertain them while they dine on kids’ versions of the famous Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes, Mac and Cheese or try a delicious donut at their Angel Food Bakery. If your brood prefers pasta and video games, you can’t go wrong if you take the kids to The Old Spaghetti Factory, where they can slurp on hand-made noodles and receive complimentary ice cream after playing in the arcade. Search for more family-friendly local restaurants in Minneapolis.

Do it for free!

Explore the best of Minneapolis without breaking the bank. Actually, without even making a dent. The city is proud to have tons of fun free things to do like strolling or biking around Lake Harriet, visiting the Walker Art Center on First Free Saturdays or browsing through the Mall of America just outside the city. Families can play a game of Frisbee golf in one of the parks or fly kites around Lake Harriet. City parks have no costs to enter. With careful planning, guests can take advantage of all the free things to do without having to spend a dime. 

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