The diverse and culturally rich Twin Cities in Minnesota are filled with plenty of educational and enjoyable activities for families. Whether it's observing wildlife at the zoo or watching a magic show at the art museum, you'll find plenty of affordable and enjoyable ways to spend your day.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
At the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul (comozooconservatory.org), you and your family can walk through the grounds to see exotic plants and beautiful garden displays, animal exhibits featuring bison to flamingos, animal-inspired sculptures and a historic -- and operating -- carousel. The grounds are open every day of the year, and admission is free. Check the calendar for summer events at the Como Lakeside Pavilion, which hosts events that include band concerts and musicals.
Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
The Mall of America has a lot to offer -- including the spectacular Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium (visitsealife.com/Minnesota). Many of the creatures in the facility are on the endangered species list and bred as part of Sea Life's conservation projects. Your family will see sand tiger sharks, alligator snapping turtles and the world's largest collection of jellyfish. Your little ones will love being able to hold a crab or touch a starfish in the aquarium's rock pool.
Choo Choo Bob's Train Store
This landmark store in St. Paul (choochoobobs.com/store) is an enjoyable and free outing for the family. The store's windows are filled with operating trains and children are free to play with the tables while parents shop. The store also has weekly story times with Engineer Paul -- a character from the "The Choo Choo Bob Show" -- where families can listen to train stories and sing songs with their little ones.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Give your family a taste of culture when you attend a Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (artsmia.org). This free event, offered one Sunday a month, includes a day filled with magic shows, concerts, arts and crafts, gallery treasure hunts and special family tours of various exhibits in the museum. Your child might even have the opportunity to meet artists and musicians.