Exploring Minneapolis/St. Paul: 15 field trips in Minnesota
If you're visiting the Minneapolis/St. Paul area or you're lucky enough to live there, these destinations offer lesson plans, scavenger hunts, multimedia shows and activities prepared for teachers, home school educators, parents and youth group leaders. Students from online schools in Minnesota can gain hands-on experience in the Water and Baking Labs at Mill City, while home school classes can journey into space travel at the Science Museum of Minnesota. We've listed the music and art field trips separately, but many places support multiple subjects with creative approaches like science theater.
Arts and music
Children's Theatre Company (2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis): Community engagement bridge programs and performing arts courses target audiences from early learners to young adults. Teaching artists engage students, and special matinees offer curricular support to connect school and the arts. Home school families have access to discounts and workshops -- just pick a topic, from Shakespeare to puppetry to comedy improvisation.
Edina Art Center (4701 W. 64th St., Edina): Young and old alike can get their hands dirty in classes on painting, ceramics or media arts. Summer camps and classes target kids and teens; try Animal World Art using clay and feathers for mixed media fun. Classes span cartooning, handmade book arts, camera club, clay for kids, clay combined with French language immersion, beading and more.
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis): Kids of all ages and abilities can enjoy hands-on workshops or shows in English and Spanish. Field trips include a puppetry demonstration and a short craft workshop, with themes like rod puppets, hand puppets and mask making. The Toy Theatre classes can tie in to lessons on family history, science, animals, heroes and more.
MacPhail Center for Music (501 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis): The many choices for lessons and shows include music-themed art projects for families and no-cost family recitals. Before and after performances, musicians give kids sample lessons on the instruments. Camps concentrate on piano, rock, percussion, composing for video games and more. You can experiment with early childhood music lessons; the first class is free.
Minnesota Orchestra (1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis): One of the top 10 orchestras in the U.S., the Minnesota Orchestra offers outdoor concerts in the Twin Cities as well as family concerts with lobby activities for kids. Kinder Konzerts invite the little ones onstage for narrated concerts, and the Sound Factory gives them the chance to play (with) real instruments. Young people's concerts -- for schools and families -- bring to life themes like Supersonic Sounds, complete with online prep materials.
Minnesota Opera (Minnesota Opera Center, 620 N. First St., Minneapolis): Young people of all ages experience the power, beauty and grandeur of live opera at student dress rehearsals. Meet "teaching artists" and learn the correct phrases to yell during applause. Music students can get a taste of an artist's life through career day or master classes.
Northern Clay Center (2424 Franklin Ave. E., Minneapolis): Classes in the ceramic arts inspire children and adults at all skill levels. Summer day camps are based on age group, with subjects such as pottery wheel, hand clay building, or karate and clay. Classes include clay for families and friends, and weekend workshops feature events like a summer celebration.
Walker Art Center (1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis): Tours and art labs for K-12 students feature gallery adventures and hands-on learning and art-making. Family events incorporate the Arty Pants playdate for youngsters, with art projects and story time. Various no-cost events include Teen Art Lounge and Thursday evening gatherings such as the Acoustic Campfire.
Weisman Art Museum (333 East River Rd., Minneapolis): Affiliated with the University of Minnesota, the museum provides learning-rich experiences for K-12 audiences. Discussion-based tours guide young people through art collections while building observation skills and high-level thinking about topics like perspective.
Math, science, history and more
Alexander Ramsey House (265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul): Get a glimpse of daily life in the 1870s at the first territorial governor's home, one of the nation's best preserved Victorian-era houses. Study aids target different grades or interests. For example, a home school lesson guide dips into Victorian children's games, art activities, etiquette and literature. The Minnesota Historical Society supports this site with free admission for St. Paul public and charter schools.
The Bakken Museum (3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis): Kids can get charged up at summer science day camps and interactive workshops about batteries, static electricity and more. Named after an early innovator in biomedical engineering, the museum boasts a mansion and gardens in the heart of the Chain of Lakes. Exhibits illustrate the connections between electricity, history, science, engineering, medicine and invention, while unique theater performances integrate art and science.
Mill City Museum (704 South 2nd St., Minneapolis): Visit what was the world's largest mill, where flour dust exploded with the force of dynamite, back when Minneapolis was a milling powerhouse. Located in the Historic Mississippi Riverfront District, this museum is linked to the Minnesota Historical Society. Student tours cover themes ranging from history to science to nutrition and life skills. Enjoy multimedia shows and scavenger hunts, or steer logs down the river in the Water Lab.
Minnesota Children's Museum (10 W. 7th St., St. Paul): Whether you're with a family or a class, be sure to download the museum cards to guide you through the many hands-on exhibits -- and don't forget the rooftop garden. Explore science and engineering with Curious George, or pursue math with the Cyberchase adventure. Parents can find tons of resources including play-at-home ideas.
Minnesota Zoo (13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley): If you're aged 2 or up, the zoo has programs for you. Families hunker down for overnight visits, toddler time or zoo camp. The online Discovery Zone offers downloadable scavenger hunts, games, puzzles and activity books. Teens can sign up for Reptile Care 101 or encounters with bears. Don't miss interactive events like geography day, career day and world language days.
Science Museum of Minnesota (120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul): Hands-on activities enrich learning, like a math exhibit encouraging mind and body involvement. Wide-ranging materials support classroom instruction -- for the air and weather lesson, children create a cloud as a pre-visit activity. Families enjoy camp-ins with dinosaurs, workshops and live theater, and home school tours discover themes like the physics of sound and music.
This list is a jumping-off point to discover all the activities this region has to offer. Bookmark these Minnesota destinations so you can take advantage of their in-depth resources for curriculum support. Best of all, you may find free admission for teachers, chaperones, students or families.