Top 5 Family-Friendly Memberships in the Twin Cities Metro



Since moving closer to the Twin Cities metro area this summer, my boys have been reveling in all the family fun destinations the area contains.  We lived in southeast Minnesota area prior to our move, so it’s not as though the Minneapolis/St. Paul was a mystery to us. But our close proximity to so many fun places is a little overwhelming.  As we started to visit various museums and attractions this summer, it quickly became apparent that it made sense to purchase a membership.  Typically in as little as two or three visits a year, the membership will have paid for itself.  I love that sort of value. Family fun ultimately at discounted rates if we can maximize on the fun. 

Listed below are our top five current memberships. Most of these places are perfect for spending a snowy Minnesota Sunday afternoon.  With three boys in my house, we can almost literally be climbing the walls it we don’t get out and explore. Why not explore and learn at the same time? Obviously, it’s the former teacher coming out in me:) But it’s just good parenting too. 

1. Minnesota Children’s Museum 



 We can currently thank our seven-year-old for this family membership.  He won a yearlong membership as part of the local summer reading program. Score! Ages ago when we made our first visit my boys chatted endlessly about the epic ant hill. This series of tunnels and cave-like atmosphere is without a doubt their favorite part of the museum.  


My guys also love the water area.  That isn’t surprising, right? Kids love to play with bubbles and water. It’s just the way it works. However, what is particularly clever about any awesome children’s museum is that kids are playing, but they are really learning at the same time.  

2. Minnesota History Center



As a former history teach it isn’t too surprising that I have a membership to the historical society. But what is surprising is just how kid-friendly the history center is.  Yes, there are areas that kids will zoom past without paying much attention. But the vast majority of this museum is specifically made for hands-on learning.  I truly believe that the history center is an unknown gem for families. It is packed full of amazing, fun ways for history to come alive for children.  


I’ll never forget the look on a woman’s face as she watched my children touch ~everything~in the Open House: If These Walls Could Talk exhibit. She was under the impression this was a typical hands-off museum. She was shocked, she was outraged. She looked at me with disgust and indignation. Then she became confused. And then she quietly disappeared. It was hilarious. 

 3. Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium



The Mall of America is not a destination within itself for kids. Or at least for me with my kids. Three little boys do not have a passion for shopping.  But they do love sharks, and therefore Sea Life Minnesota {located within The Mall of America} is a favorite. Walk through underwater tunnels to be amazed by a different sea creatures.  I will confess I stare in stupid amazement as a shark seemingly flies through the water above me.  It is a wonder to be so close to such amazing creatures.


 This is definitely one membership that is already worth the investment for my family. A visit to this aquarium typically takes between 1-2 hours and is a great place for a quick activity.  My favorite is the room full of glowing jellyfish. They are so otherworldly! 

4. Science Museum of Minnesota 



 I’ll admit while the historical center is a natural favorite of mine, the science museum has had to grow on me.  Engineering and math are definitely my least favorite topics, but the plethora of activities and natural science fun is a big draw for my boys. That being said, I think the Science Museum of Minnesota is a destination that my kids are growing into.  


There are definitely items for my youngest {age 5} to enjoy, but I find that my 10 year old is best able to test and understand many of the experiments here. My favorite aspect of the museum is the Omnitheater. Last visit we saw an interesting show about butterfly migration, but I’m really exited to see the D-Day film currently showing. 

5. Minnesota Zoo 



 Kids love the zoo. That’s a no-brainer, right? Obviously, this membership is best suited to summertime fun, though there are a few entirely indoor areas.  My little guys love to play in the splash area during the warmer months, but they also enjoy watching many of the animals around the park.  Tigers, monkeys, bears, wolves- whatever your child’s favorite animal is, the Minnesota Zoo probably has it.


 This is our one membership that I feel is mostly exclusive to the summertime. But having a membership makes it easy to digest this large park in little chunks. Sometimes when we’ve visited such large attractions we feel the need to ‘conquer it all’. But by living in such close proximity and with a membership, we can focus on just a few areas at a time. 

 I imagine that our family will uncover other destinations in the Twin Cities metro area that we deem worthy of a membership in the coming months. Do you have any recommendations? Have a missed a great family friendly place? Please leave comments below, I’d love some suggestions! 


  1. I’m in awe: 5 museum memberships throughout one year is something you don’t hear every day. My family has the Minnesota History Center membership and we love it. I would also recommend checking out Arboretum and I’m sure you’ll add another membership to your list 🙂

  2. I always love the Walker. It membership is a little cheaper than some of the others. When my oldest was a preschooler she had her Walker routine checking out all her favorite exhibits and of course that meant that Arty Pants was free. It’s also just a great place to go on a date or take an out-of-town guest.

    • Alicia Kirby says

      That’s a great idea Joy! I’ve only visited the Walker once, but I need to check it out with my kids soon!

  3. The turtle picture is adorable! 🙂

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