Twin Cities Skyline

10 Best Things to do in The Twin Cities

Guest blogger Jenn Singer of Day Tripper, (and Minnesota Native), tells us her Top 10 Best Things to do in The Twin Cities.

10 Best Things to do in The Twin Cities

 

10 Best Things to do in the Twin Cities1. Target Field

Target field is my favorite sports venue in the cities. This was the way baseball was meant to be seen. My husband and I get excited every year just for the food alone. My favorite foods are in Hrbek’s Pub located downstairs behind home plate. It’s a great value, exceptional product and food served fresh.

 

2. Science Museum of MinnesotaScience Museum St. Paul MN

Every kids favorite school field trip location was the Science Museum. And as a grown up it’s even better. With hands-on activities for every age group, Omni screen and always changing displays; it’s worth every penny.

 

 

 

The Minneapolis Institute of Art3. Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The Twin Cities has a great collection of different museums to check out. Most of them are free too. I loved the MIA for a couple reasons. They have a bit of everything, from different cultures, to pop art from the 60’s. Their collection of period pieces and rooms is phenomenal. It transforms you into another world. The rooms on the 4th floor are haunted too.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

White dog from the Pop Art and Neo-Pop Wing

 

4. Mall of America
Mall of America Twin Cities Carousel

Mall of America Carousel

No list of the Twin Cities could not be complete with the Mall of America. With over 530 stores, you are bound to find something you like. The mall becomes a favorite of many out of town visitors because we don’t charge sales tax on clothing. That guarantees you a 7-8% off on all clothing purchases. On a cold or rainy day, you’ll be bumping into a lot of people. My recommendation is to visit during the week or on a nice day. That way you can jump on to all the rides at Nickelodeon Universe without waiting.

 

Sealife Aquarium in the Mall of America5. Sealife Aquarium

Also in the Mall of America is Sealife aquarium. It’s perfect for getting up close and personal with aquatic life. They have touch pools for kids to explore and an amazing stingray exhibit. Besides petting the rays, you can also feed them. There are 4 different underwater tunnels with different ocean life to explore. Tip: Purchase tickets online before you go for an extra discount.

Sealife Aquarium Minneapolis MN

Stingray Exhibit

 

6. Minnesota Zoo, Apple ValleyMN Zoo Farm

With a few zoos to choose from, the Minnesota Zoo has always been my favorite. They have over 2.5 miles of trails with all kinds of different animals. The zoo staff is always on hand to answer any question you may have about the animals. My favorite season to visit is always fall, just because the leaves are changing. They also put out seasonal treats for the animals. It’s always an adventure. If you can, go right when the zoo opens. The animals are the most active then.

Minnesota Zoo Moose

Moose at the MN Zoo

 

Lake Harriet's Enchanted Elf Door - 10 Best Things to do in the Twin Cities

Enchanted Elf Door – Lake Harriet

7. Lake Harriet

Minnesota’s is known for their amazing trails and lakes. My favorite is Lake Harriet in Uptown. They have a band shell that plays music during the summer months. There are separate paths for bikers and walkers. Parking is found all around the lake for free. If you have younger kids, stop to see Mr. Little Guy. His home is located between the bike path and the walking path just past South Oliver Avenue. At the base of the tree, kids leave little notes for him and he always responds.

8. Lake Minnetonka Steam Boat

Lake Minnetonka is one the biggest in the Twin Cities. If you don’t want to rent a party boat or go on a cruise, check out the Steamboat Minnehaha. It’s an hour long tour of Lake Minnetonka on the historic Minnehaha Steamboat. This boat was used in the early 1900’s as a ferry. This is a great way to view the lakes and kids especially like it because they can see the interworking’s and get the opportunity to drive.

 

9. Main Street in StillwaterStillwater Bridge

Everything in Stillwater moves a little slower. Located right off the Mississippi, this town is perfect for a taking a stroll though. When downtown, check out some great antique stores and riverfront restaurants. They also offer different trolley tours of the city. It’s worth it because they’ll take you past some of the amazing homes. Just outside of town, they have three wineries and an apple orchard.

 

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store10. The Largest Candy Store in Minnesota

In Jordan Minnesota, just 30 mins south of the Twin Cities, you’ll find Minnesota’s Largest candy store. This place is amazing. You will find all the candies you loved as a kid and so much more. They also boast bacon flavored everything, 100s of different pops, Pez, licorices and more puzzles you could ever image. Make sure you grab cash before you leave because they don’t take plastic. We always make sure to stop a couple times during the year, because they are only open during the summer months.

Special thanks to guest blogger Jenn Singer for showing us her top 10 Best things to do in The Twin Cities.  Next week we will be featuring another Minnesota blogger who gives us some pretty convincing reasons Minnesota is perfect for visiting during every season of the year!

 

JGuest Blogger Fun Family Vacationsenn Singer is a travel writer for DayTripper28.com, a Minnesota Travel blog that explores different Minnesota destinations. She doesn’t believe that a Vacation should require you to use up your precious Vacation time from work. As a Minnesota native, her passion for exploring has led her to try all kinds of new things. As someone that takes 30+ Day Trips a year, she is always up for an adventure.

*All content and pictures provided by our guest blogger.

You Might Also Like:

  1. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Madison Wisconsin
  2. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – St. Louis Missouri
  3. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Huntsville Alabama
  4. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – 3 of the Best Places to Eat, Sleep, and Visit in Kendal, England
  5. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Spending the Day in Madison WI
  6. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Visit Seattle Like a Local
  7. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – 10 Things to do in Wollongong Australia
  8. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Rockingham Western Australia
  9. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – 8 things to do in Eisenberg Austria
  10. Bloggers Hometown Favorites – Visit Branson and be Inspired with the Beautiful Scenes

 

 

Two Traveling Texans
Winter Weekend Getaway

Winter Weekend Getaway at Kalahari Resorts

Winter Weekend Getaway at Kalahari Resorts

 

We just finished our Holiday travels and we are already thinking about a Winter Weekend Getaway.   The Kalahari Resorts and Convention Centers seem like the perfect destination to escape our winter blues and wind down from the hectic holiday season.

Summer Fun in the Middle of Winter at Kalahari Resorts

We need a Vacation from our Holiday Vacation!

They have so much to offer people of all ages.  From Waterslides to wave pools, splash padsKalahari Resorts Pocono Mountains, PA for the little ones, and a luxury spa and swim up bar for the adults.    Not only do they feature the world’s largest indoor waterparks, they’ve been voted the “world’s coolest indoor waterpark.”   Kalahari Resorts currently offers three African-themed resorts in Wisconsin Dells, WI, Sandusky, OH, and Pocono Mountains, PA.

 

 

Kalahari Resorts Family VacationWe’ve been looking at the Pocono Mountains, PA indoor waterpark which currently features some pretty awesome slides, The Anaconda Water Roller Coaster, a Lazy River, Safari Kids & Toddler play area, and much more.  Plus, this location is conveniently within driving distance of most major East Coast metropolitan areas.  In just a few short months, (March 2017), The Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Pocono Mountains location is opening their Newest Addition that will make it America’s largest indoor waterpark.

 

 

Winter Weekend Getaway

Summer Fun in the Middle of Winter!

Some of the newest features at Kalahari Resorts Pocono Mountains, PA will include:

8 New Water Slides:  Screaming Hyena – 25mph near vertical plunge (what teen wouldn’t love this?), Sahara Sidewinder – 250 foot indoor looping waterslide, “The Smoke that Thunders” and Victoria Falls – a South African Waterslide experience, Kenya’s Korkscrew  Zig-Zag slide, and The Cheetah Race Mat Slide.

Character Meet and Greets Kalahari

They also offer Kalahari Character Meet & Greets

The new additions will also include a newly expanded Lazy River, Coral Cove kids area, and Dungeons of Hout Wavepool.  What I’m most excited about is the Cabana Island; this looks like an awesome place for me to relax watching the kids experience summer fun in the middle of winter.

Kalahari Resorts Spa

This Could Be Me!

There will also be several non-swimming attractions including an expanded family entertainment center that offers a Virtual Reality experience.  I’d love to spend an afternoon in their Luxury Spa.

Winter Fun at Kalahari Indoor Water Parks

Several On-Site Dining Options at Kalahari Resorts

Each location also offers a variety of onsite dining options, so there is no need to leave the resort during your stay.   You can enjoy full sit-down steak dinner experience; a casual pub-like atmosphere and even a market style grab and go option.

 

 

 

Their resorts look like so much fun!  Who knew you could take such an adventure packed vacation indoors, in the middle of winter?    Check out their resorts and newest attractions at the Kalahari Resort Pocono Mountains location and start planning your Winter Weekend Getaway today.  We are.

Winter Weekend Getaway at Kalahari Indoor Waterpark

 

*Sponsored post by Kalahari Resorts.  All Kalahari Resorts Photos courtesy of Kalahari Resorts.

New Orleans Family Vacation

10 things We Learned From Our New Orleans Family Vacation

New Orleans Family Vacation

The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions New Orleans is “family vacation,” right?  It is probably Mardi Gras, Beads, & Bourbon Street.   Not exactly the mental picture of family fun.    When we told people we were going to New Orleans, many responses were, “I’d never take my kid there.”  Really?  Why not?  People live in New Orleans.  People with kids live in New Orleans.   There are plenty of attractions and activities geared toward families and kids. Recently, when my husband was working in NOLA and the kids had a few days off of school, we took a last minute road trip to the Big Easy.

10 things we learned from our New Orleans Family Vacation:

 

Jackson Square New Orleans Family VacationThe French quarter is FUN for families – The quarter is a large area, and with the exception of French Quarter KidsBourbon street at night, you’ll see people with kids wandering through the streets of enjoying the shops, architecture and talented street performers.  Jackson Square, on the river’s edge of the Quarter, is a favorite family spot.  Here you’ll find local artisans, “fortune tellers”, the famous St. Louis Cathedral, and Café Du Monde.

 

Speaking of Café Du Monde, don’t wear all black to Café Du Monde.  You’ll want to try their famous Beignets (more than once), and dark colored clothes and beignets don’t mix.  Yep, we found out the hard way.   Did that stop us?  Nope – we made several stops for these delicious treats and left with happy bellies covered in powdered sugar.   Most likely there will be a long line to get into this famous Café, but don’t let that stop you.  The line for seating is pretty fast as the only thing they offer is their famous beignets and coffee.  (I highly suggest enjoying a Café Au Lait).

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde Cafe Du Monde Cafe Du Monde Jackson Square

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t take a swamp tour when the temperature is below 75ish.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I booked a swamp tour in late December, but we did have a TON of fun flying around that cold swamp in an Airboat!  Even with the lack of alligators, who don’t like to come out to sun themselves when there is no sun, our tour guide was super fun and knowledgeable about gators and the swamp.  Luckily, the guide had a rescue gator that we were able to see while he gave an educational talk about the area.  DO book a swamp tour during the spring and summer.

Alligator Tour New Orleans New Orleans Swamp Tours Bayou Swamp Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans Cemetary Tour

New Orleans Famous Cemeteries

Most tours are suitable for families.  There are tons of local tours available from tour operators all over the city.  In the French Quarter, you’ll find people selling and scheduling tours on almost every street.  Depending on the age of your kids, you may not want to take one of the nighttime Haunted or Vampire tours; however, there are several other tour themes revolving around the local Cemeteries, French Quarter history, Voodoo, Marigny and Garden District Tours to name a few.  There is even a French Quarter Kids Tour Company that offers walking tours geared to kids from 4-13, including a non-scary, kid-friendly “spooky tour.”

 

Do schedule a walking tour with “Free Tours by Foot.”   I had never heard of this Voodoo Walking Tourcompany, but I love their concept; they offer tours New Orleans Fun Family Vacationwhere you pay what you want at the end.   Due to our own time constraints and availability, we ended up booking a Voodoo tour.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about how the kids would do with this subject.   However, the tour was packed with local history beginning with the origins of the local Voodoo culture in the 1700’s to how it is practiced today.  Our guide was informative and interesting; not only did she keep my attention, she kept the attention of my kids.  I realized my misconceptions about Voodoo were mainly based on what I saw in “Hollywood” movies.   The tour lasted about 1.5 hours and I tipped our guide $40 for myself and the kids.   Most people were paying anywhere from $10-$20 which I thought was a fair amount for this tour.

Most restaurants are kid friendly and food allergy friendly especially in the “touristy” areas.  We dined at several different restaurants throughout our stay from “upscale” to quick service, and most places provide some type of kids menu.  Every restaurant we visited offered some type of accommodation for our food allergy concerns; including allowing us to bring our own food when we could not find an allergy safe item on the menu.

New Orleans Family Vacation

The food in this city is Amazing!

Canal Street View from the Marriot

Nighttime View of Canal Street

Don’t stay in the French Quarter if you have a car, especially if you want to drive to other sites around the city.  We stayed in a hotel on Canal Street that backed up to the Quarter and quickly realized entering and exiting the hotel with our car was a hassle.  Instead, consider staying 2-3 blocks outside of the Quarter.   You might save $$ on hotel parking, utilizing your vehicle will be easier, and you will be close enough to walk to everything in the area.  However, a French Quarter hotel would be perfect for an adult only trip, especially during Mardi Gras!

 

 

 

New Orleans Street Performers

Magician on Royal Street

Make sure to have small bills and change on hand for tipping the street performers.  My kids thoroughly enjoyed listening to the musicians and watching the various street performers on Jackson square and throughout the French Quarter.  It is customary to give a few dollars if you really enjoyed the show, and if you take video or pictures.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you just have to stop and Dance.

 

Purchase a 1-3 day Street Car Pass online or from a local shop/street vendor.  We wanted to ride the street car and we were unable to ride as they only take exact change (all I had was a $20). (Mom fail #54864)  Single rides are $1.25 each way.  Click here for a link to their website and mobile app.

New Orleans Street Cars

 

City Park New Orleans for KidsGo to Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park inside City Park.  This place looks amazing!  Unfortunately, we visited on New Year’s Eve and they were closed for the holiday weekend.   Their hours change seasonally so make sure to check their website ahead of your visit.  Admission is $4/person and kids 36” and under get in free.  Rides are $4 each or $18 for unlimited rides.  City Park is also home to The Train Garden, The Botanical Garden, and The Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden

 

 

We only stayed a few days in New Orleans and didn’t make a dent in all of the Family Friendly attractions the City has to offer.  It’s home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Audubon Aquarium, Mardi Gras World, National WWII Museum, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and many, many more.  And Parades?  What kid doesn’t love a Parade?  Parades happen all year in this city, some scheduled, some spontaneous.

It’s time to schedule another New Orleans Family Vacation!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

 

New Years Eve in New Orleans

Happy New Year from Our Family to Yours!