Twenty years ago I was sitting in Spanish class while a lady shared with my high school class about hosting foreign exchange students. It sounded like fun to me, so I wrote my families phone number down on the paper she passed around. A few days later she called my parents. We lived in a small house and my parents asked us where the person would stay. I said I’ll move upstairs with Emily and they can have my room. We all agreed and my mom called the lady back and said we were interested. She came over with her booklet of kids to pick from and we were connected to Jaime Duran Bados. Years later we are still close friends and our families love playing together.
It has been one of the best experiences our family has ever had. We have developed a lasting friendship and he continues to visit us when he comes to the United States on business. This year he has brought his family and we have had the sweetest time with them. We have traveled all over Southern Minnesota on adventures. One of our adventures took us to the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, MN.
We arrived in downtown St. Paul and parked at the Excel Energy Center’s parking lot. It was the perfect solution for us as we had the oversized van and it would not fit in the parking ramp near by. There were two other parking lots closer to the museum, but the Excel Center’s was the one we choose to use. We walked the five blocks to the museum and we all cheered when we saw it come into our view. If you have an oversized vehicle I suggest visiting the website or giving the museum a call to find the best parking location.
We checked into the ticket office, put on our purple stickers and were well on our way to explore the museum. Our first stop was the first floor with the Scramble, Forces at Play, Carpet Skating, Laser Maze and Green Screen area. Water, bubbles, skating, sliding, rock climbing and more adventures were all enjoyed and loved by all of the eleven kids we had with us. After spending a couple of hours on the first floor our stomachs began to tell us we were hungry.
When planning our trip to the museum we were trying to decide what to do about lunch. I suggested we eat lunch at the Tomato Tomato Cafe at their recently opened restaurant. I was a little nervous paying $6.95 each for a kids meal, not knowing if our kids would eat the meal. The kids ordered chicken tenders, mac and cheese and a quesadilla. I ordered a vegan salad for myself. The kid’s meals came with fish crackers, carrots, fruit and a protein. It was honestly the perfect combination for my hungry eaters. Even Timmy my two years old ate nearly everything on his plate. That’s a huge accomplishment!
After lunch, we made our way through the rest of the museum’s floors. I am always amazed at how water, building blocks and dot stickers can entertain them for hours. We could literally spend all day just on one floor of the museum. We especially loved the art room and the everything balls room.
In the art room, they had one station where the kids could make an energy connection to make a light up a light bulb. They had sensory tables for the younger kids and arts and crafts for everyone.
I love all of the ways the Minnesota Children’s Museum is encouraging and inspiring people of all ages to play. In our group, we had grandparents, parents, and kids. Three generations playing, exploring and learning together.