Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do with Kids in St. Paul, MN

  • Published 2022/11/22

The city of Saint Paul in Ramsey County, Minnesota, thrives in diversity, tradition, and a deep sense of community, giving it a unique appeal that blends with the beauty of its natural surroundings.

When you visit the city, you’ll encounter its charming neighborhoods and various destinations frequented by travelers of all ages.

The second most populous city in Minnesota, St. Paul, is home to 307,193 people as of the July 2021 census.

With friendly establishments, the city has a lot to offer to families and especially to those with kids!

If you’re planning to travel with your children, check out this list of the best things to do with kids in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Explore the Science Museum of Minnesota

Exterior of the Science Museum of Minnesota

EWY Media /

Your kids will have the best time learning about science when you take them to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The museum houses fun and interactive exhibits for kids and adults to explore.

Located in downtown St. Paul, it has temporary and permanent galleries, a zero-emission Science House, and a dome omnitheater.

Here you’ll discover more of the surrounding nature, dinosaurs and ancient fossils, and the human body, among many others.

Dinosaur skeleton displayed in the Science Museum of Minnesota

Steve Skjold /

If you want to enjoy interactive exhibits, you can make an indoor tornado and connect electric currents at the Experiment Gallery or experience a world of mathematics in Math Moves.

You may also join the science museum’s scavenger hunt with your kids and get a prize after completing the challenge.

Discover the power of science through education and in-person activities at the Science Museum of Minnesota!

Giant astronaut suit in the Science Museum of Minnesota

Jacob Boomsma /

Satisfy Your Sugar Cravings at Candyland

A local favorite around Minnesota, Candyland at Wabasha Street North is a place you and your kids shouldn’t miss.

The first Candyland store opened in St. Paul in 1932 to sell popcorn and fudge, but it has since grown into a full-fledged candy wonderland for kids!

Today, it offers a wide selection of popcorn, hand-dipped chocolates made from scratch, old-fashioned treats like jellies and sours, brittles and barks, and licorice.

There’s so much to choose from in Candyland that even adults will find something for themselves.

Before heading out to explore other activities, drop by Candyland and see what Minnesota’s world-famous treats are all about!

Ride a Train While Learning at the Minnesota Transportation Museum

Exterior of the Minnesota Transportation Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Minnesota Transportation Museum is a place you and your kids will enjoy.

Situated in the historic Jackson Street Roundhouse, the museum’s building was originally a steam engine maintenance facility for the Great Northern Railway.

Today, it is a place to learn about transportation history through exhibits featuring local and regional railways and about 50 historic train cars.

It also offers train rides, so be sure to check the schedule if you want to try them.

Kids will definitely enjoy the museum’s Tots & Trains program, including train tables, interactive games, craft activities, and transportation-themed storytelling.

The Minnesota Transportation Museum will introduce you to the history of transportation in the state and give your kids a delightful museum experience.

Discover the Joy of Reading at Red Balloon Bookshop

If your kids love reading, take them to the Red Balloon Bookshop.

This independent bookstore on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue has provided amazing books to the local community for 35 years.

A bookstore is always great for meeting a community of like-minded people, so you and your kids may meet other book lovers here.

Red Balloon Bookshop also hosts weekly storytimes and occasional visits of best-selling authors and illustrators.

Whether you’re shopping for your own books or for your kids, you can find something in this quaint but charming store.

Discover your next favorite book when you visit Red Balloon Bookshop!

Catch a Local Show at Circus Juventas

Performers at Circus Juventas

Collin Knopp-Schwyn, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch and appreciate the art of the circus when you catch a show at Circus Juventas in the Highland Park neighborhood.

Circus Juventas, the biggest youth circus arts school in the country, produces different shows throughout the year.

You may check the schedule of their upcoming productions and secure a ticket in advance when you visit their website.

Training programs are available for kids of all ages with different difficulty levels.

Whether your kids are interested in circus classes or you want to enjoy watching a show, Circus Juventas will have something for you.

Enjoy a Day of Entertainment at Can Can Wonderland

Play all day at Can Can Wonderland with all its exciting games and entertainment options!

Located in Prior Avenue North, this place offers indoor mini golf, an arcade, a restaurant, vintage-inspired soda fountains, and a craft cocktails bar.

The vibrant amenities and the place are unique as local artists designed them.

Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture every moment or piece of art, including the incredible murals adorning the walls.

With its immersive art and games, live entertainment, and delicious food, kids and those young at heart won’t be able to get enough of Can Can Wonderland!

Play Musical Instruments at Schubert Club Music Museum

Interior of Schubert Club’s Music Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a music lover, you’ll enjoy spending a day at the Music Museum run by the Schubert Club, a local group promoting music performances and education.

Located at the Landmark Center on West 5th Street, the museum houses different galleries that are both educational and interactive.

One of the exhibits, the Music Makers Zone, invites guests to explore and try different instruments from around the world.

Kids will get the chance to play the instruments and make music themselves.

Here you may also discover Schubert Club’s keyboard collection and hear the sounds of instruments from different historical periods.

Add the Music Museum to your bucket list and learn about the history of different instruments from the stories of musicians and builders!

Get Your Chocolate Fix at Legacy Chocolates

Visit Legacy Chocolates and have a taste of Minnesota’s very own high-quality chocolate.

It is located at the Pioneer Endicott Building in the heart of downtown St. Paul.

The shop prides itself on restoring the fine craft of making “real” chocolate using only the finest ingredients and doing away with unhealthy ones commonly used in mass-produced sweets.

Stop by the shop’s Chocolate Cafe, where you can watch the production process of handcrafted chocolates through the glass windows.

Besides their chocolate, coffee, baked goods, and ice cream are available in the cafe.

Visit Legacy Chocolates to hoard exceptional chocolate at an affordable price!

Meet Different Animals and Plants at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Exterior of the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Aaron Fulkerson, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a must-visit for families traveling with kids.

Kids won’t just see different animals in person here but also have the chance to enjoy the amusement park.

The zoo grounds are home to various animals, including large cats, birds, aquatic animals, and primates, among many others.

Plants in the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Besides that, it also houses a plant conservatory with garden exhibits and a butterfly lot.

After roaming the area, kids may enjoy a children’s gallery, a historic carousel, and the adjoining Como Town, an amusement park with more than 20 rides and attractions.

You won’t run out of fun activities here at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory!

A pond at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Expose Your Kids to Arts and Culture at the History Theatre

The award-winning History Theatre on 10th Street East has produced plays and musicals about the country’s diverse history and people for over 40 years.

It aims to engage the audience by producing new and existing works about America.

When you watch one of the theater’s shows, you’ll enjoy and learn about its history and significance to the contemporary world.

The schedule of shows is posted on their website, so feel free to check it out if you’re planning a trip to the theater.

Introduce your kids to the power of performance art when you take them to History Theatre!

Play and Learn at Minnesota Children’s Museum

Exterior of the Minnesota Children's Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota Children’s Museum was designed for kids and their families to play and learn together.

Located on West 7th Street, the museum houses 11 play areas where kids can feel empowered and have fun.

Older kids may enjoy exhibits where they can build items using real tools and authentic materials or go for an adventure in a laser maze and a green-screen climbing wall.

Entrance to the Minnesota Children's Museum

Appraiser, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum also has spaces for younger kids or toddlers.

Let your kids take the lead and spend quality time with them at the Minnesota Children’s Museum!

Join a Sightseeing Cruise with Padelford Riverboat Co.

Departing from Harriet Island in St. Paul, the sightseeing cruise of Padelford Riverboat Co. will take you to neighboring areas in the comfort of riverboats.

Padelford’s daily sightseeing cruise, among its other cruise options, will go through the Pig’s Eye Cave, St. Paul High Bridge, Pike Island, the Minnesota River mouth, and the Mississippi River.

You may also dine while visiting the beautiful sites, as Padelford offers lunch, picnic, and dinner cruises.

Since it was founded in 1969, the company has served millions of passengers with its exceptional cruise offerings.

Enjoy fresh air and family time when you ride with Padelford Riverboat Co.

Admire Miniature Models and Toys at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Exterior of the Twin City Model Railroad Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since its foundation in 1934, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum has been preserving the history, art, and technology of toy trains and model railroading.

When you visit the museum on Transfer Road, you’ll learn about the cultural and historical significance of railroads through over 11,000-square-foot interactive layouts and displays of model trains.

Besides the railroad layouts, you may also find artworks, artifacts, and equipment collected from old railroads.

Different interactive exhibits await guests of all ages, even toddlers.

Kids may enjoy the vibrant Lego Train Layout exhibit, custom designed and built from Lego pieces.

Take your kids with you when you visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum!

Spend a Day with Family at the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area

If you want to spend a day outdoors with your family, take them to the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, which you can access from St. Paul.

The national park stretches up to 72 miles along the Mississippi River.

At the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, you may spend quality time with nature and your family while fishing, boating, or canoeing.

You may also bring picnic food or look for an excellent spot for birdwatching, biking, or hiking.

To get more information and advice from park rangers about the best areas along Mississippi, visit the Mississippi River Visitor Center in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Learn about Minnesota at Minnesota History Center

Exterior of the Minnesota History Center

Richie Diesterheft, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can’t visit St. Paul without stopping by the Minnesota History Center on West Kellogg Boulevard.

The center houses a museum where you can learn about Minnesota’s history through exhibits featuring historical items, hands-on attractions, and multimedia displays.

You may immerse yourself in Sherlock Holmes’ London or take a trip to the different eras of Minnesota through interactive exhibits!

While you’re in the center, don’t forget to look for the life-size replica of the Curtiss Model JN-4 airplane, known as a “Jenny,” hanging from the ceiling of the main rotunda.

Before leaving Minnesota History Center, take a photo with the center’s giant postcard for the perfect souvenir.

Final Thoughts

St. Paul has a lot of attractions for visitors regardless of age.

From cultural and historical spots to pure entertainment venues, you won’t run out of things to do, even with your family and kids in tow!

Before you take the road, bookmark this list of the best things to do with kids in St. Paul, Minnesota!

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