Our family has always loved traveling to the Minneapolis area. It is about four hours from where we live so it is not too long to get there. We have never experienced the downtown area or gone into the city…….. until now. We visited downtown Minneapolis in late March.
I am beyond excited to share this fun, family getaway with all of you.
I will start this post off by telling you that I took a gazillion pictures during this vacation. I decided to make collages of the different places we visited so that this post wasn’t overwhelmed with too many pictures.
Let me begin by telling you all about the hotel we stayed in. The Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown was renovated last summer. Oh my goodness! It is beautiful! As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with this amazing lobby. It is unlike any hotel lobby we have seen. Very sleek and modern and complete with a HUGE TV screen! (My husband and son were very impressed with the TV.)
When we are traveling with our kids, we usually stay on the outskirts of the city. This time around, I am so glad our kids got to experience staying in the city. They LOVED it! As soon as we got into our room and opened the curtains, the kids said, “It is like we are right in the middle of a big city between all the tall buildings!” I said, “We are!”
The rooms are unbelievable. They were calm, relaxing and beautifully decorated. They had murals on walls, comfortable beds and a great work space to make sure I was keeping up with Blog Land. 🙂 The Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown welcomed us with open arms. They made my kids and my husband and I feel special with the little added touches they added to our room. We were part of the business class guests so we were able to experience the lounge on the 15th floor with drinks and appetizers in the evening and breakfast in the morning (during the week). We were there during the basketball tournaments so it was nice to relax and watch the games in the lounge after a long day of exploring the city. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw pictures of the lounge when we were visiting it.
The Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown is very special and has become one of our favorite hotels to stay in.
The first thing we did on the way into Minneapolis was visit the Minnesota Zoo. We have never been to this zoo so we were super excited to check it out. The Minnesota Zoo has so much to offer. We went during the off-season so some of the exhibits (farm animals) weren’t open, but I have to say, we had the best time we have ever had at a zoo. It was not overly crowded and we really got to take our time and explore every corner of the zoo. They had a lot of little nooks and crannies that the kids could walk through and/or sit and watch the animals. There is an “outside” portion of the zoo and an inside part. In the Midwest, you wouldn’t think there would be lots of animals to see, but we were amazed with all the animals we got to see. If you saw my picture on Instagram, I shared an animal we had never seen before. I asked my followers if they knew what it was and I was surprised that so many of them did!
Like with every zoo we visit, we always pick our favorite animal we saw and for the Minnesota Zoo, it was the bears. We have never seen bears that big in a zoo before! And, the best part about it, they were sleeping right next to the glass when we got to their area and the picture in the middle of the collage below, shows you how close we were able to see them! My kids were measuring their hand size to the paws of the bear. They were astounded! I love when my kids get to experience things like this up close. They learn so much.
On our way out of the zoo, we stopped by the Discovery Bay area where you can touch the sharks and sting ray. My kids love doing this and it really gives them an up-close and personal view of sea life. I love that.
The zoo also offers a Close Encounters schedule. They have animal encounters around the zoo that allow for some close guest interactions.
After some much-needed rest, we started our second day at the Science Museum Minnesota. I had to post a Flipgram on Instagram that morning to share many of the great, hands-on activities they had to offer. As soon as you walk in the building, they have interactive tablets around the dinosaur. You can move the tablet around and it will tell you about the different parts of the dinosaur. We have never seen anything like that so we were excited right off the bat. Another thing I loved in the front of the building was the little coffee bar they have. We got to the museum a little early so the coffee bar was perfect.
Right now, the Science Museum Minnesota is featuring Space and they have a 3 story tall astronaut in the building. The kids can put their picture in the helmet of the astronaut. My son loved that. The kids became news anchors, watched a space film and got to experience the feeling of a space shuttle in the Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience exhibit. The Science Museum is also hosting the world premiere of the Journey to Space Omnitheater film. My husband and I were talking about all the things that are offered at this Science Museum. Every time we turned around, there was something new to try, experience and explore. My kids had a lot of fun throughout every level of the museum.
After the Science Museum, we headed over to the Mill City Museum. This museum was “built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill.” There was a lot of history in this museum. We loved the way they taught visitors about the mill and the people who worked there throughout the years. It’s the Flour Tower. The Flour Tower is a big elevator with bench seating in it. It takes you up and down and the elevator doors open at each level to tell you about the mill. It also had the voices from real workers talking about their experience in the mill. As parents, we loved this because it kept our kids’ attention and they learned a lot while riding the Flour Tower. At the end of the ride, we were taken on top of the mill. It is beautiful up there! We also walked around the river outside of the mill and saw the ruins from what used to be the rest of the mill. My husband and I thought it would be a beautiful setting for a wedding. There is so much history and the remains from the old building are amazing.
On the final day of our vacation, we explored the Mall of America. This mall is a daily event all on its own. There is so much to do in this mall that a lot of times it take more than one day to do and see everything. In the middle of the mall is Nickelodeon Universe®. It has seven acres of attractions and entertainment. Seven acres! My kids love the rides (my daughter is a little more daring than my son) and we spend many hours going back and forth between their favorite rides. They also got to experience the zip line that goes across Nickelodeon Universe®. We also visited the SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium which brings you up close and personal to more than 10,000 sea creatures. Our favorite part is walking through the tunnel as the sea creatures (sharks, sting ray, fish, turtles and more) swim right above us. My daughter and I visited The Barbie™ Dreamhouse Experience™ upstairs in the mall. We became a living doll in the Barbie® Dreamhouse® and experienced each room of her amazing Malibu Dreamhouse™. At the end of our day at the mall, we enjoyed a little family, friendly competition at Moose Mountain miniature golf.
The Mall of America is such a great destination for families. There is so much to see and do that everyone is always happy and entertained. I would highly recommend getting the coupon book the mall offers. It costs $20, but it will save you money. Our first time using one of the coupons, we saved $16 on an appetizer at one of the MANY restaurants in the mall. My daughter also used another coupon at the American Girl store (another favorite spot in the mall for us).
If you are looking for a fun, family vacation, you need to head to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The area is beautiful and the city is very family friendly. There is so much for the entire family to do and new things to explore all the time. They have deals available on their website (http://go.minneapolis.org) that change periodically and are really useful for families.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram where I posted a lot more pictures of our stay in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Have you ever been to Minneapolis? I would love to hear about some of your favorite attractions.