About Minnesota Children’s Museum

Minnesota Children’s Museum sparks children’s learning through play. The museum, a nonprofit organization, serves more than 550,000 visitors each year at locations in St. Paul and Rochester.

Our museums are kid-powered play spaces where families have fun together and kids take the lead. Through interactive exhibits and programs, the museum provides open-ended, self-directed experiences that give kids (and adults!) the space and freedom to explore their interests, solve problems and build life skills like confidence, critical and creative thinking, communication and more.

The museum in St. Paul features 10 permanent exhibits including a four-story climber with spiral slide, laser maze, car wash, ball launchers, maker space, pretend town, and a gallery for toddlers and pre-schoolers. There’s also a traveling exhibits gallery that features a new exhibit every few months.

Minnesota Children’s Museum is a leading producer of hands-on rental exhibits for children’s museums and discovery centers.

Our Core Beliefs

  • Play builds brains and nurtures the skills children need to thrive.
  • Children deserve the time, space and freedom to play.
  • Equitable access to playful learning advances children’s healthy development.
  • Parents serve as critical partners in their child’s lifelong learning.

Inspiring More Play

Play is powerful and universal. It’s an innate impulse in kids that helps them thrive and grow into healthy, happy adults.

Yet, pressures on play — like screen time, adult-led academic activities, safety worries and busy family schedules — continue to decrease the amount of time kids spend playing.

Through play, kids learn how to learn, build relationships with others, and develop life skills that set them up for future success. Equally important, when kids play, they have fun, which leads to joy and happiness. Play is not frivolous, it’s essential.

That’s why we’re setting out to inspire more play and providing resources for parents [link to resource center] to support their child’s playful learning.

Ally to Families

Minnesota Children’s Museum believes play is powerful and universal, uniting people across cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.

All families are welcome and encouraged to experience the power of play at the museum.

Our All Play scholarship membership program is available to help make the museum accessible to everyone.

New Era for Play

The Board of Directors approved a three-year strategic plan in June 2018. The plan:

  • Makes most of newly expanded museum
  • Focuses on engaging parents in the power of play
  • Weaves commitment to equity and inclusion throughout
  • Ensures long-term strength

Mission-Focused Nonprofit

As a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit community organization, Minnesota Children’s Museum relies on the donations of individuals, corporations and foundations to continue to provide one-of-a-kind experiences and education for children.

Learn more about supporting the museum through a contribution or volunteering.

History

1981: First Home in Minneapolis
The original Children’s Museum opened on Dec. 12, 1981 in a renovated warehouse on 1st Street North. The innovative space for hands-on playful learning quickly became a popular spot for local children and their families.

1985 A Move Across the River
After quickly outgrowing its first home, the museum renovated an old blacksmith shop in Bandana Square in St. Paul and opened its bigger space on Feb. 17, 1986.

1995: Move to Downtown St. Paul
A new era began Sept. 16, 1995 when Minnesota Children’s Museum opened a newly constructed building on West Seventh Street to house new exhibits, including a pioneering gallery designed for toddlers.

2005: Expansion in St. Paul
In 2005, new gallery improvements, traveling exhibits, an expanded Rooftop ArtPark, and the creation of an endowment fund helped to further the museum’s mission to bring playful learning to children
2012: New Museum in Rochester
Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester opened in 2012 and serves more than 30,000 visitors each year.
2017: Bigger, Bolder, Better
The museum went through a major expansion and renovation and re-opened as an all-new museum in June 2017. The new museum features 10 new exhibits, more space, better amenities and a bolder design focused on open-ended, child-directed play.

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