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A Bold New Museum, Powered by Play

10 New

  • Four-story vertical adventure
  • Laser maze, carpet skate park and green-screen climbing wall
  • Maker space with real tools and authentic matericals
  • Ball launchers and wacky car wash
  • Fire station, post office and hardware store
  • Expanded toddler exhibit with water play
  • Two outdoor exhibits


  • New cafe with coffee bar and store
  • Additional entrance on the skyway level
  • Second floor box office
  • Another elevator
  • Twice as many bathrooms
  • Comfort rooms
  • More seating
  • More stroller parking
  • Renovated birthday party spaces


  • Open-ended, child-directed activities
  • Space and freedom for children to explore
  • Experiences that nurture creativity, critical thinking, confidence and more

Expansion Timeline

•  December 2015 – Construction begins
•  August 2016 – Forces at Play in the 3M Gallery opens; all previous exhibits retired
•  Dec. 5, 2016 – St. Paul museum temporarily closes to complete construction
•  June 2017 – New museum opens

•  December 2015 – Construction begins
•  August 2016 – Forces at Play in the 3M Gallery opens; all previous exhibits retired
•  Dec. 5, 2016 – St. Paul museum temporarily closes to complete construction
•  June 2017 – New museum opens


What is the new museum like?

Everyone’s going to have fun, that’s for sure. This is our first major renovation since we opened our downtown St. Paul museum in 1995. Children and adults alike will delight in our 10 new exhibits and enjoy a variety of new amenities.

A glass addition along West Seventh Street houses The Scramble, a four-story vertical adventure. Elsewhere in the new museum, visitors delight in the vibrant community of Our World, tinker with real tools in The Studio and get scrubbing in the wackiest car ever in Forces at Play.

Families also enjoy an expanded toddler gallery and step into two new outdoor spaces. Kids craft their own adventures in a laser maze, carpet skate park and green-screen climbing wall.

Plus, visitors encounter a variety of new amenities, including a café with coffee bar, a skyway-level entrance and box office, another elevator and twice as many bathrooms.

This is play like it’s meant to be. Natural. Joyous. Genuine. Children explore, experiment, try new things, test their limits, adapt and grow.

Each exhibit helps children develop the life skills they need to succeed throughout life — how to think creatively, make plans, analyze problems, tackle challenges, speak and listen, work as part of a team and more.

It’s a bigger, better and bolder Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Why did the museum do this expansion and renovation?
  • This project is the first major renovation since the museum opened its downtown St. Paul location in 1995
  • Annual attendance since opening in downtown St. Paul grew 50% from 300,000 to 450,000. There were days when the museum felt too crowded.
  • Prior to the expansion and renovation, the permanent exhibits were starting to show their age. Many had undergone few changes since the downtown St. Paul location opened in 1995
  • Visitor flow and amenities: Previous layout had narrower hallways, awkward sightlines, fewer bathrooms and no café
  • Updated approach to exhibit design: More focus on open-ended activities that give children space and freedom to explore
How did the building change?

We moved the fun to the front of the building, adding more room to play and making it more comfortable and easier to get around.

  • 35% more space for visitors
  • New glass facade housing The Scramble, a four-story vertical adventure
  • New main staircase for easier access to galleries
  • Additional entrance and new box office on the skyway level
  • Street-level administrative offices converted to exhibit space
  • Updated rooftop experience
  • New outdoor exhibit on the street level
  • Expansion from 65,000 to 74,000 square feet
What are the prices in the new museum?
  • General admission tickets will cost $12.95 for ages 1 to 101.
  • Membership prices are $129 for Passport, $159 for Deluxe and $189 for Premier.
  • Early-Bird Special: New and current members who join or renew early get big discounts | Join Today | Renew Now
Did you re-use anything from the old museum in the new exhibits?
  • The popular Paint Your Own Face activity is now part of the Creativity Jam exhibit
  • The Queen Ant from the anthill in the retired Earth World gallery found a new home in the Backyard
  • The conveyor belt from the factory in the retired World Works gallery is now part of the post office in the updated Our World
  • The tree in the reading nook in the new Sprouts gallery came from the paper factory in the retired World Works gallery
Why did the Mall of America location close?

We opened the Mall of America© location as a temporary “pop up” play space. This location closed April 23. Unfortunately, the museum is not able to extend the run of the Mall of America© location.

All-New Exhibits

The Scramble

Four-story vertical adventure with two climbing towers, a spiral slide and a netted catwalk suspended more than 40 feet high

Super Awesome Adventures

Action-packed exhibit featuring a ninja laser maze, carpet skate park, balance boards and green-screen climbing wall


Forces at Play | 3M gallery

Build air-powered ping pong ball launchers and scrub a wacky vehicle in a sudsy car wash



Infants, toddlers and preschoolers tackle fun challenges in a beautiful and safe environment


Our World | Best Buy gallery

Play roles in a vibrant Minnesota city with a fire station, hardware store, post office, food stand and more


The Studio | Target gallery

Tinker, make and create with real tools and authentic materials


Creativity Jam | Target gallery

Lively and bright collaborative space with face-painting, loose parts and surprising materials



An array of fantastical objects that inspire children to shape and share their own adventures



New outdoor space with a person-sized bird’s nest, fanciful animal sculptures and earthy activity stations


Tip Top Terrace | Ecolab gallery

Rooftop patio where visitors make music, sketch and talk about the city around them


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