Monsters are Taking Over Minnesota Children’s Museum This Summer

Special exhibit opening June 8 focuses on building social-emotional learning skills with help of friendly monsters

St. Paul, Minn., June 7, 2024 – It’s a monster takeover at Minnesota Children’s Museum!

Friendly monsters of all shapes and sizes are spending their summer vacation in downtown St. Paul this year. “Monsters on Summer Vacation,” an all-new special exhibit, opens at Minnesota Children’s Museum on June 8.

In this hands-on exhibit, visitors will encounter monster characters and monster-themed activities that help strengthen social and emotional skills in fun and interactive ways.

Exhibit highlights include:

  • Feed the Monster – Fill the hungry monster’s stomach by sending food (foam noodles) up the chute and into its mouth. But look out, because when the monster sneezes, the noodles will come raining back down.
  • Obstacle Course – Filled with big and small physical challenges, this one-of-a-kind course has visitors squeezing through giant foam rollers, balancing on slime boards, climbing across a netted wall, navigating a wavy floor and more.
  • Monster Mash Dance Floor – Visitors will unleash their inner monsters on the LED dance floor as they mix and match monster costume pieces and move and groove to the music.
  • Tot Spot – A dedicated spot for little monsters under 3 years old to crawl, climb and build coordination skills in a space made just for them.
  • Eyeball Wall – A chalkboard wall covered in eyeballs provides the perfect backdrop for visitors to sketch out their own monster faces and bodies.

It wouldn’t be a monster takeover if they were confined to just one gallery. Instead, the monsters will spill out across the entire fourth floor. Visitors will find monster-themed activities, props and more throughout the fourth floor including:

  • The Scream Booth – This sound-proof booth invites visitors to come in and have a good scream—monster style!
  • Monster Sound Machines – Straight out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory, visitors create an emotion symphony by turning switches, dials and cranks.
  • Make-a-Monster Activity – In the recently renovated Studio gallery, visitors unleash their imaginations to create their own monster using materials like tubes, fur, fringe and googly eyes.
  • Monster-fied Pretend Town – The Our World gallery has been turned on its head as the monsters make it their own. Get ready for the monster bites food stand, the “eye scream” cart, the monster vet clinic and more.

“I am thrilled that we’re able to share these delightful new experiences with visitors this summer,” said Dianne Krizan, president of Minnesota Children’s Museum. “Museum visitors will find so many opportunities for play, joy and conversations about managing your feelings and emotions.”

Supporting Social-Emotional Learning

Research shows that one of the consequences of the pandemic has been a decrease in the development of social-emotional skills in young children. In “Monsters on Summer Vacation,” where kids and adults will take on physical challenges, work together toward a common goal, move on a dance floor and more, each component has been carefully crafted to create an environment where visitors can practice naming and processing their emotions and feelings without fear of judgement.

“When we began developing the exhibit, we grounded ourselves in the belief that children need opportunities to practice identifying and regulating their emotions. Social-emotional skills provide the foundation for cognitive development and other important skills kids need to be successful later in life,” said Mary Weiland, senior exhibit developer at Minnesota Children’s Museum and lead developer for “Monsters on Summer Vacation.”

Visitor Information

“Monsters on Summer Vacation” is open for play at Minnesota Children’s Museum from June 8 to Sept. 2. The exhibit is sponsored by Candyland, longtime neighbor of the museum in downtown St. Paul. Admission to the exhibit is included with general admission. Museum admission is $16 to $19 per person for ages 1 to 101. Museum members get in free. Tickets are available at https://mcm.org/tickets.

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