Minnesota is home to many top universities and quite a few small colleges. Thankfully, these aren’t the only educational spots for local families to explore. From children’s museums for the little ones to studying our beautiful state’s natural resources with your teens, there’s plenty to see and do in the area. Sit back and relax as we reveal the eight coolest educational destinations around Maple Grove.
“Kid drawing in art class” licensed under CC0 1.0 via Flickr by cclogg
Learn all about the visual arts at Articulture. Located on East Franklin Avenue, this center offers summer camps for kids 4 and up, plus classes for all skill levels. The Art Historian’s week-long camp for pre-K students explores the art of ancient civilizations while your teens spend time unraveling the connection between art and social justice.
At Articulture, teachers encourage your children to express themselves while learning to work with different mediums, from paint and canvas to glass mosaics. Parents can indulge their creative sides, too. Articulture offers programs designed for all ages, such as botanical eco-dyeing and silver clay jewelry.
Oliver Kelly Farm
Discover wholesome educational opportunities year-round at Oliver Kelley Farm. Located in Elk River, this original 1860s working farm is a cool place to learn about agriculture — past and present. Its multi-sensory program gives students the chance to find out where food comes from, thanks in part to the farm’s modern science lab. There’s plenty of free parking, and there are clean restrooms located inside the visitor’s center.
Meet the animal residents, wander through the gardens, and embark on a self-guided tour with the help of interpretive signage posted around these historic grounds. See the farmstead’s machine shed, the 19th-century farmhouse, animal pens, and root cellar. Then, wander down the manicured walking paths and catch a glimpse of regional wildlife, like bald eagles, foxes, and dozens of varieties of songbirds.
City of Maple Grove Arboretum
Learn all about Maple Grove’s local tree population at the city’s arboretum. Also called The Angel of Hope Garden, you’ll find this popular destination on Fernbrook Lane North. This 15-acre park is the perfect place for the whole family to learn while spending time in the great outdoors.
Maple Grove Arboretum is home to 100 trees, such as the sugar maple, on exhibit for your study and exploration. Follow the unpaved trail through the forest and along the babbling Elm Creek to Rice Lake, then connect with the Medicine Lake Regional trail for additional scenic research. The park is free to enter and is also features the iconic Angel of Hope statue.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Combine education and play at the Minnesota Children’s Museum on West Seventh Street in nearby St. Paul. Educators spread various open-ended experiences across three floors, so children can explore at their own pace, allowing their interests to guide them.
Numerous hands-on activities, virtual adventures, and workshops are just a few ways your kiddos can expand their minds at this popular children’s museum. Spark their interest with exhibits ranging from the always-popular dinosaurs to pretend town, where your kids can run the post office or the farmers market. Reservations are required, so remember to plan ahead for this fantastic educational adventure.
Bell Museum of Natural History
Located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, the Bell Museum is the state’s official national history museum. Legislature established the institution in 1872 to preserve Minnesota’s rich natural history for learners of all ages. It features touch-and-see labs designed to expand your child’s mind with loads of sensory engagement.
Your budding scientist will love exploring the vast number of exhibits on subjects including astronomy, art, and other sciences. Discover Bell’s thrilling, world-renowned wildlife dioramas. Each depicts an epic scene filled with life-like plants and animals poised in front of painted mural backdrops. Check out the planetarium and watch a tour of the cosmos and beyond, with titles like “Out of This World!” and “Minnesota Night Skies.” Multiple shows play daily.
SEA LIFE at Mall of America
SEA Life in Bloomington is Minnesota’s largest aquarium at 1.3 million gallons. It’s home to thousands of aquatic creatures, from stingrays to jellyfish. Scientists created more than 11 “zones” throughout the center designed to provide you and the kiddos with unforgettable up-close experiences.
Descend into the 300-foot-long underwater glass tunnel and come face-to-face with rescued sea turtles or pretend to swim with giant sharks. Are you brave enough to enter the rainforest exhibit that’s home to hungry piranha and curious crocodiles? Everyone in the family can touch a sticky anemone and spot an adorable baby coral grown here at the Mall. What’s the best part? Swimsuits aren’t required.
The Bakken Museum’s mission is to inspire Minnesota’s residents with a passion for electricity and electromagnetism. Innovations in these scientific and technological fields often make the world a better place. Located in nearby Minneapolis, it presents a concise history and explanation of the vast potential of this type of study. Youth programs at the Bakken Museum consist of summer camps, LEGO robotics sessions, and innovators workshops.
The Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
Located on Estabrook Drive in St. Paul, Como Park features both a zoo and a conservatory where families can gather. Plan to unearth loads of information about animals and the gardens. Everyone will love events like the summer flower show and educational experience that your family will remember for years to come.
Sign up for the Primitive Potluck and work together to create an enrichment treat for the zoo’s gorilla, then discover sculptures and art installations scattered around the park. See if you can spot the granite frog statue that sits in the pond near the Enchanted Garden. This cool educational destination is always free and open daily.That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove’s list of cool educational destinations. Whether your family’s into nature, art, or science, there’s a fun, kid-friendly place in the area for you. Do you have a favorite destination that didn’t make our list? Let us know, so we can add your go-to spot here.