It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your house is bursting at the seams with visiting relatives. You’ve got to get them out and get some fresh air, but where would you go? Good thing the Twin Cities have a ton of great places to enjoy with your family.
The John Rose OVAL
Reputed to be the largest sheet of refrigerated ice in North America, the John Rose OVAL in Roseville is a great place to take the family for an ice skating adventure—even when it's 60 degrees out.
The Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Located in Oakdale, the Sky Zone Trampoline Park is an awesome place to take kids. There’s a special area for kids under five, jump classes for all ages, and 3-D dodgeball.
Located in Eagan, this towering, space-themed play place is the perfect way for your kids to burn off some excess energy over the Thanksgiving break! Try climbing through the Space Shuttle Tower and Rocket Launch Pads, ascending through two Apollo Rocket Propulsion Launchers, or flying the Intergalactic Space Fight Jet while exploring suspension bridges and sliding down the Wormhole Slide. Admission is $5 per child.
Head Outdoors at Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Get some fresh air at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan before the temperatures bottom out this winter. The crown jewel of Dakota County's park system, Lebanon Hills encompasses nearly 2,000 acres, and offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education. Even in the winter, this massive expanse of nature is gorgeous.
Looking for some more out-of-doors options? Check out the Arcola Trail along the St. Croix River Valley. Not only is it beautiful but it’s full of history, and the site of one of the river’s most enduring ghost stories.
It’s the Birthplace of Minnesota, and the Lift Bridge is closed, so it’s your chance to enjoy Main Street without the traffic. Check out the shops, and dine at Luna Rosa, the Oasis Café, Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ and Pirate Bar (featured on the Food Network television show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.)
Springbrook Nature Center
Show your relatives how natural beauty can be found anywhere in Minnesota, such as this pristine nature preserve tucked behind a Target and a Walmart in Fridley. Walk around Beaver Pond then learn about the 1986 tornado that tore through the park—and was caught in some of the best tornado video ever.
Christmas in the 1970s exhibit
Relive the holidays in the Disco Era with a visit to this new exhibit at the Fridley Historic Center. It features a boy's bedroom (complete with Farrah Fawcett poster), a living room decked out for Christmas (with a faux-brick fireplace) and more. Free. Saturdays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 2–4 p.m., through Dec. 18.
Ax-Man Surplus Store
At Fridley’s Ax-Man, you can pick up a disembodied baby-doll torso, acres of electrical wire and a Bill Clinton-shaped corkscrew. And no, you won't be the first or only Minnesotan to bring a relative in for a bizarro break. Ax-Man is actually a popular holiday-shopping destination.
For the kid who loves to touch everything, there’s Minneapolis’ Bakken Museum. Tucked away in a mansion on Lake Calhoun, the Bakken offers fascinating, hands-on exhibits about electricity and how it impacts our daily lives. Afterwards, you can take a short walk or drive south to Lake Harriet and the Como-Harriet Streetcar line for the last jaunt of the year on authentic,100-year old streetcars. On Friday Nov. 23 through Friday Nov. 25, you can also catch Santa on the Holly Trolly from 1 to 4 pm. Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs and s'mores for roasting by the bonfire, and members of a local high school choir will entertain you with carols.