Our Favorite Indoor Adventures
Need a break from the cold? Gather the whole family and head to these climate-controlled activities throughout the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region.
We know, we know: It’s cold outside, and some of you would rather stay indoors as much as possible. No problem! These indoor activities are perfect for families with kids of all ages.
Lakeville’s indoor recreation destination offers fun for the whole family, including bowling, arcade games and laser tag. The 38-lane bowling alley features black lights, soft lounge chairs and HD video walls playing live sports, music videos and classic family films. The arcade has the latest video games and classic favorites, like “Jurassic Park Arcade,” “Mario Kart,” “World’s Largest Pac-Man” and more. If the kids are feeling cooped up, let them burn off energy in the laser tag arena.
Bowlero also has a full menu of tasty fare served lane-side, from nachos and tacos to loaded fries, pizza and burgers. And, of course, there are kids’ meals that aim to please.
Located in downtown Stillwater and featuring two escape rooms, Stillwater Escape Co. is inspired by its historic surroundings. Mr. Connolly’s Office Room is based on the building’s beginnings as a shoe factory, with participants tasked to solve a fictional crime that incorporates genuine historical documents. For a trickier adventure, try escaping from The Cave or overcoming the Space Emergency to save humanity.
Stillwater Escape Co. recommends that participants be ages 13 and up. The escape rooms have a four- or five-person minimum.
The indoor water park at the Grove Aquatic Center in Inver Grove Heights lets kids splash around all winter long. For smaller children, there’s a zero-depth entry pool, a play structure with splash features and a water table. Bigger kids can zoom down the two large water slides and scramble over the floating logs.
Pro tip: Stop by weekday evenings for a discounted twilight admission fee.
If it’s too chilly to skate outdoors, check out the indoor rinks at Veterans Memorial Community Center Ice Arenas in Inver Grove Heights. During open skate times the ice is open to all ages and skate rentals are available in child and adult sizes.
While sticks and pucks are not allowed during open skating, there are scheduled open hockey times for adults and youth (6-12 and 13-17).
Fight a zombie apocalypse, visit the Pyramids of Giza or become a space pirate — without leaving St. Louis Park! The dozens of immersive, state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences at REM5VR Lab offer an exciting escape from the cold. Some experiences have an educational component, like traveling through the human body as a red blood cell or encountering ocean creatures in their native habitats. Others are just for fun, like 3D painting, a vacation simulator or a Major League-style home run derby.
REM5VR Lab’s VR pods can accommodate two to five people and are available in 30-minute increments. Feeling hungry after all that virtual exploring? Enjoy pizza and family-friendly snacks like waffle fries and mini doughnuts in the lounge.
Families with children ages 10 and up can face off in a friendly contest at Golden Valley’s Game Show Battle Rooms. There’s a lineup of games inspired by classic game shows, including Friendly Feud, Wheel of Phrases and Name That Price, as well as competitions that nod to current prime-time favorites, like Minute Games and Matchup. Participants get three games for 20 minutes each, for an hour of indoor fun.
Golden Valley’s Escape MSP gives participants the chance to investigate a crime, foil a terrorist plot or fight deadly pathogens — all while trying to beat the clock. The five challenges are 45 to 60 minutes and offered in a range of difficulty levels, from “cadet” to “field agent” to “spymaster.” The fully themed experience includes in-character briefings, mission rooms and debriefings that highlight the contributions made by each team member.
Escape MSP can accommodate groups of two to 10, and children must be ages 10 and up to participate.
Eagan’s state-of-the-art movie theater has stadium seating, a deluxe concession stand with handcrafted pizzas — and ax throwing! Similar to darts, ax throwing is an individual sport played against another person. Each competitor has an individual lane and competes side-by-side with another competitor under the supervision of a trained ax master. Throw a 1.5-pound hatchet at a wooden target with a bull’s-eye and score points based on how close to the center the ax sticks.
Ax throwers must be at least 14 years old. Food is available from the theater’s concession stand.