Visit the Museum

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota offers much more than just everyday play. We host or organize birthday parties, summer camps, group visits, and a variety of fresh and exciting activities to keep you excited and engaged. Explore below to learn more!

  • Museum Hours & Holidays

    Regular Museum Hours:

    Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Monday: closed


    Holiday Season 2017:
    The Museum will be closed on  Sunday, December 24 and Monday, December 25, and on Monday, January 1.


    The Museum will be closed in observance of the following holidays:

    • New Year’s Day
    • Easter
    • Independence Day/July 4
    • Labor Day
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas Eve
    • Christmas Day

    Snow Days: The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota may be closed due to winter weather. We should be here for you most of the time area schools are closed for snow days.


    Please watch our website, Facebook page, or our newsletters for updates and information regarding any other closings or changes to the Museum’s regular open hours.

     

     

  • Birthday Parties
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    Celebrate your special day at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and invite friends and family to join in the fun! We now offer themed parties, including chemistry projects, building with Legos, and animals. For more information about birthday party packages and pricing, follow this link.

    All parties include:

    • Museum staff to help plan and host the party.
    • Museum admission for all party guests.
    • Private celebration space for 90 minutes.
    • Table coverings, decorations, and storage for presents and personal belongings.

     

     

    To book your party or ask questions, please contact Kaaren Grabianowski, Event Sales Manager. Phone: 507.344.9103.

    Birthday party information for party hosts and guests can be downloaded here. Prepare for your party ahead of time by downloading the sign-in sheet and waiver form.

  • Field Trips
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    GROUP VISITS

    Come play with us! At the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, our mission is to ignite the natural curiosity of every child through the power of play in a dynamic, awe-inspiring environment. Visit our galleries and discover the many exciting opportunities to engage in hands-on learning that await your group.

    GROUP VISIT OPTIONS

    Explore the Museum’s exhibits on your own with a self-guided visit or add a guided program to your experience!

    Self-guided visits include an introduction to the Museum from a Museum staff member and up to 2 hours of time in the Museum.

    Visits with a guided program are also 2 hours in length, with 30 minutes of that time designated for a themed guided program session with Museum Educators.

    Self-guided visits are available all year, and guided programs are available for visits October through August. For more information about guided programs, please visit the Guided Programs page.

    When preparing for a group visit, consider the Museum’s handouts for group leaders and families.


    BOOKING A VISIT

    Group visits must be booked at least two weeks prior to the date of the visit. To book a visit, please submit an online request form. Submitting a request form does not guarantee your visit has been booked, and a Museum staff member will respond to your request as soon as possible. You will receive a confirmation email for your visit when it has been booked.

    Group visits may be scheduled on:

    • Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday afternoons between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • Thursdays between 9:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

    Visits may be up to 2 hours in length. For groups with younger children, the recommended length of a visit to the Museum is 90 minutes. Time for eating lunches or snacks is not included in the 2 hours of time for the visit.

    Please notify the Museum as soon as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule your visit. You may be billed for the amount listed in your confirmation email if you do not show up for your scheduled visit and do not notify the Museum of the cancellation in advance.

    RATES

    For self-guided group visits the cost is $4 per child. Visits that include a guided program cost $7 per child.

    For both visit options 1 adult chaperone per 5 children in the group is required for the visit. 1 adult per 3 children in the group will receive free admission. Additional adult chaperones (outside of the 1 to 3 ratio) pay the group child rate. Adult chaperones include educators, school and/or program staff, parents, and other adult caregivers that visit with a group.

    The Museum asks that groups include a minimum of 10 children and a maximum of 100 children. Groups with more than 50 children are strongly encouraged to consider multiple visits in smaller groups. Guided programs for group visits are limited to 25 children per session, with a maximum of 3 sessions per visit.

    Reduced rates may be available to eligible groups. Please inquire about eligibility when booking your visit.


    PAYMENT

    To qualify for the discounted group visit rates, we require 1 collective payment for all of the children and adults in the group who visit the Museum. Family memberships, day passes, and coupons may not be used for group visits.

    When booking a visit you may select a payment option: to pay at the Museum the day of the visit or to receive an invoice for payment to be submitted after the visit. Payment must be received no later than 2 weeks after the visit.

    The Museum accepts all major credit cards, checks, and cash for payment. Checks should be made out to Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and include the billing address of the organization.

     

    ADDITIONAL GROUP VISIT INFORMATION

    Accessibility. The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota strives to be a place that is accessible to all visitors. All entrances are accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs and the Museum has a lift for visitors with limited mobility to access Cecil’s Imagineering Loft. Service animals are welcome in the Museum. Groups are encouraged to share information about how the Museum can help make a visit successful when scheduling a visit.

    Group visitors are also encouraged to review the Museum’s Social Story together to prepare for a visit.

    Lunches and Snacks. The Museum’s Rotary Education Center or Cecil’s Imagineering Loft may be reserved by groups who wish to eat lunches or snacks at the Museum. Groups may not eat lunches or snacks inside the main floor exhibit areas or Café during regular Museum hours.

    There is a fee of $25.00 to reserve a space for up to 1 hour of use for a maximum of 50 people (larger groups will need multiple reservations, or to use a space in shifts). Groups are encouraged to include lunch or snack space needs on their group visit request form and/or contact the Museum as early as possible, as availability is limited. The Museum may not be able to accommodate lunches or snacks for groups who do not reserve a space before the day of the visit.

    Parking. The Museum has a parking lot with spaces available for cars and vans to park free of charge. Parking spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.

    Group organizers should make arrangements with van and/or bus drivers to drop off and pick up students from the Kato Engineering School Group Entrance on Lamm Street. Limited bus parking is available on Lamm Street on the side of the street closest to the Museum.

    Photography. Please be respectful of other visitors when you take photos inside the Museum. The Museum takes photos of group activities for use in communications. Please let Museum staff know if you or any member of your group wishes not to be photographed.

    Safety and Supervision. For the safety of all visitors to the Museum, we do not allow any adults in the Museum who are not accompanied by children or a staff chaperone, and no children who are not accompanied by an adult chaperone. Group chaperones are asked to stay with their group members during the entire visit and are responsible for ensuring that group members follow Museum guidelines during the visit. Adults who are supervising children who are not group members are not counted as chaperones for the group and may be asked to pay regular Museum admission fees.

    If you or a member of your group needs assistance during your visit, please ask any staff member on the Museum floor. Please report any accidents or emergency situations to Museum staff immediately, so that they may contact the appropriate emergency responders and provide assistance.

    Have questions? Please send us an email!

  • Gateway to Play

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is guided by a vision to ensure all children and families have access to hands-on learning and irresistible fun at the Museum, regardless of income, language or cultural factors, isolation, ability, or special needs. Through the Gateway to Play access initiative, the Museum provides several ways for families, organizations, and early learning and school groups to enter into Museum exhibits, activities, and fun for free, or at greatly reduced rates.

    These opportunities include:

    • Free Family Fun Nights
    • Free or reduced family admission fees and Museum memberships
    • Scholarships to participate in Museum programming

    Schools and early learning groups may request half-price group visit admission fee when 50% or more children experience access barriers.

    To apply for a Gateway to Play Museum membership, download and fill in this form and survey.

    For more information, please contact Sue Larsen, Community Outreach and Impact Director. Phone: 507.344.9101.

  • Discounted Admission Rates

    Educator Discount: The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota welcomes teachers and educators to discover its galleries. Show your school badge when you visit the Museum with your family and friends, and your individual admission is free. This discount applies to teachers and educators responsible for grades K-6 in public or private schools. We hope you will become advocates for the learning environment the Museum provides and return with your students! Read more about  School Group Visits here.

    Educator discount cannot be combined with any other offer or coupon.

    Military Discount: 10% off of daily admission for military members and their immediate family.

    Gateway to Play: Click here to read more about reduced rates or free admission to the Museum.

  • Sensory Accommodations & the Museum’s Social Story
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    Through its Gateway to Play initiative and with the help of its Center for Childhood Community Partners, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota focuses on breaking down barriers and opening doors for all children to enter the joy of learning through the power of play.

    To help with sensory accommodations, the Museum offers sound-muffling headphones and bean bag chairs, which are available by request at the front desk. Do not hesitate to connect with Museum staff if you need assistance, or would like direction to a quiet space to relax or regroup.

    To help prepare for your visit to the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, please download our social story, “A Trip to the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota”, which includes a helpful checklist of possible must-see and must-do activities.

  • Museum Merchandise
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    Have you seen a selection of handcrafted nutcrackers, beautiful wooden trucks, or T-shirts and baby onesies that are sold in the Museum Gift Shop?  We now offer locally handcrafted items made by our irreplaceable volunteer sewing group. Choose from a variety of child and youth-sized aprons, tag lovey blankets, bird and butterfly wings, guitars, and more. Wonderful, handmade, and local! Right here at the Children’s Museum and now on display in a handcrafted display case in the Lobby!

    Stop by our front desk to browse our wonderful selection!

  • Museum Café
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    The Museum Café, presented by Mayo Clinic Health System, is a delightful (and delicious!) part of every visitor’s adventure. This winter season, we invite you to enjoy our warm café, offering fresh bakery options, such as muffins and cookies, and hot chocolate, coffee, and tea. Stay tuned for news as we think about more tasty, wholesome treats for all to eat!

     

  • Programming

    STEAM Saturdays. Offering hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) programming every Saturday.

    Toddler Wednesdays. Mornings dedicated to children five and under, to engage in interactive activities, from music play with dance and musical instruments, to prop play and storytelling.

    Daily drop-in activities. Each day at the Museum there is a variety of activities available within exhibit areas, including tabletop play for toddlers and preschoolers, materials for building or art projects for school-age children, and agriculture-themed activities in the Ag Lab for all ages.

    Special events. Throughout the year, the Museum will offer theme days or events to celebrate the goings on of our community and sponsors, with special projects, guest performances, and costumed gatherings.

    For day-to-day programming and events, please follow this link, or sign-up for our mailing list and get our events schedule delivered to your mailbox every Monday.

  • FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.
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    FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

    Fall/Winter 2017 Season

    FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. (FLLJr) is a hands-on program designed to capture young children’s curiosity and direct it toward discovering how science and technology impact the world around them. Each yearly challenge is based on a different theme and has two main parts, the LEGO motorized model and the Show Me poster. This year, teams will tackle the Aqua Adventure challenge. More information about the challenge can be found here.

    Our teams will consist of 6 children and are guided by 2 adult coaches. During the season, children will work together and as a team they will:

    • Conduct research about the current Challenge theme
    • Build a LEGO® model as a team, based on the Challenge instructions, that contains both a simple machine and a motorized part
    • Display their team’s discoveries on a Show Me poster

    This year the Museum will support 2 teams:  

    • Team 1: 6 year olds
    • Team 2: 7 – 8 year olds

    Teams will meet for 9 practice sessions on Mondays, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Practice dates include: October 9, October 16, October 23, November 6, November 13, November 20, November 27, December 4, and December 11.

    The Museum will host a showcase for teams to share about their discoveries with families and invited guest judges on December 16, 2017.

    Information about opportunities for teams to participate in an off-site MN FLL Jr. Expo after the Museum’s program season finishes will be shared during the first 2 weeks of practice. In order to register for the Expo, a team must have at least three interested members who will be available to attend the event. An additional fee for the Expo registration may be involved.


    Registration Information:

    Registration fees:
    $60 members/$70 non-members*

    *Does not include MN FLL Jr Expo registration (if your team decides to participate, there may be an additional fee of up to $10).

    Team 1 (age 6) – full!
    Team 2 (age 7  – 8) – full!

     

  • Donation Request

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota strongly supports worthy causes, organizations, and events throughout our community. We accept requests for Museum passes, coupons, materials, and other items that would make a fitting difference and, in order to make sure we can honor your request, please give us at least a three week notice.

    Follow this link to complete the Donation Request Form. Thank you!

    All contributions are subject to change, availability, and our discretion.