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

    Museum Hours

    Monday: Closed
    Tuesday: 9 am – 4:30 pm
    Wednesday: 9 am – 4:30 pm
    Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm
    Friday: 9 am – 4:30 pm
    Saturday: 9 am – 4 pm
    Sunday 9 am – 4 pm


    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

    Winter Weather Policy
    For the safety of our guests and staff during severe winter weather, the Museum will close for blizzard warnings and extreme cold/dangerous temperatures. Closings related to winter storms or winter storm warnings will be announced as soon as determined, after taking the conditions and the safety of our guests and staff into consideration.


    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! 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, send us an email or call 507.344.9103. Birthday parties must be booked two weeks in advance.

    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 45 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 6:00 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 arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Arriving early or after your scheduled time will impact your 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 School Group 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 and Transportation. 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. Please note there is a low bridge on Sibley Parkway and buses may not be able to pass underneath.

    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 committed to ensuring all children and families have opportunities to experience the joy of learning through the power of play at the Museum, regardless of income, language, cultural factors, ability, or special needs. The Museum understands that some children and families experience barriers to participation. We offer many ways for these valued community members to enjoy our exhibits and programs free of charge or at greatly reduced rates.

    Follow this link to learn more, apply for a Gateway to Play membership, or find dates and times for our Gateway to Play events.

  • 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.

  • Blue Star Museums

    May 18, 2019 – September 1, 2019
    Blue Star Museums Initiative

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is excited to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families*, including National Guard and Reserve, from Sunday, May 18 through Sunday, September 1, 2019. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America.

    Please bring your Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (Dependent ID), or DD Form 1173-1 ID.

    * Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, US Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.

  • Museum Gift Shop
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    As you check in (or before you leave!), stop by the Museum’s Gift Shop and browse a variety of hand-picked items, many of which are made locally. Handmade items are designed and created by Okodakiciye, a volunteer sewing group.

    Museum Members receive 10% off their purchase at the Gift Shop. Membership card must be presented.

  • 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 in the Loft. Hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) programming created with children age 6 and beyond. Offered every Thursday from 3 – 6 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm, and Sundays from 1 – 3 pm. The Loft is usually open on ISD77 no-school days as well.

    Toddler Wednesdays. Toddler Wednesday is a weekly program geared towards the Museum’s youngest visitors. Children are naturally curious, and in these sessions, that curiosity is embraced and nourished. Toddler Wednesday enhances Museum experience by encouraging children to move around and take a closer look at things that are going on. There is no worry about making it through the whole session, or showing up at the very beginning. Your child will sometimes get into it and enjoy the program, and sometimes they won’t, which is perfectly okay!

    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. Sign-up for our mailing list to stay in touch, too!

  • 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.

  • Policies

    Unaccompanied Adults
    Adult visitors who wish to enter the Museum’s gallery without the company of a child must pay regular admission fee and wear a visitor sticker during the time spent in the Museum. Adult visitors may also choose to schedule a guided tour of the Museum during regular weekday hours, pending staff availability.

    Unaccompanied Children
    All children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver, age 16 or older.

  • 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.