MomTalk.com September 24, 2020:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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Minnesota Family Getaways


Yes, it's still winter but there's no reason to be house-bound. Within a short drive from the Twin Cities are quick getaways the whole family can enjoy.

The animals at the Lake Superior Zoo don't mind the weather, especially the resident polar bears, Bubba and Berlin. You can also check out the Great Lakes Aquarium where the otters are always a big draw.

In addition to the animals, popular area attractions include the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, where kids can climb aboard restored train cars, and Carnival Thrillz, an indoor family entertainment center with miniature golf, laser tag, bumper cars, and more.

Feeling a little more sporting? Skiers and snowboarders love the runs and Big Air Terrain Park at Spirit Mountain. They've added a new beginner slope this year for those less expert. Pining for summer? The Edge, a giant indoor water park which opened last year will warm your bones.

Brainerd Lakes
Don't just think summer. The Brainerd Lakes area is winter fun central. From snowmobiling to skiing and tubing, from ice-fishing to full-service spas--there's something for everyone. Cross-country skiers have lots of choices, including the Northland Arboretum which has lighted trails for night skiing. For snowboarders and downhill skiing, check out Ski Gull at Nisswa.

There's lots of indoor fun, too, at one of several area water parks. The newest is the Paul Bunyan Water Park at The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes. This rustic lodge-type hotel has a 30,000-square-foot water park featuring tube slides with "walls of water" that display holographic images, with sound, lights and video.

In Baxter, adjacent to Brainerd, check out the Three Bear Lodge Waterpark's1,000-gallon dumping bucket. The Rapids River Lodge includes a 250-foot tube slide and "river" tubing complete with rapids. At Grandview Lodge near Nisswa, the indoor pool area has a 110-foot-slide, fountains and water guns.

Need a little indulgence for yourself? There are 3 lodges with full-service spas--Gull Lake Spa at Cragun's Resort, Glacial Waters at Grandview Lodge, and Panache at Madden's Resort.

Mississippi River Valley
In tiny Kellogg, in the southeast corner of the state, lives the nation's largest independent toy store, LARK Toys and Carousel. High-quality wooden toys, books, puppets, ice cream, candy, and a hand-carved carousel might remind you what you used to love about toy stores.

Not far from LARK is the National Eagle Center, where you might see migratory eagles. Up close you can also meet the center's own eagles, Harriet, Angel, and Columbia.

You'll know you're in Alexandria when you're greeted by Big Ole, a 28-foot tall Viking. From there, it's easy to find Andes Tower Hills, with downhill slopes, cross-country trails, tubing, and a terrain park. After some bracing outdoor activity, head to the Big Splash Indoor Waterpark.

Snowmobile the Headwaters Area
In the heart of the North Woods, vast networks of trails beckon snowmobilers. Start at Park Rapids and plan your trip on nearly 400 miles of groomed trails. The area encompasses four state parks, including Smokey Hills State Forest, Paul Bunyan State Park, White Earth and Two Inlets. Itasca State Park also includes a visitors center, where you can warm up by the fireplace. For overnights, you have your choice of resorts, rental cabins, and several area motels. You can print out trail maps to plan your adventure from the Park Rapids website.

Dog Sledding
You don't have to run the Iditarod to enjoy this popular sport. There are several outfitters and trip organizers in northeastern Minnesota. Your adventure can range from a ride in the sled to working with the dogs and learning how to mush. There are many overnight options including overnight camping for hardy souls. You can find a list of outfitters here.

Looking for activities closer to home? Check out MomTalk's events calendar. And if you know of any upcoming event, please send information to editor@momtalk.com and we'll post it.

For more family getaways and for details on ski areas, trails, outfitters and conditions, check out Explore Minnesota.

Categories: Newsletter, Things To Do, Twin Cities Picks,

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