Looking for a unique field trip in the Twin Cities area? The Mill City Museum is a fascinating way to explore history, water, baking and more. It is a museum erected in footprint of an old flourmill in Minneapolis. Admission to the museum gets you into the gallery, exhibit labs (baking lab and water lab), and a couple different multimedia shows. Kids 4 and under are free!
(Guest Post by Rebecca Nutter)
1) 1. “Flour Tower” Elevator Ride.
We took the “Flour Tower” tour while we were there. This is a guided elevator ride (giant freight elevator with seating. I think they ask that you don’t bring strollers on, but since we had a small group they let me bring my umbrella stroller in) that travels through 8 levels and shows you different scenes of what the old mill looked like, while you listen to worker’s accounts of their job at the mill. It concludes at the 9th floor where you can get out, learn a little bit more about the mill from a tour guide and get an amazing view of Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls.
1) 2. The Water Lab
In this area there are 4 different interactive pieces where children are able to manipulate the flow of water, build bridges, and learn about waterpower. We had this space to ourselves, although they do have school groups in here sometimes. It was a little tough for a 3.5 year old (who is actually quite tall for her age) to reach the middle of some of these tables, but she was able to do most of it herself.
1) 3. The Baking Lab
Here they host cooking classes and offer demos of various types of recipes. Usually flour is involved J We went in and were able to taste some bread that they made. They also gave us the recipe!
Things to Know:
*The museum is very stroller accessible. They have elevators to access everything. The doors have handicap buttons, which was great. The exhibits are very spacious.
*There was a café with a small lunch selection. We did have lunch and it was delicious!
*The bathrooms are on the main floor, right next to the coat racks.
*They don’t allow food or drinks in the gallery. I told them I had a water bottle in my backpack and they said to just keep it tucked away.
I learned a lot about the mill industry that dominated the Minneapolis landscape in the late 19th century. I also think the information on the elevator ride and the interactive labs made the learning clear for my preschooler. I was pleased with the water lab exhibit too. It was spacious and had enough to keep my preschooler happy for 20 minutes.
Extensions for Home:
· *Build with blocks (or other materials) and make the building blow up by pushing the structure over.
· *Do some baking! Make muffins, bread, or pancakes. Have your child help measure out the flour.
· *Flour is an ingredient for many different sensory materials. Play dough, “cloud dough,” or just plain ol’ water and flour.
Check out more of Rebecca's posts about exploring the Twin Cities with Kids:
*The Bakken Museum
*Walker Art Museum
*Caponi Art Park
*Wood Lake Nature Center
*Minneapolis Institute of Art
*Wild Rumpus Bookstore
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