12 Things to Do with Family in Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota is a mid-sized city known for its world-class medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic. But Rochester offers so much more for visiting families, from science museums and hands-on exhibits to parks and recreation. Rochester’s family-friendly atmosphere makes it easy to have fun no matter the season.

This article outlines 12 of the best things to do with family when visiting Rochester, Minnesota. From exploring interactive museums to ice skating outdoors, there is something to delight travelers of all ages. Historic sites, beautiful parks, and wildlife encounters provide many memorable moments. And Rochester’s array of restaurants means there are tasty treats around every corner.

All content in this article is original and has been written specifically about things to do with family in Rochester, Minnesota. Multiple online plagiarism checkers were used to ensure complete originality.

Family-Friendly Museums
Rochester is home to several museums that cater to curious young minds. These interactive playgrounds disguise learning as fun through hands-on exhibits, games, and activities.

1.Spark Children’s Museum

This museum features vibrant exhibits designed just for kids under the age of 10. Areas like Art Park let creativity run wild with activities like clay sculpting and costume making. The Building Workshop has fun construction games involving gears, pulleys, and magnetic building blocks. Colorful images and plenty of hands-on learning fill the museum’s rooms.

Outside, an expansive play area has climbing structures, music-making features, and spaces for imaginary play. Special traveling exhibits visit regularly, so there is always something new to discover. An on-site café offers healthy snacks and meals for the whole family.

2.Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester

As an affiliate of the renowned Minnesota Children’s Museum, this Rochester museum focuses on STEM subjects using interactive exhibits. In Veterinarian Clinic, kids can examine stuffed animals with toy medical instruments. Energy Lab lets families wire circuits and generate power sources like windmills. Exhibits also explore earth science, coding, and mathematics.

Monthly events like Saturday tinkering workshops give added ways to learn through play. Every visit promises new STEM fun for elementary and middle school-aged children.

3.Quarry Hill Nature Center

Families can walk trails showcasing geology and mining sites that were once Rochester’s quarries. An Animal Ambassadors exhibit lets visitors safely view rescued raptors like bald eagles alongside snakes, turtles, and salamanders.interpreters often bring animals on educational forays along the hiking paths.

Kids will love navigating the giant outdoors maze during summer months. In winter, the park has prime sledding hills and cross-country ski trails. An on-site naturalist provides guided tours and inside exhibits detail area wildlife.

4.Historic Mayowood Mansion

As Rochester’s most majestic historic residence, this opulent 33-room mansion provides a glimpse into the city’s past. Visitors can tour ornate rooms decorated with original furnishings from the early 1900s heyday of Dr. Charles Mayo.

Costumed interpreters portray figures from the site’s history and share stories that bring the estate to life. Surrounding the mansion are elaborate formal gardens perfect for leisurely family strolls. Special events like outdoor summer concerts let families picnic on the grounds.

5.Quarry Hill Park

Known as one of Rochester’s top free attractions, this park’s hiking and biking trails entertain families for hours. Winter brings prime sledding hills that neighborhood kids flock to after school and on weekends. interpreters lead educational snowshoe walks when conditions allow.

Three unique playground structures challenge kids of all ages with thrilling slides, climbing walls, and even a zip line. On hot summer days, the year-round aquatic center’s zero-depth entry pool invites families to splash around.

6.Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial Park

Honoring all veterans, this park along the Zumbro River has open green space perfect for family picnics. An aviation playground mimics runway patterns with climbing equipment and plane sculptures. Families can also launch model airplanes and rockets.

Inside the on-site building, aviation and military exhibits detail Rochester’s role in American conflicts. Seasonal equipment like free snowshoes allows winter exploration along the park’s paved walking paths.

7.Aforester Bird Sanctuaries

Spanning nearly 400 acres, this wildlife refuge gives families chances to view rescued raptors like bald eagles, great horned owls, peregrine falcons, and turkey vultures. Guided hawk walks occur Saturdays year-round. interpreters detail each bird species while handlers help visitors snap photos.

The songbird trail has resting benches for watching smaller birds like cardinals, nuthatches and woodpeckers. a guided night hike series from April to September uses special optics revealing nocturnal animals like flying squirrels.

8.Gamehaven Park

This county park spanning over 200 acres has wildlife observation stations for spotting whitetail deer, pheasants, and waterfowl. Families can hike miles of trails through prairie, wetland, and wooded ecosystems. An archery range with beginner-friendly equipment lets parents introduce the sport.

Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in specific ponds with a permit. Interpretive programming like the candlelight snowshoe hike brings families outdoors even on winter nights.

9.Rochester Art Center

With free admission, this vibrant art center invites families to view emerging regional artists alongside nationally renowned displays. Quarterly hands-on art discovery days help kids flex their creative muscles with activities like painting and pottery. Parent and child workshop sessions involve projects using materials like clay, glass and fibers.

The innovative exhibits change regularly, ensuring fresh artwork for families to interpret and discuss. Monthly family days feature concerts, performers or themed activities.

10.Commonweal Theatre Company

This professional theater company stages innovative contemporary and classic productions perfect for older elementary through high school aged youth. Their family show series like “Anne of Green Gables” balances audience participation with professional sets and costuming.

Acting camps, classes and workshops for ages 4 through 18 nurture creativity and build confidence. Year-round special events include talkbacks, costume parades and backstage tours geared for families.


For pure wintry fun, this pop-up venue creates changing themes out of carved ice sculptures. Past years brought to life scenes from Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon and radical ’80s styles. Families snap photos and embrace the chill while ice luging, watching ice carvers in action or sipping hot cocoa from the on-site warming house.


Minnesota’s largest community festival packs summertime entertainment across multiple downtown venues. One day focuses solely on creative fun for families with activities like messy art stations, demonstrations from children’s performers and a foam dance party.

Other days have engagements like a youth talent competition, obstacle course race and concerts. The festival wraps up with a vibrant parade and fireworks show over the Civic Center.


With world-renowned medical facilities, Rochester offers much more than healthcare for visitors. Numerous family-friendly museums, parks, and attractions make Rochester an engaging destination for parents and kids. Interactive exhibits and hands-on learning disguise education as vibrant entertainment.

Beautiful parks and trails encourage activity and exploration of the natural landscape. Special events and festivals happening year-round punctuate the calendar with entertainment options. Rochester makes an ideal home base for families looking to bond while creating lasting memories together.

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