Minnesota State Capitol
Just north of downtown St. Paul, MN. 651-296-2881. www.mnhs.org/statecapitol
Free. Metered parking available (free on Saturdays although we didn’t learn this until we’d put in our quarters). Stroller accessible through handicapped entrance under stairs, but more fun without the stroller. Restrooms available.
Since our last trip to the State Capitol was cut short due to a mom’s not knowing the closing time, we decided to return again at the request of the kids, and this time we let Dad come as well. We left the stroller in the car and let our toddler walk up the big staircase into the building, and the beautiful staircases inside. We paid $2 for a guide to a special “State Capitol Art Treasures Hunt” that was going on and went off to find the treasures.
The treasure hunt was a neat way to see the Capitol building. Instead of wandering aimlessly about, we had something to keep our eyes open for and backtracked more than once trying to see everything. Along the way, we saw the House and Senate chambers, and the Supreme Court (which the kids thought looked like a church). We also found gophers in the railing, a griffin, several ornate letter M’s, and the north star.
The main drawback to the visit for this mom was that the railings around the rotunda are only about 3 1/2 feet tall, and there are benches that back up to them, so with climbers in my midst, I was more than a little nervous at the drops to the rotunda below and kept a safe distance and a pretty tight grip on my littlest ones.
It was neat to be able to explain a little bit of government to the kids in the context of the Capitol, and for them to see how beautiful and ornate a building it is. I’m sure they’ll be back again some day on school field trips, but it was a fun family stop for us as well.
I really liked doing the scavenger hunt.