Our family loves museums. My kids will be quick to let you know, not the boring types of museums, but the FUN ones. You know where you do hands-on learning. Explore. Immersion. Museums that invite you into a world and you become part of it. In Rochester, we are so lucky, because the Twin Cities are just a little over an hour away where it seems like there is almost an endless amount of museums to explore. I was so excited to hear that the Bell Natural History Museum and Planetarium had remodeled and moved to a whole new space. Finally, we were able to take a trip there on a Saturday morning. Any age will enjoy this Museum there is so much to see and do. There are some beautiful dioramas of Minnesota landscape and then, of course, the Mammoth and the Giant Beaver. Yes! A Mammoth and a Giant Beaver.
Besides the prehistoric animal exhibit, which highlights animals that roamed our state, there are multiple artistic and beautiful dioramas where you can explore Minnesota’s diverse landscapes. The vast amount of Minnesota wildlife that they highlight is amazing. To name a few of them you’ll see Sandhill Cranes, River Otters, Tundra Swans, toads, frogs, and Timber Wolves along the North Shore. Use the touch screen consoles to find the animals hidden in the dioramas.
Some of the other exhibits on display are Weather to Climate Our Changing World, Year of Apollo The Moon & Beyond, Life in the Universe, Tree of Life, and Web of Life. The Touch and See Lab is hands-on learning for all ages. Wait. And, did I say interactive? Check out the video on how you can follow the mating moves of a Whooping Crane, a bird that happens to be on the endangered species list.
The Planetarium has a multitude of different shows for various ages. There are multiple shows currently. Out of This World and Minnesota Night Skies is recommended for all ages. Mysteries of Your Brain is recommended for 8 and up, and Minnesota Water Stories is recommended for 10 and up.
Food, Parking & Ticket prices
There is a gift shop where you can purchase snacks and beverages and tables where you can eat. You can also pack a lunch as a family and eat it at one of the spaces designed for this purpose.
Located on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus at 2088 Larpenteur Avenue West.
Parking is $5.00 a day.
Open Friday-Sunday, 10 am-4 pm.
Tickets prices are as follows and are recommended that tickets are purchased in advance on their website:
General Admission: $12.00 for Adults, Youth (3-21, 0-2 yrs free) $9.00
Planetarium shows: $8.00 for Adults, Youth (3-21, 0-2yrs free) $6.00
Combo Tickets (Admission & Planetarium) Adults $17.00, Youth (3-21, 0-2 yrs free*) $12.00