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Top 8 Ways to Entertain Family and Visiting Relatives This Week

Patch finds the best of the west metro.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your house is bursting at the seams with visiting relatives. You’ve got to get them out and get some fresh air, but where would you go? Good thing the Twin Cities have a ton of great places to enjoy with your family.

The Bakken Museum

For the kid who loves to touch everything, there’s Minneapolis’ Bakken Museum. Tucked away in a mansion on Lake Calhoun, the Bakken offers fascinating, hands-on exhibits about electricity and how it impacts our daily lives. Afterwards, you can take a short walk or drive south to Lake Harriet and the Como-Harriet Streetcar line for the last jaunt of the year on authentic,100-year old streetcars. On Friday Nov. 23 through Friday Nov. 25, you can also catch Santa on the Holly Trolly from 1 to 4 pm. Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs and s'mores for roasting by the bonfire, and members of a local high school choir will entertain you with carols.

The Blast
Located in Eagan, this towering, space-themed play place is the perfect way for your kids to burn off some excess energy over the Thanksgiving break! Try climbing through the Space Shuttle Tower and Rocket Launch Pads, ascending through two Apollo Rocket Propulsion Launchers, or flying the Intergalactic Space Fight Jet while exploring suspension bridges and sliding down the Wormhole Slide. Admission is $5 per child. 

The General Store of Minnetonka

This gift store is a multi-level 20,000 square foot store filled with unique gift items and home décor. The store sells Minnetonka Moccasins and Minnesota-themed gifts such as wild rice, Taste of Minnesota gift baskets and perhaps a few items from Ole and Lena.  Finish up your shopping experience with a trip to the General Store Cafe. Judging by the always packed parking lot, the place is loved by people from all over the Twin Cities. 

Eden Prairie Center

Take your family to the place where Mallrats was filmed. Eden Prairie Center will be closed Thursday, but some stores will be open anyway. Check the mall's website for special holiday hours.

Park Tavern

If you don't want to cook Thursday, you can let Park Tavern in St. Louis Park do it for you. The bowling alley and entertainment center will host a Thanksgiving buffet. Park Tavern will be open regular hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Pavek Museum of Broadcasting

The collections in this St. Louis Park museum highlight television, radio and broadcast equipment. The museum is closed Thursday, but will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Head Outdoors at Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Get some fresh air at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan before the temperatures bottom out this winter. The crown jewel of Dakota County's park system, Lebanon Hills encompasses nearly 2,000 acres, and offers miles of trails and many lakes for year-round outdoor sports, recreation and environmental education. Even in the winter, this massive expanse of nature is gorgeous.

The Venetian Indoor Waterpark

Headed up to Maple Grove? Take a dip at the Venetian Indoor Waterpark at the Holiday Inn & Suites at Arbor Lakes. After drying off, you can check out a full-size wind turbine at the Great River Energy headquarters building on your way home.

Dennis Heyde November 23, 2012 at 01:24 PM
There are more options right here in Shakopee for a whole lot less Money. How about getting a room at Americas Best Value Canterbury Inn and let your entire family spend a day at our Atrium Pool with hot tubs and game room. You also get a free hot breakfast buffet for the entire family before you leave in the morning. At night Mom and Dad can enjoy a night out with our live music in the attached Arizonas Lounge. No need to spend hundreds of dollars going elsewhere when you can spend less tha $100 for a mini-vacation right here in Shakopee.
Rachel Recknagel November 24, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Westwood Nature Center in St Louis Park is the Best!! Great trails, FREE, interpretive center, open all year, apiary, and a playground. They just put in landscaping that is great for senior or wedding photos. I bring new neighbors and out of town visitors there so they don't miss it. Such a treasure!!

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