Who says you have to give up adventure when you have a family? We know traveling with a family is an adventure all its own. Load up the kids or grandkids and mountain bike at Ft. LeHillier Trail, ski the slopes of Mount Kato, kayak the Minnesota River or dare to try a new cuisine.
While you’re in town, here’s a list of family-friendly places you’ll want to be sure to visit while in Mankato!
Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (360° virtual tour) offers a fun place for kids to play and learn in an interactive and hands-on environment. Kids will also enjoy special events at the museum including Toddler Wednesdays, Play Labs and Awesome Arts and Super Science activities. It is one of Minnesota’s Most Epic Playgrounds, according to Explore Minnesota. Learn More. Go>
Sibley Park (360° virtual tour) is a favorite of many area families. Not only is the park beautifully landscaped with extensive gardens, it offers endless recreational opportunities: multiple play areas, a petting zoo, picnicking areas and outdoor workout equipment. While at the park people can also fish on the river, take a walk on the Minnesota River Trail, or watch a local softball game. Sibley Park is also home to the Kiwanis Holiday Lights and a legendary sledding hill every holiday season. Learn More. Go> More Mankato Parks. Go>
No matter where you are in Mankato art is not too far away! Public art can be found throughout the City Center in the form of sculptures, murals, monuments and more. Spread your wings at #WingsofWhimsy in Old Town Mankato and take the family on the CityArt Walking Sculpture tour and watch the children’s imagination light up with excitement. Go>
Take your kids back in time in the world of Betsy-Tacy. Mankato is the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, beloved author of the famed Betsy-Tacy series of children’s books. As you are visiting the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites try to erase the view of modern advances and imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s. Learn More. Go>
Take to the Water
Kids love the water. Mankato is within a quick drive to many surrounding lakes. There are opportunities to rent a boat or fish from a dock. Kids will also enjoy swimming or playing on the playground equipment at some area lakes while mom and dad relax and enjoy the view.
Take a guided trip throughout the Blue Earth County river valley with Bent River, our local outdoor adventure outfitter. Make sure to ask about Big Moe and Triple Falls. Learn More. Go>
Bring your Bicycles
Greater Mankato has more than 50 miles of paved trails for a nice family bike ride along with Mountain Biking opportunities at the Kiwanis Park, Fort Le Hillier Mountain Bike Trails and for the more experienced rider, Mount Kato. Learn More. Go>
Burn off Some Energy
Spend the day at the Mankato Family YMCA. Kids will love to run in the gyms, play in the Kid’s Gym, swim in the Taylor Family Aquatic Center and Pool or relax in the YMCA’s Pepsi Cube that has foosball, a climbing wall, video games and more. Learn More. Go>
Visit a Historic Farm
Farmamerica welcome visitors of all ages to explore, discover, and connect with the outdoors, agriculture and farm animals through hands-on experiences on this working farm site, complete with 1850s settlement, country schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and 1930s farm site. As a pet-friendly site, visitors can enjoy the ¾-mile paved walking path, prairie flowers, and picnic areas. Special events and activities are often scheduled. Site includes outdoor games like horseshoes, stilts, sandbox, and yard jenga. Go>
Take a Dip
The Mankato Family YMCA not only has the Taylor Family Aquatic Center and Pool, but they also manage two outdoor pools in greater Mankato. Spring Lake Park in North Mankato is a unique sand bottom pool that offers a lake feel without the weeds. Located in beautiful Spring Lake Park, this zero-entry pool comes complete with sand for sand castles, diving boards and more. Tourtellotte pool, in Tourtellotte park, offers a swimming facility featuring an Olympic-sized pool with a separate diving well and a heated wading pool. Learn More. Go>
Be Wowed at The Wow! Zone
Your kids will find plenty to do at The Wow! Zone: bowling, laser tag, video games, pizza and more. There are also amenities for mom and dad to enjoy while the kids play. Learn More Go>
Ice Skate all Year Round
Pick from several parks in greater Mankato with ice rinks in the winter, including a new synthetic ice rink at Sibley Park (360° virtual tour) during the Kiwanis Holiday Lights. Find a park with an ice rink. Go>
Conquer the Slopes
Families can ski, snowboard or tube at Mount Kato. Whether you are experienced or need a few lessons, Mount Kato has everything you need for a fun day with the family including 19 trails, 8 chair lifts, four terrain parks, a two-level chalet with food service, a full service rental shop and The Lift Bar. Learn More. Go>
Bounce Around at Bounce Town
Head to Bounce Town to let your bouncers have fun while getting some exercise in the indoor inflatable play center. There are a variety of inflatables including bouncers, obstacle courses and slides. The little ones up to 40″ will have fun in Wee Town. Lean More. Go>
Mankato has been named one of the best fun-filled family day trips to take from the Twin Cities by Trekaroo. Come see why.
Things to do with your kids in Mankato. Go>
Best Cities for Kids: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Mankato. Go>
Wisconsin Parent travel writer Julie Henning also enjoyed her trip to Mankato. Read about her exploration Go>
Read travel writer Jody Halsted’s article about her winter family vacation in Mankato Go>
Looking for a day trip through the Minnesota River Valley? Along the beautiful Minnesota River, you will find a wide variety of scenic, historical and culturally-rich stops. Discover the Byway. Go>