The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is always a bargain: a world-class art collection with free general admission year round. That deal is even better one Sunday a month, when it is Family Day. ' MIA's Family Day is designed to connect visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities with the museum's great collection and special exhibitions through art-making, music, dance, and other interactive experiences. We want to offer an environment and activities that inspire creativity and learning. All activities are free,' says Katie Wildfong, Associate for Family Programs.
Each Family Day has a theme, often related to a special exhibit at the Institute. There is always a make-and-take art project, so dress your children in clothes that can withstand paint, clay or other fun substances. The Art Team, high school students who are trained staff, will help your children (and you) with the art projects. An eleven-year-old will take direction from a teenager better than from a parent, so Art Team members can help you avoid power struggles and simply enjoy the day. The Art Team members are also quick with a paper towel, should your toddler get inspired to paint a sibling instead of the paper.
Family Days have live music and it is just fine if that inspires dancing. Some months the programming includes encouraging children to go on stage and learn to square dance, to gavotte, or or to simply jump around and get their wiggles out. (Make this a little more lively.)
Older children will enjoy the Art Carts throughout the museum. Staffed by trained volunteers, Art Carts offer visitors a chance to learn about an aspect of a museum display in an informal, one-on-one setting and often with hands-on materials. All ages can explore the Interactive Learning Stations that are tucked into little niches throughout the museum. These stations have colorful and sophisticated computer-based activities exploring aspects of the MIA's collections.
Young children need breaks and the Family Center provides a quiet area for just that. The Center is on the first floor and provides stroller parking, a place for snacking, a private nursing area, computer activities, games such as building blocks, and a quiet reading area. There is a private bathroom to make diaper changes more comfortable and easier.
Each floor of the museum has a wheelchair accessible bathroom, though they are not always obvious. If you are navigating the museum with a family member in a wheelchair, ask at the information desk or one of security officers to direct you.
The MIA coffee shop and a restaurant are operated by D'Amico and Sons. The brunch menu and pricing are available online. But if your children are not asparagus frittata kind of kids, pack a picnic during summer visits. The MIA courtyard area and the verdant Washburn Fair Oaks Park across the street provide plenty of space to throw a blanket on the ground and enjoy a meal al fresco.
Parking is available in ramps next to the museum at $4 for three hours, $1 for each additional hour, not to exceed $12. On-street parking is also available.