(Yes, I know the picture is really taken in Northern Minnesota, but just wanted to see if you were watching.)
Como Zoo, St. Paul, is a city zoo that is very minimal in cost. Beautiful parklike grounds including a conservatory (open in winter too!), and it has a few kiddy rides for the little ones. I can’t forget the “Sparky the Sea Lion” Show too.
Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, Chanhassen. This is a high quality dinner theater that is noted nationally. They also have smaller adjacent theaters in the complex as well. We had wonderful date nights as we enjoyed classic musicals and shows with a steak or chicken dinner.
Paul Bunyan Land, Brainerd. This is a little kids’ amusement park (I’d say it is geared toward 9 and younger) that has Minnesota’s Legend, Paul Bunyan, as the theme. The giant Paul statue even talks with the little kids, amazing them how he knows their name. Pretty cute.
Mall of America, Bloomington (a suburb of Minneapolis) is an attraction in itself even if you are not a shopper. It includes several novelty stores, an indoor amusement park, entertainment in the common areas, etc. This is a nice way to move about and stay warm in the winter.
Valley Fair, Shakopee. This is the big kids’ amusement and waterpark. Huge and exciting. Perhaps I’ve outgrown this one, but I finally realized it is not fun anymore to feel sick after a full day of thrilling and spinning rides. While tons of people visit there, I’d take some caution as the area has gone downhill in the recent past. Keep alert at night and lock your car doors. I heard of rapes on the premises along with muggings and gang related activities right outside the gates. The area has a lot of drug and gambling activity in the area.