Free Learning Experiences
Out of the classroom, into the world.
There are countless ways for your student to explore and learn outside of the classroom. Below is a list of free or low cost ideas, any of which could be turned into a fascinating JGESA school project. If you know of other ideas please share so we can expand the list.
- Check these out
- Great River Regional Libraries - 100’s of classes, events and activities
- Free St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Tickets
- Free Guthrie Theater Tickets
- Hunt Fossils at Lilydale Park
- See A free concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall
- DNR opportunities - Events and Safety Education
- Wright County History Center
- Pioneer Park in Annandale
- Saint John's Abbey Arboretum
- Stearns County History Museum
- Quarry Park and Nature Preserve
- Visit Greater St. Cloud - calendar of events and activities
- Fun 4 Kids calendar of events and activities
- SCSU - Beaver Island Trail
- Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
- Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area
- U of M Star Gazing events
- Paramount Center For The Arts
- Minnehaha falls https://www.nps.gov/miss/planyourvisit/minnehah.htm
- MN Amature Baseball Hall of Fame
- Star Tribune Printing Facility Tours
- ttps://leonardosbasement.org/ - makerspace
- National Parks in MN
- Museum of Russian Art
- Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame
- Atlas Obscura 85 things to do in MN
- Cheap Road Trips in MN
- Free tours
- Ordway Rush Tickets
Wells Fargo History Musuem - The museum offers hands-on fun for the whole family. Located in downtown Minneapolis, The Wells Fargo History Museum has the authentic 1863 stagecoach, real gold codes and you can send coded messages via telegraph. The museums always free and you can even call ahead for free tours.
- Kids gardening
- Visit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, a peaceful garden in Minneapolis.
- Three Rivers Park district
- The Twin Cities is home to a few different nature centers for visitors to enjoy: Eastman Nature Center in Dayton, Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville, Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, Maplewood Nature Center, and Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes all preserve wild areas for families to enjoy. Nature center buildings offer free admission to their exhibits and activities for children. Many also organize regular family-friendly nature events and hikes.
- Tour the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis
- Best free tours in Minnesota
- Landscape arboritum
- $5 Twins Tickets
- Northwest Airlines History Centre
- DNR olunteer opportunities that hit targets https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/
- The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is always free (except for certain special Exhibitions). Plus every Second Sunday of the month is Family Day (hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). You will have a blast making art, going on artful adventures, meeting local musicians, dancers, storytellers and more.
- The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is always FREE, a must see destination – open daily 6 am – midnight. Visitors are encouraged to download the Interactive Self-Guided Tour Experience.
- The Walker Art Center has free gallery admission every Thursday evening, 5-9 p.m and every First Saturday for Family Day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with family activities including kids’ films, performances, art-making, games and family friendly food options from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- The Minnesota Children’s Museum is FREE for families every Third Sunday from 9 am – 5 p.m, no reservations required.
- The Science Museum of Minnesota offers students a discount on Friday evenings after 5 pm. Present a valid Student ID at the box office to receive Museum admission for $6 (regular price $13) and Omnitheater + Museum admission for $12 (regular price $20).
- Join star-gazers on Friday nights at the Tate Laboratory of Physics & Astronomy for FREE public viewings and presentations. The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics schedules public viewings every Friday evening during the fall and spring semesters. The presentations are held in the Tate Laboratory of Physics Room 501-02 at 8:00 p.m. followed by the observing session on the rooftop starting at 8:30 p.m., weather permitting.
- At the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum admission is FREE for children 15 and under and University of Minnesota Students. All visitors are FREE the third Monday of the month from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Visitor Center and buildings close at 4:30 p.m.).
- Free events through Minnesota History Center - Click here
- 6th Grade Minnesota History Pass - free entry to 26 historical sites for all 6th grade students
- MN State Parks - Many activities. Free admission with a school approved project.
Need a suggestion for a park adventure?
- Join a park naturalist for a walk! events calendar
- Explore a 3-mile loop around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul and keep an eye out for wild turkeys near the entrance to the park.
- Hike along the St. Croix River State Water Trail at Afton State Park in Hastings.
- Watch the trumpeter swans at Lake Maria State Park in Monticello.
- Visit the headwaters of the Mississippi River State Water Trail at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids, and look for the first signs of ice between the rocks.
- Take the trail to Shovel Point at Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay while listening to Lake Superior State Water Trail's waves lapping on the shore.
- Check out the views of the Whitewater Valley from the Chimney Rock overlook at Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota.
- See (and hear!) thousands of waterfowl at Lac qui Parle State Park in Montevideo. (Lac qui Parle means "the lake that speaks.)
- Hike the prairie at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne to see what the bison are up to.
- Go take a hike! Check out our hike recommendations for each park.
- MUNSINGER CLEMENS GARDENS, ST. CLOUD
- FRANKLIN ARTS CENTER, BRAINERD
- KEEPERS OF THE SACRED TRADITION OF PIPEMAKERS, PIPESTONE
- LAKE SUPERIOR MARITIME VISITOR CENTER, DULUTH
- SUPERIOR HIKING TRAIL, NORTH SHORE
- GITCHI-GAMI STATE TRAIL, NORTH SHORE
- FRANCONIA SCULPTURE PARK, SHAFER
- RED WING SHOE COMPANY MUSEUM
- ASTC TRAVEL PASSPORT PROGRAM - nation wide (including MN locations) discounts at science center or museum participating in the ASTC Travel Passport Program, you are eligible for benefits such as free general admission when you travel outside of your local area.
Smithsonian Museum Day
In honor of the Smithsonian, museums around the country are offering free Admission to participating museum. The Third Saturday in September, over 33 museums in Minnesota will be allowed free entry. You must reserve your ticket ahead of time. Check it out Smithsonian for more details.
Bank of America’s Museums on Us
Bank of America Credit or Debit Cardholders can visit more than 200 of the most popular cultural center’s worldwide for free, the first full weekend of every month. In the Twin Cities, that includes the Mill City Museum, Historic Fort Snelling, the James J Hill House and the Minnesota History Center.
- Other ideas
- Job shadow a parent, friend, or expert in a field that interests the student
- Interview family, friend, or expert about their life, history or a unique experience. (Ex. a Veteran, someone that has traveled to a unique location)
- Turn a family vacation into a learning opportunity. Free admission to all national parks for student learners. Search "application for educational entrance fee waiver national parks" and add the name of the park you plan to attend. You will have to print a form and have your Advisor fill it out with you.
- Contact your local congress representative, law enforcement, local board members, etc... to attended a meeting or spend a day learning about local government process.
The MN Zoo, Science Museam and other venues offer free admission for those with MA health coverage or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
National Parks app - the National Park Service quietly launched a new mobile app that is sure to be a game changer. The product, simply titled National Park Service, is available for free on Android and Apple and boasts a staggering number of features, like accessibility information, lodging reservations, hike suggestions, audio tours, restaurant hours, and, perhaps most important, maps available to download for offline use.