A Minnesota Staycation for the Entire Family: Swimming, Sweets, and STEM!

Whether you call the midwest home or find yourself wanting to travel to the land of 10,000 lakes, there is a thriving city in Minnesota that is ready to welcome you! With their “Minnesota nice” hospitality and the plethora of attractions they have to offer, one city is worth stopping in and staying for awhile. Bloomington, Minnesota is the 5th largest city in the state and home to 85,000 people. In addition to quality schools, great restaurants, innovative stores, and miles upon miles of reserved park land, Bloomington boasts each of the following:



The Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect getaway for a family that wants to make memories enjoying time together. From the moment you check in, you’ll notice an all-inclusive feel and a “right at home” vibe. There truly isn’t a reason to step foot outside of the lodge between check-in and check-out. Everything you need is under one roof for the duration of your stay, whether you live 5-minutes away or 500 miles! From Great Wolf Kids’ Activities to ordering a bottle of cabernet to take back to the room after the kids have nestled into their bunk beds, there is something for everyone.



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Take your shoes off and stay awhile! You’ll feel right at home in the Great Wolf Lodge suites. Whether you choose a standard or themed suite, you’ll have comfort, luxury, cleanliness, and plenty of space for making memories. No matter what room you book, your stay will include all of the extras to make it a blast; including water park passes and kids’ activities. Be sure to check out times for local activities once on-site because you won’t want to miss them! From rise and shine yoga and games in the morning to lunchtime line-up mid-day, to the pajama party, story time, and dance-athon before bed, there is around the clock excitement just for kids! You can meet the Great Wolf Lodge characters (spoiler alert: Your children will fall in love with each one!), get your face painted, participate in daytime lemonade stands, create a craft, enjoy a show in the lobby and so much more.

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Water slides and bowling and arcades, OH MY! Just a few steps into the Great Wolf Lodge lobby in Bloomington and your eyes will grow wide with wonder! This waterpark and hotel is not just for kids, as you’ll notice grown-ups gleefully enjoying themselves as well.


Before a family can even make it to the water park entrance, they’ll pass a climbing wall, a mining area, a ropes course and the bright and sparkly Northern Lights Arcade. There is SO much stuff to be played with at Great Wolf Lodge!


Once you finally make it to the waterpark itself, be prepared to be amazed. If you prefer river rafting, you can take your time tubing down the lazy river. If danger is your passion, try out the surf simulator. There are speed slides and family tubes and plenty of open pool to splash around in.


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The Cub Paw Pool is where you will spend most of your time with little ones. The zero-depth entry pool is perfect for the tiny ones and features water cannons, water tables, and water slides. To let parents everywhere in on a well kept secret, the slides in the kiddie area like Totem Tower are even fun for adults!

Whether you are a nursing mama who wants a quiet space, a large family who wants privacy, or are celebrating a special event and want to capitalize on the exclusiveness of the idea, you can rent a private cabana within the water park. Each cabana rental includes a flat screen tv with satellite, free locker rental, playing cards, towels, beverages, and your very own table, chairs, and loungers.

If waterslides aren’t your thing (but let’s be honest, they should be!), there are plenty to choose from. Alberta Falls allows you to ride in tandem with another person or go down solo on a 4-story slide. Regardless of whether you pack a friend or not, the slide will take you on a journey that travels outside of the building and seamlessly back in again. When else can you say you’ve been on an outside water park in sub zero degree weather during a Minnesotan winter storm? #lifegoals River Canyon Run allows you to pack in the entire family and go for a ride together. The ride includes interactive lights and music, so all you have to supply are giggles and screams of absolute delight.


Know that when you dry off, the fun continues! Outside of the water slides, endless fun that awaits you. From playing Magiquest as you work your way through the walls, to spending time in the Northern Lights Arcade, to getting an aerial view through Howler’s Peak Ropes Course, there are plenty of ways to spend your day. Additionally, children of all ages can mine for gold, rock climb, and make a friend to take home at the Creation Station.  

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At the end of a long day, there is no better way to relax than by heading upstairs to the the Ten Paw Bowling Alley! You can go bowling as a couple, with a group of friends, or make it a family affair.



Are you questioning if Great Wolf Lodge is the right place for your multi-age family? (Spoiler alert: IT IS.) Don’t take our word for it though! See this guide to enjoying Great Wolf Lodge activities by age


Great-Wolf-Lodge-51Great-Wolf-Lodge-119People come for the water slides but stay for the dining options. If you want to grab food and drinks without drying off in the pool area, Buckets Incredible Craveables and The Watering Hole are there two great options to fit your needs. For delectable food that will leave your mouth watering for more, Campfire Kitchen offers buffet and meal options that are OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Additionally, there is a pizza and pasta restaurant near the family bowling alley, which also leaves you with a take-out option to bring back to your room when you are Hungry as a Wolf.  With 8 options to choose from in total, families can gear up for the day with a Dunkin’ Donuts cup-a-joe and treats and end the day Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.



The shopping options at Great Wolf Lodge offers the perfect combination of family friendly and memorable. Kids will go gaga over Great Wolf Kids’ Store and it’s many colorful creations. From mugs to jewelry, apparel to souvenirs, get ready to SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP. They even offer a Creation Station so the kids can pack their favorite character friends to take home with them. Buckhorn Exchange Gift shop is next door with lodge-themed goodies for all ages.


With bulk candy galore, each Great Wolf Lodge attendee can customize the perfect candy cup for their stay by stopping by The Great Wolf Candy Company. The choices are plenty and the selections are yummy, so pack your sweet tooth! You can visit Paddle Bay Outfitters for any last minute items you may have forgotten for the water park; towels, googles, water bottles and swimsuits.  

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Another highlight for kids of all ages (Who are we kidding? Adults love it too!) is the MagiQuest Marketplace, where make-it-your-own magic wands will teach you how to travel through the lodge with a purpose.


The Paw Pass is a great way to take advantage of sampling the best attractions that Great Wolf Lodge has to offer. With three different passes to choose from, you can customize your package to fit your interests!

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Another great attraction to enjoy during a Bloomington, Minnesota Staycation is The Works. This interactive children’s museum boasts hands-on fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. Conveniently located near Mall of America, this unique spot is a one-stop shop for engineering fun and play.

The Works has a children’s museum feel to it, with a heavy emphasis on engineering and allowing kids to create. Each exhibit has an innate ability to challenge children of all ages to explore, ask questions, and solve problems. Whether preschoolers are learning about their 5-senses through a maze of exploration, kindergarteners are learning to power a lightbulb with their creations, or third graders are learning how to create a car that races (and wins!), there is truly something for everyone. 

When you walk into The Works, you’re greeted by a humongous K’Nex structure that has an ever-traveling ball that goes through the contraption. It is hard to peel one’s eyes away from this masterpiece! From there, there are exhibit options to keep your mind engaged, your spirit encouraged, and your bodies active.

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The Works is a great way to spend a half-day of fun. Come in the morning or decide to stay in the afternoon; the choice is yours. With hands-on fun for all ages,

The Workshop at The Works is a place for families to create together. From sewing to carpentry, building to videography, The Workshop is an ever changing room of energy, creativity, and imagination. Walk-in classes are offered on a “stop by and sign-up” basis with classes lasting 2 hours and available to ages 9 – 99. Take a class together as a family or enroll big kids while playing with younger ones in other exhibits. Whatever you decide to do, The Works is fun for the entire family!


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In addition to a catchy store name that will make you want to learn more, the smells that will taunt your nose upon entry are enough to get you to walk through the door.. Then, you’ll notice the samples. Oh, the glorious samples! Every single item sold at Droolin’ Moose is available to taste. Only quality brands that stand behind their work would give away so much of their inventory in samples. Warning: The more you sample, the more you won’t be able to live without.


This family owned business is the brainchild of two sisters. Missy and Amy created the brand in 2010 and have been providing people with smiles ever since. They provide everyday chocolate for everyday folks, as well as specialize in corporate and client gifting. They have also recently unveiled subscription services which offers monthly shipments to your favorite college student and/or friend. Can you imagine a better package arriving at your door than freshly made chocolate? We can’t! Their Campus Candy subscription is simple: “When you can’t be there, chocolate can!” This will surely cure any case of homesickness, no matter how far away you are from your loved ones.



Drooling-Moose-14For Droolin’ Moose, wanting to create an everyday chocolate shopping experience was their motivation. Likewise, being a thriving small business that is able to give back to the community is their mission. They have succeeded in both areas and made many chocolate-loving friends along the way. They are proud to partner with many local schools, camps and organizations for fundraising and charitable donations. One organization that they are proud to assist is Camp Kota. Each year, they donate items to each of the 600 children who attend the city wide camp and are happy to do so. For them, giving back is a big part of their small team and what makes them who they are. As a tip of the hat to the owners’ father, Rip Rappin’ Ronnie’s, is a rock shaped candy product that donates 30% of all its’ proceeds to the University of MN Heart C.O.R.E. Clinic to fund scholarships for nurses.


Reasons to stop by Droolin’ Moose (either in person or online!):

  • All products are made in the USA
  • Droolin’ Moose offers shipping both in the USA and international, with orders over $60 receiving free shipping
  • Gift packaging available making this a convenient choice for birthdays, teacher gifts, graduation parties, retirement gifts, and more
  • Droolin’ Moose has 3 convenient locations if you’re near the Twin Cities: Bloomington is the hub, with secondary locations in Burnsville and St. Louis Park
  • With an average shelf life of 4-5 months, their chocolates stay fresh and yummy
  • Gluten free choices
  • Non-chocolate choices
  • Did we mention free samples when you stop by and see them?

To Get You Droolin’



All of the Droolin’ Moose chocolate names are meant to be whimsical and fun, with a nod to Minnesota’s woods, nature, and love of camping.  This chocolate is truly “upnorth meets urban.” Here are a few Daily Mom favorites from their library of delicious combinations!

  • Yellow Jackets: Daily Kid Gretchen was first drawn to the bright color of the Yellow Jackets, but ultimately fell in love with the crunch of almonds tucked inside of white chocolate and lemon cream.
  • Sunny Gummies: Daily Kid Madiana could eat Sunny Gummies by the handful; and she does! These fruity gummies won’t last long with tiny hands nearby.
  • Salty Bog: Milk chocolate and sea salt wrapped around caramel is a dream come true for most! Daily Mom writer April couldn’t agree more, with this being a must have on her list of chocolate favorites.
  • Bird Food: Drooling Moose can make dreams come true, even for those that love life beyond chocolate. Bird Food is a trail mix combination of crunchy, salty, nutty, and spicy
  • Happy Campers: Peanut butter and milk chocolate are the perfect combination, and guaranteed to be a fast family favorite! Daily Kid Brecken can’t get enough of them.


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Are you looking for more fun in Minnesota? We’ve got you covered! Grand View Lodge in northern Minnesota is a great getaway for family thrills! For more fun in Bloomington, Minnesota, check out these hidden treasures at Mall of America

Minnesota Staycation

Photo Credit: April Walker



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April is a goldendoodle obsessed mom-of-three with a new puppy named Lainey. She loves traveling, homemade spaghetti sauce, sarcasm, and her day job as an outreach coordinator. She is a blogger at Mojitos and Munchkins where she loves connecting with fellow parents and commiserating about life in the trenches with little people. After a two-week stint of RV living, she has hopes to "sell it all" and escape on a never ending road trip with her family. April now lives in Minnesota, after growing up in the neighboring Hawkeye state. Her and her husband have three adventurous children who are on a constant quest to keep life busy. After a decade in the classroom, April turned in her lesson plan book to focus on slowing her family’s pace of life down and enjoying the fleeting moments between sun up and sundown. She is thankful for lattes, red blends, movie theaters, and homemade spaghetti sauce. April loves connecting with people through her blog at Mojitos & Munchkins.