Kids Activities - Children- Fun Things to Do
Family Fun / Nature Parks / Petting Zoos
- Northland Arboretum
Have a peaceful walk on our nature trails or take your mountain bike for a ride. Winter time? We've got that covered too! cross country ski, snowshoe or winter hike on the trails.
- Moondance Ranch and Adventure Park
Stay at a beautiful guest home by the week or weekend, or visit for the day and take in a ballgame or one of many annual concerts and festivals.
- Paul Bunyan Land, This Old Farm Pioneer Village & Paul's Petting Zoo
Admission to Paul Bunyan Land includes access to the 40+ buildings of the Pioneer Village, Paul's Petting Barn and unlimited use of the amusement park rides.
- Franklin Art Center
Home to some of the area's greatest artists, the Franklin Arts Center offers classes, events and gallery showings year-round.
- Pine Grove Zoo - Little Falls
Pine Grove Zoo, located in Little Falls, is nestled among one of the last standing groves of white pines in Minnesota. Meander down paved paths and view a variety of exotic, native and domestic animals at home in their spacious, natural habitats.
- Central Lakes College Theatre
The theatre at Central Lakes College offers year-round family friendly productions, musical guests and artist exhibitions.
- Safari North Wildlife Park - Brainerd
This spectacular outdoor zoo is open annually May-October.
Brainerd MN Bowling
- Jack's House - 218-824-5225
- Pine River Community Bowling Center
3330 Barclay Avenue, Pine River, MN 56474
- Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site - Little Falls
Charles Lindbergh's 1927 flight from New York to Paris launched an aviation revolution. Tour his boyhood home, explore the visitor center exhibits, including a "Spirit of St. Louis" flight simulator, and walk an interpretive trail along the river. Additional trails are located in the adjacent Charles A. Lindbergh State Park.
- Minnesota Military Museum - Little Falls
One of Minnesota's most unusual history museums. Nowhere in Minnesota are the experiences of military men and women so vividly captured and interpreted for the public as at the Minnesota Military Museum. Indoor and outdoor exhibits depict the stories and contributions of Minnesotans who served in all branches of service in time of peace and war, from Minnesota's early years, through the World Wars, leading up to current conflicts.
- Croft Mine Historical Park - Ironton - 218-546-5466
17-acre park, built on the Croft Mine site, an active underground iron ore mine from 1916-1934; original shaft 630 ft. deep; guided simulated underground mining tour; museum has mining artifacts.
- MN Fishing Museum - Hall of Fame and Education Center - Little Falls & Baxter
The Minnesota Fishing Museum (MFM) is a place where memories come alive and stories are told of days gone by. The collection of over 10,000 artifacts related to Minnesota fishing is beautifully displayed and lovingly maintained at 304 West Broadway in Little Falls, Minnesota.
- Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum - Brainerd
Explore an accurate scale model of an 1800's logging camp and the history of mining in Crow Wing County, view authentic artifacts from early central MN settlers, spend time "locked up" in an original 1800's jail cell and get a guided tour through a 19th century sheriffs home.
- Mille Lacs Lake Historical Society Museum - Mille Lacs
Explore the history of Mille Lacs Lake, fur trading, logging industry, railroads, pioneer settlements and farming.
- Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post - Mille Lacs
The Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post includes a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and an adjacent restored 1930s trading post where visitors can find American Indian gifts from Mille Lacs artisans.
- Crosslake Historical Society Museum - Crosslake
Take a stroll through the Historic Log Village or plan a guided tour.
- Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum - Morrison County Historical Society - Little Falls
Visit the Heirloom Arts Exhibit, see thousands of Morrison County artifacts and check out the shop for books and keepsakes to commemorate your visit.
Cuyuna Range Historical Society Museum - Crosby, 218-546-6178
Located in the former 1910 Sioux Line Depot, which is on the National Register of Historical Buildings.
- Northern Trackers Railroad Club, Inc. - Railroad replicas & Museum - Crosslake
Visit the Railroad Club and learn about the history, operations and economic developments of the north central MN railways from the early 1900's to the present.
- Bear Pause Theater - Hackensack
- Falls Cinema - Little Falls
- Grand Makwa Cinema - Onamia
- Lakes 12 - Baxter
- Rialto Theatre - Aitkin
- Sunset Cinema - Pequot Lakes
- Hay Rides and Pumpkin Patches at the local farms and Paul Bunyan Land Amusement Park
- Sleigh Rides and Dog Sled teams.
- The Farm on St. Mathias
- Triple S Pumpkins - Royalton, 320-584-8159
- Fourth of July
The Brainerd Lakes Area is Minnesota's fourth of July capitol with activities throughout the day and night that include a Parade, corn feed, live music and the Lakes Area's largest fireworks display.
- Crow Wing County Fair
Spend a week in Brainerd, MN exploring all that the Crow Wing County Fair has to offer! Check out art and produce exhibits, taste a little something from each local and national food vendor and enjoy different live music and events daily.
- Minnesota Fall Color Tours
Fall foliage in the Brainerd Lakes Area will take your breath away. A number of tours are highlighted and mapped out for you here; there are many more scenic routes around the Brainerd Lakes area as well. You can use Brainerd, MN as your starting point, head in any direction and experience a beautiful fall drive.
A 1,200 mile network of snowmobile trails radiate in every direction from Brainerd, making the Brainerd Lakes Area one of the upper Midwest's premier snowmobiling destinations.
- Boat Rentals
Your Brainerd, MN visit isn't complete without exploring the many lakes and rivers that Brainerd has to offer. Get on the water for a relaxing pontoon ride, a quiet fishing excursion, an exhilarating skiing or wake boarding outing, or a simple cruise around the lake.
The Brainerd Lakes Area is a fisherman's dream. There are professional fishing guides available who know all of the great fishing spots or you could find a secluded spot of your very own. There is also a wide variety of Minnesota fishing resorts that offer lodging for fishing vacations whether it's for a weekend of family fishing, one with the guys (or girls), or a romantic weekend for two. Choose from hundreds of well-stocked lakes with a variety of fish including: Walleye, Crappie, Small-mouth bass, Large-mouth bass, Sunfish, Perch, Northern pike, Muskie, and more. Whatever type of fish you're after, the Brainerd Lakes Area probably has it.
- Nisswa Turtle Races, Wednesdays, June thru August
- Pine River Duck Races, Pine River, Fridays, June thru August
- Longville Turtle Races, Wednesdays, June through August
U-Pick Fruits & Vegetables
Watch a video from local adventurists Flatlanders Go as they pick berries in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
- Wallin's Berry Farm
U-Pick Starberries (Late June early July)
Sweet Corn (August)
Various Trees for transplant (Call)
Bring your own container or containers provided. No appointment necessary, picking days and time vary depending on conditions. Call to check at 218-963-7456
- The Farm on St. Mathias
The Farm has 17 acres dedicated to fruits and vegetables with 10 fenced acres for vegetable, herb, and apple production, and 7 open acres planted in rotations for melon, squash, corn, pumpkins and fingerling potatoes.
- Elm Island Berry Farm - Strawberries, Aitkin, 218-927-3087
Located just 6 1/2 miles southeast of Aitkin on Co. Rd. 12 (now called "Deer Street"). Pick your own strawberries on small fields surrounded by woods and natural hay fields. Bring your own 5 qt. ice cream pails for picking, or use ours. Pre-picked strawberries are available by ordering at least 2-3 hours before your desired pickup time. Hours vary, please call for daily updated picking conditions. Picking season is usually late June thru mid July.
- Great River Gardens - Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, Aitkin, 218-927-2521
The farm is home for various fruit orchards, asparagus fields, 80 laying hens, annual and perennial garden plants, shrubs, trees and yearly worked gardens, greenhouses and high tunnels to grow a wide variety of produce.
- Nelson-Shine Produce - Flowers, strawberries, turkeys, fresh eggs, farm animals, school tours, 218-828-0357
We make it our goal to have the best picking conditions around! We provide straw between the rows so kneeling as you pick won't be uncomfortable. We also provide restroom and hand washing facilities, as well as a shady area to sit and relax while enjoying a free bottle of water after you pick or while you wait fot fellow pickers to finish up.
- Lorenz Strawberry Patch - Strawberries, Little Falls, 320-547-2252
Lorenz Strawberry Patch is a prime farm serving the Little Falls, Minnesota Area with fresh wholesome locally grown Strawberries, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Triple S Strawberry Farm - pumpkins, strawberries, already-picked produce, farm animals, Royalton, 320-584-815
We have thousands of pumpkins, all shapes and sizes. We also have many varieties of winter squash available and fall decorations- corn shocks, novelty pumpkins and gourds. There is fun in the barn with hay slides, a hay bale maze, and a number of farm animals to visit.
- VR Odyssey - Baxter
- Big Jays Pizza Arcade - Downtown, Brainerd
- Westgate Mall - Highway 210, Brainerd
- Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
- Paul Bunyan Land
- Grand Casino Mille Lacs
- Brainerd HI
- Recreation & Day Camps for Kids
- Camp Foley
At Camp Foley kids learn everyday skills from character development to survival skills with the help of caring and trained counselors.
- Camp Jim
Located just 10 miles outside of Brainerd, Camp Jim offers a 48 bed retreat, 14 modern cabins and a variety of meeting spaces available such as the Bear Lodge Chapel. The camp offers a activities such as kayaking, paintball, mini golf, tubing and much more. It's the perfect place to host your next youth camp or retreat!
- Camp Lake Hubert for Girls
Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert have a 100-year plus history of creating fun and adventure in Minnesota’s lake country.
- Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center
A stunningly beautiful camp and retreat setting on Clearwater Lake in central Minnesota, Clearwater Forest has been changing lives in God’s woods and waters since 1954. Clearwater Forest provides programming including summer youth camps, women’s retreats, spiritual renewal events, non-summer youth retreats, family events, senior adult programs and team building opportunities for all types of groups.
- Legionville School Patrol Camp
- Trout Lake Camp
Trout Lake Camps officially opened in 1947 and since then more than 200,000 people have experienced this "meeting place with God." The camp sits on 180 acres north of Brainerd, Minn., and offers incredible experiences, from summer camp fun to intense adventure camping to weekend retreats for youth and adults.
- Camp Lincoln for Boys
Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert have a 100-year plus history of creating fun and adventure in Minnesota’s lake country.
- Kamp Kimchee
Kamp Kimchee is a Korean culture camp for families with Korean heritage (including adoptees, their siblings, children of adoptees, and children with Korean heritage.)
- North Star Camp
North Star Camp (NSC) is located in Brainerd, Minnesota, nestled between Rice Lake and the Mississippi River. We have over two miles of scenic waterfront property. At NSC you can have a life changing experience with God, in a beautiful northwoods setting. In this Christian environment our summer camp is ideal for young people ages 8-16. There are also many opportunities for families, seminars, retreats and more. We give a warm welcome to all visitors. Let us know how we can help you plan your next visit!
- Outback Trail Rides - 218-746-3990
Experience the northwoods from the top of a horse! We provide beautiful rides through the cool, fragrant forests and wildflower meadows bordering lakes and ponds in the beautiful Pillsbury State Forest. We also provide Jr. Wrangler Day Camp, riding lessons, birthday parties, hay rides, campfires and overnight camping. Open year round.
- Pine River Stable - 218-587-5807
Visit this 280 acre family owned stable and choose from one of the well-trained horses or ponies to explore the ranch on. Take a stroll through the petting zoo and play with the puppies and kittens, pet donkeys, goats, pigs, emus and a cow, or watch bunnies, ducks and geese. Bring a lunch, sit by the firepit and enjoy the sights and sounds of a MN stable.
Mini Golf Courses / Water Parks / Recreation Centers
- Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf - 218-828-9002
Enter the world of 18th century pirates-- carousing buccaneers, skull-shaped caves, sunken ships, cascading waterfalls and dreaded pirate dungeons. Putt your way through a mountain cave, over footbridges, across a pirate ship and under mystic waterfalls--but don't wake the napping pirates overhead in their hammocks!!
- Rapid River Lodge (Comfort Suites) - 218-825-7234
Our huge Brainerd water park boasts a 240 ft tube slide, 240 ft body slide and a lazy river complete with waterfall and rapids. Your kids will love the kiddy pool which is a spectacular array of slides and water features with a tree fort that children are absolutely enchanted with. The whirlpool actually extends outside for four season enjoyment. A sauna, video arcade and exercise room will compliment your experience.
- Bump & Putt Family Fun Center - 218-963-8833
Located only four miles north of Nisswa, on Highway 371, this recreation area offers fun for the entire family, with miniature golf, a giant pool with bumper boats, water wars, basketball, a kid’s play maze, pedal carts, roller racers, and a tranquil and scenic picnic area that is complemented by beautiful flowers.
- Nisswa Family Fun Center - 218-820-3046
Open June-September, the Nisswa Family Fun Center boast a 465 foot body slide, a 65 foot high drop slide, a 12 foot kiddie slide, and a Paul Bunyan sized wading pool.
- Three Bear Lodge Waterpark - Baxter - 218-824-3232
While in Brainerd, MN, patrons lodging with us enjoy excellent amenities like free Wi-Fi access as well as a great location near major businesses and attractions. The Holiday Inn Express Brainerd-Baxter Hotel is nestled in the heart of Minnesota, best known for its beautiful lakes and awesome outdoor recreation.
- Whistling Wolf Mini Golf Complex - (Includes Whistling Wolf Mini Golf and Dark Moon Mega Mini Golf) - Crosslake - 218-692-4683
Multiple waterfalls, large ponds, and enormous boulders dominate the landscape. Players will have to negotiate severe breaks, undulating terrain, bunkers, rough, and water hazards to have a successful round. Open daily during the summer and limited hours in the spring and fall.
- Brainerd International Raceway
The Brainerd International Raceway is your Brainerd, MN destination for all things racing! From weekly drag racing events to the NHRA Nationals, everyone can find an event for them at BIR. Try your hand behind the wheel with the BIR Performance Driving School and load up your camping gear for a weekend at the BIR campsite.
- North Central Speedway
North Central Speedway (NCS) is a 1/3 mile track that hosts dirt track racing from April through October. We race every Saturday night, and both seasoned race fans and those who have never been to a race previously are encouraged to join us for a great evening.
We also have great games and prizes for kids of all ages and a great family atmosphere, so bring everyone with you. North Central Speedway offers concessions as well as NCS gear, like shirts, hats, coolers, ear plugs, goggles and kids toys.
- Mount Ski Gull - Nisswa
We offer skiing, snowboarding and tubing in one convenient location. Helping our community to become a better place to live has been our guiding principle for 50 years. Mount Ski Gull's mission is to provide challenging activities in a fun and healthy environment which empowers youth to develop confidence, competency and compassion.
- Cross Country Skiing
The Brainerd Lakes Area offers a scenic 240 miles of groomed and non-groomed cross-country ski trails. Thousands of skiers enjoy these trails every winter. There are even lighted trails for night skiing, which means you won't need to quit just when your skis get warmed up!
- Paul Bunyan State Trail
The Paul Bunyan Trail is the longest MN Bike trail in Minnesota at 120-miles and it connects the Heartland Trail, the Blue Ox Trail and the Cuyuna State Trail. The portion of the trail from Guthrie south through Laporte toward Walker is now paved and the segment from Brainerd/Baxter south to Crow Wing State Park was paved in July 2014--providing the final paved link. With the paving of these segments, the Paul Bunyan Trail now yields a continuously paved trail from Crow Wing State Park. just south of Brainerd MN to Lake Bemidji State Park in Bemidji Minnesota--a total of 120 paved miles!
- Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System
Get your heart pumping with the tight turns and scenic vistas of this highly anticipated, singletrack trail system! Enjoy over 25 miles of riding spread across 800 acres in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
- Charles A. Lindbergh State Park - 320-616-2525, 1 mi. southwest of Little Falls
Located on the Mississippi River, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park offers visitors a wooded campground, hiking and skiing trails, and a quaint picnic area. The picnic area includes a historic Work Projects Administration (WPA) picnic shelter and a stone water tower. Fish the waters of the Mississippi River, canoe Pike Creek, or walk the trails amid grand red and white pine, aspen, oak and prairie. Look for bald eagles year round.
- Crow Wing State Park - 218-829-8022, 9 mi. southwest of Brainerd
This is a nature lover's delight. Explore prairie, pine, and hardwood forests. View the Mississippi River from historic and picturesque "Chippewa Lookout." Novice canoeists can paddle the calm waters of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers.Walk through the site of the Old Crow Wing Village for a sense of history. The park still has a section of the famous Woods Trail, which served ox cart traffic that carried supplies between St. Paul and the Red River settlements.
- Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area - 218-546-5926, 15 mi. northeast of Brainerd
Abandoned by mining companies more than 30 years ago, this area of former mining pits and rock deposit stockpiles now boasts regenerated vegetation and clear lakes that draw a wide range of recreation enthusiasts. Twenty-five miles of natural shoreline can be explored by boat or canoe and anglers can cast a line for trout, northern, bass, crappie, or sunfish.
- Mille Lacs Kathio State Park - 320-532-3523, 8 mi. north of Onamia
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park has so much to offer and discover. It's 9,000 years of human history and archaeological significance has made it a National Historic Landmark. You can learn about its rich history and all of Kathio's other treasures at the Visitor Center. Climb the 100 foot observation/fire tower and look across the majesty of Mille Lacs Lake.
- Pillsbury State Forest
The trails at Pillsbury State Forest meander through a heavy forested area consisting of a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. The woods are dotted with small lakes and ponds where you're likely to see evidence of beavers and other wildlife. You may also find several varieties of wildflowers, including the yellow lady's-slipper.