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The Twin Cities is filled with opportunities for family fun. Plan a weekend to explore these communities, their lakes, their museums and zoos and their amazing restaurants. Here are a few favorites to check out.

——— Friday ———

Afternoon

Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum

1110 Carson Park Dr., Eau Claire

(715) 835-6200

paulbunyancamp.org

It can seemingly be a long drive to the Twin Cities from Milwaukee – about 5 hours. But stop to stretch the legs in Eau Claire and step back in time to the 1890s. Visitors to the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum can explore an authentic logging camp. The kids will especially enjoy Paul's Tall Tales Room, which is filled with games and interactive exhibits.

Dinner

The Blue Door Pub

3448 42nd Ave. S, Minneapolis

(612) 367-4964, thebdp.com

Ever hear of a Juicy Lucy? It's a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat. The origins of this tasty burger are in Minneapolis. And The Blue Door Pub's version is The Blucy, as seen on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. It's loaded with blue cheese and garlic. Need we say more? Kiddos are welcome at any of the three locations, and the kids' menu offers a choice of applesauce or veggies and dip as substitutions for fries. But it's worth getting an order of the deep fried pickles. Yum!

——— Saturday ———

Breakfast

Day by Day Café

477 7th St. W, St. Paul

(651) 227-0654, daybyday.com

Start your day off with the basics of eggs, pancakes or French toast. Or you can go for the Pigs Eye Porridge of oats and wild rice or the Smoked Salmon Scramble with hollandaise. If the weather is nice, sit outside on the patio and enjoy the koi fish pond.

Outing

Como Zoo

1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul

(651) 487-8200

comozooconservatory.org

This is one of our favorite zoos! And it's free! From Polar Bear Odyssey and Wolf Woods to the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden and Gorilla Forest, there is something for every member of the family. Next door to the zoo is Como Town Amusement Park, which has rides for little kids and big kids.

Lunch

Sniffy's Malt Shop

244 Cleveland Ave. S, St. Paul

Como Zoo does have food for sale, and you can also pack a picnic lunch. But if you'd like to dine out, head on over to Snuffy's Malt Shop. The classic 1950s diner, offers classic burgers and malts as well as soups, salads and sandwiches.

Outing

Minnesota Science Museum

120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

(651) 221-9444, smm.org

Plan on spending a few hours at this museum with has exhibits on everything from dinosaurs and Native Americans to the Mississippi River and the human body. It's also located on the banks of the Mississippi and a short walk from the Minnesota Children's Museum, giving several options for fun.

Dinner

Brasa

600 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis or 777 Grand Ave., St. Paul

(612) 379-3030 or (651) 224-1302

brasa.us

Go for the Gumbo Fried Rice bowl and stay for the Spicy Masa Corn Cake. This southern food joint (with two locations) is a fun place for families, with vegetarian and gluten-free options. The kids' menu goes beyond the grilled cheese to include sweet and spicy beef, roasted pork, pulled chicken and Roasted chicken. Sides include grits, yuca and rice and black beans.

——— Sunday ———

Breakfast

Uptown Diner

2548 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

(612) 874-0481, uptown-diner.com

Hello, Uptown! Stop in the vibrant Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis for breakfast at Uptown Diner. The kids will love the sweet options, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pancakes and the Caramel Apple Crisp Waffle.

Outing

Lake Calhoun

Calhoun Parkway, Minneapolis

minneapolisparks.org

With a full belly, head southwest to take a stroll around Lake Calhoun before you make the long trek back to Milwaukee. Wheel Fun Rentals offers several options, including canoes, kayaks, bikes and pedal boats. If the weather is warm, head to Lake Calhoun North Beach for lake access. Before heading out of town, stop at Sebastian Joe's at 4321 Upton Ave. S for some amazing ice cream.■

Liz Paulsen is the editor of Metroparent and a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota.

 

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