“The first thing we did when our son was born was move back to the Twin Cities. The schools are excellent,” says Tom Knisely, media relations specialist for Three Rivers Park District. It’s a message parents aren’t afraid to shout, and our cities live up to it. Our commitment to kids’ smarts starts at birth. “We participated in Early Childhood Family Education since our children were babies,” says Kim Ramsden, director of communications and public relations for the Science Museum of Minnesota. “My kids benefitted from the early childhood education. I benefitted from getting to know other new parents.”
In 18 years of your child’s life, this translates to one of the nation’s highest high-school graduation rates and some of its best schools. Southwest High School in Minneapolis and Central High School in St. Paul both are on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools in Minnesota” list. (Along with Edina, Mahtomedi, St. Louis Park, Eastview in Apple Valley, and Minnetonka, they round out our high schools that rank among the top 500 in the nation.) Says Sherry Ward, publicist for the Children’s Theatre Company and originally from the South, “It was worth moving up here just for the school!”
Of course schools couldn’t do it without you feeding your kids’ talents. “My friends in other cities can’t believe all the cultural and family-friendly opportunities we have here,” says Ramsden.
+ WHERE TO LEARN
MUSEUMS, THEATERS, AND ENRICHMENT
The fun side of science, electricity, and magnetism, plus great camps for science nerds.
One of the best theaters for children’s shows in the country and some of the most fun summer camps.
Multiple locations, 651-730-9910
National chain that helps kids get a grasp on technology, with camps throughout the metro.
Summer and day camp sessions that shape children into global citizens.
Minneapolis, St. Paul, 612-824-4394
A mecca for dreamers and builders—including LEGO robotics and Star Wars–themed camps.
Multiple locations, 612-321-0100
One-on-one lessons, group classes, and summer camps, plus a free family music series.
Great art, great summer camps, and free admission every day.
St. Paul, 651-225-6000
Exciting, stimulating hands-on activities for kids, especially those ages 1–10.
St. Paul, 651-259-3000
Get in touch with the history of our state through hands-on activities. Great for grandparents or a family day out!
Wayzata, 952-473-7361 ext. 16
Stoke creative fires with exhibits, events, and visual arts classes.
St. Paul, 651-221-9444
For a little more than a century, it’s been inspiring kids and adults. The summer camps (including the one about the Wabasha Caves) are a favorite.
A children’s museum that focuses on engineering and science—the whole family will love the design lab.
SCHOOLS AND DAYCARE
Stop by Amma Parenting Center for a wealth of new parenting resources.
Multiple locations, 952-988-3700
An independent pre-K through 12th grade college prep school in Minneapolis, Wayzata, and Hopkins.
An Episcopal college prep school for kids in pre-K through 12th grade.
Serving more than 7,000 students across several western suburbs, it consistently earns high state and national rankings.
Eden Prairie, 952-918-1800
From pre-K through 12th grade, the International School of Minnesota aims to give children a culturally diverse education.
Multiple locations, 612-436-1003
From infants to private kindergarten to daycare for first through fifth grade, Kinderberry is focused on the whole child.
The third-largest school district in Minnesota, it serves more than 34,000 students.
A Christian school serving kids from pre-K through grade 12.
Educating approximately 9,000 children across 10 different communities.
Childcare with an emphasis on self-esteem.
Education with Christian values for pre-K through high school.
St. Paul, 651-698-2451
A college prep school serving kindergarten through 12th grade.
St. Paul, 651-767-8100
At 39,000 students, it is Minnesota’s largest school district. (Anoka-Hennepin is second.)
Montessori education for infants to kindergarteners.