Unless you’ve been asleep (or completely occupied with the urgent needs of small kids), you’ve heard all about the shutdown of Minnesota state services. This isn’t the place for politics, of course–I’ve got deeply but closely held opinions on the stalemate. Instead, let’s look at it from a practical point of view: how does the shutdown affect your adventure plans, and what are some alternatives? If you can’t go with Plan A, is there a Plan B that will make for a memorable outing?
Luckily, most of the locations in Dad’s Eye View will remain open during a shutdown: they’re either privately funded, or are part of county and city park and recreation systems (or, in the case of the Mississippi River Gorge and the ranger station at the Science Museum, part of a hidden national recreation area that you may not even know you live near!). But there are some places that will close and might throw your plans for a loop.
Some of the attractions that will be affected include:
The Minnesota Zoo: should you be unable to visit, why not try the Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul? It’s not as large as the Minnesota Zoo, but it has a really great polar bear exhibit, seal shows, and is right next to Como Town Amusement Park.
Mill City Museum and the Minnesota History Center (as well as other sites run by the Minnesota Historical Society throughout the state and around the metro, including the sweet little train station at Minnehaha Falls, historic Fort Snelling, and the James J. Hill House): if you’ve got a hankering for history but these museums aren’t available, check out the Hennepin County History Museum; and the Mill Ruins Park and Stone Arch Bridge adjacent to Mill City will still be open for exploring and strolling.
Fort Snelling State Park: if you’re looking for a place to hike, the Mississippi River Gorge, Theodore Wirth Park, and Minnehaha Park are open for business; and if you’re looking to take a dip, you can’t go wrong with Lake Calhoun, the Highland Park Aquatic Center, or the Jim Lupient Water Park.
Minnesota State Capitol: the Historical Society tours of the Capitol will be on hold in the event of a shutdown, but the Capitol grounds, with their statues and monuments, are still available for strolling. But there’s surely a miasma of unhappiness floating over the chambers … Instead of trudging into all that bad karma, why not go across the street to the Hmongtown Marketplace, where the scent of fresh herbs, the colorful fabrics, and the tasty banh mi sandwiches and noodles will surely expel any unhappiness!
I should also note briefly that MHS Press, the publisher of Dad’s Eye View, is one of the affected institutions: as an arm of the Minnesota Historical Society, it will close for business July 1. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the book! It’s available at local booksellers, gift shops, and toy stores, and you can order it through your favorite online retailer; and stores can replenish their supplies from the warehouse even if the press is closed. You can still get the free iPhone app, too! And while the incredibly super staff at MHS Press won’t be there to help me out, I’ll still be updating this site and am available for events, signings, and general chatter about family adventures in the Twin Cities.