Why Take Your Kids to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden?

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A beautiful distant shot of the famous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

As a Twin City resident, you are fortunate to have a plethora of choices for adventurous activity at your fingertips. As any parent will tell you, once you throw kids into the mix, those options are slightly limited, but still plenty. 

Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we are always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities to introduce your kids to a little bit of culture. One of our favorite places we visit to expand our horizons is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

If you’re looking for another fantastic place to take your kiddos so they can learn while they explore, check out the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Ordovician Pore 1989 by Tony Cragg, gift of Joanne & Philip Von Blon, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, MN

A Little Background

Ideally settled alongside the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has the added benefit of fresh air and an outdoor setting. You can feel good about this outing for two reasons.

One, you will kick-start your child’s interest in art at an early age. And second, you will get to spend some time in nature with your family. Talk about two birds, one stone.

We love the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden for many reasons. It’s elegant modernity truly shines through from the moment you enter its grounds. 

Though it is situated in the heartland of the United States, there is something vaguely reminiscent of the romantic European cites floating through the air. You might even feel, just for a moment, that you have been magically transported to the famous Musee Rodin in Paris.

The serene sophistication of this garden makes it an ideal getaway for any true Francophile in your family. Escape the hustle and bustle of your routine for just a few hours, and enjoy the pristine grounds of this sculpture garden.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was first opened to the public back in 1988. Then, in 2017, it was fully reconstructed in a more modern style.

All of the sculptures you find are from the Walker Center’s collections of modern and contemporary art. On these rolling green hills, you will find a little over 40 outdoor sculptures by artists from over ten countries.

Walker Art Center

Many of the works found here are site-specific. They were designed with the space in mind, and they make the most of the light and landscape. If you want to learn a little bit more about Minneapolis, what better way than looking at art inspired by this area. 

In the eyes of those who are not from this region, Midwesterners are thought of as stern and straightforward. But there is more to us than that. Many of the pieces you find here showcase the wit, whimsy, imagination, and style that is buried just under the surface of our stoic exteriors. 

In the words of the museum, this sculpture garden is filled with spaces for gathering, conversation, or dreaming. We couldn’t agree more. Visit for yourself, and you will see what a magical experience it can be. 

If you do decide to visit, we want you to make the most of your trip. Keep reading to find a list of our must-see works and why we love them. 

minneapolis skyline from sculpture garden

The One and Only Spoon

You can’t visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and not check out this iconic piece. Husband and wife team, Claes Oldenberg and Cosje van Bruggen collaborated on this piece. They consider it one of their favorites and it is one of their most celebrated works.

Named Spoonbridge and Cherry, Oldenberg and van Bruggen drew inspiration from personal experience to create this work of art. A dessert, a Viking ship, and happy childhood memories all helped in the creation of this piece. 

Grab a seat in one of the surrounding Adirondack chairs and discuss what it means to you. 

The Blue Rooster

Hahn/Cock should be a must-see item on your list. When you look at this piece, think about the themes of pride, power, courage, and machismo. It may also bring to mind the glory and joy of a new dawn. 

Or, it could mean something entirely different to you. This is a great chance to ask your child to express what it means to him or her. You will be surprised at the varied reactions to such simple stimuli will bring. 

Roosters are a familiar image, but the size and color of this one will lead to down mental pathways you might be surprised to tread. 

Young man gives his woman and daughter ride in wheelbarrow. Happy family a ride in wheelbarrow at farm.

The Giant Swing

Inspired by the grace of a spider, this piece is titled Arikidea after the word arachnid. It is made from giant steel beams, and its construction allows it a slight sway if the wind is strong enough.

That gentle movement is reminiscent of the webs spun by the insect that inspired the artist’s work. 

We love this piece because it is interactive. Guests are encouraged to sit or play on the swing that is the central focus of this work. 

Minneapolis’ Love

Everyone is familiar with the iconic Love sculptures that can be found in many places around the world. Robert Indiana has lovingly placed them in prominent locations throughout the globe. 

The love statue at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is built out of crafted steel and then painted a vibrant, earthy copper color. 

It is one of our favorite spots to take that quintessential family photo.

Happy family running around the park

The Gentle Giant

One of the more surprisingly emotional pieces is this moving piece by Matthew Monahan. This massive, twelve-foot tall structure stands imposingly over you with open arms. The juxtaposition of coldness and warmth is a bit jarring. 

You feel small and frightened but strangely seen and accepted at the same time. This uplifting piece is something you should experience for yourself. Plus, we bet your kids will love playing beneath it.

The Colorful Arches

Your kids will love this one. It will make you think you are on a playground; this jungle-gym-like structure just begs to be explored. This archway makes contact with the ground in no less than ten separate points. 

Its name, Empire, conjures up images of great sprawling cities. Let your imaginations run wild as you explore the space.

The garden is open from 6 am to midnight, 365 days out of the year, so you have no excuse to miss this garden and all its wonders.

Paul Walter's Piece 1975: Copper Sticks by Jackie Winsor b. 1941; Gift of Paul F. Walter, 2000; Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

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