If you’re like most parents, you’re looking for one last great memory for your kids to remember the summer of 2022 by. As far as kid-friendly activities in St. Paul go, you can’t beat a sightseeing tour on the iconic Mississippi River, with all its magnificent sights, the splendor of the water, and the rejuvenation of being out in the open air.
Not only is this sightseeing tour down the river educational (it’s a narrated cruise), kids aged 17 and under also get admission for just half price! That’s right, just $10.50 for kids on our daily sightseeing tours at noon and 2:30 pm through September 5. The same deal stands for our can’t miss Fall Sightseeing Tour as well, which runs on Fridays at 2:30 pm and noon and 2:30 pm on weekends.
Padelford Riverboats narrated, 90-minute, daily public cruises depart from Harriet Island in St. Paul and this tour is right at the top of kid-friendly activities in St. Paul during the summer and fall months.
Some of the landmark sights to see during the cruise include the St. Paul High Bridge, Pig’s Eye Cave, the Minnesota River mouth, Pike Island, and of course, the timeless splendor of the mighty Mississippi River.
St. Paul High Bridge
The Smith Avenue High Bridge or the High Bridge is an inverted arch bridge that carries Minnesota State Highway 149 and Smith Avenue over the Mississippi River in St. Paul. It was built and opened in 1987 at a cost of $20 million. The bridge carries two lanes of street traffic over the river and is the highest bridge in St. Paul, with a deck height of 160 ft and a clearance below of 149 ft.
Pig’s Eye Cave
Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant was the first person of European descent to live within the borders of what would eventually become the city of St. Paul. Parrant arrived in Mendota in 1832. In 1838 he claimed a tract of land near the entrance of Fountain Cave, just upstream of downtown St. Paul, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. He built a small shack that became the first habitation and business in St. Paul. Parrant was able to use a spring inside the cave to feed his still and he setup his tavern – known as “Pig’s Eye” or “Pig’s Eye Pandemonium.” The tavern became popular among nearby residents, riverboat crews, and soldiers from Fort Snelling.
Minnesota River mouth
is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 332 miles long. It drains a watershed of 14,751 square miles in Minnesota and about 2,000 sq miles in South Dakota and Iowa.
is an island at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in the southwestern-most part of Saint Paul. The island is managed as part of Fort Snelling state park and is within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. For centuries, Dakota people have considered the area of the island to be a sacred place where they moved with the seasons to find food and resources. The island is named after Zebulon Pike, who negotiated the United States government purchase of the area from Mdewakanton Sioux Indians in 1805.
Those four landmarks are just a glimpse of the phenomenal sights you see cruising on the Mississippi.
As far as kid friendly activities in St. Paul, it doesn’t get much better than getting outside in the open air and feeling the rush and excitement of cruising on the river. It’s a rejuvenating experience and the perfect activity to put a bow on summertime fun.
It’s an afternoon experience your kids will cherish for a lifetime and one they can revisit in the fall to see the spectacular changing of colors as the river transitions from summer to fall.
All Padelford’s Sightseeing Cruises offer a fully stocked bar and limited snacks available for purchase onboard.
Do yourself and your children a favor and get them onboard a Padelford Riverboats Sightseeing Cruise, you won’t find a more kid friendly activity in St. Paul to add to your list of summertime fun as you head into another school year.