From ziplining at the Mall of America in Bloomington to performing improv with a full group of coworkers at a live theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota offers teambuilding adventures groups will not want to miss.
In 2015, Meet Minneapolis, the city’s CVB, launched Go Minneapolis Signature Experiences to offer meeting planners a host of activities to enjoy with their groups. So successful was the program that in 2016 Meet Minneapolis partnered with other local CVBs—Visit Saint Paul and Bloomington CVB—and also the Mall of America to add to the list of experiences, creating the largest collection of such experiential activities in the country.
Today, there are more than 30 unique tours, performances and demonstrations that offer groups exclusive and interactive teambuilding activities, ranging from outdoor adventure to arts and culture experiences.
“We started this program and it was an immediate success,” said Nathan Hermiston, director of destination sales, Meet Minneapolis. “It’s great for our corporate clients who want to try a uniquely Minneapolis experience.”
Some of the current offerings include improv at the local theater Brave New Workshop, feeding giraffes at the zoo and glass blowing.
Julie Krueger, sourcing and contracting manager, meetings and events, for Arden Hills-based Land O’ Lakes, said she was looking for something different for her group and found it at Foci–Minnesota Center for Glass Arts.
“Everyone does Segway tours or Amazing Race-type activities, but we brought a group from around the country to the Minnesota Center for Glass Arts, which we set up with Meet Minneapolis,” she said. “It was a very artsy and unique teambuilding event. When they weren’t blowing glass, everyone was networking and talking to each other. And after everyone had their turn with the instructors we had a catered cocktail party. They loved it.”
The group also had something to look forward to when they got home; each participant made a glass paperweight at the studio, which was later shipped to them.
This year, Land O’ Lakes organized a pottery class with Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, which created a custom teambuilding event for the group.
Other Meet Minneapolis partners, each of whom created new experiences, include Brave New Workshop, where sketch comedy performers show attendees their tricks of the trade and help guests rediscover their own creativity—with lots of laughs along the way.
“What’s great about our workshops is that attendees create in a very safe space,” said John Sweeney, owner of Brave New Workshop. “This allows people to stretch their own creativity and innovation without concern about being embarrassed. Our workshops connect the participants in a real and human way, which leads to greater collaboration and productivity.”
Other Minneapolis classes include Spoonriver: Harvest Your Health, where attendees are inspired to be healthier by learning about how to support local and sustainable agriculture through a four-course luncheon and discussion at chef Brenda Langton’s Spoonriver Restaurant, located in the Historic Riverfront Mill District of downtown Minneapolis. Another, Textile Center’s Felting Fun shows guests the ancient technique for crafting designs from a variety of wool textures, colors and materials. Attendees leave with a handmade rug, colorful coaster or felted artwork.
“As far as teambuilding events for planners go, the Signature Experiences Program not only makes it easy but gives planners options that will win over attendees every time,” Hermiston said.
Shannan Cook, director of meetings for the Minnesota Dental Association, plans the annual three-day Star of the North continuing education conference held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Responsible for registration, housing, speakers and all continuing education for her attendee dentists, she also plans extra-curricular teambuilding and spouse events as well.