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Minnesota Quick Facts
Uniquely Minnesota: Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Must-See: The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Most Unusual: The statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji
Highest Point: Eagle Mountain, 2301 feet
Food to Try: Flavored milk and cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair
What to Do Minnesota
1 Canoe through Voyageurs National Park
2 See the wolves in Ely
3 Attend the Winter Carnival
4 Go to the state fair
5 Explore the Twin Cities
6 Go ice fishing
7 Look for the headwaters of the Mississippi River
8 Wander through Dinky Town (near the University of Minnesota)
Off The Beaten Path, Minnesota
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is a great spot to find off the beaten path attractions. Within this state you will find art, culture and recreation enough to satisfy any adventurous traveler. Not only does Minnesota have lots to do during the summer, but it is also a great winter destination. In the summer the many lakes are great for water recreation including fishing and boating. During the winter the terrain transforms, making it a great destination for cross-country skiing and ice fishing. No matter what off the beaten path attraction you are looking for, you are bound to find it in Minnesota.
Frontenac State Park
This beautiful state park is located on the Mississippi River, and it is located approximately 10 miles southeast of the town of Red Wing. The park is an amazing destination for bird watching. It has a diverse range of habitats, including prairie, flood plain and forest, which attract an equally diverse array of birds. Frontenac also has lots of hiking and skiing trails. In addition to great birding, Frontenac also has a good crop of wildflowers from spring through fall.
University of Minnesota
The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is one of Minnesota's great arts and culture destinations. The Weisman Art Museum is in a building designed by Frank Gehry, and the museum has a great collection of 20th century American artists as well as a fantastic collection of contemporary art. The University also has a thriving performing arts community. Visitors to the University can see performances by the schools visual and performing arts students, at the West Bank Arts Quarter. Or, during the summer, visitors can get tickets to the Minnesota Centennial Showboat, which features an interactive style of performance, based on the historic vaudeville tradition.
This little border town is known as the "Icebox of the Nation." International Falls is located on the Rainy River, across from Fort Frances, Ontario. The two towns are connected by the Fort Frances-International Falls Bridge. This town has a record low of -55 degrees, which is why it gets its nickname. These extreme cold temperatures make the border town a great destination for winter sports. Nearby Rainy Lake provides great ice-fishing, as well as, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. International Falls is also just 11 miles west of Voyageurs National Park.
Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is the only congressionally enacted national park in the state of Minnesota. It is located along the border between the United States and Canada. This park is comprised of many interconnected waterways and islands. Late summer is a great time to visit this park, there are less bugs, and all of the waterways make it a great destination for water sports. At this park visitors can enjoy house-boating, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. On land there are hiking trails which transform into ski trails during the winter. When the water freezes over in the winter visitors can enjoy ice-fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a United States Wilderness Area which protects the southern part of the wilderness region that straddles the United States-Canada border between Ontario and Minnesota. The wilderness area is 1.3 million acres of waterways and land. Visitors can enjoy 1,200 miles of canoe routes and 11 hiking trails. As a protected wilderness area, all recreation is limited to the style used by the French Voyageurs 200 years ago, including canoeing, portages and camping. Visitors are also required to get a permit before enjoying an adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
International Wolf Center, Ely
For the Minnesota traveler interested in wildlife should plan a visit to the International Wolf Center in Ely. This center tires to advance the survival of wild wolf populations through education. Visitors to the center learn all about wolves, their relationship with nature and the influence we have on their future. At the interpretive facility, families will learn all about wolves, enjoy the hands-on exhibits. Visitors have the option of taking a day trip, or extending it to a weekend visit to explore the forest. The International Wolf Center is also the home of their Ambassador Wolves. These wolves live at the center, their habitat has plenty of observation windows so visitors can view the wolves. The center has two Great Plains wolves and two Arctic wolves acting as ambassadors for their species.
The city of Duluth is one of the larger cities in Minnesota, and there are many arts, culture and entertainment attractions. The Tweed Museum of Art is located on the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota, it has a permanent collection of art from a wide range of cultures and periods of art history. More recreational leaning visitors can join a white water rafting tour of the St. Louis River. Duluth also has a Waterfront Sculpture Walk, which combines lake views, shopping, and a delightful series of sculptures that express the culture and history of Duluth as well as its sister cities in Sweden, Ontario, Russia and Japan. The city is also home to the Lake Superior Zoo, which has hundreds of species of animals, and visitors can ride the zoo train and watch the daily zoo feedings.
Minnesota | Fun and Funky Things to Do
Minnesota is a state full of great places to visit - and some of them are a little different! If you are looking to visit a few unconventional tourist destinations in this great state, here are a few interesting places to stop.
World's Largest Twine Ball, Darwin
Visitors to Darwin, Minnesota have the unique opportunity to see the World's Largest Twine Ball Created by One Man. Other states have larger twine balls, but they are not the work of a single person. This ball of twine was created over 29 years by a resident of Darwin. Today, visitors can look at the ball of twine, purchase souvenirs and even take a tour of the museum. Visitors to the town can even check out the local festival, Twine Ball Days, held in August.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis
This unique destination adjoins the Walker Art Center. The outdoor sculpture garden spans 11 acres in Minneapolis and is home to over 40 works of art on permanent display. Visitors can enjoy many fantastic sculptures including the Spoonbridge and Cherry Fountain by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Broggen.
Severs Corn Maze, Shakopee
Visitors to Shakopee will be stunned by the giant corn maze. Each year the family creates a new corn maze and each year there is a different and amazing theme. These corn mazes have been a tradition for the past 13 years and they are still going strong. Visitors can also enjoy the straw bale maze, pig races, exotic animal petting zoo, magic shows and much more.
Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station, Cloquet
Most people probably don't think of stopping at a destination just to see a gas station, but Cloquet is home to a truly unique gas station. In fact, this gas station is the only operating gas station constructed from the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. The exceptional American architect created a truly exceptional gas station that is well worth a stop.
Underwater Adventures Aquarium, Bloomington
This aquarium is located in the Mall of America, so it is just one of many fun things to do in this location. However, walking through an underwater tunnel, approximately the length of a football field, is a pretty unique experience. The Aquarium is home to a large collection of sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and freshwater fish. Visitors can also experience real adventures, including swimming with the fish. Underwater Adventures Aquarium recently opened their very large jellyfish collection.