Other CITIES, Minneapolis
With tons of rides, a water park (open in late May) and everything you could possibly hope for to thoroughly delight and exhaust your youngins, Valleyfair is the real deal. We're not talking Ferris wheels, we're talking things called the 'Tower of Power,' the 'Scrambler,' and the 'Wild Thing.' These are the sort of rides that your children will love and will make you wish you had faked that headache or gotten some sort of note from your doctor. Real upside-down, hernia-inducing fun. Luckily, it's not all about air sick bags. There are also entertaining shows and lots of food topped off by a visit to the IMAX theatre and the nighttime fireworks.
One Valleyfair Drive
Shakopee, MN 55379
Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. You know the story. Legend has it that this giant lumberjack and his ox walked across the state and their footprints left all the lakes! Minnesota is, of course, the land of 10,000 lakes and there are actually many more than that!
You can travel north to Bemidji and see this enormous statue of the mythic duo.
Go to Raceway Park to see the car races.
This is a short track with Nascar races on Sundays and special events throughout the summer. We went recently and watched the Enduro 200. There were so many cars entered in the race they had to 'fight' to get ahead of one another. Needless to say there were a lot of crashes! It was excellent! The Enduro race was split into 3 legs and between the legs they had Spectator drags- anyone could enter their own car and they competed against one another(only one lap). This was hilarious as several people wiped out and one driver crushed the other guys new car going around turn one. Anyway, this is worth a try if you're interested in races!
(picture is taken from their website since I forgot my camera-darn).
Raceway Park is located in Shakopee (south of Minneapolis)
actual address is One Checkered Flag Blvd
but check the website for directions.
Check out their website at Raceway Park
Step back in time to explore the world of the early 1800's fur trade. The post is located about an hour north of the Twin Cities in Pine City.
Don't be bullied into thinking you HAVE to take a tour if you have younger children who wouldn't survive the hour of incessant chatter in a bad French accent...they can't make you take the tour.
There are some pretty nasty ant colonies at the fort so watch where you walk and don't even think about sitting down outside the visitor center.
They have a really nice interpretive center with a gift shop so if you're looking for some unique gifts it's definately worth the visit.
I recommend visiting when there is a special program like a crafts show or recreation of a trade gathering.
If you're visiting between late August and the first weekend of October....and are into this sort of stuff....take a drive 25 miles SW to Shakopee and step back into the 1300-1650's. Bring lots of money...your appetite....and a sense of humor...you'll need em.
Located about an hour north of the Twin Cities in rural Elk River is this recreation of an actual working 1860's farm. They have gardens...they have crops...they have animals. We've been here many times for everything from 4th of July celebrations to the harvesting of the sorghum in autumn. They even have spooky "The Legend Of Sleep Hollow" readings in the barn during the Halloween season.
There are also miles and miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is the riverfront trail. Beware of the ticks,snapping turtles and large odd-looking bugs.
If you're going to be traveling in or through the Lake Mille Lacs area...this museum is definately worth a visit to soak up the native culture. It's 12 miles north of Onamia on Hwy 169.
The guided tours are very interesting and you can try your hand at native crafts and perhaps even sample some Indian tacos or fry bread. The extensive gift shoppe is a nice place to get some really unique handmade native gifts. If you're lucky you'll get to experience a pow wow.
Here's what a climbing website had to say:
"Taylor's Falls (Interstate State Park), St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin & Taylor's Fall, Minnesota.
A truly picturesque (and crowded) gorge on the St. Croix River, Taylor's Falls offers fine toproped and lead climbing on good-quality Precambrian basalt rock. 30 to 70 foot-high cliffs hold several hundred routes of all ratings. The almost-black rock is extensively fractured, offering crack routes of high quality. Many of the most difficult routes ignore these to focus on very thin face climbing. Fixed pro of any sort is illegal, so bring your rack."
Take Interstate 35 North to U.S. Highway 8 - "Taylors Falls" Exit.
Follow Hwy. 8 for 21 miles to Hwy. 95. Turn left at intersection.
Tamarack is a nice place to walk and enjoy nature. There are also a few live animals in residence and plenty of activities during the year. It's 11 miles NE of the Twin Cities in White Bear Township. Check the website for seasonal goings on. They usually have Halloween parties,cidering demonstrations,maple syrup collection days and lots of educational programs.
A great picnic stop! We stopped off the road for our picnic lunch and found a park containing the Harris City Jail -- it amounts to a small shed with bars on the windows! A commemorative plaque is posted.
I flew into the Twin Cities so that I could drive to a small town for a family reunion about 100 miles outside of Minneapolis in farm country. The town isn't in VT, it's pretty small. But, I'd still suggest driving around the countryside in Minnesota, it's beautiful.
This sign helped family realize that they'd found the right place. There was a huge population of Norwegian immigrants in the late 1800's when my great, great grandparents left Norway and homesteaded in Minnesota.
It was a year or two later that I found the sign in Mall of America to actually buy it for my mother so my dad wouldn't steal her parking place.