Not far from downtown Minneapolis is 15 acres of wildflowers. Part of a city park, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary is the oldest park in the country devoted to wildflowers. It has several different types of terrain (prairie, forest, wetlands, etc) and a visitors center set up inside a cozy cabin that doesn't look at all out of place in the midst of all the trees and flowers.
The main draw here is the wildflowers but there are some birds (nowhere close to the amount one can find at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge but, then again, the MVNWR doesn't have as many wildflowers) and some other animals, like frogs, for example. The wildlfowers are terrific though and definitely worth the visit. Depending on what time of year you visit, they have something for you. The flowers in the forest and wetlands bloom first, later the prairies are alive with color so there is always something there to enjoy. The garden is free (except for the parking) and easy to find off Highways 494 and 100.
There is metered parking and some areas, like the forest and wetlands are technically accessible to the disabled but they don't make it very easy. Study a map beforehand if you can. The garden has two gates and if you drop people off at the back gate, they should be able to go in and get around fairly easily, however, whoever drives has to go uphill to the front gate where the parking lot is and then walk back down to the back gate. There is no parking by the back gate. The savannah/prairie area is close to the parking lot and easier to access.
The garden is open 7:30am to just before sunset from April 1st to October 15th.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Turned out to be one helluva a great game. Scott Baker pitched a 2 hit shut out as the Minnesota Twins dismantled the Cleveland Indians 11-0. It was a masterful performance from both sides of the Twins. At one point they exploded with single after single after single driving in one or two runs each time. We were in Minneapolis as part of Kegger's quest to visit all the major league ballparks and catch a game at each. His jersey bares a patch from each of the parks he's been to. It gets a lot attention and even got him on television tonight.Related to:
- Road Trip
Fall in Minnesota
Fall comes early in Minnesota typically in late September to early October the leaves will be at their peak. The North Shore Drive along Lake Superior is not only one of the most spectacular places in Minnesota to see the leaves change, it is also considered one of the best scenic drives in the country. This route runs from Duluth to Grand Portage for about 150 miles along Lake Superior.
We drove across the state on US 10 to State Route 210 from Fargo, ND, to Cloquet, MN. Though not one of the famous scenic routes, this journey had a lot to offer in terms of lakes, fall colors, farms, and other scenery. A very nice drive.
Duluth, MN -- maybe a little run down?
Downtown Duluth is a little rough around the edges... and rough in the middle. We stayed at the Best Western on 2nd Street, and we weren't even sure if we wanted to go out to find dinner. The hotel was a dump and the drive in on 2nd Ave made the town look like a ghetto. I finally talked my dad into looking around a little walk once I Googled local restaurants and saw a few down by the water. During our walk down there, we were still a little worried, as we passed such fine places as the town strip club (live midget wrestling!), the tiny little smoky casino, and the local hotspot called Electric Fetus.
Once we finally got down by the water, the feel of the town changed, but the historic downtown area really seems to be hurting.
Nature Walks and Museums
I first got to Minneapolis and thought ok what is there to do here in this state; well here is a list that I hope that help.
Obviously Mall of the the Americas which is located in Bloomington area. It has an amusement park inside and an Underwater adventure area which is worth going . I have to say that you could spend two hours easily in the Underground Water Adventure park and even have the chance to pet small sting rays! The cost for this park is about $18 per person but again it's worth and bring your camera because you will want to take pictures of yourself with the sharks behind you. Also I would suggest take your time in the mall it is huge and can be overwhelming if you try to rush yourself so indulge and why you are there visit the wine shops and try samples as well as the second floor area has a place where they sell Wisconisin cheese and you can try samples for free.
Minneapolis is surrounded with hundreds of parks so take advantage and go out and hike! I can only state that even the two small parks that I visited were so surreal in that they seem to give the impression that you were far from city life ( one was in Bloomington and the other near down town)
Sculpture Park located in Downtown area, the park is free and if you park your car on th side of the park the parking is free! Be aware that there are areas that will try to get you to park and pay just look for the paralle parking areas near the park and you should be good for an hour or so which is the limit to this park. A tip do not wear bright colors since there are bees and other bugs that will be attracted to come to you. The park is amazing and of course my favorite was the large spoon with the cherry! You can spend an easy two hours so keep an eye out for your time!
If you are there by late August go and try the State Fair! This is a really nice experience and you will be amazed how much stuff gets fried at this fair! So load up the tums and pocket money! Must have at this fair: Martha's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Corndogs, Caramel Apples, Fried Cheese Curds! The items here are made from scratch not commerical and you will enjoy them! Also check out the booths and get there early to really get the most of the fair!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Minneapolis - the city
Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota, and it is the county seat of Hennepin County. Minneapolis & St. Paul are known as the Twin Cities, and they form the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.2 million residents. The economy of Minneapolis is based in commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and industry, and five Fortune 500 headquarters are in Minneapolis: Target Corporation, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Minneapolis is home to the Minneapolis Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Minnesota Wild major professional sports teams as well as the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Right off Highway 14 is the small town of Jeffers and there are Petroglyphs that were created by Native Americans from long ago. You receive a guide with pictures of petroglyphs that can be found throughout the area and what their meanings are. It's almost a treasure hunt of sorts to walk among the drawings to find the different drawings that are shown on the guide. It is a sacred place for the Native Americans and they expect for visitors to be respectful of it. While you are there, you can also learn how to throw an atlatl which looks much easier than it is!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Gooseberry Falls State Park
We were very surprised when we decided to camp in Minnesota how poor the state park campgrounds were. Small sites, cramped together, not very nice at all. This is by far the best state park in Minnesota. Being from Wisconsin and spoiled by great state parks for camping, it was hard to find a good one in Minnesota. Gooseberry Falls is the only park we've been to so far that can hold a candle to Wisconsin state parks. The falls are best in the spring when the water is high. Great hiking. The campground was very nice. Not too hard to find reasonably private sites. The rangers are great. The people were very nice. Watch out for the gulls! JK! The gulls will walk right into your site, I guess people must feed them. They're so cute! You have to be careful driving through the campground because they can be right around the bend on the road. The visitors' center is large with lots of stuff to buy! From little toys and jewlery to clothing items. It's a great place to visit/camp! It can be busy in the summer as it's the most popular state park, (I can understand why) in Minnesota.Related to:
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Canoing along the Canadian boundry.
The home of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA ) is in Ely Minnesota. , A million acre wilderness with waterways and lakes located along the Canadian Border and in the center of Superior National Forest. There are lots of outfitters in Ely that can set your trip up with. My last trip into the area was in 1990 with two friends, our sons and a couple friends on the boys, so we used the Boy Scout base as our outfitters.Related to:
- Family Travel
Nature on the North Shore
One of my favorite things to do in Minnesota is to go to the North Shore of Lake Superior, north of Duluth. The lake is massive, although it's always cold, so it's tough to swim in very often. Although there are hiking trails and camping spots all around the entire lake, there are many family friendly things to do anywhere from Duluth to at least Grand Marais. Fishing charters, boat tours, Gooseberry Falls (which is free and easily a day long adventure), restaurants & cafes, hiking trails and miles and miles of rock beach to relax on at the end of the day, with a fire and a cold beer. We go back often, and have enjoyed the July 4th celebration on the water in Duluth, as well as the annual Bluesfest. The Duluth area also hosts an annual marathon, the Grandma's Marathon, which only seems to grow in popularity.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
Shopping to Die for
Mall of America
The Mall of America is a shoppers paradise - one of the largest Malls in the world - shops, a cinema, a wedding chapel, a theme park, food court, restaurants, all under one roof.
You can spend a whole day here and not even touch the place - it is amazing - something for everyone - kids in the theme park, etc ...
- Theme Park Trips
The Como Zoo
This certainly doesn't have as many animals as the Minnesota Zoo. On the plus side, it's free!! This will keep your family busy for a day. If you get tired of looking at animals, go through the beautiful conservatory. I also recommend going to see the Japanese Garden.Related to:
If you are in Minnesota during December, this is a must see! The parade starts after dark and is a train of floats made of Christmas lights. You can do some shopping in Nicollet Mall before the parade starts. Dress warmly and bring a couple blankets to sit on.
I would recommend parking at Mall of America or the Fort Snelling VA and taking the light rail train to the Nicollet Mall stop. Minneapolis can be kind of confusing unless you know your way really well. It's also easier to get parking this way. If you do decide to take the light rail go get a coffee or cocoa before heading back to the stop. The crowds to get on the train are rude and annoying right after the parade ends.Related to:
- Family Travel
James J. Hill House
One of the biggest houses in the state. This was the home of railroad tycoon James J. Hill. The house itself has some of the most spectacular woodwork in the state. If you've ever seen the movie The Haunting some things in this house might be familiar to you.
While you're on Summit Hill be sure to drive the length of it. All of the houses are worth taking a look at! The hill itself has beautiful views of Downtown St. Paul and the Mississippi.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The City of Lakes and Parks
Minneapolis is derived from Minnehaha which means "Laughing Waters" in the dialect of the Mdewakantan band of the Dakota Indian tribe, and polis which is Greek for "city." One of its nicknames is the City of Lakes and Parks. Minneapolis is considered to have the best system of lakes and parks in the nation among large cities.
Within the city limits, there are 20 lakes which are popular for swimming, water skiing, sailing, and canoeing. In the metropolitan area, there are over 1,000 lakes, including 200 lakes designated especially for fishing, which are periodically stocked by the Department of Natural Resources.
Minneapolis also has more than 150 parks within its city limits totaling 6,400 acres (2,590 hectares). Among the city's parks are regional parks, neighborhood parks, pathways, gardens, and natural areas. The metropolitan area, in addition to countless parks in the various suburbs, also boasts four state parks and 19 federal Wildlife Management Areas.
"U" can't beat the location! . It's a nice standard Radisson, with an Applebees, a Starbucks and a...more
1815 Old Hwy 8 NW, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55112, United States
Good for: Couples
People I never felt so compelled to warn other people about hotel, so I'm writing this review. I...more
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