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Quarry Hill Nature Center

Top 5 Things To Do In Minnesota (2022)

Minnesota, fondly known as the land of 10,000 lakes, is one of the most beautiful states in the great American Midwest. Minnesota is a land of astounding wilderness, parks, outstanding resorts, drive-in theaters, historical and cultural sites, and of course, the many mesmerizing lakes. Whether you are exploring the many beautiful waterways in Minnesota, hiking through the scenic trails, or snowshoeing off the beaten path, Minnesota is an ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers. From the magnificent Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to the green spaces and industrial city of Duluth, there are many exciting things to do in Minnesota.

Top 5 Things To Do In Minnesota

Let’s take a look at the top things to do in Minnesota.

1. Exploring the Breathtaking North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive is the best place to begin your trip. This is a beautiful 142-mile stretch through a wilderness that takes you from Duluth to Grand Portage. On one side of the route lies the mesmerizing Lake Superior, while on the other side, you get to glimpse the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. The breathtaking sights along this route include the stunning cliffs, sandy beaches, and thousands of acres of forest. Add to this the many lighthouses and waterfalls that dot the landscape, and there is no end to the many adventurous opportunities here.

There are many adventures that await you along this route. This includes RV camping, golfing, tent, canoeing, rock climbing, hunting, dog sledding, and much more. Another exciting fact is that eight of Minnesota’s state parks are also located along this way. It will take you around three hours to complete this journey if you continue to drive straight, though. However, you can make a trip out of traversing this scenic route by stopping along the way and completing the route in several years. For those who don’t want to drive down this route, there is the 300 plus mile Superior Hiking Trail that takes you along the Minnesota shoreline and can only be explored on foot.

2. Exploring Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Perhaps one of the most famous attractions of Minnesota is the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). This is a fine art museum in Minneapolis and one of the largest art museums in the country. The MIA plays host to over 7100,000 visitors annually, and it is home to a wide range of art and other attractions. This is another budget-friendly attraction to explore in Minnesota as entry is free. The collection at this magnificent structure features over 89,000 artworks, and there are many permanent and temporary exhibits that cover everything from ancient artifacts from all over the world to American modernism. The collections of the museum cover over 5000 years of history and contain over 80,000 objects, which include photographs, paintings, drawings, textiles, prints, and decorative artworks.

There are many installations at MIA, out of which the Korean and Japanese art, decorative art, and textiles exhibit are very popular. The Doryphoros, one of the four surviving Roman copies of an ancient Greek sculpture, is another popular attraction here. There are free daily public tours, family programs, as well as a four-day Art in Bloom festival that takes place every year in spring.

3. Shopping at the Mall of America

The Mall of America is one of the most famous attractions in Minnesota. Located on the outskirts of St. Paul in the suburb of Bloomington, the mall opened its doors in 1992, and it continues to be one of the biggest malls in the country even today. There are over 500 shops and dozens of restaurants, the mall is also home to theaters, hotel accommodation, and many other amusements for visitors.

It is estimated that over 400 events are happening at this mall every year, ranging from the Minnesota Viking fans’ celebrations to dance parties and musical events. There are many stay and shop packages also available that you can book with the nearby hotels in this area.

The mall is located just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and over the years, it has earned a reputation of being of the best kids’ destinations in the state. In fact, children can easily spend the entire day at the full-scale theme park Nickelodeon Universe here or check out the ocean on your trip to the Sea Life Aquarium.

4. Spending The Day At The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Como Park is a zoo, park, and conservatory located in the beautiful city of St. Paul. This is a very popular park that receives over 1.9 million visitors every year. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from all over the world, including monkeys and polar bears. One of the most popular animal interactions here is feeding the giraffes, and visitors of all ages can feed these gentle giants some Romaine lettuce right from their hands.

The zoo recently underwent an expansion of $20 million, during which a new Como Harbor exhibit was added. This is going to be a new home for otters, penguins, and two giant octopuses.

Apart from the zoo, there is a lot more to see in the park. While here, make sure you make a stop at the conservatory to check out a variety of heat-loving plants. A visit to this beautiful glass building will make you feel like you have stepped right into the tropics. The Sunken Garden is also another exhibit you must check out. This is a colorful area full of many beautiful and fragrant plants that continuously change throughout the seasons and is an excellent place for clicking pictures.

5. Visiting the Quarry Hill Nature Center

The Quarry Hill Nature Center is a great place to visit with the whole family. This is an educational center located in Rochester, sitting in the heart of a 329-acre park that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. There are several paved as well as unpaved trails along with a historical cave on the grounds. In the winter months, cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available for visitors to enjoy.

There is the Harry L. Buck Children’s Pond here that provides aquatic learning experiences for children of all ages. You will find ducks nesting in a box on an island in the pond, which is a major draw not just for children but also for grown-ups. You can also spot a wide variety of other wildlife in the vicinity of the pond.

The Quarry Hill Nature Center is also known for hosting a variety of day camps, trips, classes, and activities throughout the year. A visit to this exciting place is the perfect way to spend the entire day with the family.