Sunday, February 15, 2009

Explore Minnesota

Well I am finally getting back to writing about states! We finished studying about them at the very beginning of Jan. so hopefully I remember stuff! :-) I have pictures I wanted to share though so I want to complete the project. I have been doing a series of posts on MN as that is my state and there is so much to be shared!

In this post I will tell about some places we have gone and enjoyed. I would really love it if any of you who know of neat places in MN would jump into the conversation and leave a comment about a place you would recommend.

~One fun thing we did last summer was to go Science Museum of MN which is in St. Paul. It was nice because we got to get in free as we had a membership at the science center in our town. I had been to the science museum as a child but didn't remember it all that well (and I am sure a lot had changed) and it was all new for everybody else. There are several floors with tons of things to see and do. Above the kids were having fun pretending to be a TV host. One of Ken's top favorite exhibits was a ball suspended that had the globe projected on it. The image projected was changing regularly with various things shown each time and there was audio explaining everything. All ages will have lots of fun at the science museum. There is also a bunch of outdoor fun including a huge sandbox with water, a garden maze, a water exhibit where everybody gets very wet and has a lot of fun on a hot summer day, a "camera" you can walk inside and more. ~The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is another very fun place for all ages. Just Ken, Aaron (when he was one) and I have been there so far but we would really love to take our whole family. It is in Duluth, MN and it is a huge old trail depot filled with normal museum stuff (You can learn all about logging, immigration, old clothes, you know all the things in a museum) but there is also a special children's section where kids can see things that interest them, do crafts, place in this super cool palace area with all sorts of neat toys. Then out in another huge area is the place where trains came in and there are trains in there now. Some you can go through and see how they sorted mail and threw it out as they went by, what the fancy dining car was like, how they used to shovel the snow off the tracks and much more. There are also some very cool miniature trains running. From this depot you can also get on a train to take a scenic ride up the north shore of Lake Superior.

~Of course if you are in MN you need to see and take a picture with Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox in Bemidji, MN. Part of "History" in MN is learning about Paul and Babe and please don't try to tell us that he was "born" in Maine, we know that he was born in Bemidji and has his grave in Kelliher. Paul and Babe are the 2nd most photographed statues in the USA (1st is Mt. Rushmore.) ~Another place to see is the headwaters of the Mississippi flowing out of Itasca Lake. At the headwaters there are stones that you can walk across, but be prepared to get your feet wet. You won't be impressed with the mightiness of the river at "the top" but it is fun to see the difference between it here and other points farther south. One year we decided to start at the headwaters and canoe for a few days. We couldn't even canoe the first part in August as it was too low, we had to walk in the water and drag our canoes.
If you don't want to try the rocks there is also a little wood bridge a tiny ways down. :-)
Itasca State park (where the headwaters is located) is a very pretty and fun park to visit and has wonderful biking trails. ~You also might like to visit the Mall of America. This is our nations biggest mall and it is BIG! You can't certainly get your exercise while doing your shopping and I can well remember how hard it is to find somebody once you have lost them! In the middle of the mall is the nations largest indoor theme park. Be prepared for crowds when you go, the MOA is the nations most visited destination.

~We also have some nice Zoo's in MN. The Minnesota Zoo is in Apple Valley, MN (Twin Cities area) and is very nice. We have also really enjoyed the Como Zoo (and its free!). At the Como Zoo there is also a very nice conservatory. We also have a nice place to see animals around here: Paul Bunyan's Animal Land.

~A place I really enjoy visiting is the North Shore of Lake Superior. The Lake is very impressive and the is a lot of beautiful scenery all over! Above is a picture I took of Temperance river right before it spills into the lake. Temperance river is so cool because of the way it is cut so deeply in the rock. There are a lot of hiking trails around there and a nice little campground.

~Gooseberry falls is another pretty spot near Lake Superior. We have enjoyed looking at it both in the winter and in the fall. (In mid December much of it was frozen but it looked quite neat!)

~My Sister Anna and B.I.L. Travis introduced us to the Bakken Museum this past year. It is all about electricity in a magnificent old house. It was great educational fun! (It is in St. Paul.)

~Another great addition to MN is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I am thankful that I have never needed to go there are a patient but I did enjoy doing a little sightseeing there this past Spring. Above is a picture of an amazing glass formation that was hanging up high in the Cancer area. Mayo clinic has the top medical knowledge worldwide in my understanding. Important people from all over the world go there to get treated.

Those are some places we have enjoyed. I would love to hear places you like to go to!

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