Wander Minnesota: Summer Day Trips
As the 2013-14 school year wraps up, there are plenty of elated kids cheering the thought of weeks of free time. Until they actually have that free time…then summer boredom rears its ugly head a lot sooner than Mom and Dad would like. Here are three suggestions for day trips to keep everyone happy. Check the linked websites for hours and special events.
Taylors Falls is not far from the cities, and it has plenty of things to do. Take a hike at Interstate State Park and learn about the glacial potholes.
You can take a scenic paddleboat boat tour along the St. Croix River with Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours:
Or you could head over to Wild Mountain for some waterpark action or to rent canoes or kayaks to explore the river on your own. Stop for lunch at The Drive In before taking a stroll through Taylors Falls’ historic Angel District, which also has the oldest schoolhouse in Minnesota. On the way out of Taylors Falls, take a slight detour into Franconia for the Franconia Sculpture Park.
This is a work in progress, and during the summer you might just find sculptors actively working on their artwork.
Wabasha is a beautiful, historic river town with an easily navigable downtown and plenty of fun things to do. The National Eagle Center has live eagle programs three times daily, and a kid’s fishing program Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6/18-8/28.
If you’ve got kids interested in olden days, a stop at the Castle Rock Museum is in order, so they can see the collection of historic European arms and armor up close. In Wabasha’s downtown, 50 buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a great walking tour.
Finally, stop by nearby Kellogg on the way out for a visit to Lark Toys to check out the vintage toy exhibits, play some mini golf, and shop for toys and candy.
New Ulm has lots of things to keep families occupied. You may not expect to see Schell’s Brewery on the list, but it’s a kid-friendly stop—not only do they brew beer, they brew root beer, too. The latter allowed them to keep the brewery open during Prohibition. Take the brewery tour, visit the gardens behind the brewery, and refresh yourself with nice cold root beer.
Then visit downtown New Ulm to check out the Glockenspiel (with daily performances at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.), as well as the Heritage Tree: a tree created to exhibit New Ulm’s German heritage and history.
If your kids are fans of the book “Millions of Cats,” take them to see the author’s home at the Wanda Gag House (open Saturdays and Sundays only).
Just outside of New Ulm is the Harkin General Store, an actual 1870s general store.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.