Why wait for a traveling exhibit to come to town? Minnesota museums, gardens, zoos and galleries host permanent exhibits that have been cultivated and curated over the years to reflect ongoing fascinations. A benefit of permanent exhibits is that they allow visitors to return over and over, often discovering something new each time. Wander around any of these diverse and educational exhibits as much as you want, they are permanent.
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Nothing bonds past and future generations of Minnesotans like the weather. This fascinating exhibit focuses on the dramatic changes in weather that can occur on a daily basis in the upper Midwest. “Weather Permitting” contains artifacts from past tornadoes and treacherous thunderstorms as well as a dedicated area to our beautiful summers. Learn about the invention of water skiing in Lake City and gain an appreciation of those days before indoor climate control.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
The Sculpture Garden opened in 1988 and has since become one of Minnesota’s most-visited exhibits. Located outside the Walker Art Center, the Sculpture Garden combines the beauty of the outdoors with the beauty of art. The garden displays 40 works of contemporary art, including the most famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture. Free guided tours are offered in the warmer months, along with an artist-designed miniature golf course.
Touch and See Discovery Room
The Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
The James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History was formed in the 1800s as a place to collect and study Minnesotan plant and animal life. Today, the museum is owned by the University of Minnesota and open for all to discover regional fauna and flora. The Touch and See Discovery Room is a permanent part of the museum that houses interactive exhibits full of prehistoric and modern natural wonders. Check out this fantastic hands-on study of nature.
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The Tropical Reef
The Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Blvd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124
A replica of a coral reef, complete with rare tropical fish species, can be found on display at the Minnesota Zoo. Sharks and electric eels are included in this fascinating display of fish from the equator. Millions flock to the zoo annually to watch the colorful fish swim and occasionally catch a feeding. Although the coral in the tanks are artificial, the sea life is genuinely amazing.
The Mississippi River Gallery
Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Minnesota’s Twin Cities thrive and depend upon the Mississippi River’s power and presence. The Mississippi River Gallery highlights the beauty and importance of the largest river in the United States. The gallery strategically overlooks the river itself and allows visitors to examine it closer with a panoramic telescope. Animal and plant life along the river is highlighted as well as the pollution contributed by man. Interactive areas of the gallery allow visitors to explore a sewer pipe or simulate driving a river barge (it’s harder than you would think).
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Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for eight years. She loves covering all things Minnesota and her work can be found on Examiner.com.