Everybody knows that the Minnesota state bird is the loon and that the flower is the lady’s slipper. The state fish is obviously the walleye and the muffin: blueberry. But how about the fact that Minnesota is actually the land of 15,291 lakes? Or that, in 1922, waterskiing was invented in Lake City Minnesota? Or that 58 years later a pair of teenage brothers in Bloomington invented the inline skate? Minnesota is full of surprises; here are the top five from across the state.

Minnesota’s Northwest Angle

Angle Township
Northwest Angle State Forest
Lake of the Woods County, MN

At the very northern tip of the state, in fact, the northern tip of the continental United States, is a small exclave of Minnesota land separated from the state’s main body by Lake of the Woods. Angle Township, the community that resides there, is about 150 residents strong and is comprised of approximately 123 square miles of land. To visit the Angle by car, you’ll have to cut through Canada. If your passport isn’t valid, you’ll have to go by boat – unless the lake is frozen solid for the winter.

Luxembourg Heritage Society of Southern Minnesota
904 N. Minnesota St.
New Ulm, MN 56073
(507) 354-1123

Minnesota’s original immigrants came from… Germany? Norway? Sweden? Yes to all, but don’t forget to include Luxembourg on that list. Although many Luxembourg immigrants were immersed in the wave of Germans that settled in the Midwest, Minnesota’s first Luxembourg citizen can be traced to New Ulm, Minnesota. Francis Baasen arrived in New Ulm in 1856, and eventually became the County Recorder, then moved on to become Minnesota’s first Secretary of State. If you can trace your roots back to Luxembourg, contact the Luxembourg Heritage Society of Southern Minnesota to connect with your countrymen and women.

(credit: Lydia Grendahl)

(credit: Lydia Grendahl)

Minnesota Big
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
725 Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 375-7600

Mall of America
60 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-8800

Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 377-2224

Pelican Rapids
City Hall
315 N. Broadway
Pelican Rapids, MN 56572
(218) 863-7076

You’ve heard of Minnesota Nice? How about Minnesota Big? Get this. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the United States. Coming in at just under three million square feet, the Mall of America is the second largest mall in the country. The largest regional playhouse in the country is the Guthrie Theater. The largest population of golfers per capita is Minneapolis. And lastly, largest statue of a pelican? You guessed it, Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, where the 15.5-foot-tall concrete statue towers over the Pelican River.

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Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome / Mall of America Field
900 S. 5th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 332-0386

Minnesotans are saying goodbye to the oft criticized, but much loved Metrodome this year. After 31 years, the home of the Minnesota Vikings and past home of the Minnesota Twins is no longer a modern facility. In fact, in 2012, Time magazine called it the worst stadium in the country. But, in its heyday, the Dome was notable for its unique design and sported the largest inflatable roof in the country (over 10 acres of fabric). In spite of its detractors, the HHH Metrodome remains the only venue in the United States to host a World Series, a Super Bowl and a NCAA Final Four Championship.

5008 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 724-3444

Minnesotans are inventive souls and you’ll be surprised at the things we come up with. Minnesotans were responsible for inventing the toaster, the retractable seatbelt, Twister, string handles for paper bags, the bundt pan and, of course, SPAM. Check out this poster series, by Replace ad agency, that honors the inventive spirit of the state of Minnesota.

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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.