Winter fun in Minnesota

February 4, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

As exciting as seasonal changes are, once a season has settled in and is with us for a while, our minds wander, and we hope for the next season to come upon us.

Winter seems to evoke the dreams of a vacation with sun, shorts and heat, which of course, at this time of the year, does not mean a vacation in Minnesota.

Although we can’t get a suntan or play on the beaches currently, there are wonderful places to visit for quick get-aways in Minnesota.

For some history lessons of our area, how about the McLeod County Historical Museum in Hutchinson, the Wright County Historical Museum in Buffalo, the Cokato Historical Museum or the Delano/Franklin Township Historical Society/Museum?

There is a lot to learn at each of these museums. Just call the museum of your choice for the days and times it is open.

Take a drive to Waverly, following Lake Waverly shoreline to locate the former property of Hubert Humphrey and his family, which is now a rehabilitation center.

Continue on County Road. 9 to the Humphrey-Arendt Park where a memorial is erected, or drive into Waverly for a look at the Humphrey memorial erected there as well.

There is history all around us.

Of course, you can travel into the Twin Cities area and tour the Alexander Ramsey House in St. Paul, Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, Science Museum and Omnitheater in St. Paul, and of course, the Minnesota state capitol, which will be part of my family’s next Minnesota getaway.

FYI – The state capitol has the largest unsupported marble dome in the world. Over 25 varieties of marble, limestone, granite and sandstone were used in the construction of the building.

My children’s favorite is the Minnesota Children’s Museum in Minneapolis, which of course, offers a lot of kid-friendly hands-on activities for the children and adults to experience and learn from.

Or how about an evening of cosmic bowling at one of the local bowling alleys or an attempt at roller-skating at a Cheapskate or the rink in Monticello? These rinks all have open skating time.

Stick with a winter theme and try some skiing and/or ice skating. Many surrounding communities (Chaska Community Center, Hutchinson – Burich Arena, Delano) have indoor skating rinks. Just call for availability of skates.

Tubing or sledding is always a winter blast. Hit some hills for free or of course, you can venture a little farther and go tubing at Buck Hill or one of the other facilities.

Rent some skis at Baylor Park and make your way through the paths in this beautiful park.

Each winter, our family usually makes a trip to the Carver Park (Victoria) for an afternoon of sledding. The hill is just the right size. You get a “thrill” coasting down the hill but don’t fall over from exhaustion meandering back up for another round. Don’t forget your sleds at this hill, and it is no cost.

Here are some top-rated attractions in Minnesota, according to www.tripadvisor.com (I would have to agree with most of the picks):

• Mall of America

• Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

• Minneapolis Institute of Arts

• Glensheen Estate (Duluth)

• Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

• History Center Museum

• Guthrie Theater

• Canal Park (Duluth)

• Superior Hiking Trail

• Minnesota Children’s Museum

Don’t let the winter blues get you. Have some fun in the snow, engaging in some winter activities, or head inside for a day of bowling, skating, touring, etc., or just plain stay home and enjoy some hot cocoa and board games with your family.

Remember, the days are now getting longer.