Minnesota Parks and Museums

  • Banning State Park is home to the ruins of the Banning Sandstone Quarry.

  • The mission of the Bell Museum is to advance the quest to discover, document, and understand life in its many forms and to inspire curiosity, delight, and informed stewardship of the natural world.

    The James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History was established by state legislative mandate in 1872 to collect, preserve, skillfully prepare, display, and interpret our state's diverse animal and plant life for scholarly research and teaching and for public appreciation, enrichment, and enjoyment. Its governance belongs, by state legislative designation, to the University of Minnesota.

  • Blue Mounds State Park features a 100 foot cliff of Sioux quartzite.

  • Croft Mine Historical Park is a 17-acre park built on the Croft Mine site, an active underground iron ore mine from 1916-1934.

  • The Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is the site of the Mystery Cave, with its stalagmites, stalactites, and underground pools. Tours are available during Summer and Autumn.

  • At Glacial Lakes State Park you can see the many typical glacial landscape features such as kames (conical shaped hills), kettles (depressions that usually become a lake or marsh), and moraines - the dumping area where the glacier left its debris.

  • The Hill Annex Mine State Park offers a fossil tour and a tour of an open pit mine in season.

  • Interstate State Park in Taylor's Falls shows some incredible glacial potholes.

  • Lilydale Park provides opportunity for fossil collection. Permits can be obtained from the City of St. Paul Division of Parks and Recreation.

  • The Minnesota Museum of Mining gives visitors an opportunity to actually climb aboard equipment used to mine the Mesabi Range's rich iron ore. A castle built in 1933 out of stone is the entrance to this showcase of mining history. Climb aboard mining trucks, see a 1907 steam locomotive, or tour replicas of an underground mine and mining town.

  • Moose Lake State Park has an agate collection on display, with information about collecting, and information about the rocks, minerals, and geology of Minnesota.

  • Pipestone National Monument is home to the pipestone quarries which are considered a sacred site by many American Indians. For the last 2000-3000 years tribes across the central region of North America have traveled to this site to quarry. Today, they still travel long distances to continue the tradition of pipemaking.

  • The Science Museum of Minnesota is known worldwide for its interactive exhibits, dynamic traveling exhibitions, and internationally distributed large format films. The museum was an early innovator in the use of live theater as a humanizing interpretive tool and continues to be a training ground for other museums wishing to include live programming in their exhibit halls. The museum provides innovative staff development programs for teachers throughout the region and science education outreach programs for K-12 classrooms. The Science Museum constantly explores and implements new technologies to educate our audience about science. The Science Museum's research and collections division and St. Croix Watershed Research Station provide significant ongoing scientific research in the areas of anthropology, paleontology, biology, and environmental sciences.

  • The Soudan Underground Mine State Park offers tours via train into the deepest parts of the mine. The Soudan mine is also home to the Soudan Underground Laboratory.

  • Voyageurs National Park lies in the southern part of the Canadian Shield, representing some of the oldest exposed rock formations in the world. This bedrock has been shaped and carved by at least four periods of glaciation. The topography of the park is rugged and varied; rolling hills are interspersed between bogs, beaver ponds, swamps, islands, small lakes and four large lakes.

  • Whitewater State Park features 200 ft. limestone cliffs with 450 million year old fossils.