Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 1, 2020

Interesting Iowa City


Iowa City is located in eastern Iowa.

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Amana Colonies consisting of seven villages is one of the top tourist attractions, A group of religious Germans founded and built the colonies. Residents who live there occupied themselves with farming and crafting,

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Today you can tour the village and shop in the craft shops and enjoy the restaurants. The villages host special events and seasonal celebrations.

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The main purpose of Coralville Lake is to prevent flooding and control water flow in the area. The lake also offers recreation with 500 campsites which are spread over three campgrounds. You can enjoy fishing from the pier or take a boat on the nearby river. There are also hiking and mountain biking trails, swimming in the lake, volleyball courts, and picnic areas.

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On the University of Iowa campus you’ll find The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

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The museum offers an extensive collection of mammals and birds as well as Native American artifacts. You can learn about Iowa’s history and learn about its geology, culture, and ecology, Guided tours, and self-guided tours are available.

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On-campus you’ll also find The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art housing one of the leading university art collections in the U.S. The museum has about 15,000 objects and artworks, The Elliot Collection displays post-impressionist European art and the Stanley Collection of African Art has over 2,000 objects of African art.

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Gaslight Village is located in Iowa City’s Historical North Side and is a historic landmark. Four buildings make up the village including two Victorian buildings.

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The oldest is the Charles Berryhill Mansion. The other two buildings are rustic, California-style homes from the 1940s.

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The Hebert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is the library and burial site of the 31st President of the U.S., Herbert Hoover. In the library you’ll find items and photos that belonged to the Hoover Administration as well as personal belongings, The museum tells the story of the life of Herbert Hoover. There is a temporary exhibit as well.

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On the surrounding park grounds, you’ll find Hoover’s birthplace cottage, gravesite, and other buildings from the period.

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Hickory Hill Park is a large park in the northeast part of the city. There are abandoned fields, forests, prairie, wetlands around Ralston Creek, and other streams.

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The park offers picnic shelters, tables, grills, restrooms, and water fountains, They are trails for hiking and walking, In the winter sledding and cross-country skiing are popular.

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The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk celebrates and explores the lives and work of 49 authors who were related to Iowa, The walk follows a series of bronze panels featuring quotes from literary works with the names of the authors.

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The walk also has an author section displaying biographical information and explaining their connection to Iowa.

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The Iowa Old Capitol Building is the former site of the main government building for Iowa. Today it is a landmark found on the University of Iowa campus, It is used as an exhibition space and for educational programming. The highlights include the Hansen Humanities Gallery, the Senate Chamber, and the Supreme Court Chamber, Tours are available.

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Lake Macbride State Park is the largest state park in Iowa, You can enjoy outdoor activities like boating, swimming, fishing, camping, and hiking,

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The park has picnic shelters and a lodge you can reserve.

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There is a lovely beach with concessions, A 5-mile limestone trail circles the lake. There are also additional limestone paths and six permanent Volkssport trails. The lake has boat ramps and boat rentals.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 26, 2020

Dubuque On the Mississippi River


Dubuque a city in the U.S. state of Iowa sits on the Mississippi River.

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The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium tells visitors the story about the rivers in the U.S. The museum has two major centers that highlight the different aspects of life on the Mississippi River.

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There are over a dozen aquariums with animals that live in the Mississippi. You can see a

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historic Train Depot, the steamboat William M. Black, the Pfohl Boatyard, raptor aviaries, and much more.

In the Mississippi Discovery Center, there is a range of activities and the 3D theater shows movies like Flying Monsters. You can relax at the River’s Edge Café.

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The Mines of Spain Recreation Area is located on the outskirts of Dubuque. The state park stretches along the Mississippi River, It has unusual landforms, different plant species, and plant and animal communities. The park is a combination of forests and prairies.

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On the bluffs above the Mississippi, you can see 250-year-old burr oaks.

The park looks about the same as when Julien Dubuque arrived in the area in 1785. You can enjoy twelve miles of hiking trails and in the wintertime four miles of ski trails, Keep an eye out for rare animals like bobcats, flying squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, and bald eagles.

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In the park, you can visit the EB Lyons Interpretive Center and see the Julien Dubuque Monument.

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The Julien Dubuque Monument stands on a bluff overlooking Catfish Creek and the Mississippi. It was built in 1897 in honor of Julien Dubuque who was a trader and lead miner. The Mesquakie Indians gave him the right to mine their land, therefore, creating the first Euro-American settlement in the area that eventually became Dubuque. Julien Dubuque married the Indian chief’s daughter. After his death, the tribe buried his bode under the log mausoleum on the site of the current monument.

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The Fenelon Place elevator is the steepest and shortest scenic railway you can find anywhere in the world. It will take you from Fourth Street up to Fenelon Place 189 feet high. You can get spectacular views of the Mississippi, the Dubuque business district, and the surrounding states, It has become one of the most popular tourist attractions.

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Eagle Point Park overlooks the Mississippi and its Lock and Dam No. 11. The park has amazing views of three states – Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Most of the landscaping was done by Park Superintendent Alfred Caldwell who showed his love for the prairie architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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There is much to enjoy in the park, like the Shiras Memorial Pavilion, the Riverfront Pavilion, Veranda Rooms, Terrace Room, and more. You’ll enjoy the Rock Garden, Spray Fountain, and the Fish Pond. There are six tennis courts and a music bandstand. The park is a popular place for local events and celebrations. You’ll find lots of hiking, walking, and biking trails all through the park.

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The trails run along the old trolley line that begins at Shiras Avenue and ends at a large statue of an eagle.

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The Dubuque Museum of Art was founded in 1874 and has a collection of more than 2,200 works of art mostly American art. The museum has one of the world’s largest collections of paintings by Grant Wood, a rare and complete compilation of photos of the American Indian by Edward S. Curtis. There are also some touring exhibitions. The museum offers Saturday morning and summer art camps for children and family-friendly matinee art performances. There are drawing and oil and landscape painting classes for adults, The museum also holds lunch-time lectures about art history.

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Stone Cliff Winery is a lovely wine bar and tasting room that is located in the historic Star Brewery Building in the heart of the Port of Dubuque. The building is interesting to look at. You’ll enjoy delicious food on the lunch menu with great wine that comes from the winery. Once a month the winery hosts a Murder Mystery dinner with great food and selected wines.

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Crystal Lake Cave was discovered by miners in 1868. The miners were looking for lead and found an enormous underground cave. It was opened to the public in 1932 and has a network of passages and cave formations like a stalactite called St. Peter’s Dome and

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stalagmites on a stone shelf known as the Cliff Dweller.

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You’ll also find a shallow underground Crystal Lake. Lovely flowerlike white crystal clusters hand from the cave ceiling. The deepest point goes down 100 feet. The cave is located five miles from Dubuque. You can take an hour and a half long Wild Cave Tour that takes you through unexcavated and unexplored passageways.

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Along the Mississippi Riverwalk, you can see ten works of art. People enjoy coming here for walking and jogging, The place where the artwork is located is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Even if the artwork is sold it remains in place for a year, At the end of the year jurors select a grand prize winner and a People’s Choice favorite voted by the inhabitants of Dubuque.

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Sundown Mountain is a resort in Dubuque that has ski and snowboard runs, It is a great place to learn to ski.

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The resort has 21 runs and four lifts, a ski patrol for safety, and two lodges. This family-resort has man-made snow. There is also wildlife like deer and eagles.

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Shot Tower was built in 1856 and is one of the few remaining shot towers in the U.S. It is a National Historic Landmark. Shot towers were used to mass-produce lead shot balls, dropping molten lead from a certain height into a basin of water. At the peak of production this tower was making between six and eight tons of lead shot daily for the U.S. Military, The tower stands 120 feet high and made up of seven stories of stone and three stories of soft red brick.

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St. Luke’s United Methodist Church is a historic church and was built in 1896. The church has a collection of religious Tiffany windows. The pipe organ at the time of installation was the largest organ in the area. The church is in the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Mathias Ham House is a large antebellum estate that was built in 1839. The owner Mathias Ham was involved in local politics and the Underground Railway. Docents in period costumes provide tours of the house and outbuildings like a fur trader log cabin. Tours include a ten-minute film about Mathias Ham. A popular event is a Fourth of July ice cream social on the grounds.

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The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Garden was established in 1980. It is located in Marshall Park and is a living museum, There are different thematic gardens. The Rose Garden has an award-winning display of old garden roses, hybrids, and miniature and shrub roses.

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There is also a formal English Garden

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and formal Japanese Garden.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 14, 2020

Davenport on the Mississippi


Davenport is located in eastern Iowa on the Mississippi River.

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Chocolate lovers should check out the Chocolate Manor. You can find everything related to chocolate here like chocolate candy and cakes. Ice cream is also available. All of the ingredients are sourced locally.

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Putnam Museum and Science Center is a museum that educates visitors about history and natural sciences. The collection has 160,000 pieces. There is also a theater featuring movies about history and natural sciences. Among the permanent exhibits is an aquarium full of fish and depictions of natural habitats such as forests and caves. The Hall of Mammals has photos and interactive displays.

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The historic district in Davenport is known as The Village or The Village of East Davenport. It stretches along the Mississippi River to the southeast of the city.

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It is the main shopping and entertainment area. Lots of the buildings here date back to the Civil War era.

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In the Village of East Davenport, you can find lovely Lindsay Park. From the park, you can get fantastic views of the Mississippi River which stretches along the south side of the park.

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Along a section called Riverfront Parkway, you can see architectural sculptures. This is the place that annually hosts the Riverssance Festival of Fine Art.

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The Davenport Skybridge is a well-known bridge in the city that crosses over River Drive. The bridge was built in 2005 and offers spectacular views of the city. It is 50 feet tall and 575 feet long, The bridge overlooks the Mississippi and at the end, you’ll find an observation deck.


The inside of the structure has kaleidoscope lightning with more than 8,000 lights. The lights are lit all evening long in different patterns and colors and they reflect seasonal holidays like Christmas.

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The Figge Art Museum opened in 1928 and has more than 4,000 pieces of art that date from the 16th century to the present. There are collections of Colonial Mexican, Midwestern, and Haitian art on display. On display are also pieces of memorabilia art from artists like Grant Wood. You’ll also find artwork from American artists like Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol and European and East Asia art.

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The German American Heritage Center is where you can learn about the history of the German-American community in Davenport. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are many interesting exhibits that include interactive displays. There are also multimedia sections and various permanent exhibits.

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Lock and Dam Number 15 is a lock and dam between Rock Island and Davenport and is part of the Upper Mississippi River. It is the longest roller dam in the world with a unique style and design. It is an interesting place to visit and you can walk on the surrounding nature trails. A popular activity here is bird watching and it is a great place to see the local plant and wildlife.

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the Adler Theater dates back from 1909 and was restored in 1986. Many period features have survived and there is original glasswork, chandeliers, and seating. Visitors can see different musical performances, Broadway shows, standup comedy, and theatrical productions.

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Credit Island is an island in the Mississippi River to the southwest of Davenport, It is a former Native American trading ground. Today it is a community park with a golf course, rugby, soccer, and softball facilities. Other things you can do here are fishing or having a picnic or biking.

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You can also take in some eagle watching.

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The Palmer Mansion is the former residence of B.J. and Mabel Palmer who lived here until 1961. The house features Palmer’s period possessions and there are many antiques to be seen. You can take a tour of this interesting house.

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Duck Creek Parkway stretches for 13.5 miles and runs through several parks in Davenport ending at Duck Creek.

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The parkway dates from the 1930s. You can either walk or bike. It passes by Emeis Park and Golf Course.

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The Vander Veer Botanical Park is known for being one of the first botanical parks in the area. It dates back to 1885. It is a great place to see the local flora and fauna in a historic setting, Among the highlights here are a music pavilion, a conservatory, and lovely fountains the predate WW II.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 26, 2020

Beautiful Cedar Rapids


Our armchair travels have taken us to the Midwestern U.S. state of Iowa. The state lies between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It is known for its cornfields and rolling plains.

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We begin with a city in eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids. The history of the city includes Czech, Slovak, and Moravian vibes. You can see lots of interesting architecture and it is the home of iconic American Gothic artist Grant Wood.

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National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is located in the lovely Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, They offer first-class exhibitions. One of their permanent exhibitions is Faces of Freedom: The Czech and Slovak Journey. This is a multimedia interactive experience covering both World Wars, life in Czechoslovakia during Communist rule, and their journey to the New World. You can see Czech and Slovak ethnic costumes, art, woodworks. There are also concerts and different events.



Brucemore a beautiful 19th-century mansion sits on a historic estate. It is a memorial to the lives of prominent local families. It was built in the Queen Anne style and later renovated. You can enjoy a guided tour of the 21-room mansion and see the art and furnishings. The grounds are lovely and the mansion hosts concerts, theater performances, and other events.


The Paramount Theater opened its doors in 1928 and was known as the Capitol Theater. On the stage, you could see live shows, comedians, dancers, acrobats, and films. It has played host to such celebrities as B.B. King and Willie Nelson. The theater was designed like a palace and has a Hall of Mirrors similar to the one in Versailles. The theater was renamed when it was purchased by Paramount Studios in 1929. It is listed on the National Register of Historic places, Today it is one of only 300 movie palaces left in the U.S. The theater hosts concerts, a Broadway series, and other events.

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The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has the largest collection of artwork by Grant Wood, Jaques Marvin Cone, and Mauricio Lasansky in the world. The Riley Collection offers ancient Roman portrait busts. Part of the museum is Grant Wood’s studio where the artists lived and worked between 1924 and 1935. The museum focuses on 20th century American Art and has over 7,000 works of art.

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Being home to many Czech, Slovak, and Moravian immigrants Cedar Rapids created the Czech Village and the New Bohemian Main Street District. You can take part in festivals, see performing arts from all around the world, and more. In the district, you’ll find the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, many fine restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.

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The African American Museum of Iowa is located on the banks of the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids. It has become one of the major educational institutions on Iowa African American history.

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The Indian Creek Nature Center has diverse land that includes prairie, forest, and wetlands. You can enjoy hiking, bird watching, and fishing. In the winter there is cross-country skiing.

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The center offers many different programs for both adults and children like summer nature camps.

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Ushers Ferry Historic Village in the Seminole Valley has 20 historic buildings that show what life was like in a small Iowa town at the turn of the 20th century.

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The Iowa Masonic Library is one of the top five largest Masonic libraries in the world. In its collection are more than 150,000 volumes and it’s open to the public, There are both Masonic and general books. You can also find three extensive museum collections among them the Charles H, Swab Memorial collection.

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Lindale Mall offers more than 100 stores and restaurants. There is a large selection of jewelry, accessories, shoes, and clothing. The mall has seasonal holiday displays and hosts various events.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | June 12, 2020

Exploring Minnesota

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Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota has pristine rivers and lakes. In the town of Ely, you can find the International Wolf Center which is a great place to begin exploring this landscape. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is also in the forest and is popular with paddlers in the U.S. and Canada.

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It is right on the border between the two countries and is a great area for taking kayaking and backcountry canoe trips. There is also excellent fishing. The wildlife here is plentiful and includes bears, moose, and wolves.

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Voyageurs National Park is a backcountry park that can be accessed by air or water. It is an excellent place for boating, canoeing, fishing, and other kinds of outdoor activities.

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There is a lot of wildlife to see such as bears, moose, loons and more. It also includes one of the best campgrounds in Minnesota along the shoreline the Wooden Frog Campground.

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Ely lies deep in northern Minnesota and is surrounded by hundreds of lakes and thick forest. It offers easy access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ely is popular with kayakers and water explorers.

Take the time to check out downtown Ely and the local art centers. The town’s main street is lined with galleries and shops selling many different items including artwork. You can find great places to dine or rest at Internet cafes and coffeehouses,

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It is also a great area for bird lovers since 160 species of birds migrate in and out of the boreal forest surrounding Ely.

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The International Wolf Center near Ely is an educational center promoting and supporting the survival of wolves. There are hands-on exhibits, demonstrations of wolf tracking methods, and information of all kinds on wolves, You can learn about the natural history of wolves by observing the resident wolf pack. Among the different programs here are the Wolf Photography Workshops. Overnight visits can also be arranged.

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The North American Bear Center educates visitors about black bears. You’ll learn about ecology, bear behavior, and about bears. At the Bear Center is a mural showing the wildlife in the area, A wall of windows overlooks the bear enclosure that includes waterfalls and a pond, Exhibits have background sounds and video footage.

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The Munsinger Clemens Gardens in St. Cloud is the place in the summertime where you can enjoy 80,000 annual plants. These are trees, benches, swings, fountains, and ponds, The gardens have over 1,100 rose bushes and an all-white garden with white flowers and flowering shrubs. Every other Sunday there is Music in the Garden and the annual Art Fair in the Gardens that features artists and musicians from all over the state.

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Itasca State Park is the oldest state park in Minnesota and includes wildlands and lakes among them the headwaters of the Mississippi River. There are hiking trails, fire towers, and old-growth Red Pine forests. The Wilderness Drive and Bike Route is a one-way trail looping through the park. Overnight accommodations include campsites, lodges, cabins, and the year-round Mississippi Headwaters Hostel. You can get information and begin exploring at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center and the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center.

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Lake Itasca is small but since it is the headwaters of the Mississippi it is one of the most important natural locations in the state. It is located in Clearwater County and includes the University of Minnesota Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories campus. Boaters love the lake and it is stocked with game fish.

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Gooseberry Falls State Park is located on the north shore of Lake Superior. It is beautiful at any time of the year and has a great cross-country ski trails system. There are many hiking trails for summertime. In the spring the waterfalls are at their fullest. The park is near Duluth.

The Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls of the Gooseberry River plunge through a magnificent gorge. Altogether there are five waterfalls to enjoy and the amazing Civilian Conservation Corps log and stone structures.

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Lake Superior is gigantic and the largest of the Great Lakes. The 256-mile Superior Hiking Trail is very popular as well as the Gitchi Gami paved biking trail. Fishing for trout and salmon and other fish is a sport enjoyed here.

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Grand Portage is home to High Falls the largest waterfall in Minnesota at 120 feet high. It is located on the tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead.

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There are endless trails to enjoy that stretch through forests and along shorelines. You can enjoy them on foot or by bike and in the winter on a snowmobile.

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For a fun time, there is the Grant Portage Lodge and Casino with gaming tables, restaurants, and entertainment.

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Pipestone National Monument is located in the southwest. It was a sacred quarrying location of Native American tribes sourcing the rock for special stone pipes. At the site, you can see red pipestone and an active quarry that represents the traditional quarrying methods of Native Americans. At the information center, cultural demonstrations take place.

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Bemidji is known as the first city on the Mississippi River and the birthplace of Paul Bunyan and his famous ox Babe.

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In northern Minnesota, there are many activities for visitors.

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There is hiking in the Northwoods or boating on one of the local lakes. In the wintertime, there is ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities. Bemidji hosts cultural attractions from concerts to locally themed museums.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | May 10, 2020

Beautiful St. Paul

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Saint Paul is the capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota and along with its neighboring city Minneapolis forms the “Twin Cities”. There is a lot to see and a lot to do.

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Minnesota History Center offers information on everything from when the Hmong tribespeople migrated from Laos and China in the 1970s to settle in Minnesota to the conflicts of the Dakota War. Here you can also find a vast book collection in the Minnesota History Center Library. It is open to the public for research and learning purposes.


Cathedral of St. Paul sits atop a hill overlooking downtown St. Paul. It is the fourth-tallest church of its kind in the U.S. The building has a copper dome and spire. It is the official shrine to Paul the Apostle in the U.S. The façade has a combination of Gothic, Baroque, and Beaux-Arts architecture. In the interior you can see a beautiful bronze baldachin and several chapels dedicated to patron saints of the city’s various immigrant communities.

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The cathedral was modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. It has become a pilgrimage site for many Catholics. The church hosts concerts all through the year. The Shrine of the Nations surrounds the sanctuary, symbolizing the contributions of immigrants in the history fo the cathedral.

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Take a walk along legendary Summit Avenue. You can see lovely mansions built in the 19th century. This street is considered to be one of the most fashionable and stylish in town. Summit Avenue is home to the largest and longest collection of Victorian buildings in the U.S. 373 of the original historic mansions are still standing.  It all begins are the highest point with the city’s most prominent landmark, the Cathedral of St. Paul.

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There are historical sites to see like the Landmark of Summit Terrace or the F. Scott Fitzgerald House, where author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote many manuscripts in the rooms until 1920.

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The Frank B. Kellog House was home to the famous U.S. diplomat and Nobel Prize winner.

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James J. Hill House was built by the founder of the Great Northern Railroad. It is a red sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque-style mansion  and the largest home in the state. The Gilded Age home features a 100-foot reception hall, a two-story art gallery, and thirteen bathrooms. You can take a guided tour of the first-floor art gallery displaying the artwork of Minnesota artists.

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The Wabasha Street Caves were carved out of the Minnesota hillsides in the 1840s. They are located on the south banks of the Mississippi River. At one time the caves were favored by the Mafia but today they host swing nights every Thursday. Local tour companies offer guided tours through the complex with reenactments and period costumes. You’ll find a coffee shop Grumpy Steve’s Coffee serving great coffee and the best Belgian waffles.


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The Science Museum of Minnesota sits on the north banks of the Mississippi. There are many hands-on science exhibits. There is a great section of the human body and one colossal fossil collection.

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One of the most iconic attractions is the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is a beautiful Art Nouveau construction with bonsai trees and san sui gardens.

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Among the manicured gardens are elegant bridges with busts of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and the fiberglass creations of the Como “zoo” like sculptures of Don the Gorilla and carvings of giraffes, penguins, and wolves.

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Como Park Conservatory houses a wide variety of animals in natural habitats among them lions and snow leopards, primates like gorillas and spider monkeys, and also sloths and zebras. There are sea lions, seals, and penguins. Among tropical creatures anacondas and the Galapagos tortoise.

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Next door is Como Town a family amusement park.

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The State Capitol was constructed in 1905. In the Senate House, Supreme Court, Rathskeller Café you can find the original furnishings. There are guided tours available or you can take a self-guided tour. Among the highlights is the self-supported marble dome that is the second-largest of its kind in the world.

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In good weather, you can get a look at the iconic Quadriga, the golden horses on the roof.

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Grand Avenue makes its way through western Sain Paul, out to the banks of the Mississippi and northward to the metro area of Minneapolis. It has some of the best shopping in the Twin Cities. There are shady trees and Victorian street lights, Tibetan craft stalls, and whole-food markets. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants.

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The Landmark Center has found its home in a restored 1902 Federal Court Building that includes restaurants galleries, function rooms, and performance spaces. It hosts theater and dance productions and concerts.

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Gateway Trail begins in the city and heads on through the leafy neighborhoods of Maplewood and Oakdale and Pine Springs to secluded woodlands and ponds.

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The second part of the trail has hiking trails and bike paths. In the wintertime, you can go cross-country skiing.

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The Gibbs Museum is on a farm that once prospered in the late 1800s. You can see the original farmhouse and barn. Guided tours are available by costumes interpreters. There is a log and sod home and a one-room schoolhouse. Visitors can see presentations that depict life on the farm.


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | April 22, 2020

Marvelous Minneapolis


Minneapolis is a major city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It forms “Twin Cities” with the capital of the state St. Paul. The city is divided by the Mississippi River.

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The Basilica of St. Mary is a Roman Catholic minor basilica. It was ranked by Pope Pius XI as the first basilica established in the U.S. The basilica sits on its own block in downtown Minneapolis. It hosts concerts and music festivals and displays local, national, and international artwork.

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The Mill City Museum was built in the ruins of the world’s largest flour mill. It stretches along the historic Mississippi Riverfront. Visitors learn about the history of the flour industry. The river, the city of Minneapolis, and how they all intertwine. The building has an eight-story façade giving it a modern look.

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Minnesota Children’s Museum has been rated as one of the top children’s museums in the country. Children learn and explore through a hands-on and stimulating environment. It emphasizes play as being the critical ingredient in a child’s development.

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Fort Snelling is a former military fortification. There are plenty of stories about how the Dakota and other Native Americans lived and worked here. Immigrants, fur traders, soldiers, and slaves passed through here.

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It is located on the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.

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Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the most visited modern and contemporary art museums in the country. The Walker began as the private art collection of lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker in the late 1800s.

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The sculpture garden is one of the nation’s largest urban sculpture parks.

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The centerpiece is called “Spoonbridge and Cherry” by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

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Minnehaha Park features the 53-foot Minnehaha Falls. This is one of the oldest parks in Minneapolis. There are lovely limestone bluffs and river overlooks. People come to the park for the beauty of nature and performances at the bandstands. You can bike along the paths, disc golf, walk through the gardens, and children can play in the playgrounds.

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You’ll find statues of Hiawatha and Minnehaha from Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”.

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Paisley Park is the late musician’s Prince private estate and production complex. It was built after the success of the song “Purple Rain” in the 1980s.

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Prince recorded, created, and performed in his private sanctuary. Today it is open to public tours.

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Minneapolis Central Library was the city’s first public library building. It is known for its impressive exterior and amazing interior. It was built in 2006. It includes a collection of over 2.4 million items.

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Mall of America opened in the early 1990s and draw millions of visitors. The outer ring of the mall offers multiple floors of shopping.

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The center is home to Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park. It is the largest mall in the U.S and the 12th largest in the world.

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The Minneapolis Institute of Art or MIA has artwork from many countries and in different styles among them paintings by the European masters. On display are sculptures, photos, paintings, drawings, textiles, and prints, Public tours are available and admission is free.

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The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota is an architectural highlight. This is a four-story stainless steel structure. The collection focuses on American modernism, traditional Korean furniture, and ancient Mimbres pottery from the American Southwest.

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The museum’s Public Art on Campus has art displayed all around the campus.

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Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park stretches along the Uptown neighborhood and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Visitors can lie in the sun or explore the shorelines of Lake Harriet,

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Bde Maka Ska,

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Lake of the Isles,

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Cedar Lake,

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and Brownie Lake. There are nearly 15 miles of trails that connect them all to Lyndale Park. There are boat docks, a biking path, hockey rink, fishing pier, cross-country ski trails, a bandstand, and garden In the summer there are free movies and music.

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The Lyndale Park Rose Garden

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Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

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In Minneapolis fans of The Mary Tyler Moore Show can drive by the mansion made famous in the credits. Mary Richards supposedly lived in the mansion in an apartment on the third floor. This Victorian mansion is located on Kenwood Parkway and features seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

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The American Swedish Institute demonstrates the region’s Swedish heritage and its importance. The institute consists of the Nelson Cultural Center

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and historic Turnblad Mansion, whose owner was Swan Turnblad, the owner of the largest Swedish newspaper in the U.S. Tours of the mansion are given.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | April 14, 2020

Rochester On the Zumbro River


Rochester is a city in southern Minnesota. It’s known for being the birthplace of the healthcare organization the Mayo Clinic. It is a beautiful city with great views of the Zumbro River.

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The Plummer Building dates from 1928. It is the iconic symbol of the Mayo Clinic and a National Historic Landmark. The building was named after Dr. Henry S. Pummer, who designed it. He created the procedures and systems used by the Mayo Clinic.

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The historic third floor includes the offices of Dr. Charlie and Dr. Will Mayo. Patient care is handled in the Gondo and Mayo Buildings,

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The eleven acres surrounding the building include formal gardens, a bird trail, quarry, and water tower. It is used for receptions and weddings among other events.

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Quarry Hill Nature Center is a lovely and peaceful place with live animals, birds, and fish. It also includes a taxidermy collection. Making their home here are 35 species of animals that are native to Minnesota. There are also exotic species, a huge aquarium with seven varieties of fish and two raptors.

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Indoors in the Nature Center ou can see a bird hive giving visitors a close-up look at a honeybee colony. The Bird Study Room shows native birds of Minnesota mounted.

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Mayowood was built in 1911 by Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic. The estate included the doctor’s decorative arts collection and beautiful gardens. Over forty rooms are furnished with English, German, French, Spanish, and American antiques. The Mayo family donated the home and ten acres to the Olmstead County Historical Society.

Today it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available.

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The Wall of Remembrance is a memorial honoring American veterans across generations. It is a tribute to over 3,000 women and men from southeast Minnesota who sacrificed for their country. The Walk of Remembrance honors U.S. veterans and allies for their services. The Trees of Remembrance have 50 “sponsored” trees representing each state. It was begun in 1995 and is open every day with free parking.

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The Minnesota Children’s Museum gives children the opportunity to learn through play. The museum has interactive exhibits that include looking at state habitats and a park on the rooftop.

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Silver Lake Park is found on the south fork of the Zumbro River. There is a beautiful freshwater reservoir called Silver Lake. It is just one mile north of downtown Rochester. The park encompasses the lake.

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Here you can enjoy biking, jogging and rollerblading. At the lake, you’ll find the Giant Canada geese. You can have leisurely strolls around Silver Lake or enjoy a picnic. Children love the Children’s Adventure Playground which is handicapped accessible. There is also a swimming pool. Angles love to fish for black crappie, bluegill, and white sucker

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Apache Mall has 87 stores for your shopping pleasure. When it’s time to sit down and relax you can find a variety of food and drinks. There are quick service and full-service restaurants. You can find many services and amenities among the free WiFi.

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The Calvary Episcopal Church is the oldest church building in Rochester. The highlight here is the sacred site that is an original chapel mad of brick dating from 1862. It became a historic site in 1966. The church has lovely stained glass windows that were made in the Tiffany Studio in New York City. The stone baptismal dates from 1871 and the walnut altar base from 1880. There is a beautiful spiritual oasis garden.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | April 2, 2020

Duluth on Lake Superior



Our armchair travels have brought us to the Midwestern state of Minnesota in the U.S. The state borders Canada and Lake Superior, which is the largest of the Great Lakes. This state is all about lakes and it has over 10,000 of them.

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We begin In the port city of Duluth on Lake Superior. The city has a waterfront Lakewalk Trail that passed along Canal Park offering views of the Aerial Lift Bridge. This landmark connects the city to the Park Point sandbar.

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Duluth is the birthplace of iconic folk singer Bob Dylan who lived here for the first six years of his life. Therefore, each May the city has the week-long Duluth Dylan Fest. It also has the almost two-mile-long Bob Dylan Way what is a walking trail with landmarks that are linked to the star as well as top cultural attractions.

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You can see his childhood home at 519 North Third Avenue where his family lived in a second-floor flat. A marker is at the home.

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North Shore Scenic Drive has spectacular views of Lake Superior and taking this drive is a great way to see the sights along the way.

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It begins at the waterfront Canal Park and as you drive along you can see acres of aspens, the majestic Sawtooth Mountains, waterfall, cliffs, and  beaches. It makes for a great drive stopping in the northern shore towns along the way.

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Two Harbors Lighthouse dates back to 1891. It is Minnesota’s oldest continuously operated lighthouse.

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Nearby is the Split Rock Lighthouse.

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Gooseberry Falls State Park has hiking trails, picnic areas, fantastic scenery, and a spectacular waterfall, Continuing along the route you’ll find Lutsen and the Superior Hiking Trail or the Appalachian Trail of the Midwest, During the winter this is a great place for skiing and snowboarding and there are chairlift rides, During the spring BMX biking is available.

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At the northernmost end of the drive is Grand Marais an artist colony. It has interesting art galleries, boutique shopping, and great dining, You can go kayaking or canoeing at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area,

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Canal Park stretches along the shore of Lake Superior and is a popular recreation area, It is home to Lakewalk, a promenade with walking and biking trails.

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The eastern end of the walk connects with Leif Erickson Park

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and Duluth Rose Garden. This is a great place to enjoy harbor views and have a picnic.

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You can see a replica of Erikson’s Viking ship. This wooden sailing ship took the journey from Norway to Boston and on to Duluth in 1927.

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Children enjoy the Playfront Park which is the city’s largest playground.

In Canal Park you can rent electric boats, Seadoos, paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks. Bike rentals and carriage rides can be arranged.

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Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum has made its home in a former 1912 church. The original organ is still there. There is an impressive collection of old books and important historical documents.

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The Aerial Lift Bridge thrills visitors. It spans a narrow opening that connects Park Point to the mainland of the city, It is one of Duluth’s most photographed structures. The bridge operates 24/7. It allows water vehicles to pass from the harbor to the main lake passageway, At night the bridge is lit up with hundreds of LED lights,

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Glensheen Mansion sits on top of a bluff that overlooks the city and the lake.

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It is one of the most visited historic houses in Minnesota.

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The landscaped gardens are lovely. Guided tours are available.

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The Great Lakes Aquarium features habitats, animals, and sea creatures that represent the regional Great Lakes Basin. You can see on display amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and invertebrates, There are touch pools that let you get closer. You can see bullheads, black crappies, and porcupine fish in natural habitats,.

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Lake Superior Zoo is a fun experience where you can see a collection of cuddly exotic and North American animals.

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You can see wild animals like tigers too. There are playgrounds and a mini-train. Tours are available.

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Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center is a popular tourist destination. The museum is located in Canal Park and offers you a look into the maritime history of the lake. You’ll learn about the important role Duluth Harbor played in shaping the early American steel industry.

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An amazing exhibit devoted to the Edmund Fitzgerald the doomed freighter.

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The 80-foot tall Enger Tower was built in 1939 of bluestone. It is a tribute to Norwegian American businessman and philanthropist Bert Enger. The tower sits high on top of Duluth’s bluffs and has a green beacon. It is located in Enger Park and offers impressive views of the city and Duluth Harbor. Visitors can take the narrow staircase straight to the top.

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Strolling the ground you’ll see lovely gardens and you can ring the Japanese Peace Bell that was installed as a gift from Duluth’s sister city, Ohara, Japan.

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Superior Hiking Trail stretches out along the edge of the gardens paralleling the ridgeline above Skyline Drive. It is  favorite place for rock climbers and boulder enthusiasts. Locals enjoy climbing the Slab Boulder at the east end of the park and the Upper and Lower Walls on the west side.


Lake Superior Railroad Museum on the downtown waterfront is housed in the historic 1892 French chateau-style Union Station. On display, you can find steam, diesel, and electric trains. There is also a three-quarter scale replica of downtown Duluth in 1910 during the city’s industrial boom. One of the highlights here is the diesel-powered Great Northern 92 Engine. One of only ten such built between 1946 and 1947.

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In the summer and autumn months, you can experience a ride along the old lakefront line on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. It passes downtown Duluth and Canal Park and then heads for the shoreline of Lake Superior. You’ll hear commentaries from local historians about area history,

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 17, 2020

Touring Louisiana

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The Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches was originally called Yucca Plantation. At that time it was owned by freed slaves, Maria Therese and Claude Thomas. The house was built in the 1790s. The main house is a West Indies Creole plantation house with early Greek Revival details. At the turn of the century, the house was owned by John Hampton Henry and his wife Carrie, who was a patron of the arts.

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The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens and all of the buildings have been preserved over the years.

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The Laura Plantation in Vachene is a sugarcane plantation. The home has original period furniture and exhibits that highlight the memoirs of Laura Locoul. Among the highlights here is a large exhibit dedicated to the lives and personal stories of those who were enslaved on the farm. Among the collections are rare photos and documents about the African-Americans who lived and worked on this Creole farm and about other slaves in the state.

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The Rosedown Plantation is a State Historic Site and one of the most well preserved domestic Southern plantations. It offers a look into the lives of the plantation owners and the slaves during the mid-19th century.

lou rosedown gardenOn the grounds, you can find beautiful camellias, azaleas, and rare trees and shrubs.

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Another State Historic Site is St. Martin Catholic Church that was established in 1765 in St. Martinville. In the left wing of the church is the grave of Emmeline Labiche, who was thought to be the heroine of the poem “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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A statue of Evangeline stands in the churchyard.

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Rip Van Winkle Gardens are located on top of a salt dome on Lake Peigneur in New Iberia. These semi-tropical gardens surround the historic Joseph Jefferson Mansion dating back to 1870. The home has 22 rooms and is decorated with period furnishings.

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The gardens can be seen seven days a week and tours are available, Visitors can enjoy lunch in the on-site café or even spend the night in one of the cottages in the gardens.

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The Houmas House Plantation and Gardens also referred to as the Burnside Plantation in Darrow dates from the late 1700s. The main house is called the “Sugar Palace” and has 16 rooms full of period furnishing and Louisiana artwork.

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Visitors can enjoy the gardens with several ponds and an elegant line of magnificent old oak trees Guided tours of the house and grounds are available,.

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The Whitney Plantation is the only plantation museum in Louisiana that focuses on slavery. The French-Creole Big House is one of the best-preserved Creole plantation houses in the area. The detached kitchen is the oldest in Louisiana.

Other buildings on the property include a barn, a blacksmith shop, a church, a pigeon roosting house, and seven slave cabins, There is also a memorial dedicated to the people who were enslaved on the plantation and 40 statues of slave children.

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Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie was established to grow sugarcane. Visitors can see what plantation life was like in the 1800s. The name of the plantation comes from an 800-foot-long  alley lined with oak trees and some are over 300 years old.

Other highlights include the reconstructed slave quarters, the tent of the Confederate Commanding Officer, a blacksmith shop with the plantation’s original forge. Guided tours are available.

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Folsom the Global Wildlife Center is a preserve for threatened and endangered wildlife. It is the largest preserve of its kind in America.

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Safari wagon tours are available and visitors can see giraffes, zebras, camels, and other animals, The animals roam about freely and visitors can feed them.

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The Chauvin Sculpture Garden was developed by the reclusive artist Kenny Hill. It features a large array of strange and creative artwork.

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On the site, you can find an art center and a small local museum.

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