Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 17, 2020

Beautiful Bismarck

Bismarck is the capital of the U.S. state of North Dakota. This beautiful city has impressive buildings that were designed in the Art Deco style during The Great Depression. There are many interesting things to do and see including taking riverboat cruises on the Missouri River.

The North Dakota Heritage Center has a permanent collections of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. You can learn about the state from prehistoric times to the 20th century. One of the highlights here is the Northern Lights Atrium. The Capitol Arboretum Trail stretches through the property. The center also offers educational programs. You can relax at the James River Cafe.

The Dakota Zoo is among the best known tourist attractions in Bismarck. There are over 500 animals.

The zoo focuses on education, offers close-encounters with animals and different scheduled events.

Among the animals you can see are Bengal tigers, American alligators, arctic foxes. African tortoises, and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.

Next to the Dakota Zoo you’ll find Sertoma, a riverfront park. It has lots of walking trails and play areas. You can enjoy games of horseshoes or volleyball. People come to the park to walk, run, and bike. There are large picnic shelters that can be rented.

Inside the park is the Super Slide Amusement Park with free admission. There are many fun things to do including miniature golf, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, and other attractions.

Children enjoy the teacups ride and an antique carousel. The park is noted to be home to North Dakota’s only “runaway train” roller coaster.

The North Dakota State Capitol is an impressive Art Deco building, It was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

At one end of the capitol is a landmark skyscraper tower with an observation deck on the 18th floor. On the ground floor is the Rough Rider Hall of Fame that honors people who have contributed to the state.

Lewis and Clark Riverboat Cruises are a great way to see Bismarck sailing on the Upper Missouri River. The 150-passenger paddle wheeler also has lunch, afternoon, and evening cruises, The also offer their services to people for large group events. Cruises are available between May and September. Public cruises on the river take between an hour or two depending on the route taken.

The Former Governors’ Mansion offers a look into the life of a governor in the 19th century. The mansion is decorated with period pieces. It was built in 1884 and has been home to 20 governors until 1960. The grounds are open for walking with a large flower garden. The mansion can be toured from May through September.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is located through the neighboring city of Mandan, a 20-minute drive from Bismarck.

Within the park you’ll find many historic structures among them the On-A-Slant Indian Village, General Custer’s Victorian-style home, and various military barracks, blockhouses, and granaries. All through the park are hiking trails that connect with different structures and attractions.

On the shores of the Missouri River is a modern campground. Cabins can be rented for the night.

Camp Hancock dates from 1872 and was a place to live for those who worked on the Northern Pacific Railroad, You can see the original building that was the headquarters and now is an interpretive museum with artifacts on display. The supply depot is Bismarck’s oldest surviving building.

The Bread of Life Church is the oldest church in the city. You can enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors.

The Gateway to Science Center is located in the Frances Leach High Prairie Arts & Science Complex. It features hands-on exhibits on various themes like electricity. The center also hosts traveling exhibitions, Many different programs and events are offered.

Keelboat Park overlooks the banks of the Missouri River. It is a great place to take a walk along the riverfront.

You’ll find the Thunderbird eagle sculpture,

a Lewis and Clark statue,

and a replica of a keelboat that is similar to the one used by Lewis and Clark. It is a great place to view sunsets. Along the paved path is interpretive information and a public boat ramp so you can go out on the river. There are walking and hiking trails and outdoor self-guided tours.

McDowell Recreation Area is a park surrounding a man-made lake, It is located about five miles from Bismarck, It is a great place for rest and relaxation in the summertime.

There is a sandy beach for sunbathing and swimming, You can take paddle boats or row boats onto the lake. The lake is stocked with trout and a favorite among fishermen.You can picnic at the picnic shelters which can also be rented for parties and celebrations. The kids can enjoy the playground. A paved trail for walking or running leads around the lake. Another trail leads through the wooded area.

Hawktree Golf Club is an eco-friendly 18-hole golf course, It is bordered by the hills of Burnt Creek Valley just five miles north of Bismarck, There are three lakes on the property. Among the amenities are a pro shop and a snack shop. You can take golf lessons from a PGA pro.

The Bismarck Downtown Artist Cooperative or BDAC is a working art studio space and art gallery. It is run by local artists and has found its home in the historic Tribune Building downtown. There are collective exhibitions all through the year.It keep interest in art themed exhibitions are held and “art swaps” with other galleries in the area.

The Kirkwood Mall was built in 1970 by the Wachter Family. This enclosed shopping center is right in the heart of Bismarck.

This mall is the second largest in North Dakota and has over 90 shops. There are many featured restaurants and eateries.

Peacock Alley is located in the marble lobby of the former historic Patterson Hotel. It is decorated with lovely antiques, stained glass, and a wall of old photos. This restaurant and bar opened its doors in 1933 and is the oldest in North Dakota. It has become the venue for the most important meetings and celebrations. The bar is known for having 18 kinds of classic and special cocktails and has a wonderful selection of wine and beer.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 5, 2020

Fascinating Fargo

Our armchair travels have taken us across the U.S. and now we’re in North Dakota. This Midwestern state is dominated by the Great Plains. The Great Plains lead to the rugged Badlands located near the border with Montana.

The first city we’re visiting is Fargo which is the most populous city in the state.

The Plains Art Museum is a fine arts museum that has found its home in the restored International Harvester Warehouse. The museum has a permanent collection of 3,000 works of art by local and national artists. Artworks include traditional folk art, Native American art, and contemporary art. You can relax at the River Goose Cafe on the ground floor.

The Children’s Museum at Tunker Farm has hands-on exhibits and attractions for children to entertain and educate. The museum is housed in the Newton Whitman House built in 1876. The museum was founded in 1985 with many different hands-on exhibits so that children would have a place to play, enjoy, and learn.

There are other things to enjoy as well like a carousel, a miniature train, and a butterfly garden.

The Red River Zoo opened in 1999. It is situated on lovely rolling hills with several ponds and landscaped plant exhibits. The zoo has over five hundred trees and shrubs.

You’ll find 300 animals of 75 species who live in enclosures similar to their natural habitats.

There are also several endangered species and exotic animals from different parts of the world who come from climates that are similar to that of the Red River Valley.

The North Dakota State University campus is home to the Fargodome. This is an indoor sports stadium that is home to the North Dakota State University Bison football team.

The stadium was opened in 1992 and also hosts special events like music concerts and trade shows.

North Dakota State University is a public university. Its full name is the North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.

The main campus has more than 100 major buildings.

The popular meeting place here is the Babbling Brook.

Mezzaluna is an elegant restaurant in downtown Fargo. It is located in the historic loft of the Roberts Street Building dating from 1917. Many of the original features remain like corbellied brick, pressed metal ceiling, tall windows, original stone trim and wooden beams. The cuisine is modern American using local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Eric Watson serves up some very delicious food. The bar is a popular place for traditional cocktails and new creations.

The Roger Marris Museum is dedicated to the baseball great who was the outfielder for the New York Yankees. He grew up in Fargo and Great Forks, In the 1961 season Marris hit a record 61 home runs and became the firs6 to surpass the 60 home runs hit by Babe Ruth in 1927.The museum highlights his career and achievements.

The Fargo Theater was built as a vaudeville theater and cinema in the 1920s. It is an impressive Art Deco theater that presents independent and foreign films, It also hosts live entertainment and plays. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. In March it hosts the Fargo Film Festival. The theater can be booked for special events.

The Fargo-Moorehead Visitors Center was constructed to look like a grain elevator. Visitors can find information about what to see and do. You can have your photo takes with the famous wood chipper prop from the movie Fargo.

On the grounds is a colorful bison statue and the Celebrity Walk of Fame that includes over 100 different celebrity signatures and hand prints.

Bonanzaville has over 40 historical buildings. It is one of the region’s largest historical attractions, You can learn about the culture, history, and people of the Red River Valley. There are the Cass County Museum, Pioneer Village, Dahl Car Museum and Telephone Museum.

The Hjemkomst Center is located across state lines in Moorhead, Minnesota about a mile from downtown Fargo. It is home to the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

The highlights here are the Hopperstad Stave Church replica

and the Hjemkomst Viking ship. They also host special events.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 11, 2020

Lovely Des Moines


Des Moines s the capital of the U.S. state of Iowa.

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The State Capitol is topped with a gold dome that can be seen from many places in the city, It is home to the governor’s office and many sectors of the Iowa government among them the Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives. There are free guided tours available and visitors can walk the halls and view the open rooms. The Law Library on the second floor is open to the public.

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The Science Center of Iowa is a fun place for all ages. The center has permanent and rotating hands-on-exhibits. If you want to gaze at the stars the center also includes a planetarium and an IMAX Theater to learn about the world around you. Adult-orientated programs are offered. For children, there are camps, workshops, and after school programming,

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The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located in Western Gateway Park. You’ll find over 20 artworks. The Sculpture Park and surrounding Gateway Park are great places to relax and for recreation.

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The park hosts the annual Des Moines Art Festival in June and the 80/35 Music Festival.

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The Salisbury House and Gardens was built by businessman Carl Weeks in the 1920s. There is plenty to see in the 42-room estate. You can explore the house and grounds on a self-guided tour. If you wish to learn more about its history you can take the guided tour which also includes areas off-limits to the public.

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The Des Moines Art Center features rotating exhibits with artwork from local and nationally renowned artists. Among the permanent exhibits are artworks from Matisse, Monet, and O’Keefe among others.

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There are guided tours and educational programs available. You can take a walk on the grounds and relax at the Art Center Café.

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Principal Park is located at the confluence of the Iowa and Racoon Rivers in downtown, At one time it was known as Sec Taylor Stadium. It is home to Iowa’s Triple-A minor league baseball team, the Iowa Cubs/ The park features fireworks on the Fourth of July as well as other community events.

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The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to wander among the beautiful flowers and plants.

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During lunchtime, you can enjoy the Trellis Café.

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Just a few blocks from the botanical garden you’ll find a picturesque pavilion on the east bank of the Des Moines River. The Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens are lovely and feature the beautiful Asian Pavilion with a cascading stream and decorative garden. You can delight in stone pagodas and sculptural rock formations.

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Water Works Park offers recreation such as walking, running, biking, bird-watching, and fishing, There are places to picnic. A bike train beneath Fleur Drive connects with Gray Lake and the scenic pedestrian walkway

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You can get out on the water by renting a boat. You then connect with Gray’s Lake Park.

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Every August Iowa has a two-week celebration at the fairgrounds in Des Moines known as the Iowa State Fair. You can enjoy exhibits, trade shows, amusements, rides, live music, and great food.

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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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