Just a short drive north of the Twin Cities is Taylors Falls, Minnesota. The beautiful little city seems like it’s in some other part of the country as you drive in from the north. The St. Croix River has cut its way through stone to create a truly beautiful experience and a heck of a 90 degree turn with a beautiful vista. While in the area you’ll find some activities that the entire family can enjoy. Taking care to social-distance along the way!
Franconia Sculpture Park
As you meander your way up Hwy 8 toward Taylors Falls, you
will come across Franconia Sculpture Park. The Park is an outdoor sculpture park in Franconia, Minnesota, that offers a combination of work, residence, and exhibition space for emerging and established artists. The 43-acre park has a rotating collection of over 120 contemporary sculptures and is free and open to the public.
The sculpture park is a great place to stop to walk around and through the many displays. The park has an exceptional array of art to occupy just about anyone’s imagination. Franconia offers fellowship, internship, and workshop programs that support visual artists at all levels of their career as they create new sculpture to be sited specifically at the park. Artists are creating new work at the park from April through November. Franconia has supported nearly 800 national and international visual artists since the park opened in 1996.
And the good news is the park is open! They are staying open for visitors during this difficult time as long as it is safe to do so. The only way they can do this is if people maintain at least six feet of distance from each other and refrain from climbing on or touching the sculptures. Visitors and families are thankful they are open and provide an essential social service to the community for people to roam the 43-acres and enjoy the art and fresh air. Seniors should be aware that walking through the park they will encounter mostly grassy areas with a variety of surfaces around the sculptures themselves. Having a strong arm to hold onto would be a great idea.
Just across the bridge into St. Croix Falls, WI, you will stumble across Fawn-Doe-Rosa. Scheduled to open May 20th this year with social distancing guidelines in place, Fawn-Doe-Rosa is a wildlife educational park used to help educate others about animals, wildlife, and nature. Fawn-Doe-Rosa is handicap accessible with gravel-packed trails that encompass the park as well as several benches available to rest. As you traverse the trails throughout the wooded park or sit on a bench to relax, take your time to enjoy the animals. They have so much to offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask their staff who are located throughout the park.
The jewel of the Taylors Falls area is Interstate State Park. Interstate Park actually comprises two adjacent state parks on the Minnesota–Wisconsin border, both named Interstate State Park--don’t bother looking for the freeway. They straddle the Dalles of the St. Croix River, a deep basalt gorge with glacial potholes and other rock formations. The towns of Taylors Falls, Minnesota, and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin are adjacent to the park. Interstate Park is within the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve. On the Minnesota side, two areas contain National Park Service rustic style buildings and structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lower park area on the Minnesota side has trails that would allow for walkers or wheelchairs. The glacial potholes are an interesting feature of the ice age. They can be viewed from the trails with signs that explain their formation in detail. You may also catch people rock climbing in the area as it’s a great place for people to learn the sport. Not far away you can view the falls area as well as catch a ride on The Scenic Boat Tours.
The Drive-In and Mini Golf
Perhaps at mid-day or before you venture back to the Twin Cities you may want to try the Drive-in Taylors Falls. It is a great place to stop and either relive, or have your first 50’s experience. The restaurant boasts the best Milkshakes in Minnesota along with root beer, handmade burgers and Car Hops. Immediately behind the Drive-In is the 18 hole mini-golf course. The course has ponds, streams and bridges and a great way to get a little exercise before packing back into the car.
During these days of COVID-19 please call ahead to see which attractions are open.