Places to Visit in Minnesota

One of the best place I visited this spring is Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Situated in Chaska, few miles south of Minneapolis, in Minnesota, this open garden features over 1,000 acres of plants, trees, shrubs and even weeds, displayed on landscaped collections or natural environment.

A brief tour can take 3 to 4 hours but if one wants some ideas for her/his self backyard, in that case is better to reserve a whole sunny day.

The center is opened year round from 8 am to sunset. Adults and children 15 years and older pay $9. If you have a Thursday off, you can visit it for free. You can also buy a membership anywhere from $35 to $150 or up, based on the category of membership you want. All of them give you free admission along with other benefits like discounts, free tickets of beverages.

Once arrived at the Arboretum, you’ll find the formal entrance, Oswald Visitor Center, a 45,000 – square foot building. This is your starting point. There are maps, brochures, help desks, everything you may want to know before the tour. You can either drive your own cars, though the roads are narrows and crowded, take the tram which driver’s is also a guide, or walk the paths to near by garden collections (there’s 32 of them). Some of the most crowded ones are Kitchen Herb Garden, Fruit and Vegetable Garden, Garden for Outdoor Living, Garden for Small Places, Japanese Garden, Rock Garden. After the trip, I came home with a long list of plants to grow under my trees and my husband found new ideas for lawn care (like ‘no mow’ lawn).

If you get hungry or need a break you can go in the main building. There is a nice, affordable restaurant with indoor or outdoor tables, at your preference, lots of benches to rest your feet, and a souvenir shop. And while there, don’t forget to visit the Library. You will find there the larger and most amazing collection of wood furnishing belonging to George Nakashima, the famous American woodworker. Also, there are 15,000 volumes on gardening, horticulture, natural history and other related subjects. Among them, a very large collection of books for children keeps your youngsters busy while you read or just browse around.

If you get serious about visiting the Arboretum, here is one site you can’t pass: http://www.arboretum.umn.edu. Also, you may find it useful to plan a second trip sometime in fall, just to see how your favorite plants or trees have been doing over the summer.