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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrMinnehaha Park is a popular urban park in Minneapolis, Minnesota that is home to Minnehaha Falls, a beautiful 53-foot waterfall surrounded by limestone bluffs. The park is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that flows through the heart of Minneapolis and St. Paul and is maintained by the National Park Service. Minnehaha Park is a great place to visit on a nice day due to its picturesque trails, gardens, artwork, historical sites, and picnic areas.
HistoryWhile Minnehaha Falls has been a popular tourist attraction due to its immense, natural beauty since the mid-1800s, it didn’t officially become a state park until 1889. However, it was one of the first state parks in the entire country. One of its most famous historic events was when President Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey visited the park as part of their presidential campaign in 1964. In recent decades, many attractions have been added to the park, including beautiful gardens, a popular restaurant, a river overlook, and a playground. Today, it is one of the most photographed sites in all of Minnesota.
AttractionsWhether you’re interested in hiking, enjoying a picnic in the sunshine, wading in the river, or viewing the majestic falls, there’s plenty to do in Minnehaha Park.
Minnehaha FallsThe centerpiece of Minnehaha Park is Minnehaha Falls, a 53-foot waterfall that is located less than a mile from where Minnehaha Creek empties into the Mississippi River. Its name comes from the Dakota word for “waterfall”, though many locals often inaccurately claim that the name means “laughing water”. Visitors are able to admire the falls from above at an overlook area, but the most spectacular views are obtained by walking down a long staircase to its base, where there is plenty of space to take photos.
GardensMinnehaha Park is home to three beautiful gardens: Longfellow Gardens, the Minnehaha Falls Pergola Garden, and the Song of Hiawatha Garden. All three are known for the beautiful plants, flowers, and trees, that can be explored using their picturesque winding paths.
Longfellow HouseLongfellow House, built in 1906, is the former home of Minneapolis philanthropist, Robert F. Jones. It gets its name from the fact that it is a two-thirds scale replica of the Massachusetts home of American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This beautiful historic building is currently in use as a park information center, and features displays related to the park’s features as well as old photographs of the former owner in his fascinating private zoo.
Princess DepotAlso known as ‘Minnehaha Depot’, this historic site is an old train station that was constructed in 1875, before the park even existed. It was part of the Milwaukee Railroad, and was eventually used by a local streetcar system as well. In recent years it has been renovated by the Minnesota Transportation Museum, which has turned it into a small museum with free admission.
John Harrington Stevens HouseThe John Harrington Stevens House is one of the most fascinating historical sites within Minnehaha Park. The wood-frame house was originally built near St. Anthony Falls, and was the first such dwelling built on the west side of the Mississippi River. It is often referred to as the “Birthplace of Minneapolis” since the city was planned within the home. In 1896, over 10,000 children helped to pull the house to its current location in Minnehaha Park using relay teams and ropes. Admission to visit the house costs $ 3.00 USD for adults and $ 1.00 USD for children.
Sea Salt EateryOne of the most popular, recent additions to Minnehaha Park is the Sea Salt Eatery, a seasonal restaurant near Minnehaha Falls that provides fresh seafood and other items from April through October.
TrailsThere are numerous trails to explore that wind their way through Minnehaha Park. One of the most popular hiking trails leads to nearby Fort Snelling State Park , while other trails allow hikers to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Minnehaha Creek.
Public ArtworkThere are several pieces of public artwork within Minnehaha Park. One of the most famous is Hiawatha and Minnehaha by Jakob Fjelde, a bronze sculpture of two characters from the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “Song of Hiawatha”.
Park FacilitiesOther park facilities include a bandstand, a disc golf course, picnic areas, wading areas, a volleyball court, and a playground designed for children of all ages.
Practical InformationHere’s everything you need to know in order to plan your visit to Minnehaha Park.
Address4801 S Minnehaha Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417
ParkingThere are several paid parking areas within Minnehaha Park with relatively low fees.
HoursThe park is open daily from 6:00 until midnight in developed areas, and from 6:00 until 22:00 in undeveloped areas.
PricesThere is no charge to visit Minnehaha Park.
Similar LandmarksOther popular parks in the Midwest include Grant Park, Lincoln Park, and Millennium Park in Chicago, as well as Forest Park in St. Louis.
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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Jun 30, 2015