Enjoy the Nature of Outdoor Art
Too nice out to go inside? Minnesota has plenty of arboretums, gardens, and outdoor art parks to keep you busy.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden sits on the edge of downtown and is a peaceful retreat from the city hustle and bustle. Featuring more than 40 sculptures, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic. Flower gardens, a glass conservatory and educational programs keep the garden experience continually fresh.
Get off the beaten path and find your way to Franconia Sculpture Park. Located 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities, Franconia is a treasure trove of contemporary sculpture. The 20-acre park has a rotating collection of over 95 artworks reflecting the talents of local, national and international artists. A lively schedule of programs for art lovers of all ages includes a concert series, workshops for kids, and a community hot metal pour.
Caponi Art Park seamlessly combines art and nature on 60 acres of rolling, wooded hills in the metro suburb of Eagan. Sculptures are built into the landscape and peek out from the park’s plants. Explore miles of trails and take in a performance at the Theater in the Woods, a large outdoor amphitheater. Caponi Art Park opens for the season on May 1.
Visitors to northwest Minnesota can go on the Bemidji Sculpture Walk. Begin at the Tourist Information Center and stroll the downtown business district to see over 25 sculptures and murals on public display year-round.
If you’re a gardener, a visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska is must. One of the premier horticultural field laboratories and public displays in the country, the Arboretum features 1,137 acres of magnificent gardens and more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. Tour the Arboretum on 12.5 miles of garden paths and hiking trails, and don’t miss the sensory and Japanese gardens.
The Duluth Rose Garden is a unique, contemplative spot in the center of the city with an impressive showcase of over 3,000 roses, including hundreds of rose varieties and some unique hybrids, and 12,000 other plantings, including perennials, shrubs, and herbs. The rose garden is located at 12th Avenue East and London Road, along the Lakewalk on Duluth’s vibrant waterfront. There is no admission fee and street parking is free.
Munsinger Gardens and Clemens Gardens are two fabulous and distinct gardens located adjacent to one another on the riverfront in St. Cloud. Munsinger Gardens is a shady landscape along the Mississippi River featuring a large variety of hostas, ferns, and other shade-loving plants. Clements Gardens includes a formal, European-style garden and a separate rose garden that show off colorful blooms.
World-renowned American Indian carvings can be found at Jeffers Petroglyphs in southern Minnesota. Explore the native prairie setting, and discover thousands of sacred carvings, including some that are estimated to be 9,000 years old. Unique tallgrass prairie, with more than 200 species of wildflowers, abounds on the 160-acre site. A visitor center features hands-on exhibits and multimedia presentations.