Minnesota’s natural beauty, abundant past and thrilling activities make it a perfect place for student travel. Called “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” for a reason, Minnesota gives students the opportunity to explore unique landscapes and immerse themselves in history.

4 Ways to Explore the Natural Wonders of Minnesota

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Students wanting to connect with nature will love Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located in the northern third of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. It contains over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over 2,000 designated campsites where students will become infatuated with Minnesota’s untouched beauty.

Voyageurs National Park

At Voyageurs National Park students can see and touch rocks half as old as the world, understand the lives of French-Canadian fur traders called voyageurs, immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of a boreal forest, view the dark skies or explore water routes. The park also features a boat tour that visits historic sites, like the Little American Gold Mine.

National Eagle Center

Located on the Mississippi River, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha allows students to get up close and personal with America’s national bird. The center is home to bald eagles that nest in the trees along the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Students will learn about environmental stewardship while meeting the eagles.

Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo, located in Apple Valley, is home to a wide variety of native Minnesota and exotic animals. Students can experience a natural ecosystem at the Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit, which houses a beaver pond, raccoons, coyotes and gray wolves. The Tropics Trail allows students to venture into the world of the rain forest, where they will see animals like playful lemurs, inquisitive gibbons and agile tree kangaroos.

4 Fun and Educational Places in Minnesota

Minnesota Discovery Center

Students learning about the Iron Range will enjoy the Minnesota Discovery Center, which is dedicated to spreading knowledge about the land, mines, people and work of the Iron Range region of northern Minnesota. Located in Chisholm, the center features numerous exhibits including “The Ojibwe People,” which depicts the history of this native group and “Emigrant Journey,” which aims to shows what life was like for early Minnesota emigrants.

Jeffers Petroglyphs

Jeffers Petroglyphs

Amid the prairie grasses of Minnesota are islands of uncovered rock where American Indian ancestors left carvings called petroglyphs. At Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey, students can study the carvings that depict humans, deer, elk, buffalo, turtles, thunderbirds, atlatls and arrows and listen to the 7,000-year-old stories they tell.

Minnesota History Center

Students can explore all aspects of the state at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Exhibits include Minnesota’s Greatest Generation, which tells the story of the people who created Minnesota’s lasting legacy following the end of World War II, and Grainland, which traces the journey of soy and corn from farm to town to grain elevator. Students will enjoy climbing through a replica grain elevator where bins and chutes are replaced with steps, slides, and curving nooks and crannies.

Science Museum of Minnesota

The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul focuses on technology, natural history, physical science and mathematics education. Students can take a cultural and scientific look at race throughout history and discover the many reasons we should celebrate our differences and embrace our shared histories in “Race: Are We So Different?” “The Native American Exhibition” displays objects that tell of generations of Dakota and Ojibwe people who have made their home in Minnesota.

2 Places to Experience Adventure in Minnesota

Mall of America

Mall of America 2

No student trip to Minnesota is complete without a stop at Mall of America in Bloomington. America’s largest mall, the Mall of America contains an abundance of stores, eateries and experiences such as Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park and the SeaLife Aquarium, where students can snorkel with tropical fish.


Students searching for thrills with find them at Valleyfair, a 125-acre amusement park in Shakopee. As the Upper Midwest’s largest amusement park, Valleyfair is home to a variety of rides suitable for students of all comfort levels. Students can cool off at the park’s Soak City Waterpark.

By Deanna Charkewycz