Weekend Scavenger Hunt Trip for Families
Turn your weekend getaway into a game. Each day’s theme offers ideas for where to go to find the items on the list. Kick things off with a search for public art, followed by a day of nature-based clues (can you spot an osprey?).
Though many long-distance travel plans have been quashed in recent months, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned. Creative exploration is a sure cure for the pandemic blues!
The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region is chock full of accessible outdoor art to delight people of any age. It’s also nationally known for its abundant greenspace and extensive trail systems. Combine the two with a little creativity, and the result is this itinerary for a fun weekend-long scavenger hunt.
Forage for Public Art
Launch your long weekend with an urban outdoor art adventure in Minneapolis, testing your navigation and photography skills. How many of the city’s vibrant murals can you find on foot? Who can snap the best art-inspired selfies?
Muse over murals inspired by culture or by Minnesota music legends like Bob Dylan and Prince (bonus points if you can find the North Loop Prince mural and the Uptown Prince mural!). Marvel over cartoonish creations like a squirrel duo paddling a makeshift beer can canoe. Feign horror and snap startled selfies in front of the Jaws-reminiscent “Shark Attack.”
Murals, Sculptures and Selfies
Continue your art escapade in St. Louis Park, where there are nearly 30 pieces to enjoy. The Historic Walker Lake mural reflects the past, present and future of the city. Pollinator pals will appreciate “Bee Way,” an aluminum sculpture that evokes the flight of bees and their honeycomb. For something a little different, search out “Windtrace,” an illuminated, wind-powered, kinetic sound sculpture.
Then take the hunt to Richfield. The city’s burgeoning public art scene is handily mapped out. First up: Stop to see “Mayor Kirsch.” The life-size bronze statue of Richfield’s former leader is a prime place to sit and strike a pose. Vote on who took the best silly (or serious) selfie with the mayor. Then walk half a block north to find “Jet Stream,” a kinetic wind sculpture that leads you to the Kirchbak Sculpture Gardens, a grand finale of artistic design.
Start your Saturday at Edina’s Centennial Lakes Park. The urban playground features public art, walking paths and unique golf games. It’s easy to social distance there with 24 glorious acres of green space.
Take advantage of the park’s 10-acre lake. Find the flattest rocks and see who’s the finest rock skipper! Stroll the park’s pretty pathways and see who can gather the most pinecones. Navigate around the park’s maze to its centerpiece, an impressive 10-foot pinecone sculpture.
Engage Your Senses
Head to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge next. It’s an exceptional spot for a nature-based scavenger hunt. The urban refuge stretches over 14,000 acres and boasts sightings of 297 bird species. Whether you’re an avid birder or an amateur, you can test your skills against the rest of your crew. Who can spy and identify the most birds?
Wrap up your nature quest in Eagan, where nature and art coalesce at the Caponi Art Park. Take founder Anthony Caponi’s advice: “Slow down and let your senses come into focus …” as you meander through the magical 60-acre environment, which has been meticulously designed as a natural work of art.
Usher in your Sunday scavenge with a road trip to Stillwater. History buffs will have a ball in the scenic birthplace of Minnesota.
Cruise Stillwater’s historic Main Street. It’s a great place to start gawking. How many buildings can you find that are part of the National Register of Historic Places? Bonus points for identifying style. Test your architectural knowledge against your family and friends.
The town has an impressive mix of 19th- and 20th-century architecture, from 1860s limestone structures to Italianate, Queen Anne, Richardsonian, Classical Revival and early 20th-century commercial.
Stillwater’s renovated historic lift bridge is a must-see. For the best views, explore the new St. Croix River Crossing bridge loop trail by foot or bike. Be ready for sweeping views of the river and valley. You can even straddle the Minnesota/Wisconsin state line!
Last but not least, take time to see (not smell) the roses at “Roseville in Bloom.” The flowery outdoor art exhibit in Roseville runs through October. It’s composed of a series of 6-foot rose statues that were painted by some of Minnesota’s finest artists. Check the base of each statute for a QR code to unlock some retail therapy opportunities at Roseville businesses.