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Minnesota Treasures

Minnesota Treasures for the Entire Family – Make a Discovery this Year!

Unexpected discoveries are exciting, but discoveries you have worked hard to locate are even better.

When you start looking for your big discovery this year, consider hunting down Minnesota treasures with the family or as a lone scavenger. Millions of years ago, this state was completely underwater. Now that the water has dried away and the land has been explored and manipulated for many generations, the remains of life that used to be still remains.

A good starting place for discovering the state is the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. It is located right on the Mississippi River, which is the most fertile area in the state for fossil hunting.

The museum offers a variety of displays that will orient you to the Minnesota treasures to be found. For instance, there is a gallery dedicated to the people and cultures of the Mississippi, and a fossil exhibit that includes many fossils found directly across the river in Lilydale Regional Park.

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Fossils in Minnesota

After you enjoy the museum, head over to the Lilydale Regional Park on the other side of the Mississippi River. The shale and limestone deposits found beside the river are well known for containing interesting fossils.

These fossils were created from the days when the state was underwater. Many of the small animals and bugs that remained after the water went away were quite unusual, and unusual fossils are still being found in the area.

The park is undeveloped, which means there are no restrooms or other facilities. There are some areas that have undergone construction, which is the best place to look for fossils. Excavations during these construction projects allow more fossils to be revealed.

You can also look and dig for Minnesota fossils in the following counties: Ramsey, Goodhue, and Dakota.

Fossils can also be seen (but not collected) in the Niagara Cave in Harmony. You can take an hour tour through the cave year round, but you will need to bring sweatshirt and walking shoes even in the summer months.

Mystery Cave State Park also has caves that can be explored below ground, with natural wonders to be found above ground in the park as well. Legend has it that three pigs ran off from a farm and fell in a sinkhole, which is how the Mystery Caves were discovered.

Today, replicas of those pigs serve as play toys for children visiting the park. The story of the cave’s discovery is a cute tale that reminds most children of the three little pigs.

St. Paul is also home to the Wabash Street Caves, where you can go for unique luxury bus tours of the area. Some of the most popular offerings are the ghosts and graveyards tour and their famous St. Paul Gangster tour. Of course, going through the caves is exciting as well.

Gold in Minnesota

The Gold Rush did hit Minnesota, but not to the extent it hit many other states. Oronoco, Minnesota was the landing spot for gold hunters in 1857, but by 1960 the weather had carried away the equipment and the area was found to be without enough gold to justify setting up again and continuing to dig.

The gold was found around the Zumbro River, and the shores of the river continue to be mined for gold by families and tourists today. Zumbro is also home to an annual event where antique gold can be found. This event is a popular attraction for collectors.

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Ghost Towns in Minnesota

For those who like to explore things of the past, there are ghost towns still standing, or partly standing, in many counties across the state.

Some of the most well known ghost towns can be found in the following counties: St. Louis, Itasca, Lake, and Chisago. Modern towns have been built over many of the original ghost town sites, so you may have to hunt a little to find them.

There are a lot of Minnesota treasures waiting to be found this year. Will you explore the caves and hunt for your own fossils with the family? Or will you take someone you love on a cross-state tour visiting all of the ghost towns you can find? So many options, so little time!
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Related Pages

  • Fun Facts About Minnesota
  • Top 10 Minnesota Places to Visit
  • Tell Us Your Favorite Minnesota Tourist Attractions
  • State Parks in Minnesota
  • Treasure Hunting in Minnesota
  • Minnesota Travel Books
  • Minnesota Campground Reviews
  • Minnesota as an RV Domicile

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