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Things to do in the Prairie Waters

Dawson walking bridge

The Prairie Waters region is located roughly three hours west of the Twin Cities and provides a refreshing getaway from the hectic city life. Visitors find it easy to slow down and enjoy their surrounding, local restaurants and enjoy the sports in a scenic setting. Best of all, the region provides a nice variety of activities for all ages, interests, and activity levels as well as a long list of local events, fairs, and festivals. The point of getting away is experiencing new things, enjoying your time away and making memories. Prairie Waters has exactly that – no matter what your speed.

Have you ever stayed in a Tipi? Upper Sioux Agency State Park has three 18-foot diameter canvas visitors can rent during the summer season starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

How about carving your own wooden spoon? Milan Village Arts School welcomes budding artists and woodworkers to explore the wonderful world of woodcarving.

Art lovers will enjoy all there is to offer. The Meander Art Crawl in October, a free self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 45 local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley, is an especially great time to visit. This all in one experience combines local culture, history and scenery.

These are just a tease of the many things to do in the Prairie Waters region…Keep reading for more fun things to fill your visit to the Prairie Waters.

Shopping. While the rest of the country has chain stores galore and copycat shopping malls, the Prairie Waters indulges every shopper’s fancy with unique and local options. To start, take a stroll in downtown Granite Falls and browse the day away after. Next, take off to any of the other number of towns in the Prairie Waters region for unique shopping opportunities from trendy boutiques to antique shops. Shoppers will also find tasty local honey, maple syrup, and other local artisan foods, stoneware, pottery, handmade knives, and, of course, plenty of art. Is there anything else to add here?

The Great Outdoors. Outdoor lovers will delight in exploring the 62,000 acres of managed wetland, woodland and virgin prairie with a diverse assortment of activities including fishing, hunting, paddling and bird watching.

Deer hunting in the Prairie Waters

Fishing and Hunting. Fishers can expect to find walleyes, perch, and crappies while hunters will enjoy their quest for pheasant, deer, duck, and goose. Watson Hunting Camp, located in the heart of the Lac qui Parle Wildlife refuge, is the place for booking guided hunts (for all seasons) as well as lodging options.

Bird Watching. April 23, 2016 bird watchers take part in the Salt Lake Birding Weekend and will be on the lookout for 130 species including the Cherished Snowy egret. Salt Lake draws spring waterfowl and shorebirds while Lac qui Parle (meaning: lake that speaks) attracts snow geese, wood ducks and tundra swans as many as 10,000 pelicans. Bring your binoculars and camera.

ATV fun

Adventure seekers will want to visit the 330-acre Appleton Area Recreation Park for seven miles of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) trails. All skill levels are welcomed. The family-friendly Prairie Thunder Off-Road Rally will be June 17th-19th, 2016. Expect lots of fun, food, music, and competition, including a mud run.

May is Minnesota Museum Month. During the 31-day spring celebration featuring Minnesota museums, Prairie Waters has several not-to-miss museums.

Lenzen-Roe Memorial Airport in Granite Falls is home to the town’s newest museum Fagen Fighters WWII Museum. Aviation and war enthusiasts will relish the self-guided tour covering the 1940’s era and displaying WWII trainer and fighter aircraft, restored and owned by Fagen Fighters. The collection includes two P-51 D Mustangs, a Lockheed P-38, a P-40, a BT-13, a PT-19, a PT-22, and a PT-26. In addition to the aircraft, other exhibits include authentic WWII ground a WACO CG-4A glider, classic uniforms, artifacts, art and a library overlooking the museum’s first floor. While there displays are antique, touch screens are offered throughout the museum for an interactive experience. ($10 per person donation suggested.)

The five building, 26,000 sq. ft. Minnesota Machinery Museum revisits a century of Minnesota farm life and history through farm equipment from the past to rural art. (Free admission; donations welcome)

Lund-Hoel House Museum, a Queen Anne Victorian home, was established in 1891 by John Lund of Lund’s Land Agency but continues to catch the eye today just as it did when first built. (Donations recommended: Adult $5, Student $3, Preschool Free, Family $15)

The Andrew Volstead Museum was built in 1878 by Congressman Andrew J. Volstead and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. ($3/non-members)

The 20-acre Historic Chippewa City in Montevideo draws history buffs intrigued by the 1800’s village replica.  The 24 buildings include a Blacksmith Shop and General Store and an 1880’s church. (Admission: Adults $5.00; Students 6-17 $2.00; Under 5 Free)

Save the date…

Town Festivals and Events

Applefest (Appleton) 9/16/16-9/17/16
Stinker Days/Summer Fest (Madison) 7/30/16-7/31/16
Hat Daze (Canby) 9/17/16-9/19/16
Western Fest (Granite Falls) 06/23/2016 – 06/25/2016
River fest (Dawson) 06/23/2016 – 06/26/2016
Fiesta Days (Montevideo) 06/12/2016 – 06/19/2016
Sytennde Mai (Milan) 5/21/16

County Fairs

Yellow Medicine July 21-23, 2016
Chippewa July 27-31, 2016
Swift August 17-21, 2016
Lac qui Parle September 8-11, 2016

Where are we? The Prairie Waters are located roughly three hours west of the Twin Cities and consists of eight cities: Granite Falls, Canby, Montevideo, Clara City, Dawson, Madison, Milan, Appleton span over four counties: Swift, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle.

No matter what your fancy, Prairie Waters is sure to surprise and delight you. We look forward to welcoming you!

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