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Best Hidden Gems in Minneapolis/St. Paul

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Mill Ruins Park opened its doors to the public in 2001. Visitors can learn about the city's flour production and water power run industry here. Once you're done with your history lesson for the day, take a walk on the park trails or enjoy a nice, leisurely lunch on the picnic area.

One place you cannot avoid visiting if in Minneapolis is the beautiful Lyndale Park Rose Garden. The award-winning garden focuses on environmental education and sightseeing, and presents nature at its best. Thomas Sadler Roberts Birds Sanctuary within Lyndale Park Rose Garden is where you will find some of the rarest species of birds. A great place for children, this tourist spot should not be missed.

A collection of working locomotives, steamships, train depots, roundhouses, trolleys and motor coaches brings the history of local transportation alive. The MTM has five exhibit sites in and around the Twin Cities area that are visited by more than 100,000 people annually. The various restored depots and roundhouse allow visitors to travel back to the golden age of the railroads.The most popular exhibit is the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, a rebuilt portion of what used to be the nation's largest urban rail service that was a 500-mile system in its heyday. Restored cars dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s run a two-mile round trip course between Lakes Harriet and Calhoun in South Minneapolis. Cars run every 15 minutes and passengers can board at the Linden Hills Station or the Lakewood Cemetery platform. The museum's other big draw is the Minnehaha, a 1906 steamboat which used to ferry streetcar passengers all over Lake Minnetonka. Back from a watery grave, the restored steamboat is as good as new and spruced up with a snazzy maroon and gold paint job.

Once the home of railroad baron James J. Hill, the Minnesota Historical Society now owns this mansion. Tours provide a glimpse into what astonishing wealth could buy at the turn of the 19th century. It contains 42 rooms including 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces and a 100-foot reception hall. Stained glass windows, an enormous pipe organ and intricately carved woodwork are just a few of the highlights. Tours depart every half-hour.

Marsh marigolds, showy lady slippers and shy violets are just a few of the many wildflowers that bloom in this peaceful, 14-acre sanctuary. Inaugurated in 1907, it is the oldest public wildflower garden in the United States. Visitors are free to wander the picturesque trails in both the shady woodland garden and the sunny prairie garden.A small interpretive building has exhibits and books about nature, including a biography of the garden founder, botanist and conservationist Eloise Butler. Guided tours and special programs, such as full moon hikes and talks on medicinal plants, are offered on weekends. Admission is free.

The history of this area dates back 2000 years. The park offers a great panoramic view of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul. Enclosed by metal rail fences, six ancient Indian burial mounds rest within the rich soil of the park. An old reconstructed aerial beacon, used for many years by aircraft approaching the Holman Field airport across the river, stands near the mounds. In 1776, a man named Jonathon Carver discovered what is now known as Carver's Cave. Inside the cave, he found ancient artifacts and hieroglyphics. Plaques posted nearby tell the detailed stories of these historical landmarks. This popular park is open to everyone, including families, skateboarders, hikers, bikers, and groups of friends. CallSend SMSAdd to SkypeYou'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

The Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life compares the lives of Minnesota Pioneers with those of the Dakotah Indians who lived in the region. Costumed interpreters give tours of the site, which includes a 19th Century farm house, a unique one-room school house, barns, farm animals, a replica sod house, Dakotah tipi and artifacts, bark lodge, pioneer and Dakotah gardens, and more.

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