Most Minnesotans know the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, home to the iconic cherry and spoon (officially titled “Spoonbridge and Cherry”). The more I think about it, however, and as wonderful as it is, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was really the only sculpture park I knew around the cities – and I found most people I asked struggled to name other sculpture parks as well.
With a little research, and a little bit of travel around the Twin Cities metro, I managed to find 5 different sculpture parks for you to explore and uncover amazing creations far beyond the Spoonbridge and Cherry.
While this park is designed to cater to kids ages 7 and under, everyone will love spending time in this park. You will love this park with its charming gazebo, several picnic tables, and almost more importantly, clean bathrooms. But the kids especially will love this park because of its extensive play area that boasts areas to climb, slide, and play with another area where kids can dig and mess around in the sand and explore and climb on rocks. Though of course, the featured attraction is the many adorable bear statues scattered throughout the park that both the kids and you can climb, sit on, and maybe pose for a few pics that’ll look great on your Instagram. The park is free and hours run from 8am-8pm. Plus, it’s a great excuse to head to Stillwater so you can swing by the famous Nelson’s Ice Cream and grab a monstrous scoop of deliciousness.
This sculpture park sprawls across 43 acres in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley. Wander this expansive space enjoying the outdoors and nature while discovering incredible, quirky, and unusual sculptures created by local artists. Some of the over 100 sculptures are enormous and interactive while others you might not notice until you’re right on top of them. Franconia Sculpture Park participates in an active artist residency and community arts programs with 40 artists working on their craft and then displaying their creations in the park. With this unique arrangement, you will likely see continuously changing sculptures and artwork each time you visit. The park is open from dawn until dusk and is completely free. And if you need assistance exploring the entire 43 acres, golf carts are available.
Tucked right in the heart of St. Paul, just west of the State Capitol, lies the Western Sculpture Park. And while the park itself is smaller in acreage, the sculptures themselves are massive creations. The park holds 15 sculptures for you to explore with an enormous 66 foot sculpture entitled Grace à Toi at the center of the park. Your encouraged to sit on, climb, and interact with all of the sculptures like the Jaguar Bench, Gateway, and my personal favorite the colorful, giant rabbit titled Max Rabitat by local artist Mary Johnson. The park is free to enter, easy to get to, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon in the cities.
Skip past the cherry and the spoon and head right to the Walker’s terrace for some mini golf. Though not exactly your standard sculpture park, this outdoor mini golf course showcases 10 creative and unique artist-designed holes. For instance, you’ll putt on a Tale of Two Cities navigating your ball through either St. Paul or Minneapolis, and then make your way to Let’s Be Frank featuring a hot dog and french fries, when you end at the last hole Don’t Blow It putting your way through a giant gumball machine. While playing each hole, be sure to stop and take a moment to enjoy the stunning views looking out over the Minneapolis skyline. The cost is $10 but if you go on a Thursday you can also extend your stay exploring inside the Walker Art Museum for free.
This temporary exhibit lasts through October 21 and features over 40 incredible and monumental origami sculptures that look as intricate and delicate as if they were made out of paper rather than metal. Created by artist Kevin Box and his partner Jennifer Box, wander the gardens exploring the majestic origami cranes, white bison, red and blue ponies, a winged horse, butterflies and more. Definitely well worth checking it out before the exhibit moves to the next city on its tour.