8 Fun Things to Do in Southwest Minneapolis

If you’re visiting Minneapolis and want to search beyond the urban concrete paths; specifically, the southwestern region, here’s your sign! Whether you’re one or a hundred and one, its certain you’ll find cool places to satisfy your craving for adventure. Here’s our compilation of our 8 fun things to do in Southwest Minneapolis!

Worlds Largest Candy Store – Jordan

Address:  20430 Johnson Memorial Dr Jim’s Apple Farm, Jordan, MN 55352

You can’t miss this one because its housed inside a huge bright yellow building. This huge sweet shoppe is supported by apple orchards and produce fields in Jordan and Belle Plaine. Jim’s Apple Farm is a family business that has been operating at its current location for 39 years. It boasts having the largest selection of current and past varieties of candies and sodas in the land of 10,000 lakes!

We had a great time meandering down the sweet aisles of memory lane while finding our favorite childhood candies that we hadn’t seen since the days of little paper bags of penny candy. There are several large statues and display candies that were interesting to see.

The store has tons (did I say TONS?) of candy, apples, fall produce, baked goods, jigsaw puzzles and gift shop items. In addition to our their own products, they have many others that are made locally by our neighbors.

Henderson Hummingbird Garden – Henderson

Address: 209 N 4th St, Henderson, MN 56044

With the close views that their garden and feeder setups provide, we were able to capture great photography images. The ruby-throated hummingbird can be seen in large numbers in August (when we were there!) as they stop in Henderson at feeders and nectar producing plants on their southward journey to Mexico and Central America, where they spend the winter.

Canterbury Park – Shakopee

Address:  1100 Canterbury Rd S, Shakopee, MN 55379-1873

Kid-friendly Canterbury Park is the Twin Cities’ premier home to live horse racing, simulcast racing, and a 24/7 card club featuring Blackjack, Texas Hold’em and more. Lots of events going on in the summer so check their website for their schedule.

Mystic Lake Casino – Prior Lake

Address:  2400 Mystic Lake Blvd, Prior Lake, MN 55372-9004

Follow the lights to the only place that brings non-stop gaming action, dining, drinks, entertainment and nightlife together as part of a complete resort experience. They have some free music events on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and cool events. The Casino has a dozen different eateries, cafes, buffets and bars. If you’re feeling a getaway, you can relax in one of their luxurious hotel rooms.

Mystic Lake is one of the largest hotels in the Twin Cities. As the premier resort destination in Minnesota, they offer luxurious accommodations, modern amenities and perks including complimentary Wi-Fi, valet parking, indoor pool and access to Dakotah! Sport and Fitness.

Lagoon Park – Jordan

Address: 359 Rice St S, Jordan, MN

Lagoon Park is a beautiful little city park. There is a lovely waterfall/spillway with two ways to access. One is at the street level while the other is a little downhill path that takes you closer to the waterfall. Across the street is a nice little picnic area with pavilions and shade trees. The lagoon has a sandy beach with well-marked and roped-off swimming area.

Take a slow stroll around the lagoon that has a fountain in the middle. There is also a fishing dock. In the winter, have ice skating at the facility. Further around the lagoon is a quaint little Veterans Memorial Park with a refurbished canon and benches to sit and reflect while overlooking the water.

For more info on this and the other parks in Jordan, click the link above.

Valleyfair Amusement and Water Park – Shakopee

Address:  1 Valleyfair Dr, Shakopee, MN 55379-3098

This cool theme park attraction has every exhilarating ride possible for every age! From roller coasters to ups and downs, they have it all.  Though the park is smaller than others, this one packs in some fun punch. Cool rides include the Breakers Plunge, Renegade (Coaster), Corkscrew and Ripcord!

It’s recommended to arrive early to skip the traffic line and to get a decent parking spot. Also, if you’re staying for two days, get the meal plan to save money. Lots of Minnesota eats. Great way to entertain the family for a day or two. If you’re in the area in late September and October, don’t forget to go to the Great Pumpkin Fest!

River Valley Ranch – Carver

Address: 16480 Jonathan Carver Pkwy, Carver, MN 55315-9659

From 1-hour to all-day trail rides, this cool adventure takes you outdoors to enjoy the Minnesota nice!  A few requirements or qualifications to ride at the ranch are: riders must be at least 50″ tall, no more than 250 pounds to ride and be physically capable of mounting a horse unassisted. Staff will pick a horse based on skill level.

Before you get to the ranch, it’s highly recommended you apply and bring your own bug spray & sunscreen. The ranch does not supply, borrow, loan or sell bug spray or sunscreen to the public. For a comfortable and safe ride they suggest wearing blue jeans or long pants to help avoid chafing against the saddle. They also require wearing close-toed boots or shoes (preferably with a small heel) to keep your feet from slipping out of the stirrups. The ranch also tells us to avoid wearing oversized-loose clothing, shorts, long shirts, dangle jewelry or long scarves that can get tangled.

Check River Valley Ranch’s website for trail hours and riding release form (fill it out before you get there!). Call the Ranch for Trail Riding Reservations and Pasture Boarding Inquiries.

Minnesota Valley National Fish & Wildlife Refuge – Bloomington and Carver

Bloomington Address: Refuge HQ and Bloomington Education/Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd. East Bloomington, MN 55425

Carver Address: Rapids Lake Education Center: 15865 Rapids Lake Roadn Carver, MN 55315

The Rapids Lake Education Center is closed during the summer and open to school groups September through May.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has two centers, gateways to over 14,000 acres of land dedicated to wildlife and wildlife-dependent recreation. To get a glimpse of the multiple habitats within the refuge, visit either center or any of the refuge units. Hours of operation vary seasonally.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for a large number of migratory waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife species threatened by commercial and industrial development, and to provide environmental education, wildlife recreational opportunities, and interpretive programming for Twin Cities residents.

The refuge is part of a corridor of land and water stretching nearly 70 miles along the Minnesota River, from Bloomington to Henderson, Minnesota.  Comprised of more than 14,000 acres, the refuge has multiple units, offering a variety of free outdoor recreational experiences for individuals and families. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge also manages a 14 county Wetland Management District.

So, this wraps up this cool informational blog if you’re headed to the Minneapolis area. There is so much more to do in the Minneapolis area that will keep you and your family entertained for not days, but weeks and months! The Twin Cities will keep inviting you back for more; not only for their hundreds of lakes but also the culture and attractions!

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