Mankato is an ideal destination for outdoor adventurers. There are countless hiking trails, camping grounds and fishing holes nearby.
The city also boasts some family-friendly attractions, like Minneopa State Park and Betsy and Tacy Houses. It makes for a wonderful day trip with kids!
Minneopa State Park
Established in 1905, Minneopa State Park boasts several natural highlights like two waterfalls. It also provides ample hiking trails through forests, prairies, and riparian areas.
Explore the area by bike or hiking trail, or rent a kayak to take in the river and stunning scenery. A $35 round vehicle permit allows entry all year long; so if you’re searching for some outdoor fun in nature, Minneopa State Park should be on your bucket list!
Minneopa Falls, a popular tourist attraction within the park, features two-tiered cascades that plunge from a granite ledge into an gorge. The trails surrounding the falls offer visitors access to limestone pathways leading down into lower reaches of Minneopa Creek Valley.
The park is also home to an established American bison herd, making it a haven for animal enthusiasts of all ages. You can drive along Bison Range Road and spot these majestic creatures from your car.
Another popular attraction in the park is Seppmann Mill, a wind-driven gristmill constructed with native stone and lumber in German style. Though it ceased operations in 1890, this historic landmark still stands today.
Minneopa State Park boasts several scenic sandstone paths and waterfalls, making it one of Minnesota’s most unique parks – so be sure to stop by for an adventure!
Riverfront Park is one of the city’s most beloved parks, originally constructed for Expo ’74. Nowadays it draws thousands of visitors daily to its 100 acres of attractions and activities suitable for people of all ages.
Riverfront Park features an unusual ice skating rink during the winter months. Measuring 650 feet long with various inclines and declines, it provides ample terrain for all levels of skaters to enjoy.
The rink also features a cafe that serves an array of treats, like hot dogs and French fries. Furthermore, there’s a small amusement park for children nearby.
This popular attraction is an ideal spot to soak up some rays and spend quality time with your family. In summertime, you can catch live music performances at Vetter Stone Amphitheater.
It’s also an ideal spot for a picnic. The park offers several restaurants and other eateries, as well as a playground.
In 2021, Riverfront Park will welcome the Ice Age Floods interactive playscape. This area aims to educate kids about the city’s history through a combination of attractions and educational materials.
Riverfront Park was once a hub of freight and passenger rail transport. In the 1970s, it was reclaimed from its railroad roots and transformed into an urban park. Nowadays, Riverfront Park attracts both locals and tourists alike with its many attractions and events.
River Hills Mall
River Hills Mall is the perfect destination for a fun-filled family day out. Featuring hundreds of stores, an award-winning movie theater, dining options and even a large children’s play area, River Hills Mall has something to suit everyone’s needs. Here you’ll find top national brands as well as smaller local outlets – making for one seamless shopping experience!
Are you searching for something fun and educational to do on a rainy day? Look no further than the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, housed in an old Carnegie library building. This museum provides children with opportunities to learn about science, technology, history and art through interactive exhibits and galleries that encourage them to experiment and create!
Mankato is packed with outdoor attractions perfect for nature enthusiasts. Minnemishinona Falls stands as a towering 42-foot waterfall that cascades down into the Minnesota River valley below.
If you’re into rock climbing, the city’s public rock climbing walls are worth visiting. Both indoor and outdoor walls are made from real rock, with expert belay advice available for all abilities.
In addition to all these activities in Mankato, don’t miss the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. This exhibition displays sculptures created by local artists and is organized annually by Twin Rivers and the Greater Mankato arts community. With thousands of visitors each year, this event promises an engaging experience for visitors alike.
If you’re planning a stay in Mankato, look for hotels near Mankato State University and downtown. Fairfield Inn & Suites Mankato is conveniently situated and provides free breakfast each morning. Additionally, this hotel features a fitness center and indoor pool for added enjoyment.
Carnegie Art Center
Carnegie Art Center, a longstanding Mankato art gallery, features paintings, woodworking and sculpture by local artists. Exhibits rotate monthly and the museum also provides artist studio space.
North Tonawanda Public Library, constructed in 1904 with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, is listed on the National Historic Register and open year-round. Its renaissance revival-style architecture is stunning, while exhibition spaces provide a perfect platform for local artists to display their artwork.
The center’s mission is to promote and support the arts in our community. It offers a range of classes for all ages, exhibits artwork in two galleries, and advocates for artists.
With support from the community, the center offers youth arts programs with scholarships and classes for those in need. Furthermore, it hosts a range of events and activities tailored towards families.
As a nonprofit organization, the Carnegie Art Center relies on donations and memberships to stay open. In addition to its main gallery, it also has several studio spaces for artists as well as an on-site gift shop.
In addition to hosting a range of art exhibits, the Carnegie Art Center organizes events and festivals throughout the year. Popular highlights include its annual Carnegie Arts Walk and Art Off the Wall festival.
This week the gallery is featuring two local artists’ works. David Strom’s series of paintings takes viewers on an exploration through geometric shapes found in grain elevators and bins; Ann Judkins contributes a collection of color photographs.
R.D Hubbard House
The Hubbard House is a historic tourist attraction in Mankato, Minnesota and was the residence of famed flour mill entrepreneur R.D Hubbard; today it serves as a museum.
Constructed in 1871, this 16-room house showcases a French Second Empire design. Restored in 1905 with turn of the century furnishings such as Tiffany lamps and silk wall coverings, it remains popular today.
A significant portion of the original structure remains, and it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its adjacent 1890 Carriage House houses a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and antique automobiles while The Twilight Garden Club maintains the gardens surrounding these two buildings.
This historical attraction offers plenty to entertain the family. There are various exhibits to view and hands-on activities to do. Furthermore, it hosts various events throughout the year, such as a Native American Pow-Wow every September.
Every few years, Mankato hosts an incredible Air Spectacular that draws aviation and adrenaline junkies from all over the region. Don’t miss this incredible show!
Another popular activity in the area is hiking. There are numerous trails within the city that are suitable for all ages and levels of fitness – making it a wonderful way to discover its stunning natural features.
Visitors to Mankato often choose a canoe trip with Bent River Outfitters as an easy-going, hassle-free option. They take care of all the arrangements and get you where you need to go with their range of trips or tailor make one just for you!
The Mankato Symphony is an ideal destination to experience stunning music. They boast excellent reviews and host several symphony concerts throughout the year.
Aside from its stunning performances, the Mankato Symphony also plays an important role in promoting classical music to children. It offers a music appreciation program that introduces area 3rd graders to the symphony and various instruments they play.
Don’t miss a trip to Riverfront Park while in Mankato. Not only does it boast an incredible view of the Minnesota River, but it also has an amphitheater and playground for your enjoyment. Plus, every year during Ribfest festival, people from around Mankato as well as beyond come together to enjoy delicious ribs and other fun activities.
Visit the Paul Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings, an engaging attraction that brings sculptures to life through advanced mechanical systems. This is a fun activity suitable for both adults and kids alike.
Mankato offers visitors a great opportunity to check out the Walking Sculpture Tour, which rotates each year with new works of art for them to admire. These sculptures range from street art and digital artworks to ceramics.
Other attractions in Mankato include Bounce Town, which provides families with a safe and exciting place for their kids to let off some energy. You’ll find these bounce houses scattered around town.