Welcome to the Minnesota blog post for Booking Across the USA! I picked Minnesota as I have lived here most of my life. Have you heard of General Mills, Jolly Green Giant Vegetables, 3M Post-it-notes, the story of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Hiawatha, Lake Superior, the Mississippi River, the Volstead Act, or SPAM? Then you have heard of a few things from Minnesota. Minnesotans Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter F. Mondale are from Minnesota both served as US Vice Presidents. The Mall of America is also in Minnesota.
I used the following books when preparing for this blog post. I found them in the local library and feel they are probably available in other public libraries.
MINNESOTA: A MyReportLinks.com Book, by Stephen Feinstein
This book is full of Internet links, but to access updates is a priced service. So, keep and eye on children visiting the many informative sites. This book is also written at least at a third grade reading level, and higher. The text is fairly dense and the photos are few.
LAND OF LIBERTY: MINNESOTA, by Rebecca Stomstad Glasser
This book would be good for third grade and up, and provides a quick history of the state and major facts. It has “DID YOU KNOW?” inserts that share interesting information such as in 1914 the Red River Lumber Company printed a booklet with cartoons of Paul Bunyan. Paul Bunyan supposedly dug Lake Superior with his shovel. The historical photos, of course, are not that colorful, but this book has quite a few pictures and an appealing format.
Because the Wise Owl Factory Book a Day blog is mostly written for the Pre K through second grade age group, the bingo game printable is something young children could do. Instead of understanding the Mayo Brothers started the world famous Mayo Clinic, younger children could match the pictures and listen to the simple information. The game is intended as a learning opportunity while played. The fabulous clip art is from Phillip Martin free clip art, and is used with his permission. I am thankful he was happy to share for this project. He has great free clip art for students and teachers if you haven’t heard of him before. This free game is in our free eMember area — sign up here by selecting the radio button for free eMembership.
I have met people who moved to Minnesota by looking at a map and thinking it was further south than Washington, Maine, and other states. Those people, usually foreign exchange students, did not take latitude into consideration. Minnesota has the northern most point in the contiguous United States. Each year it is cold enough for ice carnivals and snow sculpture activities, such as the ice castle at the MALL OF AMERICA, which was open daily through February 20th. The St. Paul (our capitol city) also has an ice palace as part of its Winter Carnival. Do look at the links, the pictures are stunning.
I’m including the Naniboujou Lodge as it is a tourist highlight and has no phones or televisions in the guest rooms. It is on the shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, yet serves a high tea afternoons during the summer. If you look at photo of the amazing interior painting, you will be amazed to know it has never been repainted since the 1930’s. It would have been a fancy private club had it not been for Black Friday and all that came after that day.
Mining is important in Minnesota today. The Mesabi Iron Range is on the Iron Range of Minnesota. Mines that have closed are being reopened due to China’s need for iron. Recently, new mines are being opened to explore to find copper and nickel. These new efforts are being protested due to environmental damage after effects of the type of mining requires. There are other natural resources as listed on this kids page from the Minnesota DNR.
Lumber is another large natural resource of Minnesota, although logging peaked in 1899. Tourists and Minnesotans like to visit the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, state parks, Superior National Forest, and the many wooded areas. Settlers to Minnesota built log cabins of pine, and some people still build log cabins here today. Here is a log cabin craft idea that isn’t too fancy! free-template-for-log-cabin
Minnesota has several water borders such as Lake Superior, the Mississippi River, and the St. Croix River along the Wisconsin border. The Red River of the North helps form the border with North Dakota. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and the deepest (1300 feet). It is considered to be a sweet water ocean. According to the Lake Superior Facts site, “There is enough water in Lake Superior to flood all of North and South America to a depth of one foot.” Minnesota’s rocky Superior Upland lies near Lake Superior in the northeast. My husband jokingly calls that area the “Norwegian Riviera.” Children living near the lake are taught early about the cold temperatures and not to swim in the lake as a part of water safety classes. The average annual water temperature of Lake Superior is about 40º F, although it rarely freezes over in the winter. We have a cabin near Lake Superior, and it truly is an amazing lake.
Minnesotans enjoy outdoor activities year round. Summer camping, picnics, canoeing, boating, sports, rock-climbing and kayaking are popular. Although Minnesota is so cold in the winters, summers are hot and humid and many people go to the cabin or lake for some relief from the weather. In winter skiing, ice skating, visiting ice palaces, building snow forts and snow-shoeing are popular. Children like to make snowmen and snow forts when the weather conditions are right.
The Peanuts Gang was created by talented Minnesotan Charles Schulz, and I’m sure many children have seen some of the videos such as It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Charles M Schulz Museum in is California, though.
I can’t leave out the common loon, our state bird! The first time some people hear the call of the loon, they think someone is in danger and crying desperately for help. The Minnesota Bound site (has advertising) has a live loon cam in the summer, and has some short videos the rest of the year. Loons nest out on a lake or near shore, as their feet are made for swimming and not for walking on land. I have seen loons several times, but is considered rare to see them. We have visited the Chik-Wauk Museum at the end of the Gunflint Trail, and have seen the floating nest they provide for the loons. Visitors have to be very quiet so as not to disturb the hen. Also, when canoeing in the Boundary Waters, loons can be seen.
We live in Grand Marais, MN, parts of each year, so I have to share some highlights of this harbor town on Lake Superior, about 50 miles south of the Canadian Border. It is in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. You will notice signs for the Gunflint Trail, a Moose Area, and Sled Dog Xing. All very important in Grand Marias. See also my blog post just about this city in Northern Minnesota. It is a tourist area with year-round outdoor activities including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and bike trails.
Just above, see the illustrated coffee and hot chocolate drinks available at the Java Moose in Grand Marais. Such a fun place to visit. Below, see the photos of the Gunflint Mercantile fudge and candy shop, and so much more. There are perks to living in a tourist town!
Now to the part of the post my husband enjoyed, the state muffin! The state muffin is the blueberry muffin. This is a link to a recipe online. He suggested the state cookie could be chocolate chip cookies, hinting I could make those nest! I’ll have to find a book to blog about that requires baking cookies next time.
Minnesota’s Official State Muffin
Thank your for reading! I hope your children and students will enjoy the game. Really, you will see it is easy! Oh, before I go, here is the complete list of participating blogs!