From interactive exhibits to larger-than-life roadside art, North Dakota hosts a plethora of ways for the whole family to get out and explore this spring. Take a step back in time to learn about North Dakota’s geologic past, including when dinosaurs roamed the state, and try your hand at being a meteorologist at North Dakota’s Gateway to Science. The newly relocated science center overlooks the Missouri River and features exhibits devoted to developing STEM skills. Here are some of the best ways to learn, grow and marvel in North Dakota’s culture:
Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota Gateway to Science
Five years in the making, the North Dakota Gateway to Science has recently reopened in Bismarck with more than double the space available for more exhibits and activities for locals and visitors alike. The center features an interactive gallery, education wing with a lab, outdoor learning areas, conference room and innovation space. It also boasts a Science First area for very young learners with exhibits about cars, rockets and other forms of transportation. With summer right around the corner, the center will be releasing their events schedule soon with education camps, seminars and more to help keep school-aged kids engaged in learning.
North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
North Dakota's largest museum features four museum galleries tracing the state’s rich history from its earliest geologic formation to today. The museum invites visitors to experience the beautiful spaces showcasing the state’s people, landscape, and current and future developments. The permanent Adaptation Gallery: Geological Times introduces visitors to the fascinating story of life and geology in North Dakota from over 600 million years ago. This gallery takes you back in time with life-size casts of a T. rex and Triceratops engaged in battle.
Minot, North Dakota
The only outdoor museum in the world that showcases all five Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden — is located in the heart of Minot. This mystical park is a homage to each country and consists of a 240-year-old log house from Norway, a replica stabbur, a 27-foot-tall Swedish Dala horse, the Gol Stave Church Museum, a Finnish sauna, a Danish windmill and more. Statues, a walking path and picnic area dot the grounds, and a gift shop is adjacent to the Heritage House Museum. The park is also dog friendly so feel free to bring your four-legged friends.
North Dakota’s largest outdoor art project to date will kick off this summer in Minot at the downtown Farmer's Union Co-op grain silos. World-renowned Australian artist Guido van Helten travels around the world transforming retired grain silos into works of art and has the Magic City next on his list. Helten traveled to Minot this fall to visit with residents to get a sense of the state’s cultural values to inspire the project and showcase unique socially-fused public art.
Slated to re-open with a brand-new facility in late April, the Magic City Discovery Center will offer children and families an exciting array of experiences with 150+ interactive exhibits in 12 unique galleries. Construction on the new facility began in 2021 with a goal to create a museum designed to transform the lives of children through extraordinary and compelling learning experiences. Magic City will also offer camps, field trips, special events and birthday party programs later this year.
Fargo, North Dakota
For an immersive art-filled stay, Hotel Donaldson (enthusiastically nicknamed HoDo) is an iconic Fargo landmark filled with local art. After more than 100 years as a fraternal lodge and hotel, the building took on its current life in 2003 after a three-year renovation process. With the work of over 60 regional artists, each guestroom is designed and curated around the pieces from a single artist. Within each room, there is a biography folder that invites you to learn more about the artist featured in your room, as well as the other artists whose works appear throughout the property, including the newly opened restaurant, The Blarney Stone. Centrally located, Hotel Donaldson is a perfect place to stay and enjoy downtown Fargo’s bustling art scene.
Looking for the chance to get crafty? Check out Unglued at their new location inside Brewhalla, Fargo’s newest food and entertainment wonderland. The modern handmade gift shop that connects you to over 200 local and regional makers also organizes awesome events in their Craftorium to inspire creativity with epic adult sleepaway summer camps, kids’ camps, private and public workshop parties, and even a legendary annual craft retreat.
Western North Dakota
In western North Dakota, there is a magical stretch of highway that is not to be missed.
The Enchanted Highway features seven giant, whimsical structures that line a 32-mile stretch off Interstate 94. Over a 30-year period, retired teacher and self-taught welder Gary Greff constructed colossal scrap metal artworks along a scenic two-lane highway. Beginning the journey is the 90-foot high “Geese in Flight,” at Exit 72 off I-94. Then, heading south from Gladstone, travelers will find six additional huge open-air art pieces complete with pullouts and picnic tables. At the end of the highway, in Regent, you will find the Enchanted Castle, a former high school now transformed into a medieval themed hotel.
For more Legendary ways to experience art, science, and history in North Dakota, visit NDtourism.com.
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