Minnesota, also known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is famous for its breathtaking scenery and nature that offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. However, that is not all, there are many fun facts about Minnesota that make it an attractive destination.
Quick Facts And Statistics About Minnesota
- Capital: Saint Paul
- Population: 5.5 Million (21st Populous State in the U.S)
- Land Area: 86,943 sq mi / 225,180 km² (12th Largest in the U.S)
- Nickname: The North Star State
- Abbreviation: MN
- Statehood: May 11, 1858 (32nd U.S State)
- State Bird: Common Loon
- State Flower: Lady Slipper
Historical Facts About Minnesota
Minnesota’s State Motto Reflects Its French Heritage
Not many people know this interesting fact about Minnesota — its French roots remain today. In fact, Minnesota’s official state motto, L’Etoile du Nord, is a nod to its French heritage. The motto was adopted in 1861, shortly after Minnesota became a state.
The phrase “L’Etoile du Nord” translates to “The Star of the North” in English. It refers to Minnesota’s position as one of the northernmost states in the contiguous United States. The motto also reflects the state’s reputation for being a shining beacon of progress, innovation, and prosperity in the northern region of the country.
Interestingly, the French influence on Minnesota goes beyond just the state motto. The state has a long history of French exploration and fur trading, dating back to the 17th century when French explorers and traders arrived in the region.
As a result, many towns, cities, and landmarks in Minnesota bear French names. These include St. Paul (named after the apostle Paul), Duluth (named after French explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut), and the city of Grand Marais (which means “big marsh” in French).
One of the Oldest Running Theaters is Found in Minnesota
The Historic Fitzgerald Theater, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is one of the oldest continuously running theaters in the United States. Originally it was built in 1910 as the Sam S. Shubert Theater. Over the years, the theater has undergone many changes and renovations. However, it has remained a vital part of the Saint Paul community.
In 1980, the theater was renamed the Fitzgerald Theater in honor of the famous Minnesota author F. Scott Fitzgerald, born in Saint Paul in 1896. Today, the Fitzgerald Theater is owned and operated by Minnesota Public Radio. The theater is a performance venue and recording studio for many of its programs.
Minnesota has the World’s Largest Open-Pit Iron Mine
Minnesota has a rich history of mining. The state is also known for its significant reserves of iron ore. One of the most impressive mining operations in Minnesota is the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine, located in the city of Hibbing.
The Hull Rust Mahoning Mine, established in 1895, is an open-pit iron mine that covers an area of over three miles in length and two miles in width. During its peak production from World War I through World War II, this mine provided up to 25% of all the iron ore mined in the United States. In 1966, it was named a National Historic Landmark.
The Historic Mounds Theatre in Minnesota is Said to Be Haunted
One of the thrilling and scary facts about Minnesota is it is home to haunted buildings like The Mounds Theatre, a historic theater located in the East Side neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The theater, built in 1922, started as a vaudeville and silent movie house. Today, it primarily hosts community events and live performances.
While the theater has a rich history, it is also known for its paranormal activity. Many visitors and staff members have reported unexplained sightings and experiences, leading to rumors that the theater is haunted. The Mounds Theatre now offers ghost tours for those interested in learning about the theater’s spooky past.
Cultural Facts About Minnesota
The Minnesota State Fish is Essential for its Ecosystem
The walleye is a popular game fish found in many of the state’s waters. It is also the official state fish of Minnesota due to its importance in multiple areas.
Known for its tasty, white flesh and its reputation as a challenging catch, the walleye is a rather prized species among anglers and fishing enthusiasts. You can find plenty of delectable dishes in Minnesota based on the Walleye.
In addition to being a favorite among fishermen and foodies, the walleye plays a critical role in Minnesota’s ecosystem and culture. The fish is a key predator in many of the state’s lakes and rivers. It helps to regulate the populations of other fish and aquatic organisms.
It is also an essential part of Minnesota’s cultural heritage. An interesting fact about Minnesota is that many local communities host annual fishing tournaments and celebrations in honor of the walleye.
Minnesota Has One of the Largest State Fairs in the United States
When it comes to fabulous festivities, The Minnesota State Fair is the talk of the town. This is a beloved annual event that has been a highlight of Minnesota summers for over 160 years now.
It is held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. Over the years, this has become one of the largest and most popular state fairs in the country for good reason.
The action-packed event typically runs for around 12 days, from late August to early September, attracting over 2 million visitors each year.
The fair is known for its wide range of attractions and activities, including livestock exhibits, agricultural displays, and competitions. However, don’t forget that it is also a foodie fest where you will find many traditional Minnesota food fares on offer.
That said, there are many vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to fresh produces. This is like a treasure trove for shoppers looking to check out some of the best from the state. Certainly one of the most exciting facts about Minnesota for fun fair lovers.
You can enjoy live music performances, carnival rides, and some of the best food in Minnesota for a whole lot of good old-fashioned fun.
Fun Facts About Minnesota For Kids
Minnesota is the Birthplace of Dairy Queen
One of the exciting facts about Minnesota for kids is that it is the birthplace of the iconic Dairy Queen. Known for its signature soft-serve and Blizzard treats, the popular fast-food chain has a long history that began in Minnesota.
Back in 1940, Sherb Noble opened the first Dairy Queen store in Joliet, Illinois. The store was an immediate success, quickly becoming a popular destination for families and ice cream lovers. However, their headquarters is in Edina, Minnesota, where much of their history and innovation has occurred.
One of the reasons why Dairy Queen has such a strong connection to Minnesota is because the state has a rich history of dairy farming and production. The state’s dairy industry has been a major contributor to the local economy for many years. It has also played a key role in the development of many iconic Minnesota-based companies, including Land O’Lakes and General Mills.
The World’s Largest Rubber Duck Started in Minnesota
The world’s largest rubber duck is an impressive sight being bright yellow and towering six stories above the ground. The giant rubber duck made its first appearance at the Festival of Sail in Two Harbors, Minnesota, along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
The mastermind behind the giant rubber duck is Craig Samborski, a Duluth-based entrepreneur known for putting on tall ships festivals around the country. Samborski commissioned the first giant duck in 2014 and has taken it to various festivals and events ever since. While it now travels all over the country, it reappears around Minnesota during special events.
The State’s Largest Environmental Learning Center is The Minnesota State Zoo
One of the best facts about Minnesota for kids is the spacious Minnesota Zoo. It is a sprawling 485-acre zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota, just south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It is home to over 5,000 animals representing more than 500 species from around the world.
The Minnesota Zoo is known for its naturalistic habitats to mimic the animals’ natural environments as closely as possible. For example, the Northern Trail exhibit features animals native to Minnesota and the surrounding region, such as moose, wolves, lynx, and otters.
In addition to its animal exhibits, the Minnesota Zoo offers a variety of educational programs and events, such as zoo camps for kids, overnight sleepovers, and animal encounters. It is the state’s largest environmental learning center and had over 360,000 participants in educational programming last year in 2022.
Useful Minnesota Facts for Travelers
The Largest Ear of Corn is Found in Minnesota
Minnesota is known for its fertile farmland and agricultural heritage. As a unique example of this, one of the best fun facts about Minnesota is it has the world’s largest ear of corn. Located in Olivia, Minnesota, this impressive structure stands 25 feet tall.
The giant ear of corn was created in 1973 by Bob Rauenhorst to showcase the importance of agriculture to the community. Rauenhorst, one of the founders of the Trojan Seed Company, used a combination of wood, wire mesh, and concrete to construct the massive structure. It quickly became one of the favorite landmarks in Minnesota.
Minnesota is Home to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine
You cannot discuss facts about Minnesota without mentioning the world’s largest ball of twine in the small town of Darwin, Minnesota. It is one of the most special and unusual tourist attractions in the state.
A local farmer named Francis Johnson started the ball of twine in 1950. He began wrapping twine around a small ball in his free time. Over the years, Johnson continued to add to the ball, using twine from a variety of sources, including hay baling machines and old binder twine.
The enormous ball of twine in Darwin has, quite literally, grown to become one of the things Minnesota is known for. It weighs over 17,000 pounds and measures more than 12 feet in diameter. A beloved symbol of the town, it attracts visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its size and uniqueness.
Minnesota is Home to The Largest Mall in the United States
The Mall of America is a shopping mall in Bloomington, just outside Minneapolis. One of the most interesting facts about Minnesota for shopaholics is that this is the largest mall in the United States. It opened in 1992 and has over 5.6 million square feet of retail space with an excess of 500 stores.
In addition to its vast selection of stores, the Mall of America is home to a variety of entertainment options. Among these are an indoor amusement park, a miniature golf course, an aquarium, and a flight simulator. The mall also has multiple food options, ranging from quick-service restaurants to fine dining establishments.
The Mall of America attracts over 40 million visitors annually, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
Common Facts About Minnesota
Minnesota Holds the Largest Freshwater Lake
With the nickname Land of 10,000 Lakes, you can probably guess that Minnesota is known for its many beautiful lakes. The most famous, Lake Superior, is the largest freshwater lake in the world, covering over 31,700 square miles. This massive lake contains 10% of the world’s freshwater supply.
One of the most remarkable things about Lake Superior is its size. It is so large that it can take up to 190 years for water to circulate through the lake. In other words, the water that enters the lake today may not leave for centuries to come.
The Minnesota State Bird is Known for its Haunting Call
The common loon is the state bird and a beloved symbol of the state’s wildlife and natural beauty. This water bird is known for its striking black and white plumage and haunting call.
Common loons are found throughout much of North America. However, they are particularly associated with Minnesota’s lakes and waterways. They are well-adapted to life in the water, with webbed feet and streamlined body that makes them excellent swimmers and divers.
One of the most distinctive features of the common loon is its call. It has a haunting, eerie sound that echoes across the water. The call is described as a wail, a yodel, or a tremolo, and it is a signature sound of Minnesota’s lakes and forests.
Minnesota’s State Flower is a Rare Orchid
The Lady’s Slipper is a rare and beautiful orchid native to Minnesota’s forests and wetlands. This distinctive flower, which features a large, slipper-shaped petal (thus its name) and vibrant pink and white colors, has been designated as the official state flower of Minnesota.
Despite its beauty and importance, the Lady’s Slipper is a protected species in Minnesota and other parts of the United States and Canada. The plant is slow-growing and sensitive to disturbance.
Additionally, it is threatened by habitat loss, over-harvesting, and other environmental factors. So if you are lucky enough to come across one, admire its beauty but don’t pick it.
The Very Tall State Tree is Native to Northern Minnesota
The Norway Pine, also known as the Red Pine, was designated Minnesota’s official state tree in 1953. It was chosen for its historical and economic importance to the state and natural beauty.
The Norway Pine is a tall evergreen tree that can reach heights of up to 100 feet and live up to 400 years. It has distinctive reddish-brown bark and long, slender needles that grow in pairs. The tree is native to the northern regions of North America and can be found all over northeastern Minnesota.
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Other Interesting Facts About Minnesota
Legendary Musician and Icon Prince Loved Minnesota
Arguably one of the best cool facts about Minnesota: Prince, the legendary musician and cultural icon, was born and raised in Minnesota. Throughout his life, Prince remained closely connected to Minnesota. He lived and worked in the state for much of his career and maintained a close relationship with the local music scene.
Paisley Park is a legendary recording studio, production facility, and residence owned by Prince. Located in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the complex came to fruition in the 1980s and served as Prince’s creative sanctuary for over three decades.
Following Prince’s death in 2016, Paisley Park opened to the public as a museum. Visitors can take a guided tour of the complex, which includes a walk through the recording studio, the soundstage, and Prince’s private living quarters.
The Minnesota State Capitol Building has the Second Largest Marble Dome in the World
The Minnesota State Capitol is in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. It is the seat of the state government and houses the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and other state officials.
Renowned architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the United States Supreme Court building and the Woolworth Building in New York City, designed the building. Gilbert based his design for the Minnesota State Capitol dome on Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Among cool facts about Minnesota, this one is pretty impressive: the dome is the second largest self-supported marble dome in the world.
Honeycrisp Apples Started in Minnesota
A fascinating tidbit among Minnesota facts is that Honeycrisp apples began there. A collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station developed it in 1960. However, it was not until the 1990s that it became widely available. In 2006, it became Minnesota’s official state fruit.
The development process involved cross-breeding two different varieties of apples: the Macoun and the Honeygold. The goal was to create an apple that was both sweet and tart that could also survive the harsh winters. It took many years of careful breeding and testing to develop the Honeycrisp apple. It was not until the 1980s that the first commercial crops were grown.
Famous Author F. Scott Fitzgerald was Born in Minnesota
Among the most popular cool facts about Minnesota is that revered author F. Scott Fitzgerald was born there. The famous American author and literary icon of the 20th century had strong ties to Minnesota. He was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1896, and spent his formative years in the state.
Fitzgerald attended the St. Paul Academy, where he showed early promise as a writer. He published his first piece in a national magazine at the age of 18 and went on to attend Princeton University. Fitzgerald maintained a connection to his home state throughout his life. He often wrote about Minnesota and incorporated its people and landscapes into his works.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Minnesota
Minnesota is a state with a rich history, diverse population, and stunning natural beauty. From its numerous lakes and forests to its iconic landmarks and famous residents, there are plenty of interesting and fun facts about Minnesota to discover. Whether you are a local or a visitor, there is always something new to learn about this unique and fascinating state.