Looking for a fun-filled day trip this summer? An easy one-hour drive northwest of the Twin Cities, the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens are located along the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, Minnesota. These gardens have something for everyone: formal gardens, a garden filled with all white flowers, a perennial garden, ponds and fountains, winding rock-lined paths, a fairy garden and a wishing well. There are also peacocks. On our visit today, there were cute little peacock chicks. The gardens are open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. giving you plenty of time to explore it's 20 acres of gardens. Not only will you find lots of colorful flowers to photograph, you might get inspired to to do a little gardening at home.
As an added bonus when you're in the area is Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area, 700 acres of wild land on the edge of St. Cloud. There are prairies, wetlands and woodlands to explore on foot (no scenic drive). It is open year-round. In late summer you can find monarch butterflies. At other times you may see deer, woodcocks, wood ducks, song birds and wild turkeys.
And on the way to St. Cloud, or on your way home, stop at Oliver Kelly Farm in Elk River. This is a great place to learn about farming today and in the 1860s. Costumed docents will tell you about life on the historic farmstead and the friendly sheep and chickens will charm you. Lots of photo ops and a great place to bring the kids and grandkids.