Last week we told you about our favorite splash pad. This week we’re going to let loose with our favorite miniature golf course and again, as we felt Nicollet Commons Park was just too darn pretty to be called a “splash pad”, we feel Big Stone Mini Golf & Sculpture Garden is so much more than your run-of-the-mill putt-putt course — it’s truly a work of art.
Easily the most interesting, entertaining miniature golf course our family has been to, I was so intrigued by Big Stone Mini Golf – where each of the 13 holes is a whimsical wonder and there’s a new piece of art around every bend – that I had to dig up the backstory. Apparently the entrepreneur who opened Big Stone had been a successful sculptor before building the course on the grounds of an old dairy farm.
Evidence of his craft is everywhere: inventive obstacles such as tree trunks, giant stone pumpkins and a spiral of sunflowers to maneuver around. An overturned boat hull with lookalike stained glass windows makes for a gorgeous and shaded seventh hole. There’s a sculpture garden to explore once your ball has disappeared down the final hole (the kids’ favorite: “Gently Down the Stream”), granite slabs littered around the parking lot to picnic on, and even a herd of goats to feed, clambering around a slope of re-purposed cobblestones.
We visited Big Stone Mini Golf during a weekend camping trip to Baker Park Reserve in Maple Plain, but if you don’t live in the area, the novelty of the course is worth a day trip to the western suburbs. While you’re out there, consider stopping in for a family program at Gale Woods Farm (Saturday Mornings on the Farm, Saturdays through Fall 2015, $5/pp) or a visit to the Lowry Nature Center in Carver Park Reserve.
Big Stone Mini Golf & Sculpture Garden
7110 County Rd 110 W.
Minnetrista, MN 55364
Hours: Daily 11am-9pm (or 10:30am according to their Facebook page)
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child