Big Stone Mini Golf & Sculpture Garden, Minnetrista

Girl admiring sculpture at Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden in Minnesota

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.

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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 herds of goats to feed, clambering around a slope of re-purposed cobblestones.

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If you’re been searching for an outing that will make all ages happy, this is it. Teens and tweens will enjoy the challenge of the course alongside parents and younger siblings. When you’ve finished your round, play classic games outdoors like checkers, giant chess and shuffleboard carved out of stone. The grounds have recently been mega-expanded and last time we visited we were delighted to find even more to do: cornhole, ping-pong, and a firepit stocked with marshmallows extended the afternoon. All games are included with admission.

We first 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 or a visit to the Lowry Nature Center in Carver Park Reserve.

Open through May through October, weather permitting
$14/pp ages 9 & up, $12 ages 8 & under
Cash or check only, no credit cards accepted

Anne Kingston, originally published 7/20/15

Find More mini golf ideas at: FFTC’s Guide to Mini Golf in the Twin Cities

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