Pond-Dakota Mission Park is 40 acre Bloomington park on the bluffs of the Minnesota River, and is open every day from dawn to 10 pm. It is built on the grounds of a former mission founded by brothers, Gideon and Samuel Pond. While Sundays are the best day to visit if you are interested in the historical and cultural significance of the land, families can visit the park and explore the grounds any day
The Gideon and Agnes Pond House
The historic 1856 Gideon and Agnes Pond House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, sits in the park. Run by the Pond Dakota Heritage Society and the City of Bloomington, the park is an education site that works to preserve the rich history of and explore contrasting cultural and religious viewpoints of the early Minnesota settlers, the Christian missionaries and the Dakota people of the mid-nineteenth century.
Sunday Open House at the Pond House
The Pond House is open on Sundays from 1:30 – 4 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $2 for adults. The weekly open houses often have special themes and are very family-friendly, which you can find on our Family Fun Calendar. The Pond Dakota Heritage Society often arranges guest speakers for these events. However, recently indoor visits have been suspended due to Covid-19.
Self-Guided Tours of Pond-Dakota Mission Park
Annual River Rendezvous at Pond-Dakota Mission Park
Each fall Bloomington celebrates the Pond history with River Rendezvous, a living history event that employers over 40 costumed re-enactors to provide demonstrations and encourage hands-on participation of the visitors. Families can interactively learn about 19th century pioneer life and trades, Native American life including dance performances, frontier farming, the fur trade, wilderness skills, and fun & games. Admission to this event is $6, children under 4 are free. For more information call Bloomington Parks and Recreation at 952-563-8693.
Further Study for History-Loving Families
For families who would like to learn more about the Pond Family, you may want to start on the Pond Dakota website. The Minnesota History Center's library has boxes full of documents related to the Pond Family, and Minneapolis Central Library has a copy of the book, Two Volunteer Missionaries Among the Dakotas, Or, The Story of the Labors of Samuel W. and Gideon H. Pond in its 4th Floor special collection for use in the library only. You can also purchase the book through Amazon. The picture below is an affiliate link and Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on sales through this link.
Membership to the Pond Dakota Heritage Society
Families who want to support the work of the Pond Dakota Heritage Society can join on an annual Household level for $30. More information can be found on the website.