Explore Scott County, MN

Discover family fun, romantic outings and outdoor adventure.

By
Laura Hill
On Monday, October 10, 2016 - 13:36
Shakopee MN

Scott County's many inviting communities offer a nearly endless list of things to do, so deciding the "best ofs" can be challenging. One way to narrow the options: consider who is going on the adventure. Then check these tips on family outings, date nights and outdoor experiences to enjoy solo or with friends.

Family Activities

Spring through mid-September, Canterbury Park in Shakopee hosts Sunday Family Days, with pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, food specials, contests and giveaways, and horse racing.

Farms are always good for fun, too. Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm in Belle Plaine lets visitors pick their own apples, take a tractor ride through orchards where 12 varieties of apples grow, enjoy a pumpkin patch and Scarecrow Festival in the fall, and fill up on homemade bakery goodies. At Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest apple orchard in Jordan, the fun runs from spring through late fall, with do-it-yourself apple picking (more than two dozen varieties), cider tasting, a petting zoo, bonfires, a corn maze and live music.

If your kids have never watched a big-screen movie in the car, head for Elko! Drive-in Theater, where you can enjoy concession snacks or grill your own supper while enjoying first-run movies with FM sound. And who could resist a trip to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, aka the Big Yellow Barn, in Jordan, where candy is king. More than 3,000 varieties of candy are on sale, along with an immeasurable number of other sugar-high-inducing treats.

“So long as I bring my willpower and some cash, everyone in our family has a wonderfully delicious time here,” says MinneMama Adventures blogger Nicki Brenner.

Date Nights (Days, Too)

When you just need a bit of quality time with your significant other, Scott County can provide just the right places. Spend a romantic, elegant night at Nicolin Mansion bed-and-breakfast in Jordan, a gorgeously restored Victorian listed on the National Register, with five well-appointed bedrooms and a candlelight brunch. Or rev up the evening with gaming and a show at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. Also in Prior Lake, enjoy dinner at Perron’s Sul Lago Italian Bistro, and follow up with gaming at Canterbury or Mystic Lake. Badger Hill Brewery and Taproom in Shakopee proudly purveys more than a half-dozen brews sold throughout the state. Partners Broc, Brent, Britt and Michael take their heritage seriously:

“We are not a Wisconsin brewery [but] a bunch of Minnesotans through and through. Although we like our neighbors to the East, our name was derived from the Old English meaning of Broc and Brent’s names. Plus, Badgers are tenacious, and so are our brewers.”

Roets Brewery in historic downtown Jordan also focuses on craft beers.

Wine tasting makes for another fun date. Try the Prairie Pond Vineyard & Winery or the Next Chapter Winery, both in New Prague, for tours, tastings and more. For outstanding dining experiences, the Jordan Supper Club & Tap Room or Suzette’s Fine European Cuisine, both in Jordan, can’t be beat.

And for old-fashioned fun — really, really old-fashioned — don’t miss the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, from late August to early October in Shakopee. Jousting, anyone?

Active in the Outdoors

With Minnesota’s gorgeous outdoor landscape all around, active adults have enviable choices. The Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club in Prior Lake has offered clay target shooting since 1986, and also offers on-site wing-shooting of pheasant, partridge and quail, and driven pigeon and wild turkey shoots.

Murphy-Hanrehan Park is one of the area’s leading sites for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

A day outdoors might include browsing through Scott County’s plentiful farmers markets, or experiencing pioneer life along the Minnesota River at the Landing in Shakopee.

You’ll need to eat at some point, too. How about a cup of coffee or a bowl of Thai pho at Flavor Pho at the Depot in Savage, or fish and chips in a carefully recreated Irish pub, O’Brien’s Public House in Shakopee?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Hill is a former reporter/columnist for the Tennessean and a contributor to Journal Communications publications since 1996.