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Explore Minnesota, the North Star State

Minnesota is full of interesting places and thousands of lakes! In fact, Minnesota is called the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Sofia and I thought it would be fun to go on a tour with a guide named Alfie. The tour took us to three of the state’s lakes, each special in different ways.

Alfie grew up in Minnesota and is an artist. He takes photographs and paints the many beautiful scenic views of the state, including some of the ones he showed us during the tour. First Alfie brought us to Lake Superior, which really is superior – it is the largest freshwater lake in the world!

Next we went to Itasca County where we saw colorful Deer Lake. Alfie told us that this is one of the clearest lakes in all of Minnesota and it’s sometimes called “the lake of changing colors.” Because of the minerals in Deer Lake, the water sometimes turns a very bright shade of blue-green, like the day we visited!  I couldn’t believe the amazing color it was.

Then we traveled to Lake Minnetonka, which is popular among fishermen. According to Alfie, some fish that live in Minnetonka are Muskie, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass and Walleye. Most of the lake is located in Hennepin County, which is southwest of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Finally, Alfie said he wanted to show us another place that he loves to paint, but he said it wasn’t a lake. We were really curious to find out what this could be!

After driving on the tour bus for a little while, Alfie explained that we were on our way to Minneapolis. Finally, we arrived at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I had never seen such huge, magnificent sculptures in my life! Walking through the garden, it felt like we had walked into a painting. One of the coolest sculptures we saw is called the “Spoonbridge and Cherry.” The sculpture is a giant spoon with a cherry dangling from the tip. The spoon’s handle is shaped like a bridge.

Sofia and I wandered around amazed until it was almost evening and time for us to leave. We thanked Alfie for showing us just a few of Minnesota’s treasures. Our time in Minnesota was a blast!

Your friends,

Sam and Sofia


Sam’s Favorites


Food: HotDish

Minnesota HotDish is a delicious baked casserole usually made with meat, vegetables, potatoes and soup. It’s especially good for cold days and large gatherings like family reunions.



City: Minneapolis

I had a great time visiting Minneapolis. The sculpture garden amazed me and so did the many Minneapolis parks. The city even has an elected park board that takes care of the parks.



Lake: Superior

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. Of the five great lakes of North America, it is the largest, coldest and the highest in elevation.



Sofia’s Favorites


Food: Blueberry Muffin

Did you know the blueberry muffin is the state muffin of Minnesota? It’s also one of my favorite kinds of muffins. The best ones are warm and made with fresh blueberries!



 City: St. Paul

This artistic city is considered the arts and cultural capital of the Midwest! St. Paul has world-class museums, great theater and lots of free concerts and art events. There was so much to explore!




Lake: Itasca

This small glacial lake is located in North Central Minnesota, in the very pretty Itasca Lake Park. Lake Itasca seems small, but it’s the primary source of the Mississippi River.





Activity: Masking Tape Art

Masking tape was invented in Minnesota by a man named Richard Drew. Drew was an engineer at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing where he created masking tape to help painters make straight borders between colors. Drew’s invention eventually evolved into the tape that we commonly use today. It’s great to use in arts and crafts projects. One of Sam and Sofia’s favorite new projects uses watercolors and masking tape. The masking tape helps you create unique paintings with awesome shapes and designs! Follow the guidelines below to see how it’s done.

Masking Tape Art

What You Need:

    • Masking tape
    • Watercolors
    • Water dish
    • Paintbrushes
    • Watercolor paper
    • Scissors


  1. Decide on a shape, design, or image you would like to paint. One example is a blue sky with clouds.
  2. Cut the masking tape into little squares. The small pieces will help you more easily form your first shape.
  3. Apply the tape pieces to the watercolor paper to create your first shape. The entire shape should be covered by tape. For example, Sam and Sofia stuck tape squares to their page to create a large cloud.
  4. Repeat this step to create any other shapes you might want. (Sam and Sofia made two smaller clouds.)
  5. Paint the page using your watercolors.
  6. Once the paint dries, remove the tape from the paper, being careful not to tear the page. Your painting is complete!