Sightseeing in Alexandria

Select Local Merchants

In 1977, Mark and Joan Hemker began with a simple dream: to own a zoo. Starting with just a few waterfowl, they soon amassed a collection of animals from around the world. After Mark passed away in 2006, Joan and their four children took up his mantle, keeping his legacy alive through Hemker Park & Zoo. Today, the family-friendly park introduces visitors of all ages to global wildlife with more than 50 animal species. Residents include giant tortoises, an 8-foot boa constrictor, sleek kangaroos, and inquisitive monkeys and lemurs. There's also a Budgie Buddy House where tiny birds alight on visitors' shoulders and two New Guinea singing dogs who never, ever do autographs. Seasonal events, such as kids' zoo camps and the Close Encounters program, let visitors touch and feed certain animals under the guidance of professional educators for an even more intimate experience.

County Rd
Freeport,
MN
US

Fargo Air Museum began taking flight in the late 1990s, when a group of local military folks, pilots, and aircraft restorers realized they weren't alone in their passion for aviation. They opened the first hangar in 2001, and the museum has continued to grow ever since. Today, visitors can marvel at?but not feed?various aircraft on display, including a Wright Flyer replica, Huey helicopter, and a B-25 Mitchell Bomber. Most of the exhibits pay homage to the men and women who operated these machines, including a mural depicting a century's worth of legendary pilots and planes. But not everything here is anchored to the ground: the museum boasts a full roster of flyable planes, and an on-site simulator puts pilots-in-the-making behind the controls.

1609 19th Ave. N
Fargo,
ND
US

When woodcarver Kim Bredeson crafted a mantel for an employee of the Robert Mondavi Winery, he received a bottle of Opus One as thanks. For Kim and his wife, Tami, the bottle uncorked a five-year fascination with wine that culminated in the Bredeson's purchase of Carlos Creek Winery. On grounds surrounded by five lakes—Ida, L'Homme Dieux, Miltona, Darling and Carlos—the Bredeson's plant unorthodox grape varieties such as King of the North and Petite Pearl, all of which can withstand temperatures 30 degrees and below. Those grapes eventually yield Carlos Creek Winery's award-winning wines, including the riesling-like Wobegon White and the pinot noir-inspired Marquette, a triple gold medal winner at the sixth annual Mid-American Wine Competition.

As Kim leads tours of the vineyards and complementary tours through Carlos Creek Winery's indoor production area and wine cellar, the staff distributes samples and souvenir tasting glasses in the tasting room. Guests can tap their toes to year-round live music every weekend or explore the winery's expansive grounds, which include bike trails, a 3.5-acre maze, and a giant garden chess set, ideal for convincing Bobby Fischer he's shrinking. Every third weekend of September, Kim and Tami amp up the festivities with their Grape Stomp and Fall Festival, where visitors can stomp grapes, admire blown glass and chainsaw carvings, and laugh along to live comedy shows.

6693 County Road 34 NW
Alexandria,
MN
US

The prairies southwest of St. Cloud are mostly known for corn and soybeans. But the growers at Hinterland Vineyards have turned those fertile fields into the incubators of award-winning wines, growing both white and red varietals to use in their house blends. Their Happy Creek Red was named Best Off-Dry Red at the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, and La Crescent, a semi-dry white, earned a Best of Class nod at the 2013 International Women's Wine Competition. At the on-site winery, guests can sample these and other vino varieties while nibbling appetizers or listening to live music on select nights of the week. Hinterland also serves microbrew beers for guests who prefer beverages made from browner, fizzier grapes instead.

3060 120th Ave SE
Clara City,
MN
US

Masters of all-season fishing and camping, Fishermen?s Wharf Resort splashes the calm waters of Mille Lacs Lake with winter and summer activities. Situated on 90 acres of land on the southeastern shore?s Big Point, Fishermen?s Wharf rests in a protected harbor on a sandy, scorpion-free beach. From this point, it launches chartered fishing trips in the summer and rents ice fishing cabins in the winter.

During chartered fishing trips, guides lead groups across Mille Lacs in search of walleye, Bass, Northern Pike, and Loch Ness monsters. They also explain the seasonal movements of the fish, how to select the best tackle, and how to use electronic detection equipment. Once the lake has frozen over, ice fishing cabins rest on fishing spots where fish are known to congregate and watch humans hold sticks. The cabins feature nine fishing holes, 6 bunk beds, bathrooms, an underwater camera, a TV, DVD player, and microwave oven. Throughout the year, RV camping spots invite visitors to spend a night in rustic surroundings, while an on-site restaurant, Toucan's, which is also where customers check-in, serves warm meals in full view of the lake.

5101 Whistle Rd.
Isle,
MN
US

As the name suggests, Twin Pines Restaurant and Resort furnishes plenty of places for travelers to rest their weary heads, including amenity-packed lodge rooms and picturesque cabins. But the resort is much more than that. Located a stone's throw from Lake Mille Lacs, Twin Pines is also a tempting destination for boat excursions and fishing trips. Fishermen can charter a launch boat?replete with on-board restrooms, bait, tackle, rods, and reels?and head out to cast their lines into sparkling water that is up to 40 feet deep.

Fishermen don't even need to head home to enjoy the day's catch?the restaurant's chefs will prepare it for them, pairing it with a side of potato and choices from the all-you-can-eat salad bar. Of course, you don't have to catch your meal to enjoy one, as the eatery also serves all-day breakfast selections, along with lunch and dinner specialties accompanied by homemade soups.

7827 U.S. 169
Garrison,
MN
US