The Dead End Hayride rumbles into the dark, eerie expanses of Pinehaven Farm on a trail that seems to lead nowhere. In the middle of the woods, guests are evicted from the wagon and must rely on their own feet, wits, and ouija compasses to make it back safely. Wandering the Departed Oaks Trail, which outcast creatures and spirits call home, hikers confront the Site 66 cornfield, where a 28-foot tower casts an ominous shadow over the surrounding expanse. Screams and explosions set the stage as lost souls fight their way through the winding paths and fend off creatures more terrifying than a killer whale jumping out of a hall closet. DJs and bonfires await survivors each night.
For two to three hours at a time, the bustle of the city recedes into memory as bird song replaces the abrasive honking of car horns, and pine trees—those ancient predecessors to skyscrapers—cast their shadows over the banks of the St. Croix River. Riverwood Canoe’s owners spread their enthusiasm for the great outdoors with visitors, who come from all over to experience the beauty of St. Croix National Scenic Riverway as it snakes through the wilderness. After arriving at the Osceola landing, participants take a shuttle up to the heart of the park and hop into a canoe that can fit up to three passengers, depending on weight. Thanks to the river’s gentle flow, participants can expect a smooth ride suitable to all levels of experience.
In the early 20th century, trains chugged along the St. Croix Valley Railway, rolling over scenic bridges and past rolling waterfront vistas lined with trees. Today, an old-fashioned locomotive still runs from Osceola, Wisconsin to Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota?a 10-mile route that transports passengers across state lines and into the past. Inside the period-accurate passenger cars, Minnesota Transportation Museum staff relay facts about area history and refute the wildly inaccurate science in The Little Engine That Could. Regular round-trip rides run twice every Saturday and Sunday from May to October, but special-event trains and rides with dining service often round out the schedule.
Crisp, fresh country breezes rustle through the trees surrounding Eko Backen as guests revel in its many outdoor seasonal activities. During warm-weather months, its spacious, gazebo-dotted grass fields host weddings and vintage-car shows. Visitors pile into inflatable tubes during the summer to race down water slides, and in the winter, they navigate sloping hills covered in artificial snow. The staffers capably host events such as corporate getaways, birthday parties, and jury-duty reunions, providing pizza and snacks from their onsite eatery.