State nicknames are often
feeble stabs at what a state would like to be known for,
but this isn't the case in Minnesota. The "Land of
10,000 Lakes" actually has over 15,000 lakes, including
one called Itasca that happens to be the source of that
great national bisector, the Mississippi River.
Outfitters, hunting and fishing guides, and resorts
fully promote the outdoor recreational potential of this
Another of Minnesota's state nicknames is the "North
Star State" because the northernmost point in the
contiguous United States is located in Minnesota. This
latitudinal distinction means one thing-cold weather.
Winter moves in on Minnesota like an obnoxious
uncle-familiar and tolerated, but dreaded nonetheless.
And winter stays a long time too, so it's no surprise
that Minnesotans have come up with some pretty
innovative ways to keep their toes warm while the 15,000
lakes are busy freezing.
Dr. Doolittle types can shed their parkas and talk to
the animals at the (largely) indoor Minnesota Zoo. The
Visa-equipped can take a guided tour of the Mall of
America (no kidding!), the largest shopping mall in the
United States with over 1,000 stores. Lots of other
indoor activities-museums, theaters, and sports to name
but a few-offer sanctuary and entertainment to the
numb-fingered and red-nosed. Indoors or out, Minnesota
lives up to its names.