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From historic sites to roadside attractions, the scenic plains of North Dakota are home to dozens of unique attractions and interesting sites to explore. Learn about the Midwest’s rich heritage, see the world’s largest sandhill crane, and visit botanical gardens to make the most of your visit.
The Dakota Zoo is a must-visit destination for animal lovers of all ages. The zoo was founded in 1961 and is the home of more than 125 species of animals, birds, fish, and reptiles. It sits on a 90-acre site in Bismarck and is the perfect place to learn about your favorite animals in a fun setting. Be sure to spend some time on the Wilderness Trail to see many native animals and plants up close.
When you’re in Fargo, make a pit stop at the Red River Zoo to see several endangered species playing in manmade habitats. The zoo is home to more than 300 native and exotic animals from around the globe and you can stroll around the rolling hills, ponds, and streams to see hundreds of animals from around the world. Head to the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot to see male bison from Montana and dozens of other animals. The zoo adds new exhibits and has a feeding station for pelicans and giraffes.
You’ll find many ways to discover history around the Peace Garden State at museums, heritage sites, and trails. You can even explore the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to see the historic Dakota Territory and see where President Theodore Roosevelt and General Custer once walked. In Bismarck, be sure to take a tour of the North Dakota State Capitol and visit the North Dakota Heritage Center. Fargo is home to the Fargo Air Museum where you can see a full-size replica of the Wright Brothers flyer and other aircraft. Spend some time at Fort Abercrombie State Park for some outdoor fun.
In Dickinson, you can spend some time going on a wildfire excursion or outdoor adventure in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Minot is a popular destination for visiting historic sites and is home to the Scandinavian Heritage Park. Make your way to Mandan to visit the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park or the Double Ditch Indian Village, the former home of the Mandan Indians.
A fun attraction to visit in Fargo is the Fargo Walk of Fame. It’s located inside the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau and houses more than 110 handprints, footprints and signatures of celebrities from different generations. It’s open 24 hours and there’s no admission fee.
You can also visit the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fargo to learn about the life of cowboys, ranchers, and other workers in the community. It’s located inside the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Spend an afternoon exploring the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame to see legendary sport fishing enthusiasts and artifacts that tell the story of fishing competitions in North Dakota.
You’ll run into several roadside attractions between the rural lands of North Dakota, including a few quirky and offbeat attractions that are easy to miss. The Outhouse on a Pole is one of them, a humorous take on an outhouse designed for a port-a-potty business. Don’t miss the giant fiberglass cow known as Salem Sue that sits in New Salem. It’s the “World’s Largest Holstein Cow” weighing in at 12,000 pounds.
Garrison has been nicknamed the “Walleye Capital of the World” and you can celebrate the name by getting your picture taken with the 26-foot long fish statue at the end of Main Street in Garrison City Park. “Wally Walleye” has become an attraction in itself. If you ever saw the movie ‘Fargo’, you can see the gruesome display of the wood chipper at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center. It’s located right off I-94 and you’ll also find exhibits that feature a copy of the screenplay.
Another must-see site in Bismarck is the World’s Largest Sandhill Crane. It’s about 40 miles east of the downtown area, a 40-foot tall metal sculpture named ‘Sandy’.
Enjoy a relaxing stroll at the International Peace Garden in Minot. It encompasses more than 2,330 acres and sits right on the United States and Canadian border. You can see more than 150,000 flowers planted around a giant floral clock and 120-foot peace towers that sit on the line between Canada and the United States.
Explore the eight beautiful gardens of the Northern Plains Botanic Garden in Fargo. The Butterfly Garden, Alphabet Garden, and Turnaround Garden are some of the unique gardens at this site and you can attend special events and workshops to make the most of your visit.
Take a tour of the North Dakota State Capitol building, the tallest building in the state, and enjoy views of the city from the observation deck on the 18th floor. You’ll find the Governor’s Office in the tower and can also see where the North Dakota Supreme Court meets.