Whimsical Midwestern Places

A bit like taking a trip down the rabbit hole, some of our best vacation photos were spent in the most random, eclectic, wonderful places. Inspired by artists, scientists, and authors, here are some of our favorite whimsical travel finds in the Midwest:

Missouri: Laumeier Sculpture Park

LaumeierAn open-air sculpture park and museum located on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri Laumeier Sculpture Park is fantastic reason to get off the highway. Visitors can walk along paved or gravel paths what wind and weave through the one hundred plus acres that house eclectic works of art in varying sizes, shapes, and mediums. The St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department manage the grounds and admission is free and open to the general public.


12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127

Minnesota: Bigstone Minigolf and Sculpture Garden

BigStone GolfingLocated in the far western suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Bigstone Minigolf is one of our favorite places to spend a random Sunday afternoon. A beautiful 18-hole miniature golf course that winds and weaves through gardens, prairie grass, across babbling streams, the owners have interwoven their original pieces of art. Adding to the experience, chickens wander the grounds and visitors can purchase food for the goats.


7110 County Road 110 W
Minnetrista, MN 55364

Michigan: Raven Hill Discovery Center

Raven Hill Discovery CenterIf you make the drive to the Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan, Michigan leave a good chunk of time to fully explore the indoor and outdoor areas that incorporate science, history, and art along the one hundred and fifty acre complex. From live animals to a woodland tree house to an archeologically significant “ancient world,” Raven Hill Discovery Center caters to the educational element of your family vacation.


4737 Fuller Road
East Jordan, MI 49727

Wisconsin: Bookworm Gardens

Bookworm Gardens

Hands down our favorite Eastern Wisconsin hideaway, Bookworm Gardens is a wonderful venue for the young readers in your life. Five unique gardens—Woodlands, Farm, Memory, Pond, and Animal—feature interactive exhibits inspired by classic works of children’s literature. A popular spot for field trips and family outings, Bookworm Gardens is free (donations accepted) and open seasonally May-October.


1415 Campus Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.