Fort Ridgely Historic Site
Fort Ridgely State Park, off Hwy. 4, seven miles south of Fairfax, MN. 507-426-7888. www.mnhs.org/places/sites/fr/
$2 adults; 18 and under free. Vehicle permit for state park required ($5 day pass available). Stroller accessible. Restrooms available.
We made our way to Fort Ridgely this summer on a daytrip of nearby Minnesota historic sites, starting with Lower Sioux Agency, stopping at Fort Ridgely, and ending at the Harkin Store. Fort Ridgely is a natural visit following the Lower Sioux Agency, as both detail the 1862 Dakota Conflict, which is also known as the Sioux Uprising. Exhibits and a video and diorama give the timeline of events of the conflict, and outside the building are ruins of other parts of the fort with signs telling of their purpose at the fort. While my toddler and I hid in the shade, the two of the older kids ran from place to place, and the third, who is very interested in history, lingered to read each of the signs.
Although it wasn’t a long stop, it fit in nicely with our “historic” theme of the day and sparked enough questions that we made a trip to New Ulm the next week to learn more about how the Dakota Conflict affected that town.