Historic Murphy’s Landing
2187 E. Highway 101, Shakopee, MN. 763-694-7784. www.threeriversparkdistrict.org/outdoor_ed/murphys_landing
Weekdays self-guided tours $5. Weekend admission (with interpreters): Adults $8.50, ages 3-11 and seniors $7, 2 and under free.
Murphy’s Landing is one of those places that most people drive past on their way to somewhere else. In this case, it’s just down the road from the Valleyfair amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, and judging by the sizes of the parking lots, a lot more people go to Valleyfair than go to Murphy’s Landing.
Since you can’t really see Murphy’s Landing from the road, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We left home after lunch looking for an adventure, and by the time we had driven the 90 miles to the Twin Cities, stopping along the way to secure our museum adventure passes at the New Prague library, we arrived at Murphy’s Landing just an hour before it closed. We didn’t think this was all bad, since we weren’t sure how much time we’d need, so we agreed to go in and see what we could see in an hour.
It didn’t take us long to figure out that we’d have to go back another day to see most of the site, and on our return visit we spent 2.5 hours there.
At Murphy’s Landing, guests can walk or ride a horse-drawn wagon from the visitor center to to cabins and encampments from the 1850’s and 1860’s and then continue on to the village of Eagle Creek in the 1870’s and 1880’s. Costumed interpreters are in each building (and somehow can time-travel from one era/building to another, as my kids remembered an interpreter from our first visit when she was in a different building upon our return!) and are happy to talk about their lives and work. Again, for our kids, the blacksmith was a hit, and they were able to help him with the bellows. A small building is set up just for children, with child-sized costumes, cooking equipment, and toys. If you’re up for a little hike, you can follow a path to the river and climb on the dunes.
The entire place is stroller-accessible, although you’ll probably have to fold it up if you want to ride on the horse-drawn wagon to or from the visitor center. Modern restrooms are available in the visitors center as well.
Since it’s along the river and is a nicely wooded area, you’ll want to remember insect repellent if visiting in the summer, and sunscreen as well as you’ll spend a good part of your stay in sunny areas.
Murphy’s Landing is another gem that we’ve found in our travels, one of those “Wow! I can’t believe we didn’t find this place sooner” places. Next time you’re in Shakopee, don’t just drive by, stop in and take a step back in time at Murphy’s Landing.
I really liked going on the road even though it was a really hot summer day.