A sea of colors representing the flags of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland fly proudly above the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot, North Dakota. The cultural heritage park honors and preserves authentic Nordic culture and traditions.

Groups can marvel at intricately carved wooden steeples, towering statues and replicas at over 15 attractions throughout the park. The Scandinavian Heritage Association created the park in 1990. The Nordic heritage-focused destination commemorates and honors the legacy and influence of Scandinavian immigrants who endured challenging journeys across the Atlantic Ocean to this region of North Dakota in the late 1800s. Groups can take docent-led or self-guided tours to view various interpretive sites within the park.

“Tour planners can call ahead to schedule docent-led tours, which lead groups throughout the park to see displays and artifacts from five Scandinavian countries,” said Marilyn Wagner, a tour guide at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. “Groups can see everything from a log cabin, called The Sigdal House, which was built in Norway in the 1700s and shipped to the park over land and sea; to various statues of prominent figures from Nordic history, including explorer Leif Erikson and winter Olympian Casper Oimoen.”

The Edward T. and Leona B. Larson Visitors Center hosts a variety of information for groups and tour planners to make the most of their visit. In addition to the Scandinavian gift shop, the building also houses the Norsk Høstfest Association, the official hosts of North America’s largest Scandinavian festival: the Norsk Høstfest. Held every October, Norsk Høstfest features educational cultural programs and entertainment for the public, including food and drink, artisan goods and music.

Scandinavian Heritage Park
Norwegian Stabbur
Credit: Scandinavian Heritage Association, Minot, N.D.

Other building replicas give groups a glimpse of Nordic tradition, architecture and ways of living. Replicas include a stabbur, a storehouse from a farm near Telemark, Norway; a full-size replica of Norway’s Gol Stave Church; a Danish windmill; a 30-foot-tall Dala horse, which is the national symbol of Sweden; and an authentic Finnish sauna.

“The Scandinavian Heritage Park is unique, and our region is known as a home for Scandinavians who came to this region and continue to pass on their legacy to future generations today,” Wagner said.

Groups should call ahead to schedule docent-led tours. Free motorcoach parking is available.

Main image: Stave Church and Gate House, Scandinavian Heritage Park; credit: Scandinavian Heritage Association, Minot, N.D.

Artlcle by Erica Zazo