Five Reasons to Visit the Scandinavian Heritage Park

The Scandinavian Heritage Park is one of North Dakota’s biggest attractions. The Park itself was incorporated in 1988 to represent 5 Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Today, there are over a dozen reasons to visit this attraction, but we’ve put together five of the best on your next trip through Scandinavian history!

1. The Church is a Cultural Treasure

The Gol Stave Church is a replica of the Gol Stavekirke in Norway, which was built in the 1200’s. Due to their construction of wood and unique design, it is estimated that approximately 20-25 Stave Churches remain in their original design. The Gol Stave Church has been in the Park since 2000 and was re-finished not too long ago, featuring gorgeous hand-crafted woodwork and pillars representing Nordic cultural and religious history.

2. There’s One of the Largest Dala Horses in the World

The Dala Horse is the national symbol of Sweden. Also called dalecarlian horses for their origin in Dalarna, Sweden, these works of art are hand-carved and painted even still today. In the park, the large Dala represents Swedish immigrant ancestors, who often would sit and whittle these small horses that their children would play with back in the 19th and 20th centuries. Standing at 27 feet tall, it is one of the largest Dala Horses in the world.

3. The Oldest House in North Dakota

The log house was built in 1771 and lived in until the 1930’s in Vatnas, Norway. In 1991, the Sigdal House was repaired, taken apart, shipped piece by piece to Boston, and then trucked to Minot and rebuilt by three Norwegian carpenters who traveled to the Magic City, sealing the joints with peat moss and pine tar.

4. The Grounds are Open All-Year Long… and it’s FREE!

The grounds of the Scandinavian Heritage Park are open at all times of the year, and is a great place to simply bring a lunch and sit in the Pavilion. Visitors can walk around and check out Hans Christian Anderson, Casper Oimoen, the Danish Mill, and even grab a tour guide from the Visitor’s Center. However, if you can choose when to visit, it is best served to visit in the summer, because…

5. The Main Buildings are Open in the Summer

The four buildings that are open from about May until the first week of September are the Gol Stave Church, Sigdal House, Stabbur House and the Heritage House. Of note, the Stabbur house was the first building at the park, disassembled in Telemark, Norway and then shipped and rebuilt during the 1990 Norsk Hostfest. The Visitor’s Center is also open on Park grounds to grab a tour guide or visit the Gift Shop in the summer months.

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