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Winona amps up experiences for groups

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Top museums, the mighty Mississippi River and new experiences make Winona a popular destination in southeastern Minnesota.

Winona, Minn.

Photo: Visit Winona Winona, Minn.

One of Winona’s best surprises is the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Set on the banks of the Mississippi River, the museum is filled with artwork by Picasso, Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet. The museum offers a number of custom options for groups.

Another half-dozen historical museums present Winona’s storied past as a river town. The Polish Museum, Luxembourg Museum, the famous Watkins Museum and several properties operated by the Winona County Historical Society can be visited.

Visit Winona is devising other ways for groups to get in touch with the Mississippi River and is rolling some of them out as experiential tours.

At Prairie Island — a local access to the river — an outfitter supplies everything needed for a group paddle in the gentle backwaters of the Mississippi including life vests, canoes, kayaks and paddles.

A menu of other experiential tour options is being developed. Among them: a visit to a dairy operation that goes from the barns to the tasting room, where fresh cheeses made with local products await; an herb-to-table tasting dinner that lets tour members participate in the selection of fresh herbs from the gardens of a gourmet restaurant with a sampling of the chef’s creations to follow; and a workshop with a history museum curator to teach participants how to research their own ancestry — including a family tree kit.

Other experiential opportunities are available for groups of every interest, whether it’s art and theater, history, outdoor recreation, or even extreme sports like rock climbing and ice climbing. Visit Winona’s partners have even more offerings in the works.

“We are so excited to be offering these experiential tours because we think it really meets a need for group tour operators looking for something different,” said Pat Mutter, executive director of Visit Winona. “We know that many contemplating taking a group tour today are looking for ways to immerse themselves in exciting places and new adventures, and we believe Winona has the best of all worlds when it comes to ways to be entertained.” 

For more information, call Visit Winona at 800-657-4972 or visitwinona.com.

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About Author

David Hoekman, Managing Editor

David Hoekman is a former newspaperman on a quest to tell the stories of the world’s various places and cultures in compelling ways. He especially enjoys learning and writing about the business of group travel. His favorite destination is wherever he is going next and his travel tip is to always pack an emergency granola bar or two.

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