“Where on earth is Lake Minnetonka? Never heard of it!”
Now that’s surprising, considering that it is one of the most visited tourist resorts these days! Anyway, to talk about it some more, it is in the Hennepin County of Minnesota, and this modernized version of its name originates from the ancient phrase used by the American Indians while referring to it—“minn-ni-tanka”, that means “big water”! As to why they thought it was “big”, well, the lake covers a huge acreage (14,000 acres) and goes down to a maximum depth of 113 feet!
The history of this lake is an interesting one. You would be surprised to know that the lake itself is almost 11,000 years old! Even more astounding is the fact that this big lake was formed entirely from large blocks of melting ice! It was officially named Lake Minnetonka in 1852 by the then governor of Minnesota, Alexander Ramsay.
Since the Indians gave it its name, it is obvious that they werethe first settlers around the lake. The groups were varied—Iowa, Dakota Sioux Indians, Cheyenne, and Ojibwa. The woodlands around the lake were considered sacred by these people. They were also used as their burial grounds.
The first Europeans to discover this area were Will Snelling and Joseph Brown, in 1822. Once outsiders started settling into the place, it was only a matter of time before civilization caught up with these remote shores. So the Minnetonka Hotel was established near the lake in 1853. Then the first steamboat was launched by the then Governor, Ramsay, in 1861. Tourists flocked to this Lake once the civil war came to an end, leading to the birth of the Minnetonka Yacht Club in 1889.
More changes took place in the lake during the 1950s. Around 41 million fish (most of them walleye fry) got deposited into the waters of the lake. It was but natural that someone would be interested in further research and study of the lake. Hence, the Gray Freshwater Biological Institute was established. The Institute was later taken over by the University of Minnesota.
The latest addition to this tourist destination is a Museum. The Lake Minnetonka Museum centers on local businesses, the lake itself, Excelsior Amusement Park and Excelsior High School. The Museum is kept open from the month of May till September.
Lake Minnetonka attracts a number of people (local and tourists) because of its natural beauty, its fishing prospects and all the activities going on around the lake! There are plenty of fishing tournaments held year after year, what with the large variety of fish that are available in the lake—walleye, muskellunge, sunfish, yellow perch and northern pike, among others.
Other activities provided are boat cruises. There are many of them up and down the lake, ever ready to ferry passengers. The rates are very reasonable. The staff on the boats very well trained and ensure that the passengers get excellent bar and catering services. All amenities are available on most of these boats. While some boats take up to groups of ten, others can even charter groups numbering 80! All in all, a boat cruise with one’s entire family at an affordable cost sounds really tempting!
Has this created an urge in you to go to Lake Minnetonka this very minute and enjoy all the pleasures that are offered there? Well, just make plans to go there on your next holiday trip! You will certainly not regret it. The breathtaking beauty of the landscape, plus fishing and boating trips, cannot but enthrall you! Best of all is the reward of serenity that can be found in the surroundings of this old “big water”.
Go book your Lake Minnetonka Cruises today!