Dec 18 2008
I picked the hottest day of the summer to take the kids to the Jeffers Petroglyphs. And if you think 100-degree heat on the open prairie is helped by strong wind, you’re wrong. The only help we received from the wind was the loss of one child’s cap, which went “poof!” off his head and was gone before we could react. But I digress.
The Jeffers Petroglyphs are ancient American Indian carvings on the open vein of “red rock” in southern Minnesota. At the Jeffers Petroglyphs, preserved by the Minnesota Historic Society, you can see these carvings along a roped-off trail on the prairie. (Most of the trail was accessible by the stroller, and there was a parking area for the part that wasn’t.)
At first the glyphs were hard to spot, but as we learned what to look for, and helped by a park ranger who pointed some out to us, we could begin to see more of these pictures in the stone.
Back at the visitor center, employees worked with the kids to make animal prints and showed us a film about the petroglyphs. There was a tipi set up for the kids to explore, as well as Native American children’s toys and games that the kids could try. The visitor center and the petroglyphs themselves worked well together to describe the American Indian lifestyle and importance of these carvings.
It was also good to be part of this large area of preserved prairie, to get a feel for what settlers saw when they came to this area many years ago. (We definitely noticed the lack of trees and shade in the extreme heat of the day.
I’d like to go back to the Jeffers Petroglyphs on a nicer day, perhaps in the evening when it’s said that it’s easier to see the pictures in the rock.