Marshall is the county seat of Lyon County, Minnesota. It lies in a rural area, surrounded by prairie land, close to the Redwood River. The city is a pleasant place to spend a weekend vacation or take a family camping trip, with a varied selection of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. Marshall also makes a good base for exploring southwestern Minnesota.
Marshall Aquatic Center
Marshall Aquatic Center (marshallmn.com) boasts three heated outdoor pools and a diving well, and is completely disabled-accessible. Kids will love the 190-foot water slide, and pre-schoolers are provided for with a playground and a shallow pool containing a bubble-maker. Other amenities include sand volleyball courts, a patio area with deck chairs and a concession stand.
Marshall boasts several city parks, including Justice Park and Liberty Park, with facilities such as baseball, volleyball and basketball courts, hiking and biking trails, cooking grills and playgrounds. Independence Park also offers an outdoor ice skating rink and children's fishing program, and Freedom Park contains sliding hills. Camden State Park (dnr.state.mn.us), which lies 10 miles south of Marshall, is open year round and boasts miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, birding and cycling, or for cross-country skiing in wintertime. You can fish for brown trout in Redwood River, or for bass in Brawner Lake, which has a disabled-accessible fishing pier. The lake also offers a swimming beach, boating facilities and canoe launch areas, and other park amenities include picnic areas, campgrounds and a playground.
Lyon County Historical Museum
The Lyon County Historical Museum (no website; 114 N. 3rd Street, Marshall, WN; 507-537-6178) in downtown Marshall traces the history of Lyon County back to the time when it was inhabited by Dakota Sioux Indians. The story of the pioneer settlers is illustrated through dioramas and exhibits such as a real log cabin and a trail wagon. One of the museum's showcase pieces is Schwan's Dairy Lunch Counter -- a genuine 1950s ice cream soda counter. The 1960s era is celebrated with a display of pop culture artifacts.
Marshall Museum of Natural History
The Marshall Museum of Natural History is on the campus of Southwest Minnesota University (smsu.edu). It offers hands-on multimedia exhibits about the flora and fauna of southwestern Minnesota from prehistoric times to present day, as well as live animal displays. The campus also boasts a planetarium, with a projector system that can accurately simulate the night sky, projecting over 4,000 stars onto a 30-foot dome.
Lyon County Fairgrounds
The Lyon County Fair (lyoncountyfair.com) is an annual event that takes place in Marshall the first week of August. The fair celebrates the county's rural heritage with events such as a rodeo and tractor pull. Other attractions include free live entertainment, a demolition derby and a host of fairground rides, as well as booths selling food, apparel and agricultural supplies. From the beginning of November through February you can go ice skating at the indoor arena (rinktime.com) at the fairgrounds.