Played on September 11, 2016
Reviewed by the Pink Putter
It was a warm, beautiful fall and on the 5th anniversary of our first date, we took a weekend road trip down the southern Minnesota/Wisconsin border to picnic, eat pie and play mini golf. We knew about Lark Toys from a trip with my family 4th of July weekend in 2014, but we didn’t get a chance to play the course then. So we came back and enjoyed an afternoon perusing the toy store, saying hi to the llamas and playing mini golf. Lark Toys is a large family attraction complex just off highway 61 in Kellogg, MN. It’s best known for its unique, hand-carved wooden carousel and massive toy store. According to their website, the story goes like this:
“Sarah and Donn Kreofsky, two creative teachers, founded LARK Toys in 1983, when they crafted wooden toys for their sons and began to sell them at art fairs. People liked their toys so much that they began to manufacture them in earnest. Eventually they sold to 2,500 stores nationwide. A small retail store was opened in the factory, at popular request, and the response was so enthusiastic that the Kreofskys decided to focus their efforts on retail. Families, tour and school groups discovered this interesting destination, and it expanded. High quality toys and gifts were added, along with great children’s books and tin toys. A toy museum was begun with the owners’ favorites and toys donated and purchased.
In 1988, Donn began to design a carousel, “the largest toy I could make,” he says. Over a period of nine years, Tim Monson (LARK’s head toymaker) blocked-up the wood; Bill Stark (a local artisan) carved the animals; and LARK artist Mary Eversman hand-stained them. Many visitors had the opportunity to watch the carousel in process. Finally, in 1997, it was ready to begin delighting riders from around the world.
The scenic 18-hole miniature golf course was added a few years later, offering outdoor recreational fun.”
Birdie – While the entirety of Lark Toys is a fun and unique tourist destination, the mini golf itself is just above average. It’s a solid course with water features, hills and pipe play that’s well-landscaped and impeccably maintained. With no major surprises, the biggest highlight is the plinko-style Ball-O-Matic collection wall at the end of the course. We definitely recommend a stop at Lark for its shops, carousel and toy museum, but don’t expect anything extraordinary from the mini golf.
Clean and well-maintained greens
Water integrated into gameplay
Custom made Ball-O-Matic is a super fun way to collect balls
- 18 holes. No par set for the course.
- Practice green
- Flags in holes
- Rubber-covered putters
- Ball-O-Matic collects balls after Hole 18
- 2017 Prices: $8 for Adults 18+, $6 for Students and Seniors, 3 & under free
- 2nd game is half price