Jeffers Petroglyphs Opens for the Season with Summer of Family Programs

For immediate release

Release dated: 
April 30, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3148 •

Tom Sanders • Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site • 507-628-5591 •

Quick facts: 

Place: Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site
Address: 27160 County Road 2, Comfrey MN 56019
Cost: $7 adults, $6 seniors and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members.
Phone: 507-628-5591

Jeffers Petroglyphs Opens for the Season with Summer of Family Programs

The Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site opens for the season Memorial Day Weekend with many hands-on programs, including the popular Adventures in Nature series. Offered each day at 2 p.m., Adventure in Nature provides opportunities to learn about American Indian culture, prairies and archaeology.

Visitors to the site can take a guided tour daily at 10:30 a.m., 1 or 3 p.m. Or they can explore on their own, searching the rock outcroppings for carvings of buffalo, turtles, thunderbirds and human forms – all illustrating the rich and sophisticated cultures that inhabited the area in the past.

Summer hours are Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The site is open on Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Programs and tours are offered free with admission of $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and college students, and $5 for children ages 6 to 17. Children ages 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members are admitted free.

Summer programs include:

Event: Adventures in Nature
Time: 2 p.m.


  • Atlatl: May 24-26, July 2-7 and Aug. 13-18
    Discover the atlatl, an ancient hunting device used by people of this area before the bow and arrow. Then, learn how to use an atlatl while trying to “hunt” a life-size buffalo target.
  • Winter Count: May 28-June 2, July 9-14 and Aug. 20-25
    Learn how American Indians kept track of history by recording symbols which represented memorable events in their lives on hides called winter counts. Create a winter count symbol to take home.
  • American Indian Games: June 4-9 and July 16-21, Aug. 27-
    Sept. 1

    Play games popular among American Indians of the past including the moccasin game, awl game and the double-ball game.
  • Travois: June 11-16, July 23-28 and Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27
    Take part in costumed role-playing to experience how American Indian families packed up a travois to move their belongings on the prairie. Reproduction items will be available to touch and use.
  • Hands Upon the Rock : June 18-23
    Enjoy a photographic journey through the petroglyphs as an interpreter shares "Hands Upon the Rock" a book containing stories and insights about the carvings.
  • Prairie Scavenger Hunt: June 25-30 and Aug. 6-11
    Join a guide on a prairie tour to discover interesting information about the prairie ecosystem while searching for grasses and flowers. Prairie tours start at 2 p.m. each day.
  • Prairie Animals: July 30-Aug. 4
    Learn about the various animals that live on the prairie by examining animal pelts that will be on display and making plaster animal tracks to take home.

Event: Home Building in Ancient America
Date: Saturday, May 24
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Help construct a house out of willow saplings just as it would have been done 2,000 years ago. The house will remain on display throughout the summer.

Event: American Indian Travois
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 2 to 5 p.m.

Discover the material culture and innovations that American Indians developed in order to survive on the prairie. Visitors will take part in a hands-on activity investigating items that people would have used in their daily life and packed on a travois. Traditional American Indian games involving the travois, running and pretend will also take place.

Event: American Indian Handicrafts
Date: Saturday, June 28
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.

Create American Indian hand-crafted objects. From 1 to 3 p.m., learn how to use fibers from native plants to make cordage, also known as string. From 3 to 5 p.m., use clay to create pinch or coil pots while learning about traditional American Indian pottery.

Event: American Indian Survival Skills
Date: Saturday, July 5
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.

Explore some of the survival skills used by early American Indians. Throughout the afternoon visitors can try to start a fire using primitive methods; from 1 to 3 p.m. they can make an atlatl (spear thrower) and then learn how to throw a spear at a bison target; and from 3 to 5 p.m. they can observe a flintknapper demonstrate how to create stone projectile points (arrowheads) and then try making one themselves. A collection of atlatls will be on display throughout the day.

Event: Starry Night, Prairie Night
Date: Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26
Time: 6 p.m. to midnight

Explore the Jeffers Petroglyphs when the carvings are best seen in this special twilight tour at 6:30 p.m. Following the tour, gaze at the sky and learn about constellations from astronomers and through stories from cultures around the globe. Bring your own telescope or use one provided to view stars and planets.

Event: Animals of the Night
Date: Saturday, Aug. 9
Time: 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Take a guided tour of the carvings when they are best seen, just before sunset at 6 p.m. After the tour, head to the Visitor Center for a 7:15 p.m. presentation about nocturnal animals and how they survive at night. The presentation will include a variety of hands-on activities. Following the presentation, guests can go on a twilight hike of the prairie (bring a flashlight!).

Event: Celebrate the Garden Harvest
Date: Saturday, Aug. 16
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.

One thousand years ago the people of Minnesota, Iowa and the Northern Plains were farmers as well as hunters, growing crops such as sweet corn. The ripening of the first sweet corn was a time of plenty that was celebrated with the Green Corn festival. Visit Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site for a taste of fire roasted sweet corn, bean soup and other seasonal foods while learning about the people of the Great Plains Village period. Guests will also learn how New World farmers developed crops that changed the world.

Event: Geology Discovery Day
Date: Saturday, Aug. 23
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.

Discover the unique geological features of the Jeffers Petroglyphs. At 2 p.m., a tour highlighting the interesting features of the rock will take place with American Indian and geological perspectives.

Event: Prairie Photography: A Natural View
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Local photographer Shelley Olson will be available to give instruction on photographing prairie plants. Explore landscape, close-up and lighting techniques. Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera to take photographs and enjoy the beauty of one of Minnesota’s most unique prairies. The event will be held rain or shine.

About Jeffers Petroglyphs

The site is located near Comfrey and Windom, three miles east of U.S. Hwy. 71 on Cottonwood County Road 10, then one mile south on County Road 2. The 160-acre site features images chipped into an outcropping of Sioux quartzite from 5000 B.C. to A.D. 1700, a visitor center with exhibits and an object-theater presentation, and nature trails, which explain the prairie environment. For more information, call 507-628-5591.

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at The website also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.