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Medicine Wheel Park
Valley City North Dakota Theme Park

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NameMedicine Wheel Park
Addresswithin 1 mile of Exit 292 on Interstate 94
Valley City, ND 58072
Brief Description30 acre Park features Astronomy and Native American themes
CategoryTheme Park
DescriptionThe Medicine Wheel
Early cultures throughout the world built rock structures which joined the landscape to the sky, some
serving as calendars (Stonehenge in England is an example). Over 100 Medicine Wheels constructed
by Native Americans have been found in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of the United States
and Canada. The complete story of these structures has been lost in the vastness of time. In 1992 at
Valley City State University, Professor Joe Stickler and his students began this unique project which
soon expanded beyond the walls of the classroom to involve the community. The Medicine Wheel’s
large circle measures 213 feet around. The 28 spokes radiating from its center represent the number of
days in the lunar cycle. Six spokes extending well beyond the Wheel are aligned to the horizon positions
of sunrises and sunsets on the first days of the four seasons. The design of this rock sculpture was
inspired by the Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming and reflects the beauty of the Earth’s journey
around the Sun and the grand cycle of the seasons.

Native American Mounds
This Medicine Wheel is a multicultural symbol celebrating the calendar discovery process by our intelligent human ancestors around the globe and honoring the presence of the Native American burial mounds immediately to the east. This particular burial mound complex, built 500-2000 years ago, was originally comprised of fifteen circular mounds and five linear mounds, twelve of which remain within the boundary of the Park. The area was first surveyed in 1883 by T.H. Lewis, who was part of the Northwest Archeological Survey which mapped features such as burial mounds, rock alignments, and pictographs in eleven states and Manitoba, Canada.

A Walking Tour of the Solar System
The Solar System model stretches from the Sun (represented by the red center of the Medicine Wheel) to Pluto, one third of a mile away on the edge of the Regional Technology Center parking lot. Boulders representing the planets are spaced in exact proportion to their distances from the Sun on a scale with one foot equaling approximately three million miles. The Earth’s orbit corresponds to the outer circle of the Medicine Wheel. Mercury and Venus are inside the circle and Mars just outside. The large rock near the parking lot symbolizes Jupiter. By walking on the path east of Jupiter you will pass by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. A panel at the scenic overlook between Uranus and Neptune describes the early history of Valley City.

Meridian Calendar
The utility pole nearest to the Medicine Wheel serves as a reminder of another ancient method of keeping track of the seasons. This type of calendar uses the length of the shadow cast by an object at local apparent noon. The 15-foot shadow cast by the utility pole on the first day of summer lengthens to over 100 feet on the first day of winter. Three large rocks located north of the pole mark the top of the pole’s shadow at the beginning of each season.

North Country Trail (NCT)
A segment of this national scenic trail winds through the wooded hillside of the Park then along the Path of the Planets and again into the woods. The NCT goes from the Vermont/New York border across northern United States to Lake Sakakawea covering over 4,000 miles and is over 40% complete.

Phone 1(701) 840-2257
Handicapped AccessibleYes
Time Allowanceone hour
Social LinksFacebook 
Request BrochureMedicine Wheel Park brochure
Last Updated12/20/2015
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