Chanhassen's development from a quiet town to a prosperous suburb of the Twin Cities has been particularly dramatic in the past few years. Chanhassen was one of the earliest settlements in Carver County, but it grew slowly until the late 1960s. Until that time, farming was the leading industry. During the 1960s, Chanhassen's first mini-mall was built. It housed a drug store, grocery store, hardware store, and a restaurant. In 1967, a merger between the village and surrounding township formed to create the present city of Chanhassen, which increased the population to 4,200. Today, business in Chanhassen consists primarily of commercial and industrial companies. There are currently more than 500 businesses within the city limits, which employ nearly 10,000 people. Chanhassen's main industries now include printing, financial services, medical products, engineering, food production and high-tech manufacturing.
In addition to a thriving economy, Chanhassen provides a multitude of things to do and a friendly hometown atmosphere. Residents can relax, have a picnic or fish at any one of the city's eleven clean lakes including Christmas Lake, Lake Minnewashta, Lake St. Joe, Lotus Lake, and Silver Lake. Opportunities to spend an exciting afternoon with family and friends are abundant, as the city hosts several community events each year. Seasonal celebrations include the February Festival, the Easter Egg/Candy Hunt, the Arbor Day Celebration, the July 4th Celebration, the Fire Department Open House, the Halloween Party and the December Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Those who prefer spending a day on the green can tee off at Bluff Creek Golf Course, an 18-hole public course featuring a clubhouse, pro shop, driving range, practice green, and riding carts. The course has six water holes and 31 bunkers to challenge even the most experienced golfer. Come evening, residents can attend the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. The theater offers a truly unique dining and performing arts experience and features Broadway musicals, dramatic comedies, comedy acts and musical revues.
A major nearby attraction is the Mall of America, one of the most visited destinations in the United States. It attracts more visitors annually than Disney World, Graceland and the Grand Canyon combined. Since its grand opening, the Mall of America has added many more stores for a total of more than 520. Or, if you'd rather spend an afternoon exploring the natural wonders found at the Minnesota Zoo, the zoo's animal inhabitants including Japanese snow monkeys, wild Macaws, gibbons, a Malayan sun bear and trumpeter swans await you. The Tropics Trail features an indoor rain forest surrounded by beautiful vegetation and more than 1,000 animals, while the Ocean Trail features a colorful coral reef.
Chanhassen residents take pride in their local city park system, which offers 34 community, neighborhood and open space preserve locations. The public park system was created to provide a park within a half-mile of every resident's front door, and with the exception of some rural areas, this goal has been attained. While there are already many miles of multi-purpose trails available to residents, more are currently under construction. Chanhassen also houses a recreation center, a senior center and a youth center, which provides activities for residents of all ages to enjoy. There are also a number of skate parks, skating rinks and organized sports.
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