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Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

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Awesome report!


That Mall is on my bucket list of places to visit. Theoretically that new mall in New Jersey should have some similarities, but I strongly doubt it will have the same woodsy atmosphere. I'm stunned and glad they kept it looking as nice as it did during the Camp Snoopy days.


Lastly, how did they miss the opportunity to theme Ghost Blasters to Danny Phantom? I loved that show growing up and that ride layed it up for them.


Thanks! The one unfortunate thing about this trip was that it made me excited for the American Dream and nobody should ever be excited about the American Dream because it'll never open. I mean... American Dream won't be *as* good because it won't have Log Chute but it'll have better coasters.


:lmao: Fantastic report!


Glad you got on Orange Streak! My oldest doesn't usually ride roller coasters, but she loved that one. Something for everyone.


Maybe it's that a giant orange turd was dumped on my city today, but I laughed way too hard at the glass ceiling joke. Spectacularly done.


We also got the combo tickets with Sea Life, and why not? IIRC, they were ony a few dollars more than the NU wristband anyway, plus huge awesome aquarium. It's way bigger than the Sea Life in the Crown Center mall in Kansas City.


That log flume is the best in the Midwest. It's been there since before the Nickelodeon stuff and I'm glad they haven't messed with it.


And of course...Margaritaville. Perfect.


Thanks! Yeah, unless you're on a whore run and you have a flight out of MSP or something that same day you're insane not to do the combo ticket with the aquarium. I was surprised at how good it was considering it was in a mall (that statement was a recurring theme for everything throughout the day).


Ahhhhyeah, you finally got to check out the flume! Glad you like it, and glad you got on Orange Streak. The place is seriously as modern engineering marvel, every theme park fan needs to check out MoA.


Thanks! Agreed.


Super awesome update. I might have been a little embarrassed to say this park is near the top of my list. It looks so fun and this fab report just made me want to go there even more. And the missus lives to shop so she'll enjoy the mall its attached to.


You would love it. It's weird that it's normally so expensive to fly there but if something cheap pops up don't hesitate. Just pull the trigger.


That Ninja turtle ride is one of, if not the best flat I've ever ridden. It's absolutely amazing. Glad you had a great time!


Yeah, we loved that thing.


That log flume is a national treasure. I knew you'd love it.


The fact that that thing exists in a mall makes me want to move to Minneapolis. What's the trade in value of a Honda at the moose dealership?


Wow. Great report. I had no idea the park had all of that theming and awesomeness rolled into it as this is the first report and photos I've seen of it. Very cool.

That was the biggest surprise for me also. I really just assumed that there would be a bunch of rides plopped on the floor and that would be it.


Got to check MoA out a couple of times during work trips, but Valleyfair has been closed every time (offseason).


I've always said that something like this would be a huge hit in Buffalo - where it's also winter for 3/4 of the year.


I feel like it could work in a lot of places. I know malls are dying but malls that double as major entertainment destinations are really in their own category. Mall of America is pretty much killing it.


Nice trip report. Good to see you like my 'winter' park. Glad you got to ride Orange Streak, it is the 'train' of the park and lets you see it from all angles. Log Chute is the only original ride from Camp Snoopy and it was themed to Paul Bunyan (as you can see his ax in one of your pictures). Why they did not re-theme it I don't know but I am also not complaining. I had a strange feeling you might like this ride. Having it at NU makes up for VF removing their Flume ride. Airbender is not down a lot but I would say it lives up to it's Intamin reputation and is down more than any other ride there though.


Thanks! It's really weird to me that they didn't re-theme the flume but I'm thrilled with their decision to leave it alone.

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^^^ You're absolutely right about some malls being a dying breed.


The Galleria Mall in Buffalo is something similar to MoA, although smaller in size with no theme park.


But in its defense, it has lots of premier restaurants, bars, hotels and such either attached or right next door...and the place always seems to draw a huge crowd.


Hell, all they'd need to do is add two more levels, add an indoor water or amusement park and an aquarium and they'd have pretty much the same thing.

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Thank you for sharing such a great report from the Mall of America! This is definitely on my park bucket list... I'm just not sure when I'll get out to that side of the country, but when I do, I'll definitely be stopping into Nick Universe!

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  • 1 month later...
Nice report! I think I'll add MoA to the itinerary for our eventual trip to Valleyfair.


Honestly you've got it backwards. If you could only go to one park you should go to Nick Universe. That said, in a pinch you can do both in a day.


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^On that note...


Our Minnesota trip was a weird one because due to Frontier's weird flight schedule we actually had an extra day and no clue how to spend it. I pretty much resorted to hopping on Tripadvisor for "Things to do in Minnesota" and after passing the top results of elk milking, moose tipping and Oxycodone we noticed that the area had not one but two zoos. Once Brit got wind of that our search was over. We were going to the zoo.


At first we considered just going straight to the larger zoo (The Minnesota Zoo) but reviews actually made it look like the smaller free zoo (Como Zoo) was worth a visit also, mainly because they had a polar bear which is pretty rare for an American zoo and even more rare for a free American zoo. Even better, they had a coaster!


Como Zoo seems to be split into three main sections. There's the zoo, there's a conservatory and there's an amusement park. A few coaster people had told me to go to this place since they had a coaster but I assumed that it was some embarrassing kiddy credit and was absolutely planning to skip it. That said, when we pulled up and made our way towards the zoo I caught a glimpse of it and realized that it actually looked like a full size Zyklon (or whatever). We quickly bought our tickets and made our way over, somehow managing to walk right on to the ride ahead of the massive queue that was sure to build up later in the day.


A few seconds later we found ourselves locked in, faced with taming this relentless tiger.



I'm far from "proud" of this, but it's not that embarrassing. I'm in. My enthusiasm level is clearly visible in this photo though.

The ride starts out with a slow turn to the right to build suspense followed by an unnerving and slow climb towards the stratosphere. After your ears pop and you reach the top you struggle to make out the tiny ant-sized figures below as you slowly begin to turn and build up speed while traveling through the clouds.


After a few heart-pounding seconds that feel like an eternity you're abruptly ripped down a massive drop, throwing your whole world upsideown (I mean, not literally but you know). You rise again and scream into a high speed unbanked turn to the right that barely allows you to catch your breath before you careen down another massive drop, throwing you into an RMC-style airtime hill followed immediately by an abrupt turn. After a helix that puts I305's greyouts to shame, the ride slams into the 37th trim of the ride (where it shatters the world record previously held by Rip Ride Rockit) but it barely offers a break from the intensity. While it does trim, it seems to do so only so the ride won't totally Daytona itself but it does nothing to control the relentless speed and intensity.


Following the trim, the ride immediately barrels into another rapid-fire, stomach churning trim before it throws you down a drop and into another trim. Just as your body starts shutting down from the intensity and strong G forces and your terrified hands feel as if they're about to break the grab bar in two you rocket through another out-of-control low speed turn before you mercifully meander into the brake run.


Make no mistake, this is an elite coaster. If you haven't already dropped everything to book a flight to Minneapolis please stop reading this report and do so immediately.



This ride really does embody the spirit of the tiger

After our terrifying brush with death we decided to check out the rest of Como Zoo. I'll be honest, I was impressed. For a free zoo they have an amazing animal collection... wolves, primates, giraffes, lions, tigers, polar bears, bison, zebras, seals, gorillas, sea lions, birds, reptiles and more, holy sh*t! (Lions and tigers and bears, oh sh*t!)



This zoo was really impressive for what it was


The giraffes were front and center


While the animal collection was impressive the quality of the exhibits was more in-line with what you would expect from a free zoo. It's pretty no-frills.


Say what you want about the ride itself, but SeaWorld Orlando's new penguin exhibit has totally ruined the traditional "behind the glass" penguin exhibits for me.


Do you like bison pictures? Well you f*cking better because our Yellowstone trip report is coming soon. If you don't you should probably leave this thread. Bi, son. (I had to)


Confucius monkey say, "Man who ride Tiger Trax be poorer, but infinitely richer at heart ".


Nothing to see here, just a gorilla licking a surfboard

The zoo's pride and joy (besides Tiger Trax obviously) is their polar bear exhibit and for good reason. While it's still not on the level of a large zoo, it's the nicest exhibit in the park and they attempt to make it much more of an event than just walking up to a fence and looking at a polar bear.



They're clearly pretty proud of their polar bear, as they should be...

The exhibit features a gift shop, interactive features, tons of information and a nice view into the indoor and outdoor areas. Even though it was almost Labor Day, they had the polar bear outside because... Minnesota.



What an amazing animal.

We were probably done with Como in 2-3 hours but it's a nice little zoo. As we didn't pay for parking or admission we were sure to hit up the gift shop and support the zoo in Brit's traditional way... buying literally everything.


If you have the time I highly recommend popping in if you're in the area. Not only is there a credit (for the whores among us) but it's a really nice little zoo and it's a great place to kill a few hours for free.


Up next: The Minnesota Zoo!

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If you have the time I highly recommend popping in if you're in the area. Not only is there a credit (for the whores among us) but it's a really nice little zoo and it's a great place to kill a few hours for free.


You are correct, the 'little zoo that could' and worth the visit. Knowing your love of animals from your earlier trip reports I was excited for you when you mentioned at VF that you and Brit were going to try and hit at least one of the zoo's if possible and now I see you got to both of them so congratulations. I visit both zoo's at least once a year and enjoy both of them so now I am curious to see what you think of the Minnesota Zoo and what your liked or didn't there. So put down your morning beer and start cranking out that trip report! And as far as the credit whoring on Tiger Trax I am going to call you a 'Credit Slut' (not that there is anything wrong with that), because even I have never been on it and I live here.

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Your Tiger Trax writeup gave me a good laugh. Spot on.


Glad you enjoyed the zoo; I thought it was good for what it was. Nice place to spend a couple hours for next to no money. They had some good food in their cafe too; pretty much Panera quality.


Thanks! Yeah we really liked the place. The only problem with it being a free zoo is the free-zoo-clientele where people just use the place as a babysitter. That's not really the zoo's fault though.


Great update, Bill...I needed a good laugh today. Was dying at the Tiger Trax review and Confucius Monkey!


Thanks. Glad to hear it!


And as far as the credit whoring on Tiger Trax I am going to call you a 'Credit Slut' (not that there is anything wrong with that), because even I have never been on it and I live here.


Hey, not everyone can handle the fury of the tiger.


Great report! Did that beast of a coaster dehtrone Millennium Force?


Millennium what?

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Nice report!


Have you guys ever been to the NC Zoo? I highly recommend it if you haven't. It's not far out of the way if traveling between KD/BGW and Carowinds. They currently have two continents represented: Africa and North America. Construction begins in 2020 on the Asia and Australia exhibits for a planned 2022 completion. There are polar bears.


Right here in Greensboro, NC we also have a science center with a small zoo and aquarium that has tigers, maned wolves and red pandas. Just a few miles off I-85. http://www.greensboroscience.org/

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I actually wrote a quick Minnesota Zoo trip report! This is not an April Fools joke.


About a f*cking year ago now (sorry, lol) we decided to leave the Como zoo and spend the rest of the day at the much larger Minnesota zoo. While it was objectively a step up from Como Zoo (despite the lack of a white knuckle thrill ride to compete with Tiger Trax) I actually think that both zoos have their pros and cons and I highly suggest visiting both (which can easily be done in one day).



There was only one beer vendor in the entire zoo that was actually open but don't panic everyone... I found him.

The Minnesota zoo is sort of a mixed bag. Much of the zoo is a relic of the 70's that sort of gives the impression that it hasn't been updated since the day it opened. The buildings are all sort of that soulless 70's style that the world wants to forget and there's a random monorail that looks like it hasn't moved in a decade. Basically it's like all the bad parts of Epcot's Future World with less beer vendors and no cool rides. The monorail runs with just about the same frequency though...



The bear was very photogenic

On the flip-side, there are a few areas near the front that we absolutely loved. They had a very nice marine animal area right up front with some giant shark and dolphin pools. They had a dolphin show but we didn't have a chance to catch it.



Jellyfish are always awesome looking

I think our favorite part of the zoo was the massive building housing the tropics trail and Minnesota trail. The building is massive and you can honestly spend a few hours in there and be perfectly happy with life.


Many zoos have sections focusing on local animals, but that was a much more intriguing concept in a state that actually has some cool sh*t and not just deer and giant subway rats.



... like this Lynx



And this beaver (okay, technically we have beavers in NY but you never see them. Especially not if you're a coaster enthusiast).


And uh...


... yeah, actually I'm glad we don't have these in New York. If I were on my way to get coffee and saw that I'd probably shit myself.

This sounds super stupid, but I think my favorite part of the Minnesota zoo was the racoon. Obviously we have raccoons at home, but since they're nocturnal you never really see them and if you do there's always a concern of rabies so you keep your distance anyway. They have an area where they adjust the lighting so that it appears to be nighttime when the zoo is open and daytime when they're closed so it was cool to watch one that was super active and f*cking around with a pile of wood for no apparent reason. I don't have any pictures since he wouldn't stay still, but I have some pictures of this (much less insane) fox that shared the enclosure.



I think it's a fox... it's been a year. I could be wrong. lol

Tropics trail was super cool too with tons of rare animals and really nice theming.


Behold... the "Titi monkey".


Look at all that titi goodness...

The highlight of the trail is probably the red panda, which isn't something you get to see all that often. Aside from being cool and rare, it was also as adorable as advertised.



Red pandas!

Overall we had a great time at the zoo. There are some really great things there and whole it could use a bit of a refresh in other areas it's a great place to spend a few hours and I highly recommend it if you're in the area with some free time.

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okay, technically we have beavers in NY but you never see them. Especially not if you're a coaster enthusiast).



MN Zoo was cut from our recent trip there due to too many things to do in the area and already wanting to go to Como. Looks great and is definitely a priority next time we're there (and we will be back, MN is awesome).

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While I appreciate the update... I’m going to be honest. We are all friends here so it’d be rude to gloss over this. The lack of raccoon photos is very upsetting. Not only are raccoons some of the coolest creatures on the planet but they look awesome and are hilarious. Plus they were your fav that you saw. No excuses, Bill!!! Raccoons required!


Still, an update is an update and the adorable red panda photo kind of softens the raccoon void. That lynx enclosure is beautiful looking with the waterfall behind it. That’s a good pic. You get a bonus point (1) for putting a report together on April Fools after slacking off for ages. Thanks for posting an update on your travels! Excited to see where you went next!!

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...... Holy !#@%&!, an update.


Some other things if others visit the MN ZOO. Make an effort to see the bird show, so many cool birds of prey that fly just feet over your head. Lasts about 25 minutes, runs 2 to 3 times a day. The feeding of the sharks and penguins are entertaining also but the gem is the bird show.

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Nice report! I still think it's still a bit of an April Fool's prank to post a TR on a coaster site without any coasters.


Not sure if I'd stop at the zoo when I go to Minnesota but they do have some neat animals. I've never seen a lynx before.

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