Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Photo TR: 10,000 Lakes and 15 Roller Coasters


Recommended Posts

After braving the heat of Arkansas and Oklahoma last year, we decided this year we’d go someplace not as hot. Someplace really far north. And so we went to Minnesota.

 

My wife and I went here on our honeymoon, and we had a great time, but we haven’t been back since then. This was our chance to repeat some good memories now that we have kids, as well as to do some new things.

 

One thing about traveling with kids is that road trips suck. You absolutely do not want to spend too much time in a vehicle with your kids. It doesn’t matter if they’re the greatest kids in the world, brought 2 DSes each, a stack of DVDs 16 feet high, and a bookshelf that would have been the envy of Thomas Jefferson. These kids may have all possible entertainments available to them, but that does not cancel out the fact that they are stuck in a van for hours.

 

So when planning this trip, we decided it would not be advisable to try the whole 11-hour trip in one go (and before you start to say, “It doesn’t take that long to go from the Ozarks to the Twin Cities,” let me remind you—we are travelling with children), and looked for ways to break it up. We decided on Adventureland in Des Moines on the way up and Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha on the way back. Imagine my excitement when Adventureland, which we were already planning to visit, announced a new coaster! And a first of its kind in the US!

 

And so we trekked up the lonely I-35 through corn fields, and soybean fields, and corn fields, and more corn fields, and soybean fields…. Screw it, let’s get to the good part.

 

Having spent the night in Des Moines, we got up early to get to Adventureland by opening. Des Moines is not a big city, and even though our hotel was on the west side, we were able to get to the park in about 20 minutes. Parking was plentiful, and all the spots seemed to be very close.

 

Theming: Other than Outlaw Gulch, with its pretty bland Western theme, there really isn’t much. They do make attempts here and there, but overall not great. The landscaping is acceptable, but nothing striking. The park could really improve in this aspect.

 

Food: We had bought a $50 card from the website, which is as close to a dining plan as this place has. It really made the day a lot easier, as we could just use the card at each food stall and thereby budget food expenses. All the food was cheap, and $50 actually did buy food for 5 people all day. The food court near the rapids ride was the standout; they had something for everyone, including some decent gyros and some very good mini donuts.

 

Service: Typical Midwestern service. Everyone was friendly, but didn’t really seem to go out of their way for anything. Met my expectations.

 

Waterpark: This place has one of the best lazy rivers I’ve seen. There are cabanas all along it—great perk for those who reserved them—and the route actually made it a good way to get from place to place. Plus, there’s a wet bar in the middle of it.

 

As for the slides, the red, white, and blue speed slide had some great air on the drop. Everything else was good but not especially memorable. They do have a good variety, though, and cover all the bases. The kids’ splash area is nearly identical to the one at Oceans of Fun, and the kids had a lot of fun there.

 

Water rides: Saw Mill Splash was down the whole day, but from what I hear, we didn’t miss much. Raging River is tame but fun. Not one of the best rapids rides, but I do appreciate one with a 36” minimum, so we could all ride together. I would have liked it better were it not for the lethargic loading procedures (one boat at a time) that caused horrific stacking. Made an already long line that much slower.

 

Flat rides: Again they have all the bases covered here. The standouts were Storm Chaser, Space Shot, Der Flinger, Himalaya, and Falling Star. Great job of preserving some classics while also investing in new thrills.

 

Coasters:

 

Dragon – This is a decent but not great double-looping coaster. The main draw is that it has a 42” minimum, and can serve as a kid’s first inverting coaster. It wasn’t as rough as a lot of people have said.

 

Monster – Amazing! The beyond-vertical drop is very forceful and disorienting, and the rest of the course is loopy perfection. It slows down a lot by the end but uses this to its advantage. The final inversion produces some pretty fierce hangtime. This is a winner.

 

Outlaw – Probably the second best coaster after Monster. It’s got great pacing, sweeping curves, and some airtime. It especially looks beautiful from the lazy river.

 

Tornado – This is a true classic, and has a ton of airtime. It isn’t rough at all, because of course we sat in the middle bench of these three-bench PTC’s. This will be a recurring theme on this trip.

 

Underground – More of a dark ride than an actual roller coaster. We went into it with that expectation, and it was very fun. Even my youngest liked it, and she won’t go on anything bigger than a Wacky Worm.

 

Oh, I should also mention, they have a Skyride, and it goes right through the middle of Monster. If you don’t like Skyrides, first go see a physician and/or psychiatric professional, and then second go ride this one. It is seriously cool going over/under/through the coaster.

20160727_100329.thumb.jpg.26292ea8b4615c0203724c1305d63cfa.jpg

Take the A-Train!

20160727_100555.thumb.jpg.43e666d4c46515c3196ba0f352b2b90f.jpg

Meeting some characters.

20160727_100624.thumb.jpg.1c94480bceda66d088cbfbe0d3cebad4.jpg

Their Main Street has to be one of the best entrances to any theme park.

20160727_100724.thumb.jpg.aa793cc0e8bc635998a7ee771b86ee6f.jpg

Really sets you up for a level of immersion the rest of the park fails to deliver.

20160727_100728.thumb.jpg.02b8fdc9eff4665484ae0012353f06a6.jpg

So much to see already!

20160727_100847.thumb.jpg.090a37a975bc9a88b2b4aa507f8f979f.jpg

Including this K'Nex Ferris wheel

20160727_101001.thumb.jpg.6adca3755703f39ed05e8591ee251037.jpg

Sky Ride...THROUGH THE TREES!

20160727_101151.thumb.jpg.bdb0e0b0a5f292700038cca7fc7a25db.jpg

Plenty of stuff here for the little ones, like this car ride.

20160727_101243.thumb.jpg.2c979a2a6adc770323db1dd31a8eb6d1.jpg

But we're here for this beauty.

20160727_101902.thumb.jpg.d81b182b5417d1d6e8aab3b8361a9b75.jpg

Sky Ride, of course. What did you think I meant?

20160727_101949.thumb.jpg.45565e35c9948e5941b8e05bc3c60198.jpg

20160727_102301.thumb.jpg.dd4a467c35b1cd716e2733859382f573.jpg

20160727_102408.thumb.jpg.2a26a65d6252b151d7b16231faac49bf.jpg

All right, fine. I've teased enough. Monster pics!

20160727_102418.thumb.jpg.6dad9d9b040d398a8d2b89b9f48f60b7.jpg

For the gear and chain enthusiasts. You be you. I don't judge.

20160727_102424.thumb.jpg.250e9be456a25470f0ba288bd0a179ce.jpg

20160727_102509.thumb.jpg.e186a09541c4246ac64152a9debe0588.jpg

20160727_104825.thumb.jpg.c34b22fc6ebf91cdfb01b909286c1f1f.jpg

I kid! I kid! Of course we're here for the pig.

20160727_104835.thumb.jpg.c0926854ad1cec32bccb1dd017b3e905.jpg

It's twisty!

20160727_104922.thumb.jpg.47bf57c1ae1d7ff6e814489bf60b9921.jpg

Working our way to the back of the park now, Underground was quirky but awesome.

20160727_105036.thumb.jpg.58ba8c36d935f78de83130c6f573d236.jpg

Obligatory '50's diner.

20160727_105128.thumb.jpg.a481f961b84f16509e9fb28208af04f8.jpg

If you need some luck, this lady's got some.

20160727_105208.thumb.jpg.69f6a0cb8a4c1e2145c67105bb12708d.jpg

This is totally not a ripoff. I don't know what sandwich place you're thinking of.

20160727_105235.thumb.jpg.2f4884b6e05f10fa52b594a9e21859db.jpg

Of course, like every landlocked state, Iowa has a lighthouse.

20160727_105251.thumb.jpg.4e496b664d0a0ca63bf1928c66d6c9c7.jpg

20160727_105317.thumb.jpg.bf12315df047d2e21d49dd993f9cac8e.jpg

Across this bridge there be dragons.

20160727_105434.thumb.jpg.ece3f49def2798ca9fc4ef7ac5631967.jpg

Also, Pokemon.

20160727_105557.thumb.jpg.3a10b9bb8610aef47db4b2ce1b95ea14.jpg

More dragons!

20160727_105614.thumb.jpg.5d1791d9085d1431ed991918fac373ae.jpg

20160727_105711.thumb.jpg.eabcd2f7ed9f7316e5d86451d4375850.jpg

20160727_105739.thumb.jpg.0655a7b43b06417e601d5bed8a582902.jpg

I'm not sure where we're standing constitutes a tornado shelter....

20160727_110040.thumb.jpg.1372baaaf033250330589d803a457167.jpg

Only shot I have of the waterpark. I don't take photos in waterparks, because I find it kind of creepy.

20160727_143345.thumb.jpg.bba7644b502c792f3cb373629359f70a.jpg

"Theming"?

20160727_143510.thumb.jpg.1a02965243e12ecb8334be76f58b236f.jpg

Dragon's "theming."

20160727_143646.thumb.jpg.6442dd257adf1b8f12bb95b79da707d9.jpg

More "theming."

20160727_150412.thumb.jpg.b4f29792e06c6019dfdf292222e2876c.jpg

Biergarten. If you're unimpressed by all the cans of beer, as I was, just make a stop here. They've got what you're drinkin'.

20160727_150718.thumb.jpg.f342a055346c9d1156467da61ee622cb.jpg

Oh hell no.

20160727_150724.thumb.jpg.88ae3bc2460e010607cdb423e4628370.jpg

Everyone loves a good der-flingin'.

20160727_150807.thumb.jpg.83dc24168da21c146f484c461861c542.jpg

20160727_150907.thumb.jpg.66a2dcaf96c5c9eb25ad35131d8604e9.jpg

It's almost like they've been shot right into space!

20160727_151002.thumb.jpg.d885ae7f363c12c151e969bd82545a4a.jpg

These riders didn't quite make it to space.

20160727_162149.thumb.jpg.97ac0d78ce73645df289f4242522ed82.jpg

Notice the happy expression of the girl in the middle bench, and the pained expressions of the people in the wheel seats. Learn from this.

20160727_162538.thumb.jpg.ba18fb4e0a1dc789505201becb0ecd6a.jpg

And now for Tornado, a good old-fashioned coaster in a corn field!

20160727_170909.thumb.jpg.fe456b0bb2afdecc3cac02aa3a0d0b93.jpg

For some of us, this was more our speed.

20160727_182142.thumb.jpg.2342aa6021fa3d42a351f4ac7f0f530d.jpg

The rapids ride was good. Now if only they could figure out how to operate it....

20160727_182147.thumb.jpg.e38e34556a0f7fce7a0052bdcb5b5ecf.jpg

Beautiful little ride plaza out in the woods.

20160727_182158.thumb.jpg.ef1e8fc11adf4205551bc2b0f70d2fdd.jpg

20160727_182220.thumb.jpg.6ff3ccaeaa28dcfa0c9a457e375ceb33.jpg

Fun ride!

20160727_192135.thumb.jpg.cdb739205e9feec0517ae058b2d724ba.jpg

And I'll leave you with this shot of oblivious and/or suicidal geese.

20160727_192628.thumb.jpg.78ad2d78f8132e92757a6eea99e6e393.jpg

And this gluten free ride.

Edited by ytterbiumanalyst
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

what a fun report thus far.

 

I would love to ride a skyride like that, but I'd never get my Hubby on one that's so "open" -- he'll only go on the "bucket" type ones.

 

tho he DID ride the Knoebel's chair lift, so maaaaaaaybe if we ever get to this part. . .

Link to post
Share on other sites

Duluth and Spirit Mountain

 

With the name of this thread referencing Minnesota’s lakes, I feel obligated to show you some. The second day of our trip was mostly a driving day, as we went from Des Moines to Duluth. We stopped for lunch at Clear Lake, which is a lovely little town. We enjoyed the break from driving, spending all of our time at the town’s central park and on the lakefront.

 

After returning to the car, we resumed our northward journey all the way to a much, much bigger lake: Lake Superior, or as Minnesotans apparently call it, “the lake.”

 

Duluth was a lovely town, and this was our first time back since 2007. This was a real vacation, not just a coaster tour, so Duluth was to be the “down time” of the vacation—just a nice, relaxing location, perfect for hanging out and talking and in general not being in a hurry to go anywhere. We ate dinner at the Canal Park Brewing Company, and it’s highly recommended! There was a bit of a wait to get in, but that was easily passed outside at the lake shore. The restaurant is right on the lake, and they have al fresco seating too. They brew all their beers in-house (about a dozen varieties in all!), and if you’re like me and want to sample EVERYTHING, they have flights!

 

The Lakewalk is a civic park right along the lakefront with a boardwalk and all kinds of nautical things to see. It’s a really relaxing environment, and a fantastic city park. We enjoyed watching the bridge rise for the boats, as well as the many Pokémon Go stops!

 

The next day we did some sightseeing of the town itself. The library was a fantastic piece of architecture and really a centerpiece for the town. Across the street is Union Station, home of Duluth’s North Shore Scenic Railway, featuring a museum and excursion trains.

 

In the afternoon, we headed up to Spirit Mountain Adventure Park. It’s a little pricey for what’s there, which is a 9-hole mini golf course, a jumping pillow, and an alpine coaster. The girls played mini golf while my son and I rode our very first alpine coaster! It was a great ride, and very different from any other coaster experience. They do allow you to run at full speed the whole way, and near the end some of the curves have some pretty extreme laterals because of it. It’s a great ride, but we only rode it once ($15 a pop isn’t very re-ridable…).

 

That done, it was time to head to the Twin Cities, where we would spend most of our time.

20160728_125331.thumb.jpg.8a1c4e5c05ab307990904372b8a128eb.jpg

Clear Lake, Iowa

20160728_125355.thumb.jpg.ae5f6c2b78963df0131bc1c5573d05e6.jpg

They had a wonderful little city park that served as a great spot for a picnic lunch.

20160728_202132.thumb.jpg.c0912718cec6098c495f5a8f7d15aaf1.jpg

This is the one Minnesotans call "the lake"--Superior!

20160728_202952.thumb.jpg.b02a33eacbe237f7a8276c16c66b6ed7.jpg

It's a working lake, and we saw plenty of boats.

20160728_203902.thumb.jpg.691bd00a44c63ac1e0354005bf600c0b.jpg

National Registry of Historic Places credit!

20160728_204448.thumb.jpg.2a8a1358726f48bfcab8b0d72c20aade.jpg

It's not a sandy beach, but it's the only beach we're going to this year.

20160728_210555.thumb.jpg.6a1edb526ff066643a817445ac5caa0b.jpg

Here's the family in front of a tugboat memorial or something.

20160728_211122.thumb.jpg.b25269c6b1c16f0b5fb818829b62db01.jpg

Here they are goofing off in front of a lighthouse.

20160728_211421.thumb.jpg.32d8ed58a56237a3870f4b66275afa90.jpg

Duluth from the lighthouse is beautiful at sunset.

20160728_211728.thumb.jpg.0db68e6f967607979fbac78726528b65.jpg

Goodnight, bridge.

20160729_094338.thumb.jpg.6f264c33af2e2f66e4d2336a23ee1be6.jpg

The next day we did some sightseeing. This is their library. Incredible architecture, right up there with Columbia, Missouri's library. Seriously that's a cool building.

20160729_141401.thumb.jpg.f5eaf6dc1f6960784fb4cd9126bad2b9.jpg

And we climb a mountain to reach Minnesota's most northerly coaster.

20160729_143437.thumb.jpg.709f12d7e49b8f87e1f8ef00efa7981a.jpg

Mini-golf for those who aren't coaster fans.

20160729_143449.thumb.jpg.628cff557cb432dd54f38349b586baaf.jpg

And an alpine coaster for us!

20160729_143628.thumb.jpg.497288447f1055efd6f270f89ce38cfc.jpg

A jumping pillow for the little ones.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Como Town

 

Now in the Twin Cities, our first destination was the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, a free public zoo that also contains a very large number of amusement rides and one roller coaster! On the way over there, we stopped by the new home of the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum, just down the street from the former Amtrak Midway Station. There were several displays under construction, but as a bonus, it was steeply discounted, as they’re in a “preview” stage at the moment. There were several Lionel and Thomas sets that the kids could control, as well as some more elaborate layouts. It was a small museum, though I understand it’s bigger than the previous location, so we were there for about an hour before moving on to the zoo.

 

The zoo itself is very small; the polar bear exhibit was impressive, but other than that, there’s not a lot to stand out here. They do have the basics, though, including giraffes and gorillas, so there was enough to keep the kids entertained.

 

Once we had seen all the animals, we made our way over to Como Town. This is the sort of place that young children can go nuts for, and ours (8, 6, & 4) had a great time. There are a couple of unique flats, including this bizarre firefighting water gun thing. Just see the photo below; it’s hard to explain. The Tiger Trax coaster is a standard Galaxi model, but they have a good and long miniature train ride and a driving school! The kids had a great time driving around, and the park gives out “driver’s licences” when they get off the ride. It was a great time!

 

Theming: No attempt is made at theming, though the landscaping is nice.

 

Food: Very good. We didn’t buy any in Como Town itself, but on the zoo side they had a wonderful variety, including some Asian noodle dishes. Way above the average zoo fare.

 

Service: Above average. Employees never went out of their way to be helpful, but if approached, they provided whatever help/information they could. Met my expectiations.

 

Waterpark: They had a splash area for the kids. We didn’t realize they would have this, so we didn’t bring swimsuits this day, and thus didn’t go to the splash area. It looked like it would be fun, though.

 

Flat rides: This is pretty much the majority of the park. The driving school is the standout, but they had a lot of the standards: tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, frog hopper, etc. The firefighting ride is a highlight; just so bizarre, and very fun.

 

Coaster: Just the one, Tiger Trax, a standard Galaxi. The height limit doesn’t really make sense to me; they required 51” with a parent, meaning my son could ride Wild Thing and SpongeBob, but not this little thing. I don’t understand. I rode it with my oldest daughter, though, and she had a good time.

20160730_103837.thumb.jpg.1d829237b8a87479017bcf8bceb1f904.jpg

Miniature worlds abound.

20160730_103907.thumb.jpg.a9689c115e91914084814ede773e16bf.jpg

There's some great detail in a lot of these.

20160730_103936.thumb.jpg.0534f7609ac2ea2c6f8c8fdea181f6f2.jpg

The highlight of the displays was this amusement park.

20160730_104023.thumb.jpg.8a9639235a677bb5315ecd6bc3febb17.jpg

20160730_104109.thumb.jpg.4f1042dd585610a4ea3e5cb895390a7c.jpg

Part of the recreation of the Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle).

20160730_104120.thumb.jpg.7d7495923296c6660a87f47115b6e5cf.jpg

20160730_104148.thumb.jpg.186596a3219e8f549b4b4224aedb7082.jpg

For the control panel enthusiasts.

20160730_104208.thumb.jpg.8c72c0fce1468e00819bfc4cd2564ba0.jpg

20160730_104227.thumb.jpg.90b4e2bf6fd8ec559fb3b362fc219ab5.jpg

St. Paul Union Station (new home of Amtrak)

20160730_104241.thumb.jpg.d989ed701a6c6ad6ecf31f2c8eceeace.jpg

We are on a lift hill....

20160730_104544.thumb.jpg.e8deae17463edc7947cb31b7bf5f1b3b.jpg

The Ferris wheel was not the tallest I've ever seen, but it looked fun.

20160730_104303.thumb.jpg.69e8fd23171d4189eb784636645c7724.jpg

Loopty loop!

20160730_104557.thumb.jpg.0172bf8efbfa435231760add941a4790.jpg

The Cha-cha was this park's inferior Scrambler.

20160730_104608.thumb.jpg.54fcee7015e159818005c23e7975f15c.jpg

The circus show was fun, though.

20160730_104617.thumb.jpg.46064fc93c1def451d87c36830d07eee.jpg

Wonder what's going to replace Dinos Alive when the contract runs out?

20160730_104636.thumb.jpg.7acf8caa490882a1987c3df33c44017c.jpg

This park has a classic carousel.

20160730_104648.thumb.jpg.54afb922e2b2235935c6a5e88529c1f5.jpg

The chairswings was pretty low capacity, though.

20160730_104655.thumb.jpg.6c5eac04c19f625c4459d0119dd867b8.jpg

This Scrambler was much better than Cha-cha.

20160730_104709.thumb.jpg.b4e49a883eaea551f511cb9b2660d50a.jpg

Seriously, who builds a mini-golf course with only 3 holes?

20160730_104728.thumb.jpg.d0ed80a4bbce3991addd7d24490333e5.jpg

The other of the park's two carousels.

20160730_104749.thumb.jpg.598d5504fa5980f357599edf4bbcad1b.jpg

Nice midway, complete with shooting gallery.

20160730_110119.thumb.jpg.e2c2f76b7c33e7f10d0edc532cf15fa7.jpg

This was part of an FAO Schwartz display.

20160730_110126.thumb.jpg.e3ea89d9b794ef1d6b9f4a984ba8a343.jpg

20160730_110321.thumb.jpg.cdc112272e554b63b4537b98fb78aa12.jpg

20160730_115255.thumb.jpg.499ff9c2ef2d89fb343ab2ac610b582b.jpg

On to the zoo. The kids loved exploring the conservatory.

20160730_143017.thumb.jpg.5a563e2a13a8910c9e95e0557472c5e1.jpg

Several of Como Town's flat rides.

20160730_143025.thumb.jpg.1754ea02b335c31ca136a6d390b7c0ca.jpg

The train ride.

20160730_144447.thumb.jpg.c1a7898ccf9fb5f3113a13457bdb4e3b.jpg

This bizarre firefighting ride.

20160730_144638.thumb.jpg.e29bb60d15a593b2163a0b403842f733.jpg

Bumper cars

20160730_144642.thumb.jpg.435023fd528f3abc28244eb2295eacfe.jpg

Spinny car ride. All the kids liked this.

20160730_144646.thumb.jpg.86817a3ec1587997801ddfcdbe93b325.jpg

Tiger Trax, the only coaster here.

20160730_150203.thumb.jpg.a1962c6d6fc4de702fa1dc2df2158458.jpg

Driving school!

20160730_162701.thumb.jpg.a42b2d777ea7f9da8f4f128e53992433.jpg

Cafesjian's Carousel

20160730_163535.thumb.jpg.d60dfd2f9604b0d4943a82fb492b7feb.jpg

Ready to ride the last ride of the day!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Adventureland is a nice park, and it's good to hear that Monster turned out well. I like Outlaw quite a bit, myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Monster looks really nice, and it looks to be an excellent improvement on the okay Eurofighter model. Hopefully this park will expand some more and in a few years we will see the addition of a new cool coaster.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you planning to make it to Valleyfair?

Yes, we spent an entire day there, open to close. More on that later, but first...

 

Mall of America

 

Wow, how this place has changed. The last time we were here was in 2007, the year before it became Nickelodeon Universe. Orange Streak and the log flume are still here, but wow has everything else changed! They’ve stuffed rides in every conceivable corner, and created a much improved experience.

 

One of the best parts about Nickelodeon Universe is that since it’s in a mall, you’re not stuck paying $15 for a crappy cheeseburger. Instead, you can pay $15 for a good cheeseburger (hey, those places have to pay the rent, which isn’t cheap at MoA!).

 

We bought the combo tickets online with the SeaLife Aquarium run by Merlin. You absolutely need to buy your tickets online; it’s a crazy big discount. Armed with our printout of the confirmation page, we headed to one of the automated kiosks to obtain our tickets. These aren’t normal wristbands that have that sticky-back stuff. These require a sticker, which is provided by the ride op at the first ride you go on.

 

There were some school groups there on that day, but other than them, the park was fairly empty all day. We made a full round, going on everything we wanted to once, then headed to the aquarium for a break. It was bigger than the SeaLife at the Crown Center in Kansas City; the tunnel was amazingly long, and the sharks and rays are beautiful. We were not able to pet the rays because some of them are pregnant, but on the other hand, I learned that rays can be pregnant. I figured they laid eggs, since they were fish. It’s been an educational experience!

 

After the aquarium, we moved back to Nick Universe for some re-rides. SpongeBob, TMNT, Shredder, and Jimmy Neutron were the favourites, and my youngest marathoned the carousel. We ended the day with a trip to the LEGO store and a couple of toy stores on the third floor. I didn’t expect that we would be there open to close, but that’s how it happened! This place really does have something for everyone, and it’s such a different kind of place that even those who aren’t into theme parks can have a good time.

 

Theming: Great theming throughout, especially considering the limited area they had to work with. If you are a kid or have been a kid, you’ll know most of these characters.

 

Food: Incredible! There’s your standard mall food court, of course, but beyond that the entire 3rd floor south is full of sit-down restaurants, and there are a few others scattered throughout the mall. The question here is what you’d like to eat. If it’s a chain, it’s here.

 

Service: Above average. Staff were friendly and efficient, and I loved that the ride ops didn’t do any showy “Take 5” or “Scanning” like the ride ops in certain chains. Instead, they just observed the ride areas. We never encountered any guest services or food service people (much, much better food is to be had in the mall).

 

Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

 

Flat rides: They have some very good flat rides here. TMNT, Shredder, and Jimmy Neutron’s Atomic Collider were especially fun. If you like flipping, I’m sure Brain Surge is good. I saw many excited people in line for it. I just don’t do flipping like that.

 

Coasters:

 

Avatar Airbender – This was much anticipated, as I’ve never been on one of these. It felt like a severely whacked-out Disko, and it was very enjoyable. I only rode it once, as it bordered on too much spinning for me, but luckily it stopped just shy of crossing that line.

 

Back to the Barnyard Hayride – This is a small powered coaster with no drops. My four-year-old loved it, and she normally will not ride any coasters. Winner!

 

Fairly Odd Coaster – This is identical to Spinning Dragons, but it fits in much better here. It looks like it was actually designed for this park, with the way it spirals around the pillars and other rides.

 

Orange Streak – The classic coaster that opened with the mall. It’s not tall or fast, and relies mostly on big sweeping curves. My oldest daughter loved it, since she tends to stick with milder coasters.

 

SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge – This was my first Eurofighter, and since the only point of reference I have is Monster, it’s maybe a bit unfair. Monster is just head and shoulders above SpongeBob, and that’s saying something. SpongeBob was my favourite coaster in this park by far, and third favourite of the entire trip, behind Monster and Renegade. So, for anyone who is maybe a bit underwhelmed by Eurofighters, go ride Monster. It’s not the same thing at all.

20160802_123843.thumb.jpg.e7cf3cae86fe48f78fefce552e664e5b.jpg

I don't do flipping rides normally, but I liked Air Race, so I wanted to try this one. Never got it to flip, but it was a lot of fun.

20160802_124030.thumb.jpg.955c4af93db65788c20bcff1780a471e.jpg

20160802_140844.thumb.jpg.57af9194dec20d17e76d326c5acb3522.jpg

... Where spinning rotating blades threaten our lives!

20160802_140956.thumb.jpg.60a3aeed799fb32128744229a3d8d068.jpg

We start off by visiting this secret location...

20160802_141142.thumb.jpg.da64f5bf39288426272ffbc019203851.jpg

Ooooowahahahahahahahahaaaa!

20160802_142212.thumb.jpg.dba174892c9db3081f3881221132fedc.jpg

Here's a map of Nickelodeon Universe. It's flat, because cartoons live in a 2D world!

20160802_142322.thumb.jpg.3fb0cb5bb35e084bfb2fab62ce4f2303.jpg

Orange Streaking near the American Girl store.

20160802_142422.thumb.jpg.ca8a46b305061a2d790861c1140ade8a.jpg

And around the corner to get our atoms collided!

20160802_142515.thumb.jpg.854208910477f526a0f6f2a158b52c64.jpg

I would love to meet the demented person who created this monstrosity from the depths of their depraved mind, so that I can shake their hand and buy them a beer.

20160802_142519.thumb.jpg.feff9a6cdbadaf85d2c25496a6beeb44.jpg

This thing is seriously a stupid amount of fun.

20160802_142552.thumb.jpg.acbae609fd5d10b4170091dcb4dcb92d.jpg

20160802_142556.thumb.jpg.f1ed7146e8174f9ed56f84cfac4c8e7d.jpg

Diego now drives the camp bus.

20160802_142612.thumb.jpg.6acb194f393e35aaa7a7f62334ac82ee.jpg

The carousel is still here.

20160802_142636.thumb.jpg.fd3c656f77d85b6e7a670e14607b0a73.jpg

Sky Circle.

20160802_142657.thumb.jpg.c4ade5a85a28916e9f58c4cd9c172f95.jpg

I love the name of this ride; it's such a throwback to the old school Nickelodeon. Now they just need someone to double dare me to eat a whole Good Burger with Good Fries and a Good Shake, and nine-year-old me will be happy.

20160802_142724.thumb.jpg.bce46ffbcb4e489618a7bbdabc2725cf.jpg

Good old-fashioned barnyard fun!

20160802_142745.thumb.jpg.12867f83f8897e79a64e690ded0dffb7.jpg

Oh hell no.

20160802_142802.thumb.jpg.5f734dbcf2baf03d0f4644fbf42b327a.jpg

Hell yes!

20160802_142843.thumb.jpg.a28831b546e0a862e362fbf1c2688ed3.jpg

This is the best themed frog hopper ever.

20160802_142915.thumb.jpg.dbd0f65d4fda20c4cc462d6b2ec9cbd9.jpg

The Sally dark ride was fun. We didn't do the upcharge ropes course.

20160802_142938.thumb.jpg.e793e5e90fd6d87e476acd319b9406c1.jpg

We did, however, ride this. A couple of times. Okay, way too much. No, who am I kidding? You can't ride this too much.

20160802_143008.thumb.jpg.20ad1282893914c0835a1dfbb66f727d.jpg

Of course, we didn't forget this park's roots.

20160802_143043.thumb.jpg.5306102a733dd17bb8287b2536d660bc.jpg

So twisty!

20160802_143020.thumb.jpg.f5f975621817296d7c577d29844bf2bf.jpg

And this park hasn't forgotten its roots, either.

20160802_143151.thumb.jpg.8409ea285d0e324fc4fb36582cdbcdf7.jpg

20160802_143234.thumb.jpg.51d9e77ce79bda48d58c72ff0db74f7c.jpg

Lots of rides here for smaller kids too.

20160802_143308.thumb.jpg.708300838a5164951e775a314109cad9.jpg

Good thing I brought my handy dandy notebook!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sweet report! Just this past weekend I did a very similar trip. We called it our NebrIowaSota trip. We left Lincoln, NE on Saturday afternoon, hit up Arnolds Park on Saturday night, then Valleyfair and MOA on Sunday and Adventureland on Monday and got home late Monday afternoon. We were planning on hitting up the Iowa State fair and Fun Plex in Omaha too but we decided it was better to end our trip with Monster than a Zyklon or a standard Wild Mouse so we skipped those. Plus I already had the Fun Plex credit. Ended up riding 17 coasters in total. I feel you on the driving too, the flat parts of Iowa are pretty brutal to drive through.

 

I am a bad coaster enthusiast, I have never even heard of Como Town or that they had a coaster! Otherwise we totally would've hit it up to get a new credit as well.

 

Monster at Adventureland was awesome. That first drop...oh my! And if you sat in the back left seat, you got thrown all over the place. Loved it, it was my favorite coaster of the trip. Tornado was a bit rougher than I remember, maybe I'm just getting old. Outlaw is still a great coaster that packs a lot of punch in an undersized ride.

 

Again, nice report!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

Agreed. That thing is awesome. I'd say it's easily the best ride in the park.

 

Looking forward to more of the TR!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Water rides: Just the one, but it’s incredible! Probably the best log flume I’ve ever been on. There are several immersive scenes, and the splashes (yes, two of them) lightly drizzle without soaking, which is very important for an indoor ride. Add to it a highly themed queue, and this ride is just incredible.

It does help fill the void for locals after they removed The Flume from VF and I am glad NU has this.

 

SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge – This was my first Eurofighter, and since the only point of reference I have is Monster, it’s maybe a bit unfair. Monster is just head and shoulders above SpongeBob, and that’s saying something. SpongeBob was my favourite coaster in this park by far, and third favourite of the entire trip, behind Monster and Renegade. So, for anyone who is maybe a bit underwhelmed by Eurofighters, go ride Monster. It’s not the same thing at all.

 

Sponge Bob is still fun and I still like it but Monster is Sponge Bob on steroids and that much more fun due to that. Same manufacturer but not even in the same realm for comparison, Monster just blows SB away (as it should considering the cost and size).

 

Looking forward to your VF TR next.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Valleyfair!

 

Valleyfair! had a promotion giving a kids’ ticket plus a meal for $34, which is the same price as my Platinum Pass Bring-a-Friend is, so we picked Wednesday for our visit. At opening, we went to Route 76 and I rode Steel Venom (the only coaster of this entire trip that I couldn’t ride with my kids), while they rode the Tilt-a-Whirl and Northern Lights. Fantastic rides all! That out of the way, we headed to the waterpark for a couple of hours, then made our way from back to front. This seemed to be a good strategy, and we never had a very long wait for anything. Amazingly, some of the rides that we had heard were recently taken apart were back up again, including SuperCat and Wheel of Fortune. In all, it was a very good time, and we stayed from open to close, and really didn’t want to leave when the park was closing. They certainly have some areas that could use improvement, but overall, it’s a very fun place.

 

Theming: They attempt a little in the old west section around Renegade, but no, there’s really nothing to speak of here. The park is beautiful, though, very well landscaped, and mostly done with paving stones rather than asphalt. You can tell they take pride in it and make it as nice as possible.

 

Food: They’ve got all the basics covered, and I don’t have any complaints. Chickie’s and Pete’s is great as usual. Minnesota law is kind of weird about alcohol sales, though (and it must be a law and not just Valleyfair!, because it was the same in many different places we bought beer). They take your ID and then quiz you about your address, age, etc. In Missouri, they just check your photo to be sure it’s you, and your age to be sure you’re old enough. That was an odd experience, but hey, whatever keeps the kids from getting drunk on $9 beer.

 

Service: Very good! I found all employees very helpful, food service, ride operators, shop staff, front gate staff. I was very pleased with everyone’s willingness to help in whatever way I needed.

 

Waterpark: This is really the only complaint I have about the day. What was in the waterpark was very fun; the highlight was the Raging Rapids slide. That thing is ridiculous amounts of fun. I thought it odd to have a 56” height limit until I rode it. It’s intense, and completely unlike anything I’ve ever done. Don’t get rid of this; it’s amazing!

 

Hurricane Falls was good, too; pretty standard family raft ride, but you can’t really go wrong with these. There’s only one Zoombabwe, so I can’t complain.

 

Breakers Pipeline/Plunge was very fun; this is a much-needed addition. It’s a long, long walk up there, but it’s a breathtaking few seconds. I honestly like this one better than Mile High Falls at Kentucky Kingdom. It’s not quite as tall or as fast, and that is a benefit. Mile High Falls was a bit painful, and Breakers Plunge is not.

 

Panic Falls was underwhelming, and I could see this leaving for a complex like Oceans of Fun’s Predator Plunge/ Sharks’ Revenge, but a bit different design since they already have the drop capsule slides. Mostly they need more tube slides here. Literally the only tube slide is Raging Rapids.

 

Overall, I love waterparks, but I was done with this one in about 2 hours. They need more for kids, too. Barefoot Beach is a great start, but they need a big play area like Oceans of Fun’s Paradise Falls. That would complete the offerings for kids.

 

Water rides: Thunder Canyon was a very solid rapids ride. They did a good job of making sure no one leaves dry in any way at all. The ending is especially brutal, with a waterfall over the lift.

 

The Wave was a solid splash boat as well. I especially loved that it splashed toward the main midway. We had as much fun standing by the fence as we did actually on the ride.

 

Flat rides: There are several notable ones here. I thought Power Tower was fun, very similar to Cedar Point’s version. Detonator still has the edge, though, with the airtime on the downstroke. Xtreme Swing is great, as Screamin’ Swings always are. Northern Lights, Flying Eagles, SuperCat, and Wheel of Fortune were also fun, and it was good to revisit Monster for the first time since it left Worlds of Fun. We didn’t ride Looping Starship—none of us are fans of that sort of ride—but it is special.

 

Coasters:

 

Corkscrew – This is the park’s only looping coaster, and it’s a good one. I experienced no headbanging at all, though my wife did on the second corkscrew.

 

Cosmic Coaster – Different from its Worlds of Fun counterpart, this one is a powered coaster. The downward helix was fun, and the kids liked it. Not much else to say about that.

 

Excalibur – If they’re going to take out one coaster, this should be the one. It was fun, but not nearly as exciting as the others. The airtime on the figure 8 was a nice surprise.

 

High Roller – The classic woodie! If only more children’s areas had a coaster like this! Really puts Worlds of Fun’s Wacky Worm to shame.

 

Mad Mouse – This is the best mouse coaster! It felt really solid, didn’t have any odd bumps or jolts, and had plenty of lateral goodness. If only they didn’t stack all the cars every lap…. Wow, why bother having more than 3 cars if you’re going to run it that badly?

 

Renegade – Best coaster of the entire trip. It’s relentless, powerful, fast, and it does not want you in your seat ever. I think I still give the edge to Prowler, but just barely. Wow.

 

Steel Venom – I love these, and this one was especially cool with the holding brake. Really unnerving in the front seat looking straight down.

 

Wild Thing – So much fun. The “tunnel” was a little weird, what with its not going underground. I come from the hills, and that ain’t no tunnel. The figure 8 at the end, while not nearly as forceful as Mamba’s helix, was fun nonetheless.

 

Overall, with the amount of negativity directed toward Valleyfair! on this forum, most of it is completely undeserved. Yes, it would be nice to have a modern looping coaster, but it needs a better waterpark first. That’s the glaring need, and the main thing that keeps this from being a two-day park.

20160803_093117.thumb.jpg.864225c60dccef6f7879d48d7ea686a7.jpg

First coaster of the day! But if the venom's made of steel, will I need a tetanus shot?

20160803_115337.thumb.jpg.43b4dd8a77272af882c3d48235bf13ba.jpg

Ooh, that thing looks really wild....

20160803_093124.thumb.jpg.c727330985e6d56f2aa84f63ba1c33ee.jpg

Valleyfair! The exclamation mark is part of the name, so you have to shout it.

20160803_094803.thumb.jpg.073bce34be3d9e47691c1bef67d2d1e4.jpg

It has some great views.

20160803_094813.thumb.jpg.80a1d0be3f3a8accd83ec4b1eb210cce.jpg

Very nice entrance plaza.

20160803_103241.thumb.jpg.a7a93bdaed7f359e05062cbbb0679c30.jpg

This is the first one I've been on that had the holding brake. Really unnerving in the front row.

20160803_103247.thumb.jpg.e5f535397989238f5b8797c2ac15ff33.jpg

I love these things. The launch is something else.

20160803_103313.thumb.jpg.64a0bf699d43d7c571a096b7dd35abe7.jpg

This ride features both tilts and whirls.

20160803_104354.thumb.jpg.6fa27074b2df4c857bf36d947686520d.jpg

Wheeee!

20160803_112401.thumb.jpg.ab87a3215bdea9f1f8fe9bf0bea7dbba.jpg

This is the single sh*t parks give about anniversaries. This right here.

20160803_113200.thumb.jpg.d31743c0313fb11ecb497fba9809b614.jpg

Robot zombie dinosaurs lurk behind this gate.

20160803_113243.thumb.jpg.8ca407361c39bd9f8ed0bf2e0636d6fa.jpg

Hmm, we shouldn't have run onto that boat, I think.... Yeah, that didn't help.

20160803_113339.thumb.jpg.9c5e1cfc47c7167804a23974f2f3f50d.jpg

Oh no! One got out! Run for your liiiiiiiives!

20160803_113453.thumb.jpg.d607b0ea3369dd03d24a5bc845879ffe.jpg

With such bad luck, what else would we do? Ferris wheel!

20160803_114108.thumb.jpg.b3e9799dcdbec37f937ff1ebb53722f0.jpg

The craziest thing about this mouse is the ridiculous stacking.

20160803_113504.thumb.jpg.ec0a6c4da9eb8bb39a6129d9900357ea.jpg

We finally escaped the robot zombie dinosaur, but we ran straight into a monster. We have the worst luck.

20160803_113619.thumb.jpg.c86ea17e531de2ac00c685d4b1d4616a.jpg

Something is screwy in the planet of Snoopy.

20160803_113836.thumb.jpg.ad9d48f8f670464cf7f068e9dc8b61ae.jpg

Follow the ... what colour is this brick road? Tan? I don't know.

20160803_113859.thumb.jpg.2027a71f37980e8731fabbfe23c80207.jpg

Traffic jam.

20160803_113938.thumb.jpg.8fdf2eea4777be57c8c8e7cccfffbf67.jpg

Rides for young and old.

20160803_114151.thumb.jpg.7c5a02f1788579ed9955bb4e9e35412c.jpg

20160803_114259.thumb.jpg.cc95b1bfaf528594b19276ef56c6eec8.jpg

20160803_114355.thumb.jpg.ad22ff697befb45d558a6c0000e45f95.jpg

It's a bright day in the city that always soaks.

20160803_114920.thumb.jpg.bf44c4b8c0afb27e536d8c51e3ac418f.jpg

Food truck!

20160803_115445.thumb.jpg.8cdcca41403b86b394d0370bfa63991c.jpg

Well, I found the obligatory Coasters.

20160803_115503.thumb.jpg.7ff35b462e1af2d2cd05242788722f9f.jpg

Only this one has a friend.

20160803_115508.thumb.jpg.00fa5a90ba2d6eb59d5eefe3bed60103.jpg

20160803_115516.thumb.jpg.4897c824abe3c9daeecf1ec76000c196.jpg

I can say with all accuracy that this is the best day I've ever had at Valleyfair!

20160803_115606.thumb.jpg.1f73178ea3c1416683441fa82ee4602e.jpg

Oh hell no.

20160803_115629.thumb.jpg.68b85eb5e6deaf2d98b5f15c3250520d.jpg

The cars...they go bump in the night....

20160803_115652.thumb.jpg.21a9b5cb16fe8c5634f027e867db0991.jpg

It's a bird! It's a mouse toy! It's SuperCat!

20160803_180000.thumb.jpg.965adf979b54ee09e685ec6daf51161e.jpg

They see me rollin', they hatin'.

20160803_180319.thumb.jpg.b78775c58397d7a5d5ab1963ecd07fd1.jpg

20160803_180425.thumb.jpg.4e5e4379c56553142c841bd0e3115996.jpg

This coaster don't follow no rules.

20160803_180439.thumb.jpg.33251259a4648d14cd0d9a1bb892d143.jpg

20160803_182543.thumb.jpg.32f52f719e29ce571e379b4398638ae9.jpg

The ride sign for the new hotness.

20160803_183017.thumb.jpg.7610796098d8e01bc51ffb2b1d10a0c4.jpg

The new hotness.

Edited by ytterbiumanalyst
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice Trip Report! It's always fun seeing other people's perspectives to your home park.

 

And for Wild Thing's tunnel, I would think that they didn't go underground because of the close proximity to the river, but I really have no idea. I think it adds a fun little element to the ride, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the single sh*t parks give about anniversaries. This right here.

 

 

I've been wanting to do a Valleyfair / Mall of America / Target Field trip for awhile now. The fact that in the event of bad weather you can just decide last minute what day is a Valleyfair day and what day is a mall day makes it even more appealing. Neither park seems overly amazing (though the flume at Mall of America is calling my name), but it sounds like it would be a fun trip.

Link to post
Share on other sites

^ You should! The log flume is the best ride at MoA. Neither Nick Universe nor Vallyfair! were the best park I've ever been to, but both are a lot of fun. I'd actually give the edge to Nick Universe, mostly because since it's in a mall, there are actual restaurants and you can go do other things in the middle of the day. Also, sunscreen isn't required, it's not dependent on weather, and operations are better (it's a pay-per-ride model that sells all-day wristbands).

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the single sh*t parks give about anniversaries. This right here.

 

 

I've been wanting to do a Valleyfair / Mall of America / Target Field trip for awhile now. The fact that in the event of bad weather you can just decide last minute what day is a Valleyfair day and what day is a mall day makes it even more appealing. Neither park seems overly amazing (though the flume at Mall of America is calling my name), but it sounds like it would be a fun trip.

 

There's also a billion dollar football stadium that might be worth checking out!

 

As for the Duluth portion of this trip - next time people go to that city, they need to head to the Bent Paddle Brewery. That's good stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites
^ You should! The log flume is the best ride at MoA. Neither Nick Universe nor Vallyfair! were the best park I've ever been to, but both are a lot of fun. I'd actually give the edge to Nick Universe, mostly because since it's in a mall, there are actual restaurants and you can go do other things in the middle of the day. Also, sunscreen isn't required, it's not dependent on weather, and operations are better (it's a pay-per-ride model that sells all-day wristbands).

 

Did you do the Soarin' knockoff?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/