^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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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!