Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Valleyfair!, Nick U, the fair, downtown. All photos up!
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Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby PKI Jizzman » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:07 am

Hey TPR!

In the past couple years I've been trading theme park trips/visits for music festivals, but this year I've done a better job at visiting some new cities and parks!

It's been about 2.5 years since I moved away from Cincinnati, which means that consequently I have a handful of friends I haven't seen in a while. So I kicked off the "don't trip dawg 1 trip each month" tour in efforts to visit new cities and see friends.

September brought me and a couple friends to Minneapolis! Why Minneapolis? None of us own cars, so public transportation allows for easy trips all around the city via lightrail, bus, and bike.
The State Fair!
Target Field (Twins Baseball)
Beer (Surly, Bauhaus brewery)
Music (Phantogram)
Valleyfair and MOA

Chicago x Minneapolis flights have always been cheap, so I left Friday Sept 1 on a flight that got me into Minneapolis at 9am. Rideshare pickup was easy to find and I got a $20 car over to Valleyfair. My 4th Cedar Fair park and first new CF park in probably 10 years.
Arriving at 940, I was one of a few in line on the park's last day of weekday operations.

I traveled with just a large backpack for mobility purposes and honestly... there were no hotels within walking distance, so that's another reason why I just flew in and went straight to the park. Ideally I wanted to get in Thursday night, relax, go to a local bar/restaurant and get up right at the park but honestly without a car, that's not a great option for Valleyfair. Seriously I'd have to get an uber virtually everywhere.

So gates opened before 10, bag in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo and I went to the rope drop and then onto my first credit! Well, passing Power Tower was just too tempting. And you go over a bouncy bridge to get to it! So I stopped at down shot Power Tower for two quick solo rides. This was probably the weakest S&S tower in recent memory, but fun nonetheless.

Okay, onto coasters. Corkscrew was around the bend so I got that out of the way first. Not much to say here other than I got Cedar Point vibes with PT and Corkscrew so close together. One and done lawn ornament. 4/10

High Roller wasn't open so let's get the weird mouse out of the way. Thankfully no one had gotten back to this area of the park yet because the ops were really taking their time and really not having it with trying to handle the small group of rowdy 10 year olds bouncing at the gate.

Fun mouse! Had some nice pops but there was one had brake that prevented the ride from being special. What is this, and Arrow? S&S? 5/10

Back around past the (badass looking) speed slide section of the waterpark I found my way to the end where Excalibur was closed. Boo. Oh well, Renegade is open!
I really didn't do too much digging into POVs or research on this park because I wasn't overly excited about many of the rides. I imagined Wild Thing would be where I spent most of my time, but Renegade was running like it wanted to be the best GCI out there. Seriously, my first ride was at 1030, it was in the 60s, but this ride was hauling.
I rotated back to front while checking on Excalibur between rides. Front? Back? Dang, both really special but the front was better. This is just a prime mid 2000's twisty, buck you out of the seat, you're seeing sideways GCI. I ended up riding 7x. 10/10

Excalibur was taking its time, so I reluctantly left Renegade and checked on High Roller. Nope. Onto Wild Thing.

I was getting heavy "90s Cedar Point" vibes at many points in the park, especially at the Wild Thing station and placement. Another small line and I walked onto the back row. This was a fun ride, but nothing to write home about. I only rode once. The brakes hit hard on the MCBR so there's more to be desired from the return leg. It's like a big mine train. 6/10

The exit spit me out close to Extreme Swing so of course I got right in line. One cycle wait. These flats kick so much A$$, but damn is the ride length short. Ugh what a tease. But some great air!

Looping around to High Roller I stopped at Power Tower for the up shot and again fairly weak for an S&S tower. At this point the down side had the first real line of the day.

Swoopin around to High Roller I encountered my first non walk on! The placement of this coaster is in the kids section, so once it opened up (I'm assuming at 11) all the families lined up. Thankfully, it was only 10 minutes or so. The ops were really enthusiastic on this ride!

Smartly riding in the middle row of the last car, I found the seats to be really comfy! Nice and cushy. I found it to be a pretty fun out and back classic - nothing rough at all. The brakes on the turn around prevented any real airtime on the return trip. 5/10

I noticed Excalibur running while I was on Wild Thing, so I b lined it back towards the weird Arrow. People complain about Bat/Top Gun and Batman at SFSTL being long queues, but man the path to get to this coaster makes you think that you're going backstage. Also what's up with that tunnel? If you're over 6'2" you definitely have to duck!

Anyway, one train running on Excalibur and I walked onto the middle car towards the back. What a strange ride. Everything. Trimmed first drop, an unbanked...overbank? And then a SCARY figure 8 to finish out the ride that is taken at speeds an arrow mine train type should never be thrown in at. But...there wasn't any pain! I anticipated to be ejected like Magnum the way the hills were shaped, but I wasn't. Was this arrow's attempt at a mini hyper like we see today from Chance/Intamin Megalite? Seems plausible. I liked it, didn't love it but who the eff does. 6/10

Okay it was getting close to 1230 and I got a few final rides on Renegade and deemed it time for Chickie and Petes.

Well, that didn't happen. There was a cluster of 15 people at the register bombarding the employees and not getting the grasp of the idea "pay here first then sit and wait for food. Yes even for beer." Something miffed them about not being able to eat the food first before paying. I stuck around only long enough to hear that crap before bailing to the front of the park. I still had MOA to get to so I just had some water and went to Steel Venom.

I'm familiar with these Intamin Impulse coasters, but not ones with the holding brake! Only one train wait for the last row - I noticed the floor seemed closer to the cars as I didn't see many people struggling to get in the seats as I do at CP/SFGam. These rides are awesome. Airtime, the straight up/down views, and positive gs. I intentionally avoided watching the ride run so I didn't know when the brake happened and it didn't disappoint! Totally weird, it didn't mash my balls, and absolutely unique. I immediately got right back in line for a front row ride, then again for the back. 10/10

At this point it was close to 1:30, so I called an uber to head out to MOA.

Scorecard 9/1/17 - Opening to 1:30PM
Power Tower 2x
Corkscrew 1x
Wild Mouse 1x
Renegade 3x
Wild Thing 1x
Extreme Swing 1x
Power Tower 1x
High Roller 1x
Renegade 3x
Excalibur 1x
Renegade 1x
Steel Venom 3x

***Valleyfair doesn't have a pickup/drop off area so if you have an Uber/Lyft/friend picking you up they can enter-exit the parking lot for free if they only stay 30 minutes.
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Today's plan! MSP -> Valleyfair -> Nick U -> Downtown
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A bouncy bridge is the entrance to Power Tower? Um, yeah let's do it first!
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This area was awesome. So much going on! Train, PT, Corkscrew...it reminded me of Cedar Point in the 90's.
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It's a tripod.
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all the "outlaw" themed coasters are awesome. Renegade is the definition of a mid 2000's twisty GCI.
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I love the open air front seats. Let's get it on!!!
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Let's go again let's go again! It was pretty much an ERT session to start out the last day of weekly operations. Yeehaw!
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Wow, we've finally got a full train. Full train is a cool train!
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It's not even 70* and Renegade is trying to run like it's the best GCI out there. I'm a fan!
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Okay we've got some more credits to get! Here's the now 'classic Cedar Fair midway interaction with the coaster' section of the park.
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It's like a big 'ol mine train. Sorry, this just wasn't thrilling to me. I anticipated spending most of my time here but I only rode it once!
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Ayyy Excalibur opened! This ride is frightening, surprisingly delightful, and absolutely odd. Seriously was this supposed to be Arrow's "hyper lite"?
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Let's cap off the visit with some Intamin. Holy crap that holding brake is something else!!!
Last edited by PKI Jizzman on Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:11 am.
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby cal1br3tto » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:12 pm

Enjoyed your report! Your opinions on the coasters at Valleyfair are very similar to mine. I'd forgotten all about Renegade, which is not an insult, just an oversight, since I really enjoyed it when I rode it seven years ago--looks like it's still holding its own in my top 20 woodies, for whatever that's worth.
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby RCjunkie » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:01 am

A very dead on evaluation of the rides. And having "1990's flashbacks of CP at VF" is a good way to describe a lot of the area's. Sounds like you had the perfect day for attendance and were able to fit everything in and then some. Is this the end of the TR or do have State Fair pictures too?

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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby coasterbill » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:27 am

Great report!

Minneapolis has been on my radar for awhile, mostly because of the Mall of America Log Flume and Target Field but airfare out there is always absurdly expensive from our area. I'm sort of jealous that the exact opposite is true for you.

I honestly find it almost impressive that Morgan was able to take rides that are so tall, so fast and so cool looking and make them so ridiculously underwhelming. I find that I like them a lot better in the front since you feel the speed a little more up there and it feels more like you're on a coaster and less like you're sitting on your couch but it's still nothing amazing.

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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby RCjunkie » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:49 am

coasterbill wrote:Minneapolis has been on my radar for awhile, mostly because of the Mall of America Log Flume and Target Field but airfare out there is always absurdly expensive from our area. I'm sort of jealous that the exact opposite is true for you.


It is a really good flume despite being indoors and that it doesn't get you wet. Target Field is a top 5 baseball park, just try to plan a visit the last week in May or later to increase your odds that you will not need a jacket. :lmao: The light rail goes from MOA to Target Field downtown so it is easy to get there.

coasterbill wrote:I honestly find it almost impressive that Morgan was able to take rides that are so tall, so fast and so cool looking and make them so ridiculously underwhelming.


You forgot the 'most supports per square foot' but the rest of the description is painfully true. :lol:
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Morgan: Most supports per square foot vs all other coaster manufacturers.

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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby PKI Jizzman » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:44 pm

cal1br3tto wrote:Enjoyed your report! Your opinions on the coasters at Valleyfair are very similar to mine. I'd forgotten all about Renegade, which is not an insult, just an oversight, since I really enjoyed it when I rode it seven years ago--looks like it's still holding its own in my top 20 woodies, for whatever that's worth.


Thanks! Yep, it's not an insult...just like:
Image
I doubt VF is high on anyone's bucket list (for now), but that doesn't mean it's not an above average park.


RCjunkie wrote:Is this the end of the TR or do have State Fair pictures too?

Nope! got MOA now and Minnie/Fair etc after. I don't have many pictures from the fair, though, since it was dark and just absolutely INSANELY packed.

coasterbill wrote: Minneapolis has been on my radar for awhile, mostly because of the Mall of America Log Flume and Target Field but airfare out there is always absurdly expensive from our area. I'm sort of jealous that the exact opposite is true for you.

I honestly find it almost impressive that Morgan was able to take rides that are so tall, so fast and so cool looking and make them so ridiculously underwhelming. I find that I like them a lot better in the front since you feel the speed a little more up there and it feels more like you're on a coaster and less like you're sitting on your couch but it's still nothing amazing.


Thanks! I know you know your flights, so I'm sure you'll see something come up eventually. If the cost isn't right, factor in the ease of the city's public transportation and getting around. It's worth it!

So far only Steel Eel (and that's the shortest of em all, I think) has been the most thrilling to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here we go, it's time for Nick Universe!
*Sorry for the lack of photos; I was on a credit run and didn't intend on doing a trip report!

Are all uber drivers in Minneapolis grumpy sports fans? That seemed to be the theme for me as I got a lesson about Adrian Peterson leaving and the Twins questionable trades, haha. Guys trust me you'd much happier than a Cincinnati fan haha.

I got dropped off at the Mall of America and found my way to the center where Nick Universe is. I felt a bit out of place since I work with Cartoon Network, haha. I need to plan a trip to Dubai to see IMG and the CN world.

Today was a school day..I think? Maybe it was the last free week of summer, but the crowd at Nick Universe was incredibly diverse. I later learned that Minneapolis took in a good amount or Somoalian refugees... who knew! Good for them. It was a refreshing and unexpected sight.

This park is as unique as the photos show. There is just an insane amount of (quality) attractions fit into a tiny space. Giant slides, zip lines, adventure ropes courses, coasters, flats, log flume, and lush greenery. It doesn't take too long to make a lap around the park, but you've got to go around a couple times to make sure you don't skip a ride.

I was there for the coasters, log flume, and I got myself a ticket for either Shredder's Mutant Mash (the inner facing frisbee) or the Gerstlauer Sky Roller. It was super quick and easy to get all the tickets I needed and I was intent on knocking the credits out quick to get downtown around 4 to check in.

Where I came in the Fairy Odd Coaster (spinner that's been cloned across six flags) was the closest ride so I got in line and found myself on the ride in less than 5 minutes since I was a single rider. These coasters are pretty fun and there was a bit more airtime than I had remembered! There was definitely added excitement the way you fly around the trees, path below, and other rides. 6/10

Also, quick shout out for the fact that I didn't need a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo for my backpack. The ops were super friendly and Nick U could make a KILLING due to the fact that people are carrying tons of shopping bags and riding. Thank youuuuu!

One credit down, I sized up the line for Avatar aka the Intamin Half Pipe. It wasn't a long wait and again being a single rider helped me get on in under 5 minutes. The ops here are great and were constantly looking for single riders. The last time I rode one of these it was at WetNWild Australia and I have to say that I enjoyed this ride better because I wasn't getting blasted by a fire hose mid ride, haha. 7/10

Onto the next one. Spongebob! Hooray for Euro fighters. I haven't been on many of these and I absolutely love Mystery Mine. I don't think it's too jerky or rough so I had no ill thoughts about this ride. Guess what? Once again, the op was jumping and shouting for single riders and I virtually passed the whole queue (it was probably only 30 people deep) and I got right into the front row. Dang, I don't have much experience going to parks solo but so far this trip I was getting all the perks!

Rock Bottom Plunge's most unique moment is what seems like grazing the ceiling at the crest of the lift hill. That was something else. The drop was standard, the loop had some hangtime, there was the odd Gerstlauer quick pop of air before a super tight turn into a Valravn esque inline twist and turn. I would have loved a regular zero g but hey, space is tight. A good bit of twistyness and you're done. 7/10

As tempting as it was to be a roleplay as The Flying Dutchman's booger being shot out of his nose (that's legit the theme of the giant slide, hahaha) I still had another credit to get and I was getting hungry. I had a feeling there wasn't going to be anything special about Orange Streak and I was right, although I'm pretty impressed with the ride length. Fun ride! Two lifts! Minus one point for being associated with the wrong soda. 4/10

Alright, time for some new hotness. I had to try out the Gerstlauer Sky Roller, Shell Shock. It was the longest wait of the day at about 15 minutes and honestly I think there might have been one or two kids paying attention to the video detailing how to flip. The theming is awesome on this ride! The op's booth is a Raymuno's pizza cart! This ride wastes no time taking off into the cycle, and it's a bit unnerving to only have a lapbar while hanging upside down. Since I had never been on the ride before, I wasn't able to figure out the mechanics quick enough to go into a spin out, but holy crap was I able to hang upside down a lot haha. This is a really fun ride and I wish I was able to go a few more time to get the rock n roll down to flip out. Really addictive. 8/10

Welp, only one set of tickets so that led me to probably the most anticipated ride of the day - the flume! I'm an absolute sucker for any above average flume/decently themed flume and this one will end up high on the list. The ops did a great job moving the line quickly as this was surely the most popular ride. I got a quick rundown from a local about how this is the signature attraction and has been there since day 1 (?) Didn't second guess him and since I was up at 5am I didn't have extra battery life to research in line. The ride is a good 6 minutes or so and has a fun build up to the final drop where I'm sure you can get pretty wet if you stack the boat, but thankfully I was paired with 2 light weights and just got a splash. 8/10

After getting all the credits possible by mid afternoon it was time to treat myself to a Surly beer and snack at Twin Cities Grill/Tap ... it's a Let Us Entertainmen You restaurant, so that's a sign of quality that I know and it didn't let me down. They had happy hour going on and the flatbread I had was the perfect mid afternoon snack. http://twincitygrillrestaurant.com/

It was easy enough to find the light rail and for only 2.25 (for rush hour pricing) you get an easy ride downtown steps from MOA. Minneapolis is already making a great impression on me.

Next - Can Can Wonderland, Downtown, and the State Fair!
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Park of the day #2! I've arrived at Nick U! There's just so much going on here. Pretty impressive.
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First credit - the Fairly Odd Coaster! You can find these clones all over the country and they're really fun; especially if you can get the weight off balance
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Onto the next one! I'm about to feel what it's like to hit rock bottom.
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It really seems like you're going to touch the glass ceiling. Definitely the best part of the ride!
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Classic Gerstlauer hang time included loop.
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ahoy there kids! Climb inside my nose and get shot out as a snot rocket! Hahaha it's me the funny gross Flying Dutchman! Don't get sinus infections like me!
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I couldn't really find a good shot of Shell Shock's ride op booth out side of TRP's forums (credit the Nick U FB page). Best ride booth ever!
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I wasn't able to get into a spin out, but I was able to hang upside down a bunch on my one ride.
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These rides are really addicting! An ERT session would be EpIc.
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Don't get stuck eating at a crappy restaurant in the mall ....eat/drink at Twin City Grill on the 1st floor right outside Nick U! And drink Surly.
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Hey look, public transportation that can take you from MOA to the Airport to downtown...all for 1.75-2.25! Minneapolis is great!
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby cal1br3tto » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:38 pm

Nick Universe is the first park I visited with TPR...aww....It's not strictly my 'type' of park, and I don't care about the brands and characters and whatnot, but it's a very well-done, enjoyable place (that flume!).

No Back at the Barnyard Hayride? You disappoint me.
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby Canobie Coaster » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:07 pm

Great report! I really want to make it to Minneapolis someday. More for that mall (since I know the American Dream is never opening) than Valleyfair, but I'd definitely hit the latter in a visit as well.

I'm glad to hear Renegade is still running well after quite a few of the older GCIs are starting to get rough.

How long was the cycle on the Sky Roller? That was a gripe I had at Canada's Wonderland. I knew how to flip and did it on my first ride, but I ran out of time on the second. Once you get going, you probably average 2-3 flips per second or some other insanely fast rate.
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby PKI Jizzman » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:10 am

This part of the TR doesn't have any roller coasters in it, but I'd like to highlight the excellent surplus of fun things to do in Minneapolis.

We went to the fair to see Phantogram, and I had a plan to sneak in some rides but it was just too tough to get to that area. The fair is probably one of the largest gatherings of people in one place! Just crazy how packed it was.

Biking, train, or getting a ride it's easy to get around the city to see a Twins game (the light rail stop is unbelievably close to the stadium. You think the Addison L stop is close to Wrigley Field? The light rail is like 10ft away haha.), Minnehaha falls is a cute little park with a waterfall, and great bars/restaurants.

Can Can Wonderland - Artist created mini golf inside an old canning factory. Fun food (dogs, pizza) even more fun boozy slushies and shakes! Had a heavenly boozy dreamsicle shake with real vanilla ice cream and shaved orange. My friend had a unique sriracha/citrus boozy slushie and loved it. The place also has a unique and vast collection of pinball and arcade games. I'm talking old school stuff from the early/mid 1900s too.

Red Cow - They have 3+ locations now and it's a burger bar that isn't overhyped. Start with fresh curds + tripple berry sauce and get a burger. Whaddya want? Local grass fed? Bison? 21 dry aged blend?
Get the double barrel - 21 day dry aged blend with white cheddar, griddled onions...gah so good. Fries are fresh cut, too. 

Brunch on the water? Cafe Aster. They've got live jazz all day on Sunday. Server was beyond knowledgeable about all things Minneapolis. The quiche of the day and heirloom margharita pizza were awesome. 

Beer and arcades? Updown. Crush some fools at Mario Kart on the giant screen in front of the whole bar.

Want a dive bar that smells like puke but in a good way? CC's in uptown.

We did RedCow to CCs to karaoke at the VFW to Updown which are all walkable in Uptown.
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We made it downtown!
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Get some fresh air and take in the falls
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Okay okay, touristy crap outta the way. Let's have some fun. How about a boozy dreamsicle shake!
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Google, enhance
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Ayyy
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Tons of unique pinball machines and games to play while you wait for your tee time
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One of the holes: "Grammas living room"
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The 18th hole is the "formally longest mini golf hole in the world" haha. The record was beaten during construction
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Phantogram performing another stellar show. Go listen to them
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When you go to the fair you must buy cookies
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And they come by the bucket. It took the 4 of us two days to eat them all haha
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Amazingly there's enough butter for cookies, corn on the cob, pie, aaaaand creepy models
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Next day! Let's bike around the city
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Right next to the University of Minnesota is Surly brewing!
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And then hop on the light rail to go straight into Target Field to watch the Twins chase a wild card spot
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Red Cow is not over hyped. One of the best burgers on the planet
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Re: Photo TR: Mini trip to Minnea

Postby Philrad71 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:03 am

Great report!

While I have been to Minneapolis a couple of times for work, I have never been to Valleyfair or explored much of downtown. One of these times, I need to try to get some extra time when I can explore a bit more.

While MOA Nick Universe was interesting, I didn't really understand why the mall seemed to have two stores of everything. Why not a bunch of independently owned unique type of shops versus several identical floors with over-priced AE, Foot L*cker, and A&F stores? I guess that I didn't quite grasp the concept of having a mall that big with two stores of just about everything.

It certainly was a great place to get some walking in though!
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