Reporting Crystal Grobe
Today’s go-kart drivers are tomorrow’s NASCAR champions. Maybe not exactly, but for kids and parents interested in outdoor activities that teach kids important skills in steering and avoiding collisions, go kart parks make for a fun and somewhat educational family outing. Most of the area’s best go kart parks provide a multiple courses, including options for adults and younger children, and fun alternatives for the rest of the family.
Casey’s Amusement Park
1305 N. Nokomis Northeast
Alexandria, MN 56308
Price: from $5 for one ticket/up to $200 for 50 tickets
Hours: daily – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. May to September; call for May and September hours
Casey’s Amusement Park in Alexandria offers everything an amusement park should, and more. Not only may children and their parents zip around the raceway in go karts, but there Casey’s also boasts access to bumper boats, a batting cage, an arcade and mini golf. The go karts here are driven on Lemans-style courses and can seat singles or doubles — the passenger rides free but must be at least 3 years old. For younger children, kiddie karts for ages 4 to 9 keep kids safe away from the big raceway action. Group rates are also available.
Summerland Family Fun Park
Highway 23 East
St. Cloud, MN
Hours: daily – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Memorial weekend through Labor Day; weekends in May and September vary according to weather conditions
Price: from $3.98
Summerland Family Fun Park in Saint Cloud, in addition to awesome go karts, provides bumper boats, batting cages, mini golf, waterslides and a giant moon walk. Kid Kountry is a separate go kart track area for children ages 3 to 8. Children ages 3 to 5 may select their own power wheel to play with, and ages 6 to 8 choose their own junior go kart. Kid Kountry also includes electric junior bumper boats for younger children ages 3 to 6.
37200 Wild Mountain Rd.
Taylors Falls, MN 55084
Click here for prices and hours
Wild Mountain may be best known for its skiing and snowboarding but is also a great family destination once the snow clears for go karts and waterslides. Both adults and children enjoy the adult-sized, Formula K go karts zipping around the tight raceway between 15 to 20 mph. Children may drive these if they are 54 inches tall, or ride along for free with a paid adult if they’re at least 36 inches tall. Otherwise, the kiddie go karts, which run on a 300-foot track up to 5 mph, are available for all heights and ages. These go karts include an automatic brake system.
Related: Family Fun Guide to Taylors Falls
Big Kahuna Fun Park
190 Progress Way
Spicer, MN 56288
Prices: from $4.50 for children as young as age 4
Hours: daily – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call ahead for weekend hours out of season.
The Big Kahuna Fun Park in Spicer includes bumper tubes, mini golf, kid’s rides and, of course, go karts. It features two go kart tracks as well as a Power Wheels course for the little ones. With something for the most timid kids, and the bravest teens — face it, mom, he’s taking more risks than you will — Big Kahuna is a blast for everyone in the family. Inside, visitors may hang out at the arcade or stop for lunch at the Subway sandwich shop.
2250 40th St.SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Hours: daily – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: $6 per ride for go karts
In 2011, Skyline Raceway in Rochester underwent a number of changes and upgrades, from remodeled bathrooms to new owners. In addition to go karting, gemstone panning at Skyline Raceway keeps the non-adrenaline junkies in the family happy all day. The rates for gemstone panning start at $10, but visitors may also pan for fossils and emeralds. For go kart driving at Skyline, children must be 54 inches or may ride in a double cart with an adult. Skyline Raceway only accepts cash.
Christina Majaski is a full-time legal assistant and freelance writer for online and print publications and has a growing fondness for all things related to social media. She currently resides with her daughter in central Minnesota. She writes a sometimes humorous blog at http://www.solitarymama.com and welcomes you to follow her on Twitter @cmajaski. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.