Minnesota boasts one of the coolest amusement parks with some of the best roller coasters in the Midwest. Use this guide to help you get started at Valleyfair.
1 Valleyfair Drive
Shakopee, MN 55379
Valleyfair, Minnesota’s largest amusement park, has been putting smiles on the faces of kids of all ages since 1976. Who says you ever have to stop enjoying the harrowing thrills of roller coasters, the games in arcades, the food, the music and the all-around fun of parks such as these? But with a park as big as this, a little guidance can sometimes be useful to know where to start, what to do and where to go first. Get ready to have a wild time at Minnesota’s biggest and best amusement park.
New for 2014: Route 76
A new section of the park opens this year for eager visitors. Called Route 76 (in honor of the park’s opening year), visitors will be able to enjoy the classic roller coasters of days past with three of the park’s original coasters rebuilt for modern use. There will also be the ‘Antique Autos’ for those who enjoyed the classic cars, and other nostalgic throwbacks to the early days of amusement park entertainment. Located near Steel Venom, one of Valleyfair’s must-ride roller coasters, Route 76 will be a great addition to the park.
Which are worth the wait? If you’re an enthusiast, no trip is complete without a ride on Steel Venom, the deadly drop from 175 feet, with 360-degree twists and speeds up to 68 mph. The Wild Thing is another must, featuring one of the world’s largest weightless zones before a 200-foot drop. Of course, there are the classics, like the High Roller (made of wood, adding just the right amount of classic, white-knuckle fun) and the Corkscrew that always deserve a ride. You can spend the entire day riding different thrill rides, but if you’re running low on time, these are the few that need to be experienced.
Find the roller coasters here: Valleyfair Thrill Rides
Soak City Water Park
For hot days, and for those who aren’t looking to have their stomachs in their mouths from excessive roller coaster riding, the water park is a blast. Literally. Rides like the Hurricane Falls (the best ride in the water park) shoot you through streams of water for wild water fun. Or there are plenty of massive water slides and pools to splash around in. You can also rent a cabana and relax by the pool, a real vacation while the young ones ride roller coasters.
Soak City is located here: Valleyfair’s Soak City Water Park
Enough selections to make any mall or carnival blush, the options at ValleyFair include a veritable mix of familiar chains and options unique to the park. Find classic hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs and plenty of sweets and treats, as well as a few Mexican and Chinese options. Adults, teens and young ones alike will find food to keep the energy up for another round of amusement park fun.
If you’re spending the whole day, you can purchase an all-day dining plan here: Valleyfair All Day Dining Plan
While Camp Snoopy at Mall of America long ago was converted into Nickelodeon Universe, the memory of one of Minnesota’s most beloved characters is alive and well at this expansive section of Valleyfair. Over three acres of Peanuts-themed rides for kids, including Charlie Brown’s Wind Up where riders can swing through the breeze and Lucy’s Tugboat, will take the small ones on a ride across rocking waves. Located between the High Roller and Power Tower, Planet Snoopy is the best option for the youngest park visitors.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.