Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back up to Summer....Minneapolis, Minnesota

Each year the girls in my family take a trip somewhere.  We've been to northern Wisconsin, San Francisco and the bay area, and Boston and the Cape.  This year, Lincoln crashed the party, so we went to Minneapolis for some fun.

On the agenda...

  • The Mall of America for some shopping and ALOT of time in Nickelodeon World on the water log ride and every other ride that appeals to a 3.5 year old.
  • Como Zoo and the botanical gardens
  • A river cruise
  • A million dollar park in Bloomington
I look back fondly on my time at the University of Minnesota and living in Minneapolis.  I've always said that I'd move back to the Twin Cities in a heartbeat.  So, when we were planning this years girls getaway, I thought Minneapolis would be the perfect spot for us to drive to...and keep everyone busy, including a busy 3.5 year old.

I was able to get my hands on some free Nickelodeon World unlimited ride passes, so Lincoln was set and because he was 'vertically challenged' as chaperones, we rode free.  By the end of Day 1 Lincoln knew every inch of the water log ride from Babe the Big Blue Ox to the kitten sitting on a chair on the left side of the ride.  He managed to convince gramma to take him on some rides, too.  Poor gramma.

I love Como Zoo.  Yes, it's the free zoo in the area, so it can get a bit crowded, but it's still well worth the visit...and a donation!  Near Como Zoo is a little cafe called Java Train.  The service was very good and the food even better.  On a nice summer day, you can even spend some time in their outdoor cafe where the kids can play a bit.  A funny note...the hand driers in the bathroom are quite powerful.  Watch the skin on your hands blow all over the place :-)

Even though I lived in Minneapolis-St. Paul for several years, I never did the touristy things like a river cruise.  So...we did.  We took the Padelford river cruise.  While the boat was fine, the ride was uneventful and the scenery was ok, the experience can be ruined if your boat is filled with rude tourists.  Smoking is allowed on the upper deck in the back, so that was one strike against the experience.  Rude tourists blocking exits with chairs, stealing chairs, and just being adult bullies (to other passengers) was strike two.  A crew that was unwilling to intervene was strike 3.  When you get on the boat it is a mad dash to 'save' tables and chairs on the upper level with a a view / 'on the rail'.  Latecomers on our boat took chairs and tables that had coats on them and then cause such a raucous.  If you have nothing else to do, need to waste some time, don't mind feeling like cattle, and feel a need to return to high school, then this will be ok.  If you want to relax and enjoy, I'd pass.

Of course the 3.5 year old in our group needed a place to run off some energy.  The center court at the Mall of America was good, but we needed some outdoor space, so we headed over to Bloomington.  Let me just say that this community invested in an absolutely wonderful free park with state of the art play equipment and rubberized surfaces.  I was impressed.  Pictures below.

A few pics from the trip.

The Botanical Garden and Como Zoo

Padelford River Cruise in St. Paul...and yes, that is a bald eagle!

Playground at Bloomington Park

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