Maybe you never considered traveling to Minnesota. To be honest, neither did we – until we were invited to a wedding there. We ended up having a great vacation! There are lots of things to do in Minnesota and interesting sites to see. Minnesota is a wonderful mix of theatre, shopping, great restaurants, museums, history, architecture, rivers & lakes and beautiful scenery.
We recently visited Minneapolis in Minnesota. We stayed at the Best Western Kelly Inn . located in Plymouth just ten minutes to the west of Minneapolis. If you have kids, this is the place to go. Every day, the kids would ask "Can we go swimming when we get back to the hotel?” They have two large indoor pools - one with water slides and basketball nets, the other a wading pool with water fountains. The rooms were clean and quiet. Great place.
On our second day, we took a Segway™ tour. What’s a Segway™? It’s one of those two wheeled vehicles that you stand on. This turned out to be the highlight of our trip. The segways were easy to operate, even for our two children (10 & 11). There is no accelerator and no brakes. Lean forward and you move forward. Straighten up and you stop. Lean back, and you move back. To turn, rotate the steering grip under your wrist in either direction.
The segway™ Human Transporter (HT) can self-balance because of a technology called dynamic stabilization. Dynamic Stabilization works in much the same way your own sense of balance does. Where you have an inner ear, eyes, muscles, and a brain to keep you balanced, the Segway HT has solid-state gyroscopes, tilt sensors, high-speed microprocessors, and powerful electric motors performing to keep it balanced. It senses your center of gravity and makes minute adjustments one hundred times a second.
The tour went along the Minneapolis Riverfront and the guide (Bill Neuenschwander) was well informed about the historic points of interest. The route was about 5-7 miles and lasted 3 hours. The tour guide also took lots of pictures, which were later posted on their website for us to view later. We had a blast - a must do if you are in the Minneapolis area!
After yet another swim back at the hotel, we headed over to the town of Stillwater – just 20 miles east of downtown St. Paul. Stillwater is along the St. Croix River, one of America's protected Wild and Scenic Waterways. We saw a few paddle boats along the river and it’s a very scenic town. There were antique stores, candy stores, cave tours and restaurants. We had dinner at the Luna Rossa Trattoria & Wine Bar, a great Italian restaurant with plenty of atmosphere. I had the Chicken Parmesan - the marinara sauce was great! They had a large selection of wines and a delectable dessert menu.
Day three was the Mall of America in Bloomington. The mall is the largest retail and entertainment complex in the nation and a top tourist destination. We spent most of our time at Camp Snoopy – the largest indoor family them park in the nation. They have over 30 rides and attractions on seven acres. My favorite was Paul Bunyan’s Log Chute, but the kids liked the Kite Eating Tree (swings). It was quite unusual to ride the roller coasters and Ferris wheel indoors!
Later in the week, we hit the Mall again, with some friends who lived in the area. This time, we visited the Underwater Adventures aquarium. This is also a must see. The aquarium has over 1.2 million gallons of water and features a 300 foot-long curved tunnel. A moving walkway slowly brings you through the tunnels where the sharks, stingrays, giant sea turtles and other fish swim all around you. This aquarium was voted "World's Best Shark Encounter." by Discovery's travelchannel.com.
Minneapolis is a clean and enjoyable city, with lots to do and plenty of restaurants and entertainment. We highly recommend that you add it to your list of places to visit!
By Jeff Smith, President/CEO of WeGoPlaces Tourism
Twin Cities tourism & sightseeing