With more than 10,000 creatures, 30 display tanks, and a 300-foot ocean tunnel, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium gives visitors an up-close look at the sea's intriguing inhabitants. Sand tiger sharks feed on crustaceans and squid, one of the world's largest collection of jellyfish floats under multicolored disco lights, and the popular day octopus emits clouds of black ink to prevent visitors from glimpsing its unfinished autobiography. An interactive quiz trail helps deepen visitors' knowledge of the sea creatures, many of which are on the endangered list and have been rescued or were born and bred as part of Sea Life's conservation projects.
One hundred thirty six steps lead to the top of the Eagle's Nest, Water Park of America's fastest body slide. From a perch on the 10th floor, visitors careen down five floors before rocketing into a pool of water. Greater drops await riders of the park's twin body slides, whose six-floor descent veers outside the building before ending in a big splash, and indoor family raft ride, which travels more than a mile down 10 stories.
Down on the main floor, a 500-gallon bucket douses the children's play area with water every 135 seconds. Games of basketball unfold around four hoops in the activity pool's shallows, and tubes float down a winding river past attractions named for Minnesotan bodies of water. At the Flowrider, guests battle gravity to stay upright on a surfboard positioned on a sheet of water that flows 25–30 mph.
More challenges await guests in an arcade stocked with classic games such as skeeball and air hockey, which requires players to blow on a puck until it reaches their opponent's goal. More than 70 games reward skilled visitors with tickets, which they can trade for prizes such as an X-Box 360. With cuisine including housemade pizza and entertainment such as six high-definition televisions, Water Park America's three restaurants re-energize guests after enduring full days of swimming, sliding, and gaming.
Visitors to the annual Twin Cities Beer Fest step through the gate, tasting glass in hand, and face an army of beer vendors, each ready to supply what could be a new favorite IPA, lager, or cider. The event brings together more than 100 craft beers, domestics, and imports from throughout the Midwest and the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, South American, Europe, and Asia. Chefs sling an array of multicultural snacks in local food trucks such as Chef Shack, Smack Shack, Natedogs, Turkey To Go, and Barrio. As live music plays and the stomachs of competitive eaters let out their most intimidating growls, guests can sip and sample with a sense of pride, since a portion of the event's proceeds support the Emergency Food Shelf Network.
For the race organizers at CampTITAN, a run just isn't a run without a few well-placed obstacles. During their annual 5K, they litter the course with roadblocks such as wooden walls, giant tractor tires, and slides. Runners aren't just confronted with climbable challenges; a rigorous smatterings of ponds and mud pits test agility and endurance over the course of the approximately 3-mile run. Although defeating such an action-filled course is reward enough on its own, organizers don't skimp on the celebration, either. Participant each receive a commemorative medal for tackling the course, a tangible reminder of the day that they looked mud in the face and whispered "not this time, you don't."
Since greasing its first lane in 1958, Lariat Lanes has spent the past half century serving its community with family-friendly bowling and entertainment. Located just a short distance from downtown Minneapolis, the pin-punishing emporium touts a lineup of 12 ultrasleek lanes that lend their surfaces to leagues, parties, and daily sessions of open bowling. Memorabilia adorns the alley's walls to create a timeline of storied collectibles, including keepsakes signed by the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and the Beastie Boys. In between evading gutters and matchbox cars using the lanes as a drag strip, guests can refuel with hot dogs, wings, and nachos at the restaurant or sip sodas and beers in the bar, where local sports games illuminate TV screens.
Water cascades over the precipice of a towering rock face, forming an elevated waterfall that overlooks the 18-hole circuit at Malt-Tees Mini Golf (formerly known as Adventure Gardens Mini Golf). Featured in CBS Minnesota's Best Things to Do in Richfield, the course winds through a labyrinth of colorful gardens and flowing streams, which players navigate via a system of bridges and putter pole-vaulting challenges. After rounds, appetites piqued by celebratory putter-gnawing can find relief at the malt shop, which serves up frozen desserts, drinks, and light snacks.