Before the team joined the independent American Association in 2005, the St. Paul Saints dominated the now-defunct Northern League, amassing four championships over 12 seasons. As the crèche of players faces off against its Midwestern rivals, it hopes to one day send envoys to play in the major leagues—a feat already achieved by 15 Saints alumni. As one of the same three owners who've overseen the team since its 1993 founding, actor Bill Murray lends the team a touch of Hollywood glamour, trumping other teams' attempts to replace their bases with Walk of Fame stars.
Home games unfold under the towering lights of Midway Stadium, an outdoor ballpark stocked with several concession stands, a bar, and family-friendly cafés and ice cream shacks. Along with plush porcine mascot Mudonna, a regular cast of entertainers delights crowds as the organist controls the weather with popular songs.
For more than 25 years, families have flocked to Goony Golf for family entertainment ranging from curvy putting greens to a video arcade. When fully operational, three 18-hole courses star a cast of colorful creatures, such as a pink kangaroo, Humpty Dumpty, and a bird in a mortarboard and graduation robe. Beyond the 36 holes, guests can rack up points on pinball machines or head to the air-hockey table to re-create Team USA’s miraculous 1980 victory over the Soviet Union’s giant plastic mallet.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory houses a plethora of attractions, including members of the animal kingdom from court jesters to monarchs, as well as flora-fostering gardens. General zoo admission is free, but today’s Groupon gets families an assemblage of perks, starting with free or reduced admission to more than 400 zoos and botanical gardens nationwide, and early notification of upcoming special events and animal arrivals. Families weary of their usual leisurely pursuits, such as lobbying local governments for crosswalks made of trampolines, can bask in the entertainment provided by 64 points to spend on gravity-defying rides at Como Town, a nearby amusement park. Members also receive invitations to exclusive events and exhibits, and membership fees flow toward new exhibits and zoo improvements, such as taking playing cards away from monkeys.