Gatis and Peggy Valters spent their entire lives working with planes. When the opportunity came to transform their aircraft repair business into a fixed-base operation and flight school, they established Valters Aviation to share their passion of flying with others. The couple employs four flight instructors, who offer both ground-based and in-the-air instruction for aspiring pilots or curious co-pilots. Students are coached all the way through the acquisition of a private, commercial, or certified flight instructor license, honing their flying skills in Cessna and Piper aircrafts.
Gatis still performs full service aircraft maintenance, along with providing appropriate gear from the pilot shop. The mulit-faceted facility also helps clients choose safe flying routes in the weather planning room, and swaps tales of Pegasus sightings in the pilot lounge.
Though they've only been leading paddling tours for a few years, the certified guides of Stand Up MN have already helped thousands of people explore the Twin Cities' local waterways up close. After equipping their guests with standup paddleboards, personal flotation devices, and ample training, they embark on trips along the quiet stretch of the Mississippi River that cuts through their urban landscape.
From St. Paul, groups glide under bridges and pass idyllic natural areas—and from Minneapolis, they can take a break from paddling to high-five low-flying birds from a rope swing over the water. Stand Up MN also leads extended paddling tours to Taylors Falls, where state parks and tumbling waterfalls abound. These excursions are complemented by the company's special events, which include speed-dating events at which participants spend most of the time hanging out while paddleboarding.
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 concession stand, which serves up frozen desserts, drinks, and light snacks.
For more than 30 years, the pros at Northland Scuba have plunged the depths of waters both domestic and abroad seeking aquatic adventure. At their shop and water-filled practice studio, they cover all the essentials to get students SSI scuba certified with classroom, pool, and open-water training. Beyond basic certification, the subsea experts demystify adventure diving and master certification or arrange diving trips to the Cayman Islands, Thailand, and Australia. Since safe diving requires more than a bathing suit and 20 crazy straws hot glued together, Northland Scuba stocks top-shelf equipment from Aqua Lung, SeaQuest, and Apeks.
Taste of Stillwater's annual festival, established in 2011, directs the spotlight toward the palate-popular offerings of local wineries, breweries, restaurants, and food trucks. Throughout the daylong celebration, empty tummies shuffle from station to station filling up on samples of refreshing beverages and foods, fueling bodies to explore the festival grounds' shopping opportunities and to tour Saint Croix Vineyards. Families stake their claim on the lawn area with blankets, foldable chairs, and giant bronze statues of their great-grandfathers before they feast their ears on live music. Taste of Stillwater dedicates a portion of its proceeds to charities including Valley Outreach, a community-based nonprofit organization that supports low-income people with donations of food, clothing, and other necessities.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.