Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
News, sports, local and regional entertainment and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Heading north

Another family vacation is in the books and I have to say, it went rather well. Since we had already ventured to Michigan in June, our traditional vacation wasn’t a full out expedition away but a long weekend spent in Minnesota.

Since it is a much quicker drive, by about half, from our first outing on the road, I was hoping the girls would think it was a breeze getting to our hotel. For the most part, I was right. There were far fewer “how far are we?” and “when will we get there?” comments coming from the back seat then the first time around.

Once we arrived at our hotel, the girls were amazed at how tall it was, seven stories, and said it was very fancy, which is the word of the summer. We entered our room and they set off exploring every inch, each taking turns sitting in the round chair, checking out the balcony and deciding which bed would be their’s for the stay.

That evening we headed to the Mall of America, our primary location for the trip. At the mall, we went to the Crayola Experience, an activity filled sub-area located within the mall that kept the kids busy for hours.

While there, the girls got to design their own crayon label, draw with melted crayons, create pictures that were then displayed on large overhead projectors and learn how crayons are made. The Crayola Experience also had a gym play area, a café where the girls ate some of their favorites and, of course, a store, which you had to walk through to exit. Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of activities available and the creativity the girls were able to put into the variety of work they created. They also brought home quite a few handmade souvenirs.

After we got back to the hotel we headed to the pool. Even though they swim almost every day at home, there is always something special about swimming at a hotel. Our pool, we found out, was a salt water pool which was very different, but not in a bad way. The girls had a great time searching for rings, jumping in and making big splashes and playing with their parents, along with a few new friends.

The next day, we headed back to the mall to take in the Nickelodeon Universe and Sea Life Aquarium. Our only real experience with an amusement park has been at Adventureland and to date we haven’t ventured on any thrill rides with the girls.

Having been to the mall’s park back when it was Camp Snoopy, I remembered there were some little kid friendly rides I thought the girls would enjoy. We started off easy with a bounce house in the shape of SpongeBob SquarePants’ house and then moved on to our first roller coaster.

If you would have asked me which kid of mine would love the thrill rides before our trip, I would have said my youngest. After taking our first time around in the coaster, I found out that I was more than wrong.

My oldest loved the ride and went on it another three times. My youngest said very matter-of-factly she did not like it. She also went on to not like the Space Shot style ride and the Log Ride. It didn’t take long to learn, at least for now, she isn’t a fan of the faster, higher rides.

We went on several more rides and toured the aquarium, which had a really awesome walk through a shark tank, before calling it a day and heading back to the hotel. That night we took a little drive through downtown Minneapolis to see US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, and the city scape of a larger metropolis, a new experience for the girls. The evening was rounded out by another trip to the pool before calling it a night, a little past our bedtime.

Overall, it was a really fun, little trip that brought the girls to a new state and further opened their eyes to the world around them. I can’t wait to start planning next years trip to the Windy City.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at

Loading more