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Wisconsin Parent

Waterpark Roundup: Waterpark of America

Oct 29, 2013 02:03PM ● By Julie Henning
Located minutes from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, residents from near and far make the mecca to the southeast corner of the Twin Cities in the name of shopping, entertainment, dining, and adventure en masse. At the Mall of America, that is. Chances are if you're a resident of the Northwest corner of the great state of Wisconsin, the Waterpark of America may be the closest indoor waterpark to your neck of the woods. Adjacent to the Radisson Bloomington Hotel by Mall of Ameria, the waterpark holds bragging rights as the tallest indoor waterpark in the United States. And at an impressive ten stories, or 136 steps, the Eagles Nest is America's longest indoor raft ride.Waterpark DaytimeA popular attraction all year round, residents of the Frozen Tundra flock to the aquatic biosphere particularly when all 10,000 of Minnesota's lakes are too frozen to make a splash. Offering patrons enough variety for kids of all ages, here are some waterpark highlights.

Moving a sheet of water at 25-30 miles per hour, the Cascade Falls FlowRider is not for the faint of heart (or weak of bathing suit). Flow RiderCoaching a fearless third-grade girl out onto a body board, I did observe that the FlowRider lifeguards were quite accommodating to a wide range of experience and abilities. If you have a camera with an expensive lens, watch out for the guy pictured in the photo above!Eagles Nest OutsideA close second to FlowRider was the ten-story Eagle's Nest raft ride. As if your legs weren't tired from endless miles lapping around the Mall of America, the bun-burning flights and flights of stairs will surely allow for a calorie replenish at the Camp MiniPoint snack bar.Fort SnellingBeyond that, third place is a draw between the wave pool, lazy river, basketball hoops in the activity pool, and the Fort Snelling play structure for younger kids. The semi-secluded hot springs hot tubs get two wrinkly thumbs up.Norhtern Lights ArcadeIf you need a break from the waterpark, step across the hall to the Northern Lights Arcade, featuring the standard assortment of interactive video games, air hockey, and platform dance stations that remind your legs they are still worn out from the Eagle's Nest ascent. Patrons in need of pampering should make an appointment at the hotel spa on the second floor.

Air HockeyFor those of us out-of-towners, staying right at the Radisson Bloomington Hotel is a luxury and a convenience all wrapped into one. Suites range in size and price and the hotel offers both a best-price guarantee and a deals page for special ongoing and seasonal promotions. If you are looking for a little extra space to unwind and even dine in your room, the Family Suite is ideal for larger families or people (me) who strategically stocked up on mounds of clothing and shoes without paying state sales tax (thanks Minnesota!).GrandSuite650Waterpark passes are available both as a lodging package and at a standalone rate. We enjoyed a $5 discount to the waterpark by purchasing the ticket in advance directly from the waterpark website.Radisson HotelOther ideas for saving money include a 20% off admission coupon to the waterpark located in the 2013 Coupon Book (available to purchase at a Mall of America information kiosk for $9.95). You may also want to plan ahead and pick up a Minneapolis Entertainment coupon book or purchase The Big Ticket, offered the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A special thanks to Waterpark of America and the Radisson Bloomington Hotel at the Mall of America for providing our family complimentary lodging and daily waterpark passes. Wisconsin Parent does not endorse any establishment, event, organization or venue we wouldn’t take our own families to.