Drive A Tank in Kasota, Minnesota
Sep 02, 2014 08:00AM
By Julie Henning
Driving the Abbot SPG through a densely wooded course—complete with giant mud puddle—is the highlight of the 3-Star ($399) experience at Drive A Tank in Kasota, Minnesota, a family-owned business that owns over two dozen authentic military tanks and military vehicles from around the world.
Upon arriving at Drive A Tank, all patrons must sit through a safety training presentation that ends with a history of tanks, their uses, common misconceptions, and the various positions in the crew (from the driver to the gunner, commander, and loader). Heading out onto the course, you learn that while driving a tank is relatively easy (the Abbot uses two levers and two pedals) the conditions of a real-life combat situation are not.
Having navigated through the course with relatively minor damage to the forest, and a muddy pair of jeans*, we headed indoors to fire an authentic fully-automatic STEN machine gun. My heart was pounding after this experience, and while it was somewhat of a total rush, the real takeaway here is never to mess with my friend Amanda.
While it's becoming a popular Midwest attraction, Drive A Tank has drawn customers from across the United States an around the world. A relatively short (1 hour and 15 minute) drive from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, nearby Mankato has a regional airport that services non-commercial airlines.
With more expensive 4-Star and 5-Star experiences and add-ons that that include driving additional tanks, firing more guns, crushing cars and mobile homes, and operating heavy equipment used for combat engineering, it's worth your time to follow the Drive A Tank Facebook page for occasional specials (you can also check Groupon for bulk deals). Ideal for corporate team building events, special celebrations (birthdays and bachelor parties), and even retired military personnel, the Drive a Tank experience if one you won't ever forget.