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Out and About: Valley Fair

1 Valley Fair Dr, Shakopee, MN 55379

Last week we decided that we to go down to Valley Fair before it closed down for the season.  It was really important to me that we get to go to Soak City before it shut down because I hadn’t really been there since I was a kid.  Originally, Dan and I were going to go by ourselves on Monday but we had a late start to the day and traffic was horrible so we wouldn’t have much time to get down there and enjoy the park.  So we decided that we would go on Tuesday with his son because it was the day before his first day of kindergarten.

Let me start off by telling you that it was not a cheap outing in any way, shape or form.  Just for the three of us to get into the park it cost us $106 plus another $11 for parking.  I understand that you are getting a lot for the price as entrance to Soak City is included and you can ride the rides as many times as you want.  So I wasn’t too upset with the price that we paid to get in and enjoy the park.

We had originally decided that we were going to eat before getting to the park because after reading some reviews I knew it was going to cost a lot of money for us to eat inside of the park.  Sadly, it was too late when we made that decision because before we knew it we were pulling up to Valley Fair and to drive past it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.  So there we were stuck going to the Coaster Restaurant and paying outrageous prices for the food.  Part of me feels like they jack up all the prices to really sell the point of buying their dining packages and season passes.  For the three of us to eat it ended up costing us $26.82.  Now if it was a nice sit down restaurant with lots of options that would be one thing, but, for that price we got a chicken tender combo for Dan and I to share and a kids meal for Dan’s son.

Our shared chicken tenders meal

Our shared chicken tenders meal


Kids meal

Kid’s meal

The kids meal was the best “bargain” that they offered at the Coasters Restaurant, it came with the chicken nuggets, the choice of fries or apple slices and a drink.  They did give a lot of fries with the meal but it still was over $8.00 for the kid’s meal and it doesn’t even come with a toy!

After our extremely mediocre and over priced lunch we headed over to probably the best part of our visit which was the Dinosaurs Alive! attraction.  This was a great value for the time we spent in the attraction.  For $5.00 a person there is no reason not to go and check out this attraction, we all had a great time learning about dinosaurs and checking out the robots.

Now Valley Fair is far from dumb when it comes to marketing and they make sure you exit the Dinosaur Live! attraction by going through the gift shop.  This isn’t usually a problem for adults but when you have a five year old tagging along with you this becomes a little problem.  We managed to get him away from the store by telling him we would come back after we were done at the park, in hopes that he would forget all about it.

Next we headed over to the water park area, Soak City, and Dan’s son only had one goal in mind, to be able to show us how he could swim.  I wanted to float down the lazy river but he had no interest in that no matter how hard Dan tried to convince him.  In the end we found the wave pool which his son loved, he had a great time dodging the waves and swimming under them.  It was hard to get him out of the pool but with promises of ice cream and rides we convinced him to get out after about an hour of pool time.  There is a lot of options at Soak City but when you have a five year old along with you your options are limited.  I am not a big fan of water slides so that wasn’t a let down for me but I would have liked to go around on the lazy river and also try out the new rapids slide they have.  If you plan on heading to Valley Fair in the summer this is really a place you should plan on checking out and spending a lot of time at.  Be prepared to pay $10+ to rent one of the lockers in the park to keep your stuff while you enjoy the park and Soak City.

After changing in our regular clothes it was time to fulfill that promise of ice cream, but not just any ice cream would do, it had to be those little frozen balls of ice cream.  Here is another example of outrageous pricing on the food items.  For the kid size ice cream it cost us almost $5.00, for little frozen balls of ice cream!  It just blows my mind how much money they are raking in with their concessions, of course every place you go to they ask you if you have a season pass discount, not sure what the discount is but it might be worth it in the end.

$5.00 for little frozen ice cream balls!

$5.00 for little frozen ice cream balls!


After ice cream Dan’s son was ready to call it a day and hit the road.  We were heading towards the gate and decided to take the route through Planet Snoopy where a few rides caught his eyes.  Most of the rides do not allow adults on them but we did get to go on Snoopy’s Rocket Express which is like a roller coaster, without the hills and thrills.  It was a nice and relaxing ride up above Planet Snoopy and for a five year old it was a lot of fun.  Dan and his son decided to give Lucy’s Tugboat a try also, this ride turned out to be a little too fast and too much for our five year old companion.

After that ride we were ready to head out and make the trip home, but wait, don’t forget about the promise of a gift from the gift shop.  There was no getting out of it, he had been very good all day and listened to everything we told him.  We couldn’t not get him a gift after telling him if he was good the rest of the day we would get something on the way out.  So we headed back to the Dinosaur Alive! store and went on the hunt for a green brontosaurs that was soft.  We tried and tried to get him to pick out a smaller and less expensive option, but in the end Valley Fair got us one last time with a $19.99 price tag on a stuffed animal.

Overall Experience: 3/5

Valley Fair isn’t a cheap place to go, be prepared to be spending almost $200 if you go with a family of three.  If you are planning on going with younger kids it probably isn’t going to be worth the money for you.  They don’t offer options for those people that aren’t going to be using certain features so even if you aren’t going on any of the adult rides you still have to pay like you are going to.  Eating there is a rip off but there really isn’t any way to avoid it being they state that you aren’t allowed to bring in your own beverages or food like you used to be able to.

If you plan on going to Valley Fair I recommend going with people that are interested in the same things as you.  If you plan on going often with your family and kids it is probably best to look into on of the Season Passes and the dining cards they offer.  Seeing the big price tag on everything I can see why I never went to Valley Fair as a kid and I respect that.  It was something that we looked forward to as a field trip in school and I think that is just fine for kids.

One last tip, if you plan on going a great time to go is during the MN State Fair.  The parking lot was practically empty when we went, there was plenty of room in Soak City and the wave pool and the lines for rides and food were extremely short.


Pokemon Experience: 1 out of 5 Pokeballs

There are a lot of Pokestops scattered throughout the park and you know it is safe to go to the stops with lure modules on them because it is a public place.  There weren’t many Pokemon around, I think the only one that I caught was a Nidoran in the Dinosaur Alive! attraction area otherwise I don’t think I saw any other ones hanging around.  Of course, you are doing lots of walking around so make sure to have your app open to help you hatch those eggs.



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