In honor of Presidents Day, I’m remembering the Metrodome, named after Minnesota’s own 38th Vice President of the United States, Hubert H. Humphrey. Built in 1982 and recently torn down to make way for the new U.S. Bank Stadium, the “Dome” was home to the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings for years. It hosted two World Series Championships, a Super Bowl and countless games. While it didn’t have the most striking architecture, the Metrodome was one of my favorite places to go. Target Field is lovely, but honestly, there was nothing like the roar of the crowd, the Homer Hankies waving in the air and the playoff atmosphere in the Dome.
While I attended many great games there, probably my most memorable was Game 163 in 2009. After the regularly scheduled 162 games, there was a tie for first place between the Twins and the Detroit Tigers, so there was a one game playoff required. Hosted at the Dome, the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers with a game-ending hit…the crowd erupted and it was just amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the excitement of that historical game.
Cheers to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for hosting some of Minnesota’s best moments in sports!
For years I’ve been saying, “this year I need to check out the St. Paul Winter Carnival”…and then it arrives and for one reason or another I don’t make it to the events. But finally, this year I made it! On Saturday, I headed to Rice Park to check out the ice sculptures and the mini ice palace, hear some live music and have a glass of Minnesota-made “Vulcan’s Revenge” red wine from the Cannon River Winery at the Summit Ice Bar. It was lovely! While the mild temperatures had caused some melting, the ice sculptures were amazing and the ice bar was so cool (sorry, so cliche but I couldn’t resist)! We got our photo taken on the ice throne in the mini ice palace and stopped to see the Charles Schulz sculptures around Rice Park.
Across the street people were ice skating in the city and within Landmark Center there was an Ice Palace exhibit with miniature models of all the ice palaces since the first St. Paul Winter Carnival in 1886. It was fun to see the replica of the first ice palace I visited back when I was a youngster in 1986…I still remember how impressed I was by the huge castle made of ice!
Ice Palace Replica
Inside Landmark Center
Charlie Brown & Snoopy (with the mini horses for kids to ride during the carnival)
Being downtown St. Paul also gave us the chance to dine at Pazzaluna—a fantastic Italian eatery. We were extremely lucky and managed to get a table by the window with a view of the Torchlight Parade (they had a “no show” party).
After, we walked through Rice Park with all of the ice sculptures, ice palace, ice bar and tons of twinkling lights in the trees a glow, it was quite magical!
Mini Ice Palace at night
Unfortunately, I missed the Snow Park at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds…but I’m already looking forward to next year! I’m not going to miss out on this fun Minnesota tradition. It’s such a fun and unique way to celebrate one of the coldest times of the year with ice artistry and outdoor entertainment.
What’s your favorite St. Paul Winter Carnival memory?
What’s one of my favorite first signs of spring? TwinsFest!
After months of being away from the ballpark, Minnesota Twins fans are invited to join their favorite players and alumni at Target Field for a weekend of fun and games. Attendees get autographs, participate in Q&A sessions, explore the Twins’ Club House and Press Box while having a few of their fave ballpark foods.
This past week, I was one of the many who participated in this fun event which raises money for the Twins Community Fund. For me, going in the Press Box is probably the best part, there’s something so exciting about seeing the field from that perspective and envisioning all of the exciting coverage coming from that very place throughout the season. I love to look out at the snow covered field and think about warm sunny days, the crack of the bat and the crowd roaring for the home team.
The event gives fans the opportunity to get closer to their favorite players with memorabilia auctions and games such as Bingo and the Twins Fan Feud. Plus, fans can test their swing in the batting cages and see what its like to be in the Twins’ Clubhouse.
Dick Bremer and Brian Dozier hosting the Kid’s Auction
Twins Fan Feud
Glen Perkins calling Bingo
It’s also a great way to check out the event suites, Legends Club Level and Metropolitan Club, while enjoying ballpark treats such as Killebrew Root Beer and a Beef Brisket Sandwich. Plus, its an ideal time to ask about Season Tickets and explore the potential options for the upcoming season.
Beef Brisket Sandwich
Killebrew Root Beer
View from the Metropolitan Club
Looking out from the Champions Club
But the best part? Well, it’s being inside Target Field and knowing that baseball season isn’t so far away…
What to do after days and days of bitter cold followed by foggy wintry days? Head to the Mall of America. I’ll admit, as a local the “awe” factor has somewhat faded over the years, but really it is a great place to meander about. There’s always great people watching, there’s some unique restaurants, like Twin City Grill and Tucci Bennuch, along with a multi-screen movie theater and an indoor amusement park…all under one roof!
In recent years, the mall has undergone significant renovations, including the addition of two new hotels. The Radisson Blu opened a few years ago and offers a modern setting connected via skyway to the mall. In late 2015, the latest expansion opened. While there’s a lack of new tenants in the crisp, modern and very white new addition, the J.W. Marriott has opened…and there’s a sign up promoting the first Shake Shack is coming to Minnesota!
I checked out the new expansion this weekend. I found the architecture quite nice and the new hotel has a lovely bar and restaurant. I was sad to see the newness didn’t have a lot of new retailers to discover…but yet, it’s exciting to see there’s plenty of room for new additions and I look forward to future announcements.
Bar Area at the JW Marriott
The lobby at the new JW Marriott Mall of America
Plus, while I was there I couldn’t help but enjoy the signature Punch at Tucci Bennuch, complete with an orchid. It was a little tropical getaway for my tastebuds!
The state’s been hit by an arctic blast this week…which has put me in cooking mode! My go-to destination when I’m ready to do some serious cooking is Lunds & Byerly’s, a local chain of upscale grocery stores throughout the Twin Cities metro area. When I can’t be out exploring, I love experiencing new flavors and trying out new recipes—and the aisles of Lunds & Byerly’s are an ideal way to treat my tastebuds to an adventure. This weekend, I made a Kalbi Pork Tenderloin (a featured item from the meat department), an Asian chopped salad (Buy One, Get One offer), Chicken Marinara Pasta (with Lunds & Byerly’s own sauce) and my special Mexican Chicken Soup recipe. Plus, I tried Pennywise Wines as they were on the Buy One, Get One Free deal as well! Thanks to one trip to Lunds & Byerly’s, I was able to get all the ingredients in one place and stay in from the below zero temps.
Now if we could just get the temps to rise above zero…
One of my favorite places in the entire state is the Minnesota Zoo (it’s actually one of my faves in the world, honestly). Whether it’s the middle of winter, spring, summer or fall I LOVE going there. I think they do a wonderful job of creating respectful habitats for the animals, while offering daily enrichments AND doing their part to help with conservation efforts. There’s a lot of animals throughout the property, but I have to say I’m rather partial to the sea otters, prairie dogs and beavers. Their enclosures allow you to get up close and personal with the species, while gaining insight on the roles and importance of the animals in our daily lives.
Otter saying “hello!”
Sea Otter swimming
Mother and baby Snow Monkeys in the sunshine
Sea Otter Snacktime
Love this face!
I find visiting on mild winter days to be especially nice, as the crowds are smaller and the snow in the outdoor exhibits provides a great backdrop for seeing the animals…it’s one of the few times you can really see the tigers in the Tiger Base Camp.
Two Tigers in the Tiger Base Camp
Moose in snow
Tiger Base Camp
Tiger Base Camp in winter
I’m looking forward to my next visit…as soon as the arctic blast subsides!
I’ll be honest…January days in Minnesota can be downright cold and gloomy. So I decided to kick off my year with a visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omnitheater, for the Humpback Whales film. Fascinating and stunningly filmed, the show indulged my passion for humpbacks—giants of the deep that sing, breach and exhibit amazing behaviors. It was an ideal way to cut the chill of the outdoors and be transported into a unique underwater world. The show will be part of the museum’s Omnifest through early March. I highly recommend a visit! Next time, I’m going to give myself plenty of time to check out the dinosaur bones and other exhibits.
Happy 2016! Where did 2015 go? I spent the year coming up with all kinds of great ideas to blog about…and then…well…they were so good they had to wait until 2016 to see the light of the web!
To start the new year I’ve decided my blog is going to get a new feature, Minnesota Mondays. Each week I’ll share a place in my home state with a special meaning, event or unique activity. So stop by on Mondays to discover my new feature…and cure that weekly case of the Mondays.