Home of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings and Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins, Mall of America Field (formerly called the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome) opened in 1982. Its seating capacity is 63,000 for football and 55,883 for baseball.
The most notable feature of Mall of America Field is its ten-acre (four-hectare) Teflon-coated fiberglass dome. The dome is air supported and requires 250,000 cubic feet (7,079 cubic meters) of air pressure per minute to stay inflated. Fans enter through revolving doors which prevent the escape of air pressure. At least three times during its history, slight tears in the fiberglass caused by heavy snow have resulted in the collapse of the dome.
Home of the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild, the Xcel Energy Center opened in 2000 as part of the RiverCentre Convention Center Complex. Its seating capacity for hockey games is 18,064.
In addition to major league hockey, the Xcel Energy Center hosts various high school tournaments and championships, as well as college sporting events. The arena is also used as a venue for major concerts, circuses, ice shows, and other forms of entertainment.
Former home of the Minnesota Twins, the Metrodome was a pretty cool place. This is my review of it as part of my quest to visit all the MLB stadiums.
1) Arrival & Departure
I give this one a 4, slightly better than most ballparks that are located right downtown (a pet-peeve of mine - I mean, what are the city planners thinking? "I know! Let's take a venue, like a baseball stadium, that's sure to draw thousands of people almost every day for 6 mos out of the year and let's place it in the part of town that is the busiest and has the least amount of parking!"). There are a lot of available spots on the street (at least on a Sunday afternoon) and there are also parking structures just a short walk from the stadium. It's fairly close to the freeways so a quick escape is possible after the game is over.
I have to give a special point to the Metrodome for the Quintessential Minnesota Experience that I had - after the game, I rode the elevator of the parking garage with Garrison Keillor!
Nothing special, nothing horrible. I give it a 3.
I thought this was a very comfortable place. Just outside the dome, they have an area available for people to gather and meet up before going inside. Kirby Puckett Place has a lot of fun going on before and after the games. Also, the seats are comfortable, getting around inside the dome is easy and not confusing. In addition to that, being a dome, it is covered and so you know there is never going to be a rained out game. The day I went it began to pour right before I went inside so I was definitely relieved there was no rain delay because I was only in town for the one day. It is the only "air-supported structure" in MLB. Basically, air pressure keeps the roof up. So, with bonus points for creativity and originality, I give this a 5.
I had a really good time. The fans were very involved in the game and the little activities on the scoreboard between innings kept things fun. Plus, I got to see Harmon Killebrew in a pre-game ceremony and seeing a famous former player is always enjoyable. I give it a 4.
So, overall, I give it a 4. I had a really good time. My greatest disappointment is that they are, much to my chagrin, building a new stadium! Now I have to go back! This is getting really annoying. This is the 9th time this has happened to me! And this is a real shame because the Dome is only about 25 years old. There's really no good reason to build a new one. It's the same old greedy excuses about more luxury suites or something, I'm sure (I'm not sure if the fact that they share the stadium with their football team, the Vikings, has something to do with it or not). And then there's the name - Target Center:-/. Just another history-free sell-out of a name. I will be very sad come 2010 when the unique, fun Metrodome is no longer home to the Twins.
Here's another chapter in my reviews of all the professional baseball stadiums...
I had already been to the Metrodome and had a very good time, mainly because it was raining and yet, thanks to the roof on the Metrodome, the weather didn't affect the game. I like that. I like roofs, darnit, but then they went and built a new stadium for the Twins and so I had to go back - not that I mind because I really do like the Twin Cities a LOT - but the reason I like it as much as I do and yet I don't live there has mainly to do with the weather (and the mosquitoes) so the fact that this new stadium has no roof baffles the heck out of me. Still, I was excited to be able to attend a game in the inaugural week of this beautiful stadium. So, here's my review of Target Field:
1) Arrival and Departure
I give this a 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is made of awesome). Normally a park right downtown in a big city is a bad thing but they've made this so convenient. If you drive, there are parking garages right across the street from the stadium and they're connected by covered walkways. Also, the freeway entrance is right there, making a quick getaway easy after the game.
If you don't want to drive (or can't) they have the Hiawatha Light Rail line. This is terrific. It's quiet and handy. The website for the rail service is: www.metrotransit.org/light-rail.aspx and you can take the rail line from several places throughout the area (it also goes to the Mall of America) right to the stadium. It's terrific.
I give this a 3 1/2. It's pretty good. It didn't change my life but I enjoyed it.
Okay, this I have to give a 1. I was not at all comfortable. I froze my ass off, to be perfectly honest. I went to a DAY game in mid-April and I thought I would shatter and break. Now, yes, I live in California but I haven't always lived there. I've been through my share of winters but this is just really ridiculous. If you're selling heavy wool scarves at your team store then maybe you should have a roof on your stadium!!! When I asked someone what in the world they were thinking, I was told "baseball is meant to be played outside." Well, yes, but when that outside happens to be in Minnesota? I think we all agree there needs to be exceptions to rules and this would be one. So, I asked someone else who told me that the plot of land that was donated for use as a new stadium wasn't big enough to structurally support a roof. Okay, that makes sense. It's a shame, but it makes more sense. Despite that hard reality, however, the Twins are promoting their roof-less new home as "Finally! Outdoor baseball comes to Minnesota." Well, What. Ev. Er. People. I'm no cold weather wuss but even I have limits. If it hadn't been such a good game, I wouldn't have stayed as long as I did.
In my attempts to stay warm while watching the game, I really got to explore the stadium. They have a pub right behind home plate on one of the upper levels. I went in there and so did half the rest of the stadium. It was PACKED (because it was so cold, no doubt). Then I just walked around, out of the wind, and had trouble getting around because the areas behind the seats where the restaurants, shops, and restrooms are located is VERY narrow. Also? They sold SRO tickets so there were quite a few people who didn't have a seat, making those narrow halls even tighter.
Now maybe the fact that this was the inaugural weekend for this stadium had something to do with how crammed it was but it made for a pretty uncomfortable experience. Like I said, at least it was a good game.
I give this a 3. If I hadn't felt so tightly packed and if I had been able to feel my toes, fingers, and face, this score would be quite a bit higher because it's visually a lovely stadium - made from local stone and featuring some nice things - like the cute Twins sign (Minnie & Paul shaking hands over the Mississippi River), a unique work of art, and a cute logo (Targets interspersed with baseballs) but I can't help but think the architects who designed this don't realize how popular the Twins are and didn't expect that quite so many people would be squeezing into that small of a space.
So, overall, I give this a 3. There were a lot of things I liked about it but they didn't outweigh the things I didn't like about it. Maybe if everyone who buys a ticket pays an extra $2 this entire inaugural season, they could take that money and buy space heaters to fit in front of every seat so next season will be a little more comfortable.
Equipment: If you go early or late in the season you will definitely need gloves & scarves & coats (and not just for night games). Seriously.
Only 2 years old, but you wouldn't know it by all the mature Oaks and the Pines which are more than you may want. Thumper Pond was cut out of a tree farm and throw some water and hills in and you have a great challenge.
The best feature of this course is the fact that is in an area that is not saturated with tourists. In fact a late June Saturday, we had no tee times and were able to get 2 foursome on back to back during the mid-morning. The cost is unreal as well. Can you believe Golf Digest rated this course 4 stars and yet it is still $30/per person with cart to golf 18. Of course this is through a stay package with our resort (http://YourResort.com)
Equipment: They have nice rental clubs, but we will bring our own next time.