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11 MUST-DOS DURING YOUR TRIP TO VALLEYFAIR

How to spend a summer day at the Upper Midwest's largest amusement park

Image by azaruis/Flickr

From sun up to well past sun down, you can spend an entire day at ValleyFair and still not take it all in. Maximize your time by checking out this itinerary recommended by the locals, many of whom have season passes to the park and know all the hidden secrets.

The park opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 or 11 p.m. depending on the day, so purchase your tickets ahead of time online for the best deals and get there early.

Soak City Waterpark Valleyfair

Image by azaruis/Flickr

9:40 a.m.
Plan to arrive shortly before the gates open to secure a parking spot closer to the main gates.

10 a.m.
Gates open. Head immediately to the newly renovated Soak City Water Park to get a few hours of fun in the sun before crowds hit during the early afternoon. Soak City is a park within a park, so once inside the main gates of ValleyFair you don’t have to leave and re-enter. Grab a locker (takes credit cards) and store whatever you like, particularly dry clothes, socks and shoes for your afternoon thrill adventures. Then hit the nine waterslides, lounge under one of the massive umbrellas, try your skills in the 350,000-gallon wave pool or float down the lazy river that meanders 1,300 feet throughout the park with views of the rides. Plan on spending about three hours in Soak City, ending with a quick bite to eat (the concessions in the water park aren’t nearly as busy as those in the main amusement park) and dry off before heading out to the rides.

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City Secrets

For an added bonus, rent a private or semi-private poolside cabana, complete with food and beverage service, a lockable storage box, chaises, and a dining table and chairs…a perfect home base for the day and night’s adventures.

Valleyfair Landscape View of Rollercoasters and Attractions

Image by azaruis/Flickr

2:30 p.m. – Close
If you are with young ones, head to Planet Snoopy and plan on spending the bulk of the afternoon and evening there riding the 20-plus tot- and parent-friendly rides.

If young ones aren’t in tow and thrills are your quest, head to the top coasters first: Wild Thing, Steel Venom, High Roller, Excalibur, Corkscrew or Northern Lights—just a few of the high-speed phenoms that make this park one of the best.

Other must-do attractions include RipCord, where you can experience the breathtaking thrill of hang gliding and skydiving at the same time, diving at speeds up to 65 mph while free-falling 18 stories toward the ground, skimming just six feet above it. RipTide lets you twirl, whirl, reel and spin 720 degrees more than 60 feet in the air, and Extreme Swing is the Upper Midwest's largest swing set, reaching heights of 125 feet and speeds of up to 60 mph.

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