Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magical History Tour

We had a chance to experience being a "Human on a Stick" at the Minneapolis Segway tour over Labor Day weekend.

The "Magical History Tour" is sponsored by Mobile Entertainment, LLC. They started out offering Segway tours through the historic St. Anthony Falls area in Minneapolis in 2004. Now in addition to Minneapolis, this year they added St. Paul, where you can tour the famous Summit neighborhood and other popular Capital City sites. The idea is to give people a unique way to tour areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul and experience the world on a Segway in a way that is cheaper than buying your own!

My parents have had the opportunity to do both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and enjoyed it so much they invited my husband and I to join them sometime. We were eager to try it out! We arranged to go on the Minneapolis tour.

The first thing you do when you arrive is sign a waiver, while the Segway is a very safe form of transportation, you can never be too sure I suppose! You then get to choose a helmet and do a two minute demo on a Segway with one of the tour guides spotting you and giving you one on one instruction on how to ride. I took to it quite naturally actually, the concept is pretty simple, if you want to move forward, shift your weight forward. If you want to back up, you shift your weight back. You twist one side of the handlebars to turn.

After your demo, they gather the entire group for a 15-20 minute safety video. The first few minutes are cute, it involves the entire Segway staff introducing themselves and explaining where you're going to go. Then it moves into a safety video that was clearly more aimed at someone who had actually purchased a Segway for their own use. Granted, there were good tips in the video, but I felt it didn't need to be as long as it was.

After that they took us under the 3rd avenue bridge to practice for a bit on our assigned Segway. Nate and I were pros in no time and ready to go. My dad of course was a show off seeing as it was now his third time riding one and even caused one of the tour guides to go "oh by the way, please don't do this." We got a good laugh out of that though.

Finally they lead you out into the tour. We went down to the Stone Arch Bridge and across the river. The tour guide will stop at various historical points of interest and give a little spiel, and then you keep going. When you reach the Mill City Museum you are given a short break and they provide you with a snack and beverage. The tour continues along the river, back across the Plymouth Avenue bridge, down onto Boom Island, around by De La Salle high school and then back up to where the tour begins. It really is a unique way to see some of these sights.

You cover alot of ground and are much less tired than if you had walked that entire way! At the end of the tour they give you a free ticket to the Mill City Museum to be used anytime. You also receive discount coupons for three restaurants on the riverfront: Tuggs, Pracna on Main and Vic's. You do have to use them the same day as your tour. Finally, if you save your tour wristband you can take money off a future Segway tour, whether it is St. Paul or Minneapolis and there is no expiration.

The downside is that is about $85 a person. However, the tour lasts a good three hours and when you consider the cost of buying your own Segway, it's nothing! Plus, with all the freebees you end up with at the end, it also helps make it worthwhile. It is good fun for almost all ages, children must be 13 years old to ride. We had a mixed age group in our tour and everyone was able to ride and enjoy themselves. And we were quite a spectacle as we drove around, many others out enjoying a beautiful day were stopping and watching us!

We do highly recommend the Segway tour if you can swing the cash. If you have a group of 10 or more they will even do your own private tour.

Nate and I hope to do the St. Paul tour this spring, so we'll report back at that time!

Magical History Tour
May through November, 7 days a week at 10:00 am or 3:00 pm
$80 plus tax per person

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