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A Look Back at Valleyfair Through the Years

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

Take a trip with us through Valleyfair's history!

Valleyfair Family Amusement Park opened its gates over 35 years ago with 20 rides and attractions on 26 acres in Shakopee, Minnesota. The initial park investment was $7.5 million.

The park was created and built by two local businessmen whose dream it was to build an amusement park that would provide entertainment for the entire family. In August of 1974, the construction of Valleyfair began. When the park opened in 1976, it included extensive land development, rides, attractions, buildings, and landscaping. High Roller--the sole roller coaster--was the main attraction.

The first two years of operation were successful. Wanting to capitalize on this success and continue with an accelerated expansion plan, Valleyfair’s management determined they needed additional investors.

In 1978, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio acquired Valleyfair, under the management of Cedar Fair Limited Partnership. The acquisition allowed Valleyfair to keep its accelerated expansion plan and also gave the park the expertise of one of the largest amusement parks in the world.

The park continues to grow every year with new rides and attractions. 

Today, Valleyfair is the largest amusement park in the upper Midwest with eight thrilling roller coasters, Planet Snoopy, Soak City Waterpark and more than 75 rides and attractions on 90 acres of land.

When the park debuted in 1976, there were 900 seasonal employees and 63 full-time staff. Today, there about 70 year-round employees. This season, about 1,600 seasonal employees will be hired.

 

1976

Valleyfair opened it's gates to the public with 20 rides and attractions, including Antique Autos, Bumper Cars, Ferris Wheel, High Roller, Scrambler, SuperCat and Wheel of Fortune. Most rides and attractions are still in the Park today.

1978

Known as Ye Olde Log Flume until the early 1990s, the Flume was a log flume ride constructed during this year. 

1980

Valleyfair began construction and opened a second rollercoaster, Corkscrew. It became an instant classic with its 1950 feet of track, large loop, and spiraling steel track. 

1983

The waterpark receives an upgrade with the addition of three waterslides, now named Panic Falls Body Slides. Each of the three slides includes tunnels and drops that any thrill seeker would like. 

1987

Thunder Canyon was added, a quarter-mile white water river rafting ride where riders got wet, very wet. The Park also had various improvements and expansions.

1989

A new steel roller coaster called Excalibur was added to the already extensive list of rides and attractions. Part steel and part wood, this rollercoaster quickly became a favorite for guests visiting. Along with Excalibur, park improvements and expansions continued.

1996

The Valleyfair skyline changed drastically with the addition of the world-class hypercoaster called Wild Thing. Over 5460 feet of lime green steel track on teal-colored supports make up this ride reaching speeds of 74 mph and with a drop of over 200 feet. Challenge park expanded with the addition of RipCord, a Skycoaster experience. 

1999

Mad Mouse, a family rollercoaster, was added in replacement of the Wild Rails. Valleyfair continues to improve and expand with various programs.

2000

The Valleyfair skyline changed again with the addition of the 275 foot Space Shot/Turbo Drop ride called Power Tower. This thrill ride was meant to be higher but had to be kept at its already notable 275 feet due to the Flying Cloud Airport flight path. Young guests were not neglected with the new children’s area featuring Frog Hopper, a mini-version of the Power Tower. 

2003

Steel Venom, an impulse rollercoaster, became the newest addition to Valleyfair sharing space near Challenge Park. 2,600 feet of track with the highest point at 185 feet and a drop of 175 feet has riders spinning in 360 degrees.

2006

Valleyfair appealed to playground enthusiasts with the addition of Xtreme Swing. This air-launched thrill ride swings riders up to 125 feet in the air at over 60 mph.

2007

The eighth rollercoaster made its place at Valleyfair with the addition of Renegade. This world-class wooden rollercoaster lets riders experience a two-minute adventurous ride including a never-before-experienced twisting first drop, a low-to-the-ground high-speed S-turn, and a high-speed station fly-by.

2011

Snoopy is back with a whole new planet to explore! Expansion and renovation converting KidWorks and Half Pint Park into Planet Snoopy. The 3.5-acre Planet Snoopy features over 17 PEANUTS-themed rides and attractions; including PEANUTS Playhouse, Snoopy Boutique, Planet Snoopy Grill and daily meet-and-greet opportunities with PEANUTS characters like Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, and the world’s most popular beagle, Snoopy. 

2017

Valleyfair welcomed North Star in 2017! Adding to the park skyline as the second tallest ride (second only to the 275-foot Power Tower), North Star is a 230-foot-tall tower that spins riders more than 20 stories above the ground. 

2018

Valleyfair turned things upside down with Delirious, a 70-foot looping thrill ride for its 2018 season. Delirious coils riders upside-down on a seven-story, 360-degree freestanding structure with a high capacity, high-speed train. Completing ten revolutions in less than a minute, Delirious leaves guests craving more hang time. The ride is a prominent feature in the park’s Route 76 nostalgia-themed area. Delirious joined other improvements in the picturesque Route 76 area, including new shade structures, improved lighting, and enhanced seating and gathering locations. 

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Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

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