Valleyfair History

 With more than 75 rides and attractions, Valleyfair is the Twin Cities’ amusement park where families come to play the Minnesota way! Discover your next adventure on one of eight thrilling coasters or learn to love thrills on one of Planet Snoopy’s 16 kid rides. Valleyfair is turning things upside down with Delirious, a 70-foot looping thrill ride for its 2018 season. Delirious will coil 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 will leave you craving more hang time!   

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, 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. Since 1976, Valleyfair has invested over $96 million into the park. 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.



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, construction of Valleyfair began, it included extensive land development, rides, attractions, buildings and landscaping.  High Roller--the sole roller coaster--was the main attraction.

In 1976 Valleyfair opened it's gates to the public with 20 rides and attractions, including: High Roller a wooden coaster made by Manufacturer Rauerhorst Corporation, it was designed by IAD, the coaster may look very familiar that's because its a very close match to Cyclone from nearby Excelsior Amusement Park, Antique Autos, Bumper Cars, Ferris Wheel, Scarmbler, SuperCat and Wheel of Fortune.  Most rides and attractions are still in the Park today.1977 saw the Valleyfair expansion with the construction of two of it's classic rides Monster like a spinning octopus ride & Tilt-A-Whirl.  Both of these rides are located in the same place that they were constructed and still remain a Valleyfair favorite.1978 saw the classic Known as Ye Olde Log Flume until the early 1990s. The Park continued to expand 1979 with the construction of the Enterprise, the Kiddie Ferris Wheel and the steel roller coaster Wild Rails a Schwarzkopf Wild Mouse coaster, replaced in 1999 with "Mad Mouse". Which moved to Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Maryland under the name Wildcat 



Valleyfair began construction and opened it's third rollercoaster, a Arrow Dynamics Corkscrew this very standard layout became an instant classic with it's 1950 feet of track, large loop 2 corkscrews spiraling steel track. 1981 Expansion included Tot Town and Grandma’s Bake & Sweet Shop. The park carried out more work in 1982, Expansion included the Pepsi IMAX® Theater, this larger-than-life screen gave a whole new dimension to movie watching. Other improvements including a multi-level outdoor dining patio, located next to the Flume. This outdoor area is conveniently located within the park and is able to accommodate up to 500 guest. Guest entering Valleyfair were able to check out the new entrance marquee. 1983 The waterpark receive 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. Expansion in 1984 included two children’s activities that enhanced Valleyfair being an all-age amusement park for the entire family to enjoy. With this year, a beautification program was also added to keep Valleyfair one of the most visually appealing amusement parks in the Upper Midwest.1985 The Red Garter Saloon, an air-conditioned restaurant with entertainment, was a new addition this year. It allowed guests to take a break from the heat and enjoy some great eats. Of course, with the entertainment, it made it a stop for everyone visiting that year. Valleyfair also added The Looping Starship, a pirate ship that rocks back and forth until riders are upside down 80 feet in the air. Bayern Curve was brought in and some Park improvements including a waterpark expansion and 900 feet of walkways added. Valleyfair added Northern Lights, a free-fall ride located in the center of the Park in 1986. More expansions also were included in the Amphitheater to allow for more guests during concerts and shows. By 1987 the Barr Engineering Thunder Canyon was added, a quarter-mile white water river rafting ride where riders got wet, very wet. The waterpark expanded and received two speed slides in 1987, later to be named Panic Falls Speed Slides. Riders enjoy a steep drop from 34 feet above. Valleyfair added a new children’s area called Half Pint Park, which included rides, mini-rollercoaster and entertainment geared around the younger visitors.A new steel roller coaster called Excalibur was added in 1989 to the already extensive list of rides and attractions.The Arrow Dynamics coaster cost $3 million and was part steel and part wood this was one of the first time both materials would be used together just like most Arrow rollercoasters trim brakes were added to the ride to stop roughness, this 100ft rollercoaster quickly became a favorite for guests visting. Along with Excalibur, park improvements and expansions continued.


The 90's saw some great expansion and new rides to the park starting with it's own railroad track with the expansion of the Minnesota River Valley Train Ride. This 11-ton engine pulls riders throughout the Park with stops at the front gate and in Half Pint Park. Expansion continued with phase one of Challenge Park in 1991. Once part of the Valleyfair parking lot, this area soon became part of a quarter-mile go-kart track and club house. worked continued around the park including The Wave which was the newest way to cool down on a hot summer day. This flume-style ride made by Hopkins Rides a company that 41 other log flumes around the world and nearly all of them operating still today would bring riders down a steep hill to create a 60 foot by 30 foot wall of water. Guests could enjoy the action from an observation bridge and even there they will get soaked. Other park improvements included two 18 hole golf courses in Challenge Park and a new food concession. Improvements were also made on the administrative side with a new employee cafeteria.    

1993 The Whitewater Country Waterpark was expanded to include a variety of water rides, like: Hurricane Falls raft slide and Ripple Rapids inner tube ride. Little splish-splashers enjoy the addition of Giggle Run and Splash Station activities. Challenge park was added on with the addition of Bumper Boats.

In 1994 and 1995 Berenstain Bear Country, a one acre interactive play area for children under 54” tall was added. Park expansion and improvements included a new food concession. Hydroblaster, a black enclosed water coaster in which guests ride down black chutes on a two-person raft was included in the Park's expansion. 

The Valleyfair skyline changed drastically in 1996 with the addition of the world-class hypercoaster called Wild Thing.The D. H. Morgan Manufacturing coaster is 1 of 9 steel coasters made by Morgan before in folded in 2001, all 9 coasters are still operating now. Wild thing was 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 207 feet and a 60 degree drop. Challenge park expanded with the addition of RipCord, a Skycoaster experience. The sky fun 1 swing coaster hits speeds of 65mph and stands at 18 stories tall. 

1997 and 1998 Expansion continued with a new ride called Chaos. Other park improvements included the new restaurant Coasters and the remodeling of the front gate area. A new indoor, air-conditioned Galaxy Theater was added for guests to enjoy a variety of shows and live entertainment. New additions also included a brand new arcade. Administration also received a new merchandise building.

1999 Mad Mouse, a Arrow Dynamics family rollercoaster, was added to replace the Schwarzkopf Wild Mouse coaster which was moved to Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Maryland under the name Wildcat.



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 it's already notable 275 feet due to the Flying Cloud Airport flight path. Tower is a thrill ride located at two Cedar Fair parks in the U.S.A, Cedar Point and Valleyfair. The attractions are powered by air in large cylinders in which an aircraft steel cable, connected to the internal piston, travels and is also connected to the external rider car. Hydraulic cylinders at the base of the tower provide an extra measure of safety in case of a ride malfunction. Both rides were designed and manufactured by S&S Worldwide Young guests were not neglected with the a new children’s area featuring Frog Hopper, a mini-version of the Power Tower. 

Steel Venom opened in 2003, 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. This new ride uses the latest generation of Synchronous Linear Motors (LSM) ensuring a much higher level of efficiency than previously possible. The result is an ultimate free fall experience in combination of racing/accelerating through the bottom of the overhanging U-shaped track assembly, which is aimed at recreating the unusual combination of sensations.

2004 Already appealing to the younger guests, Valleyfair expanded KidWorks, a rebranding of the kids' area, with the Foam Ball Factory indoor attraction and family ride called The Rockin' Tug. Guests of all-ages enjoyed these improvements and expansions.  Valleyfair added two new thrill rides in 2005 including, a new huss top spin thrill ride named RipTide and Skyscraper a 160 ft tall rotating arm ride located near the front of the park within Wild Thing's figure-eight turnaround an extreme thrill ride. The Midway Games received a facelift and re-theming.  

For the 2006 season Valleyfair celebrated its 30 years anniversay with a new addition the Xtreme Swing. This air-launched thrill ride swings riders up to 125 feet in the air at over 60 mph which made it at the time the second largest Screamin' Swing ride built by S&S Worldwide in first being at Cedar Point called skyhawk

The eighth rollercoaster made its place at Valleyfair in 2007 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 which is now becoming a GCI statement on most of there coasters the ride stands 97.5 feet (29.7 m) tall with a first hill and ride maximum drop of 91 feet at a maximum speed of 51.3 mph. The track is 3,113 feet long, The ride cost $6.5 million.

2008 saw the start of there yearly ValleySCARE, the Upper-Midwest's largest Halloween attraction debuted with the Halloween Haunt. Guests enjoyed a world of terrifying mazes and scare zones, creepy entertainment and, of course, Valleyfair's signature thrill rides.

Expansion and improvement of the re-themed waterpark called, Soak City Waterpark. Some highlighted improvements included Breakers Bay, a 350,000 gallon wave pool that guests enjoy on a hot summer day. Other additions in 2009 were 24 rental cabanas, a new changing facility, merchandise stand and food location.

2010 plans started to come out about an expansion of the kidworks area at the park and in 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.

2012 Valleyfair along with all other cedar fair park introducted Fast Lane, visitors can purchase Fast Lane access individually or as a group, with group pricing offering a lower price per group member. Visitors then receive a wrist band to would give them the ability to cut to the front of the line on the park's most popular attractions

Dinosaurs invaded the park in 2013 with dinosaurs alive Come face-to-face with animatronic dinosaurs at Dinosaurs Alive! at Valleyfair. See more than 30 moving and practically breathing life-sized dinosaurs, including several you can control. From ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex to the towering Ruyangosaurus, step back in time to the beginning of the "Age of the Dinosaurs"

2014 Pepsi IMAX theater and hydroblaster closes. 2015 soak city added a new tower slide 90-foot freefall Breakers Plunge At speeds of up to 40 mph, it takes Breakers Plunge riders less than seven seconds to reach the bottom of the slides. The slide featured among the nation's most insane water rides on Travel Channel's new season of "Xtreme Waterparks. 2016 was the parks 40th Anniversary Valleyfair marked its 40th anniversary with a season-long celebration that includes the return of an original park favorite guests had a chance to earn their wings as the park reintroduces the Flying Eagles ride. Part of the park’s original ride package in 1976, the Flying Eagles will once again soar

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. 

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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