I always find a walking history tour of a city fascinating, but I discovered that taking a Segway history tour is a blast! We did exactly that in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the Minneapolis Segway Tour – Human on a Stick Magical History Tour. Gliding through the Minneapolis Riverfront area, we stopped at several key sites, where our knowledgeable guides filled us in on the historical significance of them.
Riding a Segway
After we fitted ourselves with helmets and watched a safety/orientation film, our tour group was ready for some hands on feet on training. Our guides instructed us on getting on and off the Segway, moving forward and in reverse, and turning. Even though I had ridden a Segway before, I had to re-acclimate to riding. It didn’t take long, though, before I was zipping around the practice circle, and it didn’t take the beginners in our group much longer. It’s easy to learn to ride a Segway.
Magical History Tour
Once everyone was comfortable riding, we followed our guides in single file, navigating Minneapolis sidewalks, streets, and bridges. We even went up a steep incline on a bridge and back down the steep decline. At historical sites we dismounted and gathered around our guide for a history lesson.
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We learned that Saint Anthony Falls, the only natural major waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River, partially collapsed in 1869 and was replaced by a cement overflow spillway. Almost a hundred years later, locks and dams were constructed at the site.
Following our refreshment break, we rode through Mill Ruins Park and dismounted near the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. The bridge leads to Nicollet Island, which stands in the middle of the Mississippi River. We learned that the original bridge, which cost a nickel to cross, was the first bridge across the Mississippi River.
During the 19th century, industry filled half of Nicollet Island. The wealthy lived on the other half. By the early 20th century, properties on the island had been subdivided. The area declined into poverty. The city eventually revitalized the area. and today Nicollet Island is mostly park. We road to Nicollet Island and scooted past twenty-two beautifully restored Victorian homes. DeLaSalle High School and an inn are among the few other buildings on the island.
We also visited Boom Island, which is no longer an island. Now a recreational park, the logging industry used Boom Island as a log sorting station. The name comes from a large boom that snagged the logs as they floated down the river.
Our Minneapolis Segway tour included about ten stops in all. Everywhere we stopped our guides filled us in on intriguing history. I was fascinated by the history lessons from our guides during the three-hour tour. Most of all, I loved zipping along on the Segway through the approximately six miles we covered.
If you take the Minneapolis Segway Tour
The Magical History Tour begins at Minneapolis Segway Tours location at 125 Main Street SE in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Look for the orange MPLS Tours sign. Check the website for further tour information, including schedule pricing and other available tours.
Disclosures: Our Minneapolis Segway Tour was a pre-conference outing sponsored by TBEX and Explore Minneapolis. All opinions in this article are my own. This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a hotel room through this link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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