As you may know, I love rainy days. We've had a bunch of them lately and I've been taught a new lesson: rainy days with bored kids are not nearly as much fun as they used to be. Today it was both rainy and cold. Boo! We tried to figure out what we could do that was both indoors and not crowded. I thought that it would be great if we could let the kids run around the Metrodome (yes, I refuse to acknowledge the new name). A little Google work and I found that they give tours!
So after naps, we hustled the family on down to Gate F and were promptly let inside. The fee was modest, only $4 a head. The crowd was also modest, I think there were six other people. And the guide, who had obviously been doing this for some time. He was both smart and funny.
We got to see the baseball press box first.
Then we went down into the interior tunnels and were led onto the field. I've seen hundreds (thousands?) of games at the dome, been to about twenty and yet I've never been on the field before. They have something called 'field turf' which is artificial grass heavily seeded with tiny black rubber pellets. When you see a football bounce on the turf, you notice a kind of splash. That's the rubber bits.
DF ran a bit on the field and I got to feel the 'baggie' in right field. I was tempted to jump up against it like I was robbing a hit but I didn't. Some of Gopher baseball players were getting ready for a game tonight and we could see them stretching and playing catch.
Then we went back up the tunnel and some very kind Gopher coach gave Relia and DF a Big 10 baseball. They were both thrilled. Against all odds, neither of them threw the ball away (though DF really tried to!). While in the tunnel we were told about all of the prep that is done before a monster truck rally. They bring the dirt in on big dump trucks. They can't simply open a door and leave it open or the dome would deflate. So they have a kind of air lock/garage that they use. Prep for the rally takes about three whole days.
Next we went to the Viking locker room. Much, much smaller than I'd expected. The guide explained that the team was only there for the short time before and after the game so they didn't need much room. He told us that the visitor's locker room was even smaller.
We then went through the football press box and up to a luxury suite.
If you want a suite for a Viking game it will set you back $5000 - $8000. Of course, they've all been rented out, so there are no openings for the immediate future. I'll stay at home and watch, thank you very much. Heck, it would be cheaper to rent out a sports bar!
At the end of the tour we were all handed a piece of the dome roof. It feels very plastic-y. Then we got to stand near one of the doors while the guide let some of the air through. Woosh!
It was totally worth it!