Category Archives: Review

The Great Jolly Rancher Soda Taste Test

I was not provided free product for this review. In fact, my wife thinks I’m crazy¬†for spending $4 so we could conduct it. All opinions expressed are those of my family… and me! ūüėČ

Several weeks ago as my daughters and I were shopping at our local grocery store we came across a small display near the end of the aisle that caught all of our attentions.  It was for Jolly Rancher soda.

I had no idea such a product existed and debated out loud with my girls whether it was any good.  I snapped a picture of it and shared it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posing the questions:

Drinkable Jolly Rancher? What do you think? Does it sound great or gross?”

Jolly Rancher Soda On Store Shelves

I got a couple great votes, some people thought their kids would like it, a college friend thought there might be a reason it¬†was on sale, and Jeni from the blog “Jeni Eats” suggested that a taste test was in order.

The next time we did our grocery shopping we picked up 4 bottles. There were some different flavors like kiwi-strawberry and lime punch but we stuck with the more traditional Jolly Rancher flavors for our taste test; apple, blue raspberry, cherry, and watermelon.

Jolly Rancher Soda Bottles

The Great Jolly Rancher Soda Taste Test

I’ve conducted experiments for my blog with my oldest daughter before so I enlisted her help in coming up with a way to evaluate each beverage.

We decided to break it down into 3 areas: overall taste, how it tasted compared to the actual Jolly Rancher hard candy, and aroma.  Then we devised the score sheets our family would fill out.

Four clear juice glass were filled with each flavor we judged.

Green Apple Jolly Rancher Soda Taste Test

Here are some of our notes on each flavor:

  1. Apple РSmelled identical to the candy. Closest tasting to the actual Jolly Rancher candy.
  2. Watermelon – Tasted good at first but had a bad after-taste.
  3. Cherry – Smelled like cough syrup… tasted like carbonated cough syrup.
  4. Blue Raspberry – Looks like Listerine. Smelled pretty good. Tasted ok.

So, what flavor came out on top?  Apple was the overall winner in 1st place.  Blue Raspberry 2nd.  Watermelon 3rd.  Cherry 4th.

Final Thoughts:

Jolly Rancher Soda was fun to try but I can’t see our family ever buying this again… but as my wife pointed out, we’re really not the target market.

My kids don’t¬†like carbonated beverages, I don’t drink much soda, and the only things my wife ever drinks are water, milk, and Diet Coke.

I can see the younger 5-10 year-old, juice loving crowd really enjoying these. ¬†Perhaps older folks would like using them as a mixer with rum or vodka. ¬†Hmmmm… perhaps I should do another¬†personal taste test. ūüėČ

Have you had Jolly Rancher Soda before? What were your thoughts?

If you enjoyed this head over to Learning As I Go for a taste test review of Wildwood Soda.

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Review: Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium At The Mall Of America

I was provided admission for my family to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Review: Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium

There’s more to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN than just shopping! There’s the Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park… and in the depths of the MOA there is Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium.

The Mall of America isn’t your ordinary mall… and Sea Life Minnesota isn’t your ordinary aquarium. ¬†It’s over 1.2 million gallons of water filled with just about any kind of sea creature you would want to see.

You begin you Sea Life Minnesota adventure by taking an escalator down to the aquarium where you’re greeted by a pool filled with creatures you can actually touch: starfish, coral, sea anemone, and more.

There was an aquarium staff member here giving information about the sea life we were touching.  My youngest pointed out to me how one of the anemone was sticky and tried to cling to your finger.  I gently touched it and she was right.

Next, was the ray 15,000 gallon ray pool.  This is where you can actually feed and touch the rays.  When we were there they were circling the pool in a counter-clockwise pattern.

All we had to do was hold our palm flat under the water and the rays would brush against them as they passed by.  They are very smooth!

Sea Life MN touching the stingrays

From there it was on to watch the sea horses.  What cool creatures they are.  It was interesting to see how they clung to each other.

One of my favorite parts to Sea Life Minnesota is the jellyfish area made up of  large cylinders from floor to ceiling are filled with jellyfish.  The room is dark and the jellyfish tanks change colors periodically.

This showcased just how graceful the jellyfish are. ¬†Very fluid and translucent… changing colors in the light.

Sea Life MN Jellyfish

I could’ve spent¬†all afternoon watching the jellyfish but was prodded along by my daughters who were ready to head into the 300 foot aquarium tunnel.

Sea Life MN Underwater Aquarium

It lets you literally walk through the aquarium and watch the sea life swim all around and above you.

My family loved seeing the sharks! ¬†These weren’t tiny sharks¬†either. Some appeared to be¬†bigger than me and I’m 6’2″.

Sea Life MN Shark

One of the things I really appreciated about Sea Life Minnesota was all the information shared throughout the exhibits.  It seemed like there was something interesting to learn everywhere you looked.

Sea Life MN interesting info

It took my family about 90 minutes to go through all the exhibits… but to be honest, I could’ve spent twice that amount of time just watching all the underwater creatures.

Your adventure ends in the Sea Life Minnesota gift shop.

Sea Life MN Gift Shop

My youngest was excited that they had two pressed penny machines so she could add to her collection.

We went mid-afternoon on a Friday and it¬†was busy but didn’t seem crowded. ¬†If you’re taking kids I think afternoon would be a great time to go.

It’ll give them something to look forward to while you shop in the morning.

If you’re planning a trip to the Mall of America you should¬†add some time to explore Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. ¬†You can learn more on their website here. ¬†I was checking it out and think that their snorkeling experience looks pretty cool!

Have you been to Sea Life Minnesota? What tips would you give to a first time visitor?

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Review: Nickelodeon Universe At The Mall Of America

I was provided complimentary unlimited ride wristbands to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Review: Nickelodeon Universe

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota is big. ¬†So big that it not only houses over 520 stores but also Nickelodeon Universe… a seven acre indoor amusement park with 27 rides.

That’s right!¬†27! ¬†It’s amazing to me how many rides fit into such an indoor space but it is¬†so well designed that it¬†doesn’t feel cramped. Just the opposite, in fact. ¬†The skylights, trees, and plants give it an open feel.

My youngest daughter, age 11, isn’t much of a shopper so she was excited to give Nickelodeon Universe a try. ¬†It meant getting to do something fun instead of tagging along with my wife and 14 year old shopaholic, older¬†daughter as they looked for deals in the mall.

Nickelodeon Universe Wristbands

After getting our wristbands we headed to¬†El Circulo Del Cielo… the ferris wheel at Nickelodeon Universe. ¬†This was a great move and the first ride everyone should go on.

Nickelodeon Universe Ferris Wheel Selfie

It takes you up over 7 stories high so you get a great overview of all the rides Nickelodeon Universe has to offer.  This lets you decide which ones you want to do next.
Nickelodeon Universe View From Ferris Wheel

From the ferris wheel we spied the next ride we wanted to tackle; the Pepsi Orange Streak.

This was my daughter’s first experience on¬†a roller coaster. ¬†It was a fun ride and not too intense but my daughter didn’t quite know what to make of it. ¬†She liked it, was glad she did it, but wasn’t sure she’d want to do it again.

After that we decided to search the park for their penny presses. My daughter has a collection and was eager to add to it.

Nickelodeon Universe Pressed Penny Machine

My daughter has always loved carousels so that’s where we went next. ¬†We both thought it was cool that they had a handicap accessible space on it. ¬†That’s something that we haven’t seen on a carousel before.

The Crazy Cars bumper cars are cool, as is the Pineapple Poppers bounce house, and the log chute water ride.

My daughter and I decided some of the other thrill rides¬†Nickelodeon Universe offers might be a little to intense for us so we passed on them… but if you’re an adrenaline¬†junkie I have no doubt that these thrill rides will have you laughing and screaming in enjoyment.

I was really impressed at the mix of rides at Nickelodeon Universe. They have something for everyone from the toddler, to the thrill seeker, and everyone in between!

Along with the rides, there are a few attractions like mini-golf, a ropes course, and zip line. ¬†We didn’t do these on this trip but on the previous one my daughter did the ropes course and had a blast!

It has dare devils climbing and balancing up to 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe.

Mall Of America Ropes Course

Nickelodeon Universe is a great option for a family like mine; made up of both shoppers and non-shoppers.

The staff is friendly and keep the rides going with great efficiency. We hardly had to wait at a ride all day!

You can pay to go on just one or two rides… but if you plan on spending the day and riding a lot of rides go for the unlimited wristband. ¬†It’s your best value… and you can save $5 buy purchasing in advance, online. ¬†The zip line, ropes course, and mini-golf attractions have separate pricing.

One thing you should¬†definitely do is document your day at Nickelodeon Universe by taking a picture at the main entrance. ¬†Sit right down and have someone take your picture. ¬†You’ll be glad you did!¬†ūüėČ

Nickelodeon Universe Sign Picture

Have you been to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America? What’s your favorite ride?

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