Mall of America

If you think you have problems with your teenager going to the mall, don’t even think about going to The Mall. The Mall of America is the largest mall in America, so they named it that, and are striving to keep it that way. You can find just about every national chain store in one if it’s 520 stores under the same roof.

They have more than just the stores though, they have an entire amusement park in the center if you get tired of shopping, and for some that would not be in the first couple of days. No matter from what entrance you arrive the whole place is not as visible as most other malls, it looks more like a factory surrounded by parking garages. But that is all the outside needs to be, they made the effort on the inside, and are continuing to expand. But when you arrive make sure you remember where you parked, it would be helpful along with the lot parking number to remember what main store the entrance you came in is, like one of the main four, Sears, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s.

While we were there, the last weekend of September, they were getting ready to televise the MDA telethon, and we got to see them setting up for one of their annual events. They have many different things they put on for attracting people to the mall, and have a calender of things you can check out here: http://www.mallofamerica.com/events/

The building has four levels and the entire center of the mall is the amusement park, but that’s not all. There is also a huge underwater aquarium for the sharks and other aquatic life in the Underwater Adventures Aquarium. The Tunnel is a huge aquarium where you go into a 300 foot long tunnel and get to see the sharks, rays and other swimming things from their point of view. There is a forest area that has not only native animals and fish but piranha for you in a natural Minnesota forest environment. Then there’s the Starfish Beach, which isn’t much of a beach, but you get to reach in and pet several kinds of rays and some small sharks. The cost of this attraction is steep but it is worth it, Adults are $15 and kids are $9 with discounts for others. You can go to their web site for more information on times and prices along with annual memberships here: http://www.sharky.tv/index.html

The center of the mall houses not only rides for everyone but a couple of other attractions some kids might like to check out, like the Lego Imagination Center. There is a store for Lego’s, but the kids not only want to go there, it’s a huge store with all kinds of Lego sets and specialty Lego items, but there are huge Lego creations all over the area including Dinosaurs and astronauts. The kids can race Lego cars and play with Lego’s at the open tables and areas near the store, and the store employee’s get to pick up Lego’s all day that get scattered around the floor.

The Mall of America has a huge amusement park called Camp Snoopy, and all the Peanuts characters are there. There are a couple of roller coasters, a log ride and several other major rides along with many for the younger kids. Of course, there’s a carousel and ferris wheel along with the usual attractions of an amusement park. You can find snoopy and the gang either performing on stage at the Northwoods Stage or wandering among the kids in the park. You could easily spend a day here and not even get any shopping in if it weren’t for those stores calling out to you to browse and shop.

There’s the usual food courts and such, and you could gain a few extra pounds with all the specialty food shops such as Godiva Chocolatier and Krispy Kreme if it weren’t for all the walking you’ll be doing during the day. This is not the place to go if you don’t plan on spending the day and doing some walking, it’s a huge mall. But don’t worry about wanting for anything that is not a staple of America, such as Starbucks coffee or your favorite fast foods, there all here. There are also many specialty or different dining experiences such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Company from the movie Forrest Gump or The Rain Forest Cafe.

The Rain Forest Cafe is one place you need to go and see even if your not going to eat, they are not only a cafe and eatery but a store with all kinds of gifts with a nature theme, clothes, knick knacks and souvenirs for everyone can be found and you can enjoy the jungle like scenery or the really cool aquariums inside, the ones in the mall are round and huge tubes that are connected in one case like a large figure H, it’s really something you have to see to believe. You can go here for information about parties and information for any of the national or international Rainforest Cafe’s: http://www.rainforestcafe.com/

One place kids and many adults might want to check out for the flight simulation enthusiast is the ACES Flight Simulation store. They have several simulation games set up inside special made cockpits with video screens for the total flight experience using the most popular flight simulation games. More information on prices and flight information can be found here: http://www.flyaces.com/

The Mall of America has the usual stores and it would not be complete without the Cinema, or in this case the fourteen screens of movies for your entertainment. On the fourth floor is the AMC theaters and a lot of empty stores, the floor is almost deserted as the bars and other entertainment that used to be there had to close for one reason or another. One restaurant survived the fourth floor evacuation, Hooters, but not much else is there today. The mall owners are trying to attract other types of businesses to move into the mall and some of them have brought controversy to the whole mall issue for the city. But that is for the mall owners and politicians, I’m just plugging a great shopping center and a place for a full days entertainment in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Mall is off of route 77 just south of Interstate 494 on the north edge of Bloomington, go here to find directions and other information about the Mall of America: http://www.mallofamerica.com/about%5Fthe%5Fmall/mall_info.aspx

The Mall Of America, or MOA as they like to have it, is one great big shopping center and is one trip that is worth it for anyone who enjoys browsing all the different kinds of stores under one roof, many of the entertainment such as Snoopy Camp and the Underwater Aquarium are also worth checking out and having fun at. Two things not to miss are the aquariums at the Rainforest Cafe and the Lego creations, have fun at the MOA.

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