Mall of America is soooo much more than shopping; Entertainment is major attraction

Mall of America
Shoppers out and about

 

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest indoor mall in North America. It’s the 12th largest in the world. It’s also so much more than shopping…though, that can be a fun experience, as well.

The Mall of America (MOA) is home to the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park. People can jump on rides, such as the Dora the Explorer bus or Ferris wheel. They can have pictures taken with Nickelodeon characters, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Sponge Bob at Nickelodeon Universe

 

The park as more than just kiddie rides. There are attractions for kids of all ages. Ziplines, log chutes, roller coasters and thousands of visitors daily.

Lisa took on the Barnacle Blast zipline. She was admittedly nervous at first. But, she proved a trooper, taking the ride across more than 400 feet at a height of 55 feet above the park floor. The cool thing was that to come back, she had to ride the zipline back at a lower height. She ended up loving the ride.

Ziplining at the Mall of America
Lisa on the zipline

MOA’s entertainment attractions extend beyond Nickelodeon’s seven acres. Sea Life Minnesota gives visitors a great view into various forms of waterlife, ranging from sting rays and sea horses to alligators and Minnesota native fish. A.C.E.S. allows people to take to the air as a pilot battling enemies from World War II through today.

If miniature golf is your thing, Moose Mountain may be right up your alley.

Mini-golf at the Mall of America
Miniature golf

The mall has a variety of attractions. We checked out the Star Trek exhibit at the Exhibit Center. In addition, people can also visit Barbie: The Dreamhouse Experience or CSI: The Experience.

Special exhibits at Mall of America
Barbie Experience

Kind of being Trekkies (we are fans. Not sure I would call me a Trekkie), we sought out to go where no man has gone before (except, likely, thousands of previous visitors).

Mall of America
Star Trek: The Exhibit phazers

The exhibit has a great selection of Star Trek memorabilia, set designs and costumes on display. I loved a timeline following the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk moving to the creation of NASA, and then bringing the Star Trek franchise along.

Mall of America
Star Trek’s NASA timeline

Dr. McCoy’s tricorder and other shows’ medical devices are available for viewing.

Mall of America
Star Trek medical tools

Visitors can have their photo taken on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. “Make it so.”

Mall of America
Tim in the Captain’s chair

The Barbie experience can be booked as a birthday experience. Can you imagine a dozen or so little princesses running around, high on sugar and spice? Lisa can be in charge of that. I’ll be at the Skydeck sports bar and restaurant.

CSI poses the question only one of about a million medical examiners can answer. But, can any of them take off their sunglasses like David Caruso?

However fun the attractions are, the main action remains Nickelodeon Universe. Folks riding the log chute (in the old days, it was Paul Bunyan’s log ride) looked to enjoy getting drenched.

Mall of America
Theme park

Kids seemed pretty excited to have their pictures taken with the Ninja Turtles.

Things to do at Mall of America
Turtle Power!

The park has so many rides. Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge is a ride that would give me a heart attack, but not so much thrill seekers. I respect anyone who takes this ride. Riders go up a track, before basically shooting straight down at 90 degrees once they reach the top. If you don’t scream when you go over the top curve, you’re crazy!

Mall of America
No. No. No. Nooooooo!!!

The Ninja Turtle ride looked fun (for anyone else but me). As you climb higher into the air, riders control can use the controls to flip, fly or twist as the ride goes around and around.

Mall of America
Ninja Turtle ride

A ride more my speed (thanks for going on it with me, Lisa) is the Ghost Blaster. Riders move along a haunted mansion in carts and shoot ghosts with an interactive gun. Ah yes!

Mall of America
Ghost Blasters – Tim’s kind of ride

Another ride to check is the Ferris wheel. I don’t like ones outdoors, but I’ve always been OK with the ones at the Mall of America. I totally admit being a scaredy cat for carnival rides. I had a bad experience as a kid, and it’s stuck with me.

Mall of America
Ferris wheel

Sea Life Minnesota has an underwater tunnel that stretches about 300 feet. You are likely to see a menacing shark swim above you. Kids shrieked when they saw the sharks.

SeaLife at Mall of America
Walking in Sea Life’s tunnel

This is the second Sea Life location we’ve visited (Kansas City is the other). They are different, and that’s good for the company. No cookie cutter attractions.

The jelly fish exhibit is in a dark room with mirrors. The mirrors give the illusion there are several aquariums, when there are a few. It helps with the atmosphere. The jelly fish change colors before your eyes. Very cool!

Sea Life at Mall of America
Jelly fish at Sea Life

I loved the sea horses. It’s always difficult for me to get decent photos of the little buggers, but this group seemed to cooperate.

Mall of America
Sea horse

Sea Life Minnesota gives visitors a view of water life from different water environments. You can see a caiman, among the creatures.

Mall of America
Caiman

Sea Life has a section on Minnesota fish, such as Sturgeon and Gar. I liked the tank’s décor, with a fishing boat at the top.

Mall of America
Northland fresh fish display at Sea Life

The Mall of America can’t be all fun and games. People need to get some serious shopping in. We did our part…kind of.

My favorite store at MOA is The College Shop. It has clothing and other items for several college teams, mostly Big Ten and area schools. But, some regional and national ones. Nebraska has a section of items.

Shopping at Mall of America
At College Shop

I walked out with a new North Dakota hockey sweatshirt. I am a fan of both UND and Nebraska-Omaha, so that always creates an issue when they play each other. I may be the only person in the arena always rooting for a split.

The store had a set of miniature teddy bears in school colors. If they had a Nebraska or UND one, it would be sitting next to me, but, alas, nope.

Mall of America
School teddy bears

Being Vikings fans, we always visit the Vikings Locker Room. Even if we don’t buy anything during that visit, we scope out possible gift ideas for holidays and special occasions.

Vikings Locker Room at Mall of America
Vikings Locker Room

Lisa loves herself some minions. So, we HAD to check out the Build-A-Bear collection of minions. They are a bit expensive, once you buy the minion and the additional outfits. But, you never know what she might find under the Christmas tree in December.

Build a Bear at Mall of America
Minions at Build-a-Bear

We visited the largest Best Buy we’ve ever seen. Yeah, yeah. I know. Best Buy. But, seriously…Best Buy is based in the Twin Cities, so I guess it makes sense they’d have a super large store at the Mall of America. We ended up grabbing some new blu-rays and DVDs.

Mall of America
A very large Best Buy at Mall of America

We fell in love with the Peep store during our last stop at the mall a couple of years ago. So many Peeps…and other candy, such as Mike and Ike.

Peep Store at Mall of America
Inside the Peeps store

The store has more than candy. You can get mugs, T-shirts, caps, games, plush and other toys. Mike and Ike’s Jurassic World?

Mall of America
Yummies at Peeps

Sox Appeal has a store full of…yep! Socks. Regular socks. Striped socks. Even, super hero socks.

Mall of America
Superhero socks

Who doesn’t love Legos? The Lego Store has tons of Legos, kits and even life-sized models. There were so many models, but the Star Wars’ Storm Trooper stood out.

Lego Store at Mall of America
Truly impressed with the skill to create Legos art

If you’re looking to get hitched, The Chapel of Love is available. It may sound humorous, but it’s pretty cool that people can buy wedding outfits there, as well as tie the knot. You could honeymoon at the Mall of America, too.

Chapel of Love at Mall of America
You can get married at the Mall

The Mall of America isn’t without its souvenir stores. The mall has its own gift shop. But, we end I Love Minnesota. You’ll findnjoyed checking out the Minnesota-based stores – Minnesot-Ah! a a lot of Minnesota souvenirs there – shirts, caps, mugs, candy and toys.

Mall of America
One of a few Minnesota-themed stores at MOA

Food abounds at the mall. Several types of restaurants are available for everyone’s culinary tastes.

We grabbed dinner at our favorite place – Bubba Gump’s. I know it’s a chain, but it’s a guilty pleasure for us. The food and service are always good, so it’s nice to know we’re going to enjoy a decent meal on the road.

Bubba Gump at Mall of America
That’s one big shrimp

We had a great server. She checked on us regularly and ensured drinks were topped off, and if we needed anything else. I mentioned to the manager that she was outstanding. It turned out that our server is also a trainer for the eatery. Excellent.

Hard Rock Café is now located at the Mall of America. Lisa loves visiting the Hard Rock Café when we travel. This is another place that we can count on having good food and service. We checked out some of the memorabilia. Of course, the Hard Rock in Minnesota was going to have a display of Prince outfits. After all, he’s a local.

Hard Rock at Mall of America
Prince’s outfits at Hard Rock Cafe

The Mall of America can be a destination for just about anyone. You have entertainment (including a movie theater), restaurants, shopping and hotels nearby (Radisson Blu, Country Inn and Suites, as well as others).

We had a great time visiting the Mall of America. The day flew by. The Mall of America should be on everyone’s must-visit list when visiting the Twin Cities, regardless of how many times you’ve visited. The mall changes often. Additional space is being added for new shops and attractions, including the “Fly Over America” simulator at Nickelodeon Universe.

For more information on the Mall of America, please visit www.mallofamerica.com.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Meet Minneapolis, Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe for the complimentary admissions and tickets for the Star Trek Exhibit, Sea Life Minnesota and Nickelodeon Universe attractions and rides. However, all opinions and views are ours. Photographs are not allowed  in the Star Trek exhibit under normal circumstances. We received an exception for our story.