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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Dr. McCoy’s tricorder and other shows’ medical devices are available for viewing.
Visitors can have their photo taken on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. “Make it so.”
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.
Kids seemed pretty excited to have their pictures taken with the Ninja Turtles.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Sea Life Minnesota gives visitors a view of water life from different water environments. You can see a caiman, among the creatures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sox Appeal has a store full of…yep! Socks. Regular socks. Striped socks. Even, super hero 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.