MALL OF AMERICA
  BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA
  IT'S BIG...
 

 

The Mall Of America was the very first destination on our 2004 family vacation from Ohio to the Pacific Northwest. I had researched the mall and my 11 and 13 year old daughters and I had learned of the 500+ stores, Camp Snoopy Amusement Park and Underwater Adventures Aquarium and we were looking forward to our visit. I drove all of Saturday night.. We arrived at the Mall Of America just after it had opened... 11:00 on a June Sunday morning... and stayed all day... until about 7 PM.

Shopping

The Mall Of America contains over 500 stores on its four levels, including four anchor stores (Nordstrom’s Sears, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s). The vast majority of the smaller specialty stores are the same ones you’ll find in the mall at Anytown, USA. Many of these stores have two, or even three locations within the Mall Of America. There at least two Claire’s, Sunglass Huts, Eddie Bauer, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, The Gap, Trade Secret, Victoria’s Secret, Perfumania, Bath & Body Works and many others. The mall has 30 shoe stores, 18 jewelry stores, 15 music and electronics stores and countless clothing stores. A handful of the stores ARE unique, such as the Minnesota Vikings Team Store, Field Of Dreams (sports memorabilia), Minnesot-ah and Al’s Farm Toys. The state of Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing, so out-of-state visitors can save a bit on clothes. I bought my daughter a pair of Reeboks.

Dining

There are over 50 restaurants ranging from walk-up snack stands to upscale fine dining. Four of the nicer restaurants are rated by AAA. Café Odyssey is an international restaurant with a diverse menu containing many ethnic selections. California Café features steak, ribs, chicken and seafood. As the name suggests, Mandarin Garden is a Chinese Restaurant. The Napa Valley Grille features grilled steak and seafood. There are several other sit-down restaurants. Fast food and walk-up counters are abundant. You’ll find McDonald’s, two Taco Bells, Burger King, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, A&W and many, many others.

Camp Snoopy

Located in the mall’s center, this 7-acre amusement park is reportedly the largest enclosed theme park in the country. Camp Snoopy has about 25 rides and attractions. Most of the rides are small and suitable for young children. The larger rides include a small and very ordinary steel roller coaster (Pepsi Ripsaw), a water ride (Xcel Energy Log Chute), a 74-foot ferris wheel and The Mighty Axe, a pendulum-type thrill ride. The rides are okay. I rode the log ride and the roller coaster. The girls rode a few of the others. The large rides are fun, but not especially intense. Except for the popular log ride, the lines for the rides were short, with minimal waiting. Large steel truss rafters support the glass panel roof which allows the sun to shine through. Admission to the park is free, but the rides are pricy. Rides are $2.10 - $4.20 EACH. Unlimited ride wristbands are $25 per person per day.

Underwater Adventures Aquarium

The highlights of this small aquarium include a turtle exhibit through an indoor faux-forest... a large tank containing sharks, barracuda and other large fish with a clear, acrylic walk-through tunnel... and a small touch tank where kids can reach in and touch living sharks and stingrays. There are also quite a few small tanks containing a variety of creatures. The cartoonish decor and many of the exhibits are clearly designed to appeal to young children... and this attraction is a good one for the little ones. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (61 and over) and $8 for kids (3-12).

Lego Imagination Center

This attraction is pretty cool. The Lego Imagination Center features dozens of colorful sculptures/models constructed from the popular multi-generational building bricks. The Lego models include dinosaurs, Harry Potter, fantastic machines and "the world’s largest animated, interactive clock tower." It’s amazing to look at these detailed sculptures from a distance, then look at them closely to see that they are constructed of thousands of the little Lego bricks. There are also tables where kids can construct their own Lego models. Best of all, the Lego Imagination Center is free.

Miscellaneous

It takes considerably longer than one day to thoroughly explore this giant mall. The crowds weren’t bad during our visit. I got my first and only Aqua Massage here. Resembling a cross between a hyperbolic chamber and a tanning bed, the fully clothed subject is enclosed within the machine and "massaged" from neck to feet by powerful water jets. One stays dry by virtue of strong, thick plastic sheeting. It was an interesting and pleasurable sensation.

Final Thoughts

I included the Mall Of America on our itinerary for my daughter's sake. They knew of it long before our vacation and were more excited about visiting the mall than any of the other great places we’d be visiting. The Mall Of America is a mecca for shopping junkies, and a novelty for the curious.

 

www.mallofamerica.com

 

  CLICK ON THUMBNAILS FOR LARGER IMAGE
MALL ENTRANCE
.
MALL INTERIOR
.
MALL INTERIOR
.
 
MALL INTERIOR
.
MINNESOT-AH!
.
CAMP SNOOPY
.
CAMP SNOOPY
.
CAMP SNOOPY
.
CAMP SNOOPY
.
LOG RIDE - CAMP SNOOPY
.
MIGHTY AXE - CAMP SNOOPY

 

     
  UNDERWATER ADVENTURES   UNDERWATER ADVENTURES   UNDERWATER ADVENTURES
      .    
     
  UNDERWATER ADVENTURES   UNDERWATER ADVENTURES   UNDERWATER ADVENTURES
      .    
       
  TOUCH POOL - UNDERWATER ADVENTURES   AQUA MASSAGE    
      .    
 

Read my reviews from our 2003 travels on epinions.com:

Helena, Montana

The Oregon Coast

The Bend Area - Central Oregon

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

The Mall Of America - Minneapolis

North Dakota (Don't Laugh!... There ARE some things to see here!)

Science Fiction Hall of Fame - Seattle

Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming

A LIST OF ALL OF MY EPINIONS.COM REVIEWS