Mall of America

When I was a wee little lady my father traveled a lot for work. It was not uncommon for him to be crisscrossing the country at any given point. LA, Denver, Minneapolis, Houston, Tokyo, you name it he went. After one of these trips he came back with a story of the newly opened "Mall of America." Now I am not now nor have I ever been a mall person but the stories of a roller coaster in a mall really intrigued me. I asked a lot of questions and even though I was probably only 10 or 11, I put it mentally on my "I should check that out sometime" list. I subsequently forgot about it for 20 years until this business trip and even then I didn't remember it was there until I started researching things to do in Minneapolis. Upon realizing how close it was to the airport, I put it in the plan.

I figured in my head that once you see a ski slope in a mall (Dubai), there is nothing that can surprise you in a mall. I was wrong. Three roller coasters in a mall is very impressive in an excessive way. I went on a frigid Sunday afternoon and when I arrived the parking situation was, well, crazy. The parking garages are just as big as the mall. I think because it was so cold out and people want to be "active" there must have been 100,000 of the 400,000 in Minneapolis in the mall. There were these waves of people especially in the food areas. They just flowed by and I hugged the walls. There were areas where the people were sparse but they were few and far between. The place was just packed.

The basic set up is this, an entire square block of mall, in some areas it is four floors and some three. In the center of this square mall is an amusement park complete with three roller coasters and a flying ninja turtle ride, a climbing ropes course for kids, a log water ride, and so so much more. There was also an aquarium. As I walked through one question kept coming up for me, "Why is this necessary?" It just struck me as excessive. But then I realized that it's Minnesota and if they didn't build a place like this everyone would have to stay in their houses and go crazy instead of being able to at least walk around in the winter. Well at least that is the excuse my brain made up to be able to deal with walking through all that consumerism. I mean it was interesting to see for sure but it was also a little bit horrifying at the same time. I am always amazed at how people choose to use and invest their money.  With that said by the time this trip ended I had been there three times. Once just to see (Sunday), once for dinner (Thursday), and once because I needed something before my flight and it was right next door to my hotel (Friday).

Another interesting thing I noticed about MOA was the amount of ice cream / smoothie shops. I felt like every corner I made there was another one, and not just the same chain over and over, they were all different. I also found it curious that there was no grocery store. I don't know why but I expected one. It's like a little city after all, why not have one.Overall I would say it is a cross between Disney World, a mall, and airport and the DMV.

Ice Castles exhibit in the parking lot. It looked great at night lit up.
"Ice Castles" MOA North Parking Lot