The last two years have been a challenge for everyone but brighter days are ahead and it’s time to get out and have some fun. Our family was recently invited to visit the Mall of America and experience just a small taste of what they had to offer. To say that we had a blast would be an understatement! It was a day packed with great food, yummy treats, fun entertainment, and quality family time. So today, I’m sharing the top 10 reasons you should take time to visit Minnesota’s Mall of America this year!
In 1992, after more than three years of construction, the Mall of America opened their doors for the first time. Now, nearly three decades later, they’re gearing up to celebrate their 30th birthday milestone and plan to keep the celebration going all year, with giveaways, exclusive events, nostalgic throwbacks + more. So don’t delay and plan your visit today!
Top 10 Reasons To Visit The Mall Of America This Year
1) The Rides At Nickelodeon Universe!
Back when the mall first opened, you may remember there was a Camp Snoopy. Over time, it changed into Nickelodeon Universe but still features a variety of awesome rides, attractions, and fun! One unique ride that’s always a favorite is an arcade style ghost mine where you challenge your co-rider to see who can hit the most targets. It’s ALWAYS one of the kids’ must dos and they beat me every….single…time!
From a giant Ferris Wheel and log chute to roller coasters, there are thrill rides that will entice the older ages. One thing I especially appreciate, though, is the fact that they also cater to the younger crowd. One of their newest attractions in Nickelodeon Universe is a Paw Patrol Play area where the younger kids can run climb, slide, and play in a padded area that’s decked out as a Paw Patrol Paradise! You have to see it to believe it as it’s AMAZING!
Our day was so full of fun adventures we didn’t even get to go on all the rides we wanted to! So my advice is to plan your Mall of America vacation to include multiple days and leave an entire day open to just enjoying rides.
2) The Food & Screens At 1st RND
If you’re a sports fan, 1st RND is where you want to be! They are the home for everything BURGERS BEER SPORTS!! At 1st RND, they have no off season.
A great place to take the family, this restaurant has quite a bit of seating and definitely an appealing atmosphere for any sports (or food!) fan.
While they will always have the big game on their state-of-the-art entertainment system, the FOOD is also a HUGE draw for me. (I LOVE food!). The 1st RND team works hard to put out the latest culinary creations and every single item we tried was delicious.
Overall, a great family friendly place to dine and it’s conveniently located right inside Nickelodeon Universe.
3) Dessert At Baking Betty’s
On our way over to Crayola Experience, we stopped off for a sweet treat at Baking Betty’s. They offer a variety of yummy options including hand crafted cookies, pastries, and ice cream; all made from scratch and baked fresh throughout the day.
To be honest, I’ve never had a gourmet cookie before so getting to see all their yummy options was really neat. They offer some of the simple, most classic flavors but are also known for putting a twist on some of America’s favorite desserts, such as their delicious Creme Brûlée, Lemon Meringue, Pecan Pie, and the top selling S’more stuffed cookie.
We asked for recommendations and got a selection that included: Buckeye, Smores’, Crispy Chocolate Chip, M&M, Sugar Cookie, and a Peanut Butter dipped in chocolate. YUM!!!
4) Creative Play At Crayola Experience
The Crayola Experience at the Mall of America is bursting with a variety of hands-on activities! It’s a one-of-a-kind family attraction where color, chemistry, and technology combine to create a colorful adventure for a child’s imagination.
We’ve been to Crayola Experience before but it’s been quite awhile so everything felt new and exciting all over again. When you first walk in the door, you can name and wrap your very own crayon. Then, when you continue walking, you’ll start visiting a variety of exhibits including a fun electronic station where there’s a variety of Crayola themed games and activities to play. This could have kept my crew busy for hours but I moved them along after about 20 minutes so we could continue exploring.
The children’s play area is ALWAYS a big hit. Personally, I really appreciate the fact that they have both a toddler as well as older child areas that are located side-by-side yet separate. With a new baby again, it makes me thankful for well thought-out areas like this that helps keep the younger kiddos safe while playing.
Another fun exhibit that kept everyone’s attention (including the teenagers!) was where we would take selfies and then use the tablets to select hair, eyes, and mouths and create hilarious looking pictures of ourselves!
There’s also a neat area with a projection that has colors ‘flowing/raining’ down on you. As you move your body and arms, the flow is interrupted. If you put both arms straight up, it makes it appear that you’re actually catching the paint.
The final station I’m going to mention is the crayon melting exhibit. This is always a big favorite where we spend quite a bit of time. It’s fun to select a crayon, place it in the machine, and watch it melt down and create a shaped crayon. This time, there were two new shapes: a puppy and a kitty.
The cafe was closed on the day of our visit so I can’t say much about that aspect but the rest of our Crayola Experience visit was loaded with creative play, exploration, and fun.
5) Super Sweet And Good Eats At The Sugar Factory
After enjoying Crayola Experience, everyone was ready for some more food so we headed over to the Sugar Factory. If you’ve never been here, it’s definitely an experience! From foaming drinks and colorful sliders to delicious appetizers and irresistible ice cream concoctions, there’s something for everyone.
After checking out the menu and scoping out orders coming from the kitchen, my crew decided they were craving cold treats so we ordered a variety of ice cream desserts. My husband and daughter shared an awesome looking Snickers Shake. (The cup was dipped in chocolate and coated with sprinkles and snicker bits!). The other kids settled on: Cookies and Cream Shake, Classic Chocolate Shake, and a Cookies and Cream Sundae for two. These are all must-tries!
Personally, my stomach can’t handle much ice cream so I went with the sampler platter and it didn’t disappoint! This was my first time having deep fried mac & cheese balls and they were really good. Everything on the platter tasted great!
Whether you’re looking for a meal or to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Sugar Factory is a fun, happening place to eat!
6) Can You Say Shopping?!
It’s a mall so of course there’s shopping but at the Mall of America, the shopping is mega sized! We visited about a dozen stores during our visit and came home with a variety of things! I found an awesome Columbia jacket that is perfect for spring. Our oldest daughter was excited to pick up three new books from Barnes and Noble. Our teenage son was thrilled to find a new Fox hat at Lids. The younger kids, of course, were ecstatic at bringing home some new toys including a Pokemon game and stuffie. All in all, our shopping was successful!
7) Pretty Views At Kaleidoscope
One thing you won’t want to miss out on is seeing Kaleidoscope at the MOA. Christopher Lutter-Gardella has created a magnificent suspended installation at Mall of America that consists of a majestic 30-foot Monarch butterfly surrounded by more than 300 smaller butterflies. This exhibit shares the critical story about the decline of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators with the hope of educating guests on how they can make a difference to help address this situation.
Kaleidoscope was created using materials pulled from the waste stream. What you might see as a plastic spoon, artist Christopher Lutter-Gardella sees as an eye of a monarch butterfly. Over 600 spoons were used to create the eyes of the smaller butterflies above you. When you start to see things differently, we realize the smallest changes truly can have a big impact.
8) Popping Flavors At The Original Popcorn House
A quick stop at The Original Popcorn House to grab some popcorn to snack on was perfect for curing our late afternoon munchies. They had a variety of gourmet flavored popcorn to pick from but, sadly, didn’t have any of their specialty options available the day we went.
We ended up going with Movie Theatre Butter and a Cheddar Cheese but if you get to try any of their other options, be sure to let me know what you think! The worker did tell me they do ship so I may have to place an order so I can give one of their chocolate sea salt coated popcorn flavors a try!
9) Try Your Luck And Skill At The Escape Game
Escape rooms are all the rage and you’ll quickly see why when you visit The Escape Game. In the past, my husband and I have bought tickets to play as a date night and I’ve also shared The Escape Game Minneapolis Review. Having been here several times over the years, I can confidently say you will NOT want to miss this attraction.
We even brought our kids to The Escape Game and they can’t wait for a chance to go back.
10) Visit Minnesota’s Biggest Aquarium – SEA LIFE Minnesota
One last thing I want to mention today is SEA LIFE Minnesota. While we ran out of time to visit on our family day of fun, we’ve really enjoyed this experience in the past and hope to get back again in the near future. SEA LIFE brings you closer than ever to thousands of sea creatures including sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, jellyfish, seahorses and more. It’s fun for all ages and a great experience for animal lovers.
Connect With The Mall Of America
While I only shared 10 great reasons to get to the Mall of America this year, there’s so many more things to do, see, eat, and experience. Make a plan, set a date, and head over to create memories at the Mall of America!
Don’t forget to visit our Instagram page and see more photos and videos from our day at the MOA!