Mall of America
- Hwys 494 and 77, Bloomington, MN.
- Free (except for shopping, eating, and rides in the amusement park!)
- Stroller accessible.
- Restrooms and family restrooms available.
Only when you live in Minnesota can you run into the country’s largest mall just for a few errands. Of course, the four places I needed to go were on each of the four different sides of the mall, so we got a workout just getting things done.
On this February Monday afternoon, the MOA was very, very quiet, which is a dream-come-true for me. I’ve lived all my life in rural areas and I don’t like crowds, so an uncrowded Mall of America is perfect. On the downside, I only had my five-year-old with me, so I didn’t have an excuse to bring in the stroller. That meant I actually had to carry my bags myself. (This has been a rare occurrence in the last seven years of my life.) We left our coats in the car, which is a benefit of the parking ramps at the mall, and headed North, South, East, and West to get what we needed.
We stopped at Legoland to get brick separators (I wish I’d have known about those tools when I was a kid! Much better than breaking fingernails and teeth in prying the Legos apart) but didn’t stay to play. The Lego play area has changed slightly since the last time we were there; now there’s one Lego table with a race track built in, and a Duplo area for the younger tots.
My son talked me into just one ride at the amusement park, and he chose the roller coaster. It wasn’t until we were seated in the cars that I remembered how much I dislike roller coasters. He had a great time, however, yelling “INERTIA….” as we rounded the bends. Some of the rides in the park were closed as it is transformed to a Nickoledeon theme. Walking through the park, I spotted new or remodeled rides featuring the Backyardigans, Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer, Rugrats, and other Nick and Nick Jr. characters.
We sat down for an early supper at Rainforest Cafe. It’s not my top choice because it’s expensive (the kids’ meals are $5.99), but it’s one of two restaurants at MOA that we consider to be allergy-friendly. (Famous Dave’s is my first choice, but we’d eaten there recently and needed a change of pace.) The entertainment at Rainforest is a factor, and we were seated right next to a fish tank, but the jungle “storm” no longer holds the interest of this five-year-old.
On the way out, we stopped in a few more stores before heading back to the car. I have a love/hate relationship with Mall of America. On the one hand, it’s just another mall, except bigger and usually more crowded. On the other hand, they do have some unique stores, and the kids love seeing the amusement park and begging for rides.