Bloomington’s Mall Of America – Larger Than Life


The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of Minnesota is cold, and those people would be correct.  Despite the fact the calendar says Spring is only one week away, predictions for Minneapolis, which is not the coldest city in Minnesota, call for a low of 12F (-11C) and a high of 21F (-6C).  But Minnesota is so much more than cold.  It is an incredibly beautiful state with, beautiful parks, lakes and streams for fishing. There is incredible natural beauty.  There are even a number of ski areas, although no threat to Idaho or Colorado.  Olympian Lindsay Vonn learned to ski not far from Minneapolis.  Minnesota is also at the center of industry.  Minneapolis is the home to corporate giants and fortune 500 companies such as Target, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise Financial and Xcel Energy.  Sister city, St Paul is home to Ecolab.  I suppose it’s the reason why the Mall of America is able to flourish.  The mall covers 10 acres and is four floors. There are approximately 40 million visitors per year.  There is an aquarium, amusement park and mall hubs such as Macy*s and Nordstrom.  On my way to the mall, which was only a five-minute walk from my hotel, I wondered, even with large corporate headquarters, where do the dollars come from to support all of those stores, restaurants and attractions.  But when I entered the mall, on a Wednesday night, and it was packed, it was clear there are enough shoppers to go around. There were visitors from all over the country and abroad, as I heard several different languages being spoken.  In many ways, the MOA is not unlike any mall in the country.  But as you begin to walk, it becomes apparent this is no ordinary shopping center.  The sheer size is enough to warrant rentals of Segways.  Comfortable shoes or sneakers are a must.  It would not be easy or possible to see everything in one visit.  It’s like the Louvre in Paris.  You need to pick out what you want to see and focus on that.  If you have children, the amusement park is pretty awesome.  I was prepared to see little rides, that weren’t too impressive but I was way off.  Between the flume and different coasters, there’s enough for every level of theme park enthusiast.  Although I only briefly visited the aquarium, the most impressive feature is a 300 foot long (92m) underground glass tunnel that gives the visitor incredible views of marine life up close and personal, including sharks.  Certified divers can swim with the sharks if they arrange it prior to visiting.  The movie theater boasts fourteen screens and shows a blend of major motion pictures and independent films.  I counted twenty restaurants including a Hooters, American Girl Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and a Famous Dave’s BBQ.  In addition, there are two sushi restaurants.  So even for a man from the big city of New York, with larger than life everything, the impressive nature of the Mall of America was not overstated.  If visiting Minnesota, it should be near the top of the list of things to see.

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