Things to Do With Kids at the Mall of America
If you’ve never been to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, you may want to add this mall (yes, a shopping mall) to your bucket list. Whether you have an entire day (honestly, you can spend multiple days exploring the Mall of America) or just a few hours, make a stop to experience the mall for yourself. Take a look at my top ten things to do with kids at the Mall of America in Minnesota:
1. Ride a Roller Coaster. Head to Nickelodeon Universe in the middle of the mall to ride one of several roller coasters, like the SpongeBob Square Pants Rock Bottom Plunge. There are also loads of rides for little ones, as well as games and food stands. My daughter’s favorite ride was Jimmy Neutron’s Atomic Collider. She easily rode that one at least five times.
2. Touch a Starfish. Stop by the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium to learn about cownose stingrays in the Ray Lagoon, touch a starfish in the Interactive Rockpool and walk through a 300-foot underwater tunnel to see sharks, turtles and large mouth bass. You can also see feedings throughout the day and enjoy a one-hour “Snorkel with the Fish” program to get up close with a variety of tropical fish.
3. Solve a Crime. Try to crack a case as a crime scene investigator at CSI: The Experience. Choose from one of three crime scenes and you’ll be given a worksheet and a clipboard to help you examine the crime scene and conduct your analysis. Kids will love the interactive kiosks that teach about toxicology, fingerprints and latent evidence as they relate to each individual crime scene.
4. Dine in a Novelty Restaurant. You’ll find quite a few fun, themed restaurants at the Mall of America that make a meal more of an experience. Try Dick’s Last Resort if you’re open to wacky waiters or head to Benihana to watch your meal prepared right in front of you. For American Girl fans, stop in the American Girl Bistro where little girls can dine with their dolls.
5. Take a Selfie with a Character. Favorite Nickelodeon characters, like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob and Patrick, appear daily for photos at Nickelodeon Universe. You don’t need to buy a ticket to Nickelodeon Universe in order to pose for a snapshot. Here’s the appearance schedule. We were lucky enough to see a shark from SEA LIFE roaming around the food court taking photos, too.
6. Check out the LEGO Displays. Just above the LEGO Store, you’ll find huge creations made from thousands of LEGO bricks, like a 34-foot robot, a dragon and a helicopter. The LEGO Store is on the first floor, but you can get an even better view of the LEGO-inspired creations from the South Food Court on the third floor.
7. Play a Round of Mini Golf. Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is the place to go to get in 18 holes before lunch. Look for life-size moose and horses, as well as cartoon-like trains and logging trucks throughout the course. The kids will love spending an hour putting around this mini golf course.
8. Shop. Shop. Shop. It should come as no surprise that a must-do at the Mall of America is to shop, but shopping is even better at the Mall of America because there is no sales tax on clothing. As a bonus, because the mall is so large, some stores, like GameStop and American Eagle Outfitters, have two locations in the mall so you don’t need to walk quite as far to shop.
9. Get Free PEEPS Samples. Stop in the PEEPS & Company store to check out all different kinds and flavors of PEEPS, as well as various PEEPS-related clothing and merchandise. Keep your eyes peeled for staff walking around the store with a basket full of free PEEPS samples. We stopped in several times for the free samples alone.
10. Don’t Rush. Soak it All In. We only had a couple of hours to spend at the Mall of America, so I explored the mall a little more quickly than I would have liked. So, my advice is to go when you have all the time in the world to walk the mall. It’s clean. It’s colorful. And, there’s so much for everyone to see and do, so take it all in and enjoy.
Quick note that CSI: The Experience is part of a rotating exhibit that changes every so often, along with Barbie: The Dreamhouse Experience and Star Trek: The Exhibition, so be sure to check the Mall of America website before you go to make sure what you want to see is still on display.
What are some of your favorite things to do with kids at the Mall of America?
Disclaimer: I was recently a guest of the Mall of America and received complimentary passes to experience attractions, such as Nickelodeon Universe and CSI: The Experience. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.