I came directly from the airport on Minneapolis’ metro, the city’s main source of public transit.
The metro conveniently has a stop right at the mall, which is actually located in a suburb of the city.
Luckily, there were lockers available to rent right before entering the mall.
The bigger sizes were large enough to hold carry-on luggage or maybe even a medium suitcase. The process reminded me of renting lockers at a theme park.
The metro dropped me in a station that was essentially a parking garage, so I had to take escalators up to the actual mall.
Mall of America is the largest mall in North America, and the ninth largest in the world.
It brings in 40 million visitors each year.
Source: Mall of America
The mall has plenty of exhibits that wouldn’t be found in a typical mall. I had to walk past the aquarium entrance to reach the main area of the mall.
Visitors have to buy tickets to enter the aquarium, so I peaked down into the expansive space below the main shopping areas.
Part of the center is occupied by a large basketball court, which is surrounded by a net. There’s also a stage in the center of the court.
The first real store I entered was the M&M store, which was much bigger than it first appeared.
Though there were plenty of things to purchase, it was set up more like an experiential tour than a store.
The M&M store alone was three stories tall, with escalators and an elevator inside.
I took the elevator up the M&M store, and exited into the Nickelodeon theme park in the center of the mall.
Nickelodeon Universe is the largest indoor theme park in the US, with 28 rides across seven acres.
It operates more like a carnival or county fair than a typical amusement park. You buy virtual tickets at kiosks located around the park.
Then you get a pass that can be scanned to enter rides.
Larger roller coasters required more tickets than smaller kiddie rides.
I rode a few rides, but my favorite was the Fairly OddParents spinning roller coaster.
I was impressed at the scale of rides in the indoor setting, though admittedly this one made me a bit nauseous.
The rides were neatly integrated into the mall since there was no roped off area for ticket holders, and many rides had their own accompanying stores.
Many of the rides seemed intended to generate nostalgia in visitors, with imagery from older Nickelodeon shows no longer on the air.
Past favorites like “Avatar the Last Airbender” and “Spongebob Squarepants” made appearances.
I enjoyed the inclusion of details from the shows …
… like a bounce house replica of Spongebob’s iconic pineapple house.
Other rides more directly appealed to younger children.
Some of the items, like this “Rugrats” puffer coat, were a bit baffling to me.
A large store next to the rides was completely decked out in Nickelodeon merchandise, from toys to socks to slime.
To recover from riding roller coasters, I waited in line at the Lego store.
I admired some of the huge Lego sculptures while I waited. The multi-story nature of the building made it possible to view the sculptures from different angles and distances, and really appreciate them.