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Your Guide To Fun In The Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area

Family Fun

What’s New at the Mall of America

Courtesy of Explore Minnesota

Mall of America has always been big, and it’s not done growing. The famous mall, home to more than 520 stores, 50 restaurants, a theme park and an aquarium, continues to add trendy shops, exciting entertainment options, restaurants and big events that bring millions of visitors through its doors each year.

JW Marriott Mall of America opened in late 2015 on the northeast side of the building. The 14-story, 342-room JW Marriott is Mall of America’s second on-site hotel (the other is Radisson Blu). The hotel features a full-service restaurant and bar, fitness center, pool and meeting space, as well as direct access to the mall.

Three big brands recently opened up shop on the mall’s north side: a two-story Zara, a flagship Anthropologie store and Minnesota’s first Toms location, offering shoes, eyewear, apparel and other accessories. Other newcomers include Evereve, Asics, and Alex and Ani.

MOA’s popular indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, is home to 27 attractions and counting. Some of the newest include the Bubble Guppies Guppy Bubbler, the longest indoor zip line in the country, and a nightly light show.

One of the mall’s newest attractions is FlyOver America, which simulates soaring over national landmarks. The seats move and swing gently, creating a sense of flying. The immersive experience will feature wind, mist and scents to enhance the images on the screen. Also new, Smaaash features a multi-level go-karting track, virtual reality games, sports simulators and a dining area serving locally sourced food and drinks.

Sea Life Aquarium

Mall of America Sea Life Aquarium

At Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, the Pacific Northwest Rockpool and Ray Lagoon allow for safe interaction with the critters, and the 300-foot ocean tunnel gives visitors up-close views of sharks, sea turtles, sawfish and other impressive species.

Crayola Experience

Mall of America Crayola Experience

Another family favorite, Crayola Experience offers kids 25 hands-on activities like naming and wrapping their own crayons, as well as a retail store.

Culinary on North, an upscale food court on level three, features a dozen fast-casual restaurants, with food served on actual plates with silverware. Diners can dig into gourmet grilled cheese at Melt Shop, smothered French fries at Disco Fries, and burgers and milkshakes at Shake Shack. Other new eateries include Carlo’s Bakery (of “Cake Boss” fame), Chick-fil-A, and City Works Eatery & Pour House, which has 50 craft brews on tap.

To assist shoppers navigating the mall or connecting to social networks, the mall offers free Wi-Fi throughout the building. Valet parking, formerly available at Nordstrom and the Radisson Blu, now includes the option for shoppers to drop their car off on one side of the building and pick it up on another. Most recently, the mall has partnered with Uber to extend its many transportation options, which also include various hotel shuttles and direct bus and light rail access to and from the airport and downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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