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Mall of America, Bloomington, MN

I went unprepared. I’d heard the bumf: biggest shopping mall in America, has its own amusement park … inside, would take 86 hours to spend just 10 minutes in each store. I didn’t believe it. I thought they were exaggerating. But Mall of America is all that, and more. With its own postal code, MoA is a North American institution. Located in Bloomington, MN, not far from Minneapolis St Paul airport, it attracts more than 40 million visitors each year. That Minnesota has no sales tax on clothes helps drive traffic to the stores.

Andrew Ziegler did a piece on it for BuzzFeed back in 2014 that makes for interesting reading. His top three interesting facts are:

  1. You could fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside the Mall of America.
  2. Or you could fit 32 Boeing 747s inside the Mall of America.
  3. Or you could fit 258 Statues of Liberty inside the Mall of America.

It’s big. Very big. It relies on body heat to warm it and with all those visitors, it does okay.

I’m not a great one for shopping. Don’t laugh. Yes, I could spend hours poking around one-of-a-kind neighbourhood shops selling stuff made in-country rather than imported en masse. I could spend longer in antique shops and thrift stores, but shopping malls don’t do anything except drain my energy and lower my already low levels of crowd tolerance.

That said, I was gobsmacked. It’s massive. And the indoor amusement park… mad! Nickelodeon Universe is America’s largest indoor theme park with seven acres of rides, entertainment, and restaurants. Yep – that’s seven acres. If you’re going to spend the day there, the all-day pass is reasonable enough but I did choke a little at spending nearly €20 on two tickets for a ride that lasted all of a minute. That I spent that minute screaming my head off, much to the amusement of the two 10-year-olds sitting opposite us, is neither here nor there.

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