Family Fun at the Mall of America in the Twin Cities
A visit to the massive Mall of America is a family great getaway idea. The Twin Cities are only a few hours from Des Moines and there are plenty of things to see, do, and eat without leaving the largest shopping mall in America. We have made several visits and we always have a great time. Take a look at some sneak peeks from our family’s visit and all of the Mall of America attractions, restaurants, and more to plan your stay in this midwest entertainment complex.
Nickelodeon Universe is the largest indoor theme park in the United States. Commonly referred to as Nick Universe, spans seven acres in the middle of the Mall of America. It is filled with tons of rides and your favorite Nickelodeon characters. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that this is a great place for kids of all ages to enjoy rides. You will find a fun PAW Patrol Adventure Bay play area for the younger kids, small roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and larger rollercoasters and rides for older kids. One of our favorite thrill rides was the Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge. Learn about all 27 rides and attractions including points to ride, height requirements, and sensory guide.
You can purchase different passes that are valued with a certain amount of points. Each ride is worth a certain amount of points. If you plan to ride just an individual ride, purchasing just points is a good option. If you are planning an entire day of play, you can purchase an unlimited wristband with is a great option. The other great thing is you can do some rides in the morning, go back to your hotel room or eat lunch, and return later that day. When you have smaller children, nap time may be needed! Check all the ticket options and purchase before you go.
Some attractions within Nickelodeon Universe are additional prices such as Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course, miniature golf courses, Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, and more. In addition, there are sometimes free special events happening throughout the park. The last time we made a visit there was a hands-on slime craft for kids. As always pictures with your favorite characters is free too!
Nickelodeon Unvierse Tips
- Before you head to the indoor amusement park check out Costco! They sell Nickelodeon Universe cards that are two All Day passes (unlimited wrist band) for $69.99 which is up to 30% savings. You can check your local Costco or stop at Costco in the Twin Cities before you head to the mall. It is definitely worth the savings!
- Take a look at Groupon before you go. They may offer discounts for certain restaurants or other attractions at the Mall of America.
- Go earlier in the day and do the best rides first. The lines get longer and longer throughout the day.
- Look at the schedule for the day before going. Some rides close for a period of the day.
- Wear a fanny pack and do not bring a lot of things. It makes it easier to jump on and off the rides.
- On the other hand, you may want to pack snacks and water bottles to save on food costs. A backpack may be a great option. There are cubbies you can place your belongings when you get on the ride.
The Crayola Experience is such a fun place for all ages and is filled with so many things to do and lots of colors! There are 60,000 square feet filled with 25+ different attractions for adults and children to use their imaginations and creativity. Monte’s favorite was creating his own crayon. You can color, paint, create an art image on an iPad, melt crayons and mold, color a picture and watch it come to life and so much more.
It is recommended to plan on spending 3 to 4 hours, but you can easily spend much more time. You can also get your hand stamped if you would like to leave for lunch (or a nap) and return later that day. If you do not want to leave they offer snacks and lunch at the Snack Shack or Cafe Crayola. Of course, you will want to make a stop in the Crayola Store for all your color goodies too.
Tickets are very affordable and the kids leave with lots of crayons, artwork, and modeling clay. The Mall of America also offers package deals for Nickelodeon Universe and Crayola Experience. Check out all your options before you arrive.
The LEGO Store
You wouldn’t think the LEGO Store would be considered an “attraction”, but it definitely kept us busy! The kids loved the larger-than-life LEGO sculptures and all the LEGOs available to play with and purchase. We stopped by here the night we arrived and spent a good hour or so playing and building in the LEGO play area. If you have a LEGO lover, I highly recommend it.
There are lots of options around the Mall of America to stay, but here are two options. We have stayed at both hotels and have had wonderful experiences.
The Radisson Blu is attached to the Mall of America and is just a short walk to all the fun. This is the best option if you are not wanting to leave the premises during your stay. They offer all sorts of rooms including a Family Stay option that connects two rooms which are perfect if you are visiting with a large family. In addition, they also offer packages you can add to your room including a Family Package, Crayola Experience Package, a ticket to Moose Mountain Mini Golf, and more. We had so much fun when we stayed a few years ago.
Homewood Suites by Hilton
On the last visit, we made it to the Twin Cities area we stayed at the Homewood Suites in New Brighton, Minnesota. This hotel is located about 25 miles north of the area, but if you are planning to do other things while visiting this is a great option. They are located just around the corner from the Ice Castles. They have a nice-sized pool for the kids to swim in and we loved the kitchen in our room. When we planned our trip we planned and packed snacks and a couple of crockpot meals to save on costs. The hotel does offer a complimentary full, hot breakfast.
The FlyOver America is a fun experience. FlyOver America allows you to experience a bird’s eye view of America. It literally feels like you are flying! Not only do you experience the simulation of flying, but other special effects include wind, mist, and scents. You truly feel like you are taking an adventure across America.
The minimum height requirement is over 40 inches tall. This attraction is best for older kids and adults. I definitely recommend this fun experience. Purchase tickets here!
Yes, the M&M Store gets its own category because it is its own experience within itself. Take a look at all the different colors of M&M’s, grab some personalized gear, and of course, fill your bellies with M&M’s. The store is located right next to Nickelodeon Universe so it is hard to miss while you are walking around the amusement park.
Museum of Illusions
Opening very soon at the Mall of America is another fun attraction, the Museum of Illusions. We made a visit to this attraction in Kansas City and we all were amazed by the mirrors and the amazing mirror maze. The entire museum is an interactive experience and really makes you think. Next time we visit the mall we will want to experience this again!
Of course, eating is a necessity. Mall of America has so many fun restaurants available and their food courts are full of different food options.
The first night we arrived, we checked out Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. which offered yummy seafood including some tasty coconut shrimp. The environment was fun and laid back for the kids also. They received their food in a paper boat.
We also checked out the Rainforest Cafe. The kids loved all of the large simulating animals and when the thunderstorms would roll through. They had some great food items and even dirt in the cup for dessert or a volcano cake.
Tip: There is a lot to choose from as food goes and as you may know, it can get pricey. I would recommend choosing 1-2 restaurants you definitely want to check out while staying and then make sure you pack lots of snacks, sandwiches, etc. to keep tummies full throughout the day.
Sea Life Aquarium
The largest aquarium in Minnesota is located at the largest mall in America. At the Sea Life Aquarium, the whole family will enjoy over 1.3 million gallons of water full of sea creatures including sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, and so much more. If you have a child who loves to take a look under the sea this is a fun attraction and experience!
If you live nearby or planning a trip this summer, plan your visit around a Tuesday. Each week Toddler Tuesdays provide exclusive discounts and special events for caregivers and their kids at the Mall of America. Experience your favorite things at the mall at a discounted cost with your toddler.