Jan 30 2010
For many people, there are two reasons to visit Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota:
- To shop ’till you drop; or
- To do the big fun family things like the Nickelodeon Universe amuseument park or the Underwater Adventures aquarium.
On a recent Thursday, however, I set out to Mall of America with my daughters, ages 6 and 4, to see what interesting and inexpensive things we could do. We didn’t have much to shop for and our family is planning a Nick Universe outing soon, so this bitterly cold day was spend at MOA looking for cheap fun.
- The Barbie store won’t be there much longer, but this small space will leave little girls dreaming of all things Barbie. The Barbie-adorned elevators on the mall’s west side certainly got my girls’ attention.
- Step into Hanna Andersson and have your kids find out how tall they are–in centimeters–at the store’s measuring station.
- Visit the Legoland play area and build something with the provided blocks, or head up to the third-floor food court and see the magnificent Lego creations from above.
- Gymboree has a TV and small chairs, to keep kids entertained while their adults shop. The Life is Good store has a TV and a huge beanbag.
- Outside of Best Buy, there’s a white mat where kids can move around, making projected pictures move as they jump and walk. All the while, they’ll be on TV, thanks to a camera and television set up inside the store.
- Find a second-floor overlook and watch the Nickelodeon Universe roller coasters zoom past, or visit the 3rd floor south food court and wave to people on the log ride just before they make their big splash.
- Take their pictures at the cutout stand outside Kokomo’s, 3rd floor, south side.
- See how many times you can shake hands with Sharky as he walks around the mall. Can you beat our three Sharky sightings?
- Stop in the American Girl store to dream, or have a snack in its 2nd-floor cafe. We had a delightful time with $5 worth of ice cream.
- Have the kids play “spot the rhinoceros.” Hint: It’s at the Ecko store.
- Let them play in the Hello Kitty house at Sanrio, where there are also many affordable trinkets and treats near the checkout counter.
- If you can visit on a Tuesday, there are special “Toddler Tuesday” activities happening, and weekends often bring special events to the mall.
- See a free family movie in the theatres at 10 a.m. on Saturdays (and on Wednesdays in the summer).
Have you taken your kids to Mall of America? Have you found any free-but-fun spots that kids would enjoy?