Harmon Killabrew's long ballMall of AmericarollercoasterMall of AmericaRope ClimbingNickelodeon Park

Families will love:

  • More than 400 annual events
  • SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium
  • Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park

If you want to boggle your kids' minds, toss them a few statistics from the world's largest shopping mall. How big is it? It's large enough to hold seven Yankee Stadiums, 32 Boeing 747 jetliners or 258 Statues of Liberty.

A mere 10 minutes spent in each of the 500-plus stores would require 86 hours and bring new meaning to shop-til-you-drop, but shopping ... more
If you want to boggle your kids' minds, toss them a few statistics from the world's largest shopping mall. How big is it? It's large enough to hold seven Yankee Stadiums, 32 Boeing 747 jetliners or 258 Statues of Liberty.

A mere 10 minutes spent in each of the 500-plus stores would require 86 hours and bring new meaning to shop-til-you-drop, but shopping isn’t the only reason families beeline to the Mall of America. No, that would be Nickelodeon Universe, the world's largest indoor theme park. Nicely landscaped and sky-lit, it offers 25 rides and attractions that are fun to watch from third-floor food courts and at night when they're colorfully illuminated.

Families can also get a colorful dose of the tropics at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, play a round of mini golf at the 18-hole indoor course, get lost in the mirror maze, create LEGO buildings at the LEGO Imagination Center, catch a free concert or craft on Toddler Tuesdays and look for free activities such as scavenger hunts at American Girl.

The mall has been dubbed "Hollywood of the Midwest," with more than 400 annual events that include book signings, performances and a chance to see top celebrities such as Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber at the mall's Rotunda. Throngs of up to 25,000 fans can pack the main floor and upper-level overlooks. Specialty boutiques and national retailers selling everything from fine chocolates to athletic shoes line the mall's three levels. They're sectioned into distinct indoor avenues that border the theme park and help keep shoppers oriented: North Garden, East Broadway, South Avenue and West Market. But you'll definitely still need a map. Among the family favorites are a large Nickelodeon gift shop stocked with TV characters, a Disney store with a magic princess mirror, a Peeps candy store, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Sanrio, which is stocked with Hello Kitty favorites.

It helps to have a game plan before you go, and a stroller for worn-out kids. Be sure to wear comfy shoes, bring a camera and accept the fact you'll see only a fraction of Minnesota's top attraction.

Written by Lisa Meyers McClintick less

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