Mall of America® opened on August 11, 1992. I clearly remember the day because for months we had been seeing commercials about the Grand Opening. We dropped everything in our small western Minnesota town, loaded our car, and drove three hours to be a part of this historic moment.
We could have used a Mall of America® Family Fun Guide on that first visit!
Once at Mall of America® we cuddled up to Charlie Brown and Lucy at Camp Snoopy. Ice cream and candy shoppes dominated our sweet tooth. The Rainforest Café lived on the 1st floor, and Nordstrom’s and Tiffany’s elevated Minnesota’s retail scene. In the almost 30 years of the mall’s life, changes have occurred, stores come and go, but the spirit of the mall has stayed the same.
Hi, There! And welcome to the Twin Cities.
Family Fun Twin Cities is the most trusted resource for family fun in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. We don’t just visit once a year, we live here and we love it here. While you are visiting the “Mega Mall,” peruse our site for more kid-friendly Minnesota destinations.
What To Do Now: Twin Cities Family Fun Calendar
Anytime Family Fun: 500+ Things to Do in Minneapolis & St. Paul with Kids
Near Mall of America®: Bloomington Family Fun
Downtown Minneapolis: 10 Free Things To Do With Kids In Downtown Minneapolis in Summer
- Attractions of America lists Mall of America® as Minnesota’s #1 tourist destination, followed by Como Park, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the North Shore, Split Rock Lighthouse, and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Mall of America® is a popular place to explore if you are a kid or a grown-up which makes it great family fun.
- There is a fun rivalry between Mall of America® and West Edmonton Mall in Alberta Canada as to which is the largest mall in North America. Sources disagree, but both are owned by the The Ghermezian family.
- Each loop around the mall, on Levels 1-3, is a half mile which means you will easily get your steps in for the day (however unintentionally). Level 4 is a bit smaller than the other floors.
We offer you our Mall of America® Family Guide, Floor By Floor, as I would have liked to had my first visit.
If you are looking for quick use of our Mall of America® Family Guide, jump to the floor you are most interested in learning about with the links below:
First Floor -Mall of America® Family Fun
If you never get off the first floor of Mall of America®, you will leave fully satisfied with no sense of disappointment. There is so much on the first floor that you can spend your entire day there. With multiple open areas–like the Rotunda– for concerts, fundraisers, and other entertainment, there isn’t a lack of activity. However, if you do come across a space that is clear, it’s a great time to catch your breath before you dive back into the hullabaloo of the mall.
Nickelodeon Universe® is the pulsing heart of Mall of America®. It’s the country’s (if not the world’s) biggest indoor amusement park. Due to our long winters, we Minnesotans have created a way to bring a little more summer and sunshine into our lives during the darkest months of the year. Look for year-round seasonal events.
Paw Patrol Adventure Bay is 6 points ($7.99). This open play area is created for kids up to 42-52 inches (or approx. 3.5 to 4.3 ft) tall.
Cost: Prices resemble what you would find at any other amusement park. So budget accordingly. Rides are based on a points system. Each ride is a certain number of points. You can begin with purchasing 3 points for $3.99 or 84 points for $79.99.
4 Ways to Save at Nickelodeon Universe®:
- If you are planning on being at the park for awhile, consider a one-day pass ($39.99 – $49.99).
- Take advantage of Toddler Tuesday Discounts (5 hour wristband for toddlers on Tuesday for $14.99).
- There is also a military discount–$10 off an unlimited ride wristband. Find this and other deals on the Special Offers Page.
- AAA members can probably get the best discount, use your membership card to get 30% off an all day pass.3
While you need to get in line for this fun Sea Life Aquarium experience on the 1st floor, you will travel into the mall’s basement to enjoy the animals who live under the sea.
There is so much to say about Sea Life I don’t even know where to begin. With dozens of different experiences to have at Sea Life, you can keep coming back for more. Watch the different species, feed the rays, tour behind the scenes, and listen to the daily talks about the Sea Life residents. Attractions change regularly, so each visit will be a little different.
Cost: Price at the gate: Under Age 2: FREE | Ages 2-12, starting at $20.99 | Adults/Teens, starting at $23.99. Check the site for tickets that include additional experiences.
4 Ways to save at Sea Life Aquarium:
- Purchase an Annual Pass: $53.99/adult and 47.99/ages 3-12. After purchase of the pass admission is free for the next 12 months. This is a particularly good deal if you plan to regularly attend Toddler Tuesday.
- Pre-purchase online. This will usually net you a discount of $3.00-$5.00.
- Be local. If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you are eligible for a small discount.
- There is also a military discount–$18.99 every day. Find this and other deals on the Featured Discounts Page.
- Check other memberships — like AAA. Sometimes you can find discounts, but check for online tickets first, this may or may not be a better deal.
While you will find this attraction in Nickelodeon Universe®, it could be anywhere in the mall since it’s not technically a part of the park. What happens at Flyover America? While you are comfortably seated in a theatre, you are surrounded by a screen (similar to the Omnitheatre at the Science Museum of Minnesota). For 10 minutes, you take your journey without ever leaving the mall, but you feel like you have traveled across our beautiful country. Children must be 40″ or taller.
Cost: Price at the gate: Ages 13+, $21.99 | Ages 12 and under, $17.99.
2 Ways to save at Flyover America:
- Purchase online for the discounted rate. Online tickets are typically a few dollars cheaper.
- Book a group of 15 or more and get a discount for everyone in that group. This could be good if you are entertaining family from out of town or for a birthday party.
1st Floor Mall of America® Stores
LEGO® Store (a/k/a Mall of America® Play Area)
Got a LEGO® lover in your family? Even if you don’t, you will enjoy this destination in and of itself.
- Looking for one specific brick? Check the Brick Wall?
- Need a custom Minifigure? Create just the perfect character at the Minifigure Factory.
- Want to see completed series on display? Check out the galleries.
- Want to build with LEGO® bricks? Sit at one of the tables: DUPLO® for the younger set and standard size for the older ones.
We personally can spend hours at the LEGO store and be perfectly happy. Look for special promotions here.
The first time I entered a Build-A-Bear Workshop, I was in heaven. I was an adult, but it didn’t matter because I loved everything about this shopping experience. From choosing your bear to adding its heart and stuffing, and from choosing its outfit and accessories to giving it a name. It was pretty basic back then. Even with all the lines Build-A-Bear has developed, the overall goal is to give you a hug. And I love it. Depending on how much you want to spend, this can be a pricey shop so you may want to set a budget ahead of time. Check online for deals.
A store full of M&Ms and M&M merchandise. Kids are drawn to the bright colors. Once there, walk through a lighted tunnel, check yourself out in the M&Ms Mirror, make a candy-themed musical recording, and pack a personalized bag of M&Ms. Find the M&M Store in the space American Girl Bistro and Store used to occupy.
Second Floor - Mall of America® Family Fun
The second floor of Mall of America® focuses more on its retail offerings than its entertainment value. We usually head to the second floor when we want to get some serious shopping done. Of course, each floor houses many retailers we want to check out, but we can also use the second floor as a way to chill out and do some window shopping or retail therapy.
2nd Floor Mall of America® Stores
Air Traffic Toys:
Interested in gaming of all sorts? You will want to spend some time in this shop that features board games and strategy games and puzzles and the biggest nerds on the planet who are also the coolest kids on the block! Games for the youngest members of your family to the oldest.
If any younger kids are interested in accessorizing their outfits or getting their ears pierced, Claire’s may be your go-to.
Third Floor -Mall of America® Family Fun
3rd Floor Mall of America® Stores
Like the first floor, the third floor is packed with things to do. Find interactive events and great shopping on the third floor, or chill out with the most substantial selection of restaurants in the whole mall.
3rd Floor Attractions
This is one of the most cost-friendly attractions at Mall of America®. And probably one of the most hilarious (or aggravating depending on your perspective). I am a klutz and walk into windows and mirrors in normal-day life. I’m sure if this is the best idea for me, but it would be entertaining for anyone else in the maze with me. This 2500 square foot maze of mirrors and lights will keep you on your toes with lots of fun.
Cost: $9.95 pp
2 Ways to save at Amazing Mirror Maze:
- Groups rates are available.
- Check Groupon.
Mall of America® hosts one of the most interactive coloring experiences in the country. Name and wrap your own crayon and animate your drawing are just two of the over 20 activities you can watch and learn about. My personal favorite is the Crayon Factory Show. Great times will be had by all, but best for the toddler and preschool set in your house.
Cost: Ages 3-65, $25.99 | Ages 65+ get a small discount | Ages 2 and under, FREE
4 Ways to save at Crayola Experience:
- Annual Membership $38.99/pp; save more if you purchase multiple memberships through Crayola’s Website.
- Twin Cities Frugal Mom has one of the best single-day deals through her affiliate store.
- Groupon runs deals fairly often, but did not have any when we updated this link.
- Save $5.00 with your AAA Membership (online purchase only).
Escape Rooms are hot right now, and Mall of America® is not going to be left out. Choose from a variety of mysteries to solve. For each game you have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and escape the game. This attraction is the north side of East Broadway (the opposite end as the Crayola Experience). You must reserve a time slot for your game.
Cost: $39.99 pp.
When I was a kid, one of my family’s favorite things to do on vacation was to get an Old Time Photo taken on vacation in South Dakota. While Mall of America® is no Old West Town, you can still make fun memories with your kids doing this very thing. You will find Old Time Photos on East Broadway with portraits taken by Professor Z’s Photography. You can choose from many different time periods including the Roaring 20’s or the Renaissance or the Civil War.
Cost: Vary per package starting at $17.99, $10/session fee pp.
Save on Old Time Photos:
Traditional mini golf is always a family favorite. Adventure through this whimsical course and leave with huge grins on your faces. It is also fully accessible for everyone in your family.
Cost: $14.99 pp, children ages 5 and under are free with an adult purchase
4 Ways to save at Moose Mountain Mini Golf:
- Buy a family four pack at a reduced rate per person.
- Combine it with another attraction for a package deal.
- Take your preschooler (maybe on a Toddler Tuesday). Since kids 5 and under are free, it makes a pretty affordable parent-child date.
- Check your AAA member discounts. They periodically offer up to 20% off
A dream come true for your little princess. Bring them in for a full spa package and pampering, including manicures, pedicures, flavor facials, hair and make-up. Top it off with princess dresses, tiaras and all the princess necessities in their retail area.
Cost: Packages start at $44.98 or $259.98 for a 5-person birthday party.
Have you ever played blacklight mini golf? It’s an experience for sure. It levels the playing field for everyone involved. You can find this mini golf experience next to the Xscape Arcade.
Cost: $14.99 pp, children ages 5 and under are free with an adult purchase
3 Ways to save at Rock of Ages Mini Golf:
- Buy a family four pack at a reduced rate per person.
- Combine it with another attraction in a package deal.
- Take your preschooler (maybe on a Toddler Tuesday). Since kids 5 and under are free, this makes a pretty affordable parent-child date.
Remember in the 80’s and 90’s when arcades were all the rage? Go back in time or relive your childhood at this arcade. There is also another Xscape arcade in Nickelodeon Universe®
Cost: It’s an arcade. Set a budget and stick to it.
3rd Floor Retail Shops
Games by James
We are huge fans of locally-owned Games by James. As a part of their Victory Points Program, we earn points for every purchase we make. In our honest opinion, it doesn’t take very long to earn enough to redeem the reward. And we don’t buy games on a regular basis. We have game suggestions for you if you’re just getting started. Otherwise, they have so many knowledgeable staff who LOVE their job.
3rd Floor Mall of America® Restaurants
The food court is located on the third floor directly above Nickelodeon Universe® – this is where you are going to find fast-food type restaurants. Some you will recognize – A&W, Burger King – others are unique to the mall. These offerings do tend to change on a regular basis. See the mall’s Dining Guide for all options.
Save at Mall of America® Restaurants:
Many MOA restaurants participate in their Toddler Tuesday Kids-Eat-Free deals. Check our Kids Eat Free or Cheap Twin Cities List. Hint: These deals generally last all day, so you don’t have to go for lunch; you can eat a family dinner at the mall on Tuesday nights.
Fourth Floor - Mall of America® Family Fun
The fourth floor gears the entertainment for a grown-up crowd. I’m not saying that you can’t bring your kids. With places like Gameworks, families are invited to spend time together. It will be more enjoyable for families with kids who are a little bit older (say 9+). Check out these attractions to learn more about what they offer and the deals you can find to make them more affordable.
A cross between a pub and the fair, you can find fair-style food and games. The food was pretty good, but it was a little bit confusing and we left hungry because we didn’t order enough. It was hard to determine serving sizes based on the menu. My husband really wants to go back for the ax throwing and my kids wanted to play games, but I didn’t have cash. Bring cash.
A family-friendly arcade and restaurant.
Grown-up comedy for grown-ups.
Great movies and yummy food for everyone. Summer kids movie deals.
Special MOA Events and Amenities
Check out the mall’s special events schedule to learn about events that are happening throughout the building. In the past, they have had a skating rink and hosted Ice Castles during the winter and there are other activities throughout the year as well. We include family-friendly special events on our calendar.
Second Tuesday of Each Month: Toddler Tuesdays: Fun & Freebies
Mall of America® Map
In this article, we have shared our favorite family-friendly stops at Mall of America®. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every store, restaurant and attraction. When tailoring a plan for your family, we highly recommend grabbing a map. You can find one here.
Kid-Friendly Amenities at the MOA
- Level 1 N, S, E, W Entrance
- Level 2 North Entrance
- Level 3 North Entrance
- Level 1, North Central Parkway
- Level 1, East Entrance
- Level 2, Nordstrom
- Strollers: $10/day with a $25 deposit.
- Shopping cart: $7/day plus deposit.
- Lockers: $6-$14/depending on size.
Nearby Hotels That Welcome Kids
1700 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425
The top place to stay with kids near Mall of America® is Great Wolf Lodge. Your visit includes admission to its waterpark. We’ve pulled together 7 Tips for Visiting Great Wolf Lodge with kids.
Radisson Blu Mall of America®
2100 Killebrew Dr., Bloomington, MN 55425
Also a hop, skip and a jump from the mall. The property has a pool.
JW Marriott Mall of America®
2141 Lindau Ln, Bloomington, MN 55425
The restaurant at this location – Cedar & Stone Urban Table – sometimes participates in the MOA’s Toddler Tuesday Discounts and there is a pool at this location.