Mall of America Family Guide, Floor By Floor

Family fun Twin Cities' Guide to the Mall of America - floor by floor - Title backdrop Pineapple Poppers ride at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

The 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!

Lego Store with Lego transformer display
Lego Store with Lego transformer display - The Displays change periodically and are always fun to check out

Once at the 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 of America’s life, changes have occurred, stores come and go, but the spirit of the mall has stayed the same.

Fun Facts:

  1. Attractions of America lists the 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. The Mall of America is a popular place to explore if you are a kid or a grown-up which makes it great family fun.
  2. 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 the Mall of America Family Guide, Floor By Floor, like I would have liked to had my first visit.


If you are looking for quick use of the Mall of America Family Guide, jump to the floor you are most interested in learning about with the links below:

Mall of America by Floor
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    First Floor - Mall of America Family Fun

    Attractions

    If you never get off the first floor of the 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 (crazy hair stations!), 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 mayhem of the mall

    Nickelodeon Universe is the beating heart of the Mall of America. It’s the country’s (if not the world’s) biggest indoor amusement park. Due to our severe 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 a haunted house around Halloween and other seasonal events. Many rides are currently open, but not all.

    Paw Patrol Adventure Bay is 6 points ($8.10). This open play area is created for kids up to 52 inches (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 $4.05 or 84 points for $76.99.

    4 Ways to save at Nickelodeon Universe:
    1. If you are planning on being at the park for awhile, consider a one-day pass ($39.99 – $49.99). 
    2. Take advantage of Toddler Tuesday Discounts (5 hour wristband for toddlers on Tuesday for $14.99). 
    3. There is also a military discount–$10 off an unlimited ride wristband. Find this and other deals on the Special Offers Page
    4. AAA members can probably get the best discount, use your membership card to get 30% off an all day pass.

    While you need to get in line for this fun Sea Life Aquarium experience on the 1st floor, you will travel into the Mall of America’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, snorkel with the fish, feed the rays, tour behind the scenes, and listen to the daily talks about the Sea Life residents. The newest attraction is called “Brave the Rainforest.” If you like bugs, snakes, and other creepy crawlies,  this is for you.  For me, it is NOT.

    Cost: Price at the gate: Age 2 and under, FREE | Ages 3-12, $18.99 | Ages 13+, $24.99. VIP tickets are a few dollars more.

    4 Ways to save at Sea Life Aquarium:
    1. Annual Pass is $44.99/adult and $35.99/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
    2. Pre-purchase online. This will usually net you a discount of $3.00-$5.00.
    3. There is also a military discount–$16.99 every day. Find this and other deals on the Featured Discounts Page
    4. AAA members can receive, $4.00 off general admission at the box office – 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+, $19.99 | Ages 12 and under, $15.99.

    2 Ways to save at Flyover America:
    1. Purchase online for the discounted rate. Online tickets are $17.98 (adults) and $14.38 (children).
    2. Book a group of 15 ore 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

    mom and son building at LEGO store

    LEGO Store (a/k/a The 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?  Want to see completed series on display?  Check out the galleries.  Want to build with LEGO?  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. Unfortunately, the play area is not currently open. Look for special promotions here.

    Build-A-Bear Workshop

    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, from choosing its outfit and accessories to giving it a name.  It was pretty basic 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.

    M&M’s Store

    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.
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    Second Floor - Mall of America Family Fun

    Mall of America’s second floor focuses more 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 use the second floor as a way to chill out and do some window shopping or retail therapy.

    2nd Floor Mall of America Stores

    JM Cremps:

    I love this shop and everything about it.  With two boys and two girls, I am on the lookout for gifts and ideas all the time. This shop takes childhood back to its roots with farming, camping, imaginative play, and toys that inspire creativity.

    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.

    Claire’s Boutique:

    If any younger kids are interested in accessorizing their outfits or getting their ears pierced, Claire’s may be your go-to.

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    Third Floor - Mall of America Family Fun

    3rd Floor Mall of America Stores

    Like Mall of America’s 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 the 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: $9.05 pp

    2 Ways to save at Amazing Mirror Maze:
    1. Groups rates are available.
    2. 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, $24.99 | Ages 65+, $19.99 | Ages 2 and under, FREE

     4 Ways to save at Crayola Experience:
    1. Annual Membership $35.99/pp; save more if you purchase multiple memberships through Crayola’s Website.
    2. Twin Cities Frugal Mom has one of the best single-day deals through her affiliate store.
    3. Groupon runs deals fairly often, but did not have any when we updated this link.
    4. Save $5.00 with your AAA Membership (online purchase only).

    Escape Rooms are all the rage right now, and the Mall of America is not going to be left out.  Choose from a variety of games including The Heist, Prison Break, Gold Rush and more. 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: $37.99 pp, Mission to Mars $39.99.

    When I was a kid, one of my family’s favorite things to do on vacation was to get an Old Time Photo taken in Deadwood South Dakota.  While the 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 $16.99, $10/session fee pp.

    Save on Old Time Photos:

    Various deals are offered on their webpage.

    Hoe at Moose Mountain Adventure Golf mini golf at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota

    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: $11.99 pp, children ages 5 and under are free with an adult purchase

    4 Ways to save at Moose Mountain Mini Golf:
    1. Buy a family four pack for $38.99 a reduced rate per person, game is $9.75 for each additional player.
    2. Combine it with Rock of Ages for a $19.99 package deal.
    3. Take your preschooler (maybe on a Toddler Tuesday). Since kids 5 and under are free, $11.99 makes a pretty affordable parent-child date.
    4. Check your AAA member discounts. They periodically offer up to 20% off.
    Princess Diva Fun Spa at the Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota

    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 $39.98 or $259.98 for a 5-person birthday party.

    Rock n Roll Hole at Black Light Mini Golf in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

    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: $11.99 pp, children ages 5 and under are free with an adult purchase

    3 Ways to save at Rock of Ages Mini Golf:
    1. Buy a family four pack for $38.99 a reduced rate per person, game is $9.75 for each additional player.
    2. Combine it with Moose Mountain for a $19.99 package deal.
    3. Take your preschooler (maybe on a Toddler Tuesday). Since kids 5 and under are free, $11.99 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.

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    Fourth Floor - Mall of America Family Fun

    Mall of America’s 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.

    The Fair on 4

    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.

    Private Dining booths created from old Tilt-A-Whirl The Fair on 4 at the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota
    Private Dining booths created from old Tilt-A-Whirl seats

    Gameworks

    A family-friendly arcade and restaurant.

    Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy:

    Grown-up comedy for grown-ups.

    B&B Theatres:

    Great movies and yummy food for everyone. Summer kids movie deals.

    Special MOA Events and Amenities

    Check out the Mall of America’s special events schedule to learn about events that are happening around the mall.  In the past, they have had a skating rink and Ice Castles during the winter and there are other activities throughout the year as well. We include family-friendly special events on our calendar.

    Weekly Family Fun: Toddler Tuesdays: Fun & Freebies

    Family-Friendly Amenities at the MOA

    Family Restrooms:

    1. Level 1 N, S, E, W Entrance
    2. Level 2 North Entrance
    3. Level 3 North Entrance

    MOTHER’S ROOMS:

    1. Level 1, North Central Parkway
    2. Level 1, East Entrance
    3. Level 2, Nordstrom

    Rentals:

    • Strollers: $10/day with a $25 deposit.
    • Shopping cart: $7/day plus deposit.
    • Lockers: $6-$14/depending on size. 

    2 thoughts on “Mall of America Family Guide, Floor By Floor”

    1. Pingback: Family Road Trip – Minneapolis, Minnesota | Go Valley Kids

      1. Wow! That is a packed weekend, Amanda! Thanks for the mention. It’s worth noting that when we head to the Lambeau Field, we like to stay in Appleton (Yes, its 40 minutes away, but close to family for us). Go Valley Kids is our go to family expert site.

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