Crayola Experience and Other Attractions Now Open at Mall of America
Mall of America (MOA) has been a Twin Cities staple since 1992, and if there is one thing that has proven itself true about MOA, it that there is always something new. If you haven’t been to MOA since last summer, here are some highlights that have occurred between autumn and now. Mall of America now offers valet parking (in addition to Nordstrom and Macy’s). There are three drop-off locations: the North MOA entrance off Lindau Lane (you can use the main entrance or underground ramp), the new JW Marriott, or Radisson Blu. The service uses your mobile device (download the new Mall of America app). When you’re done shopping, the valet will bring your car to the closest pick-up location. Now that is service!
FlyOver America opened in April 2016 and it’s a smashing hit. This flight simulation ride is a spin-off of Vancouver’s FlyOver Canada, while Disney goers will find it similar to Soarin’ Over California. Expect to board a flight with as many as 61 other people and hang glide across America. Take in various terrains, skylines, and landmarks while experiencing wind in your hair, regional scents, and even temperature changes. The ride is spectacular. While the ride is located in Nickelodeon Universe’s southwest corner (next to the PEEPS store), the experience is priced separately.
The North Face store, located on the first floor, just east of the LEGO store, opened last fall and was worth the wait. Expect to find high-quality apparel designed to appease the most serious of outdoor athletes and those who want to look like one. The spacious store is down the corridor from other outdoor retailers Fjällräven and L.L.Bean.
Shredder’s Mutant Masher: The Latest Addition to the Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Shredder’s Mutant Masher is the newest thrill ride in Nickelodeon Universe. Located on the east side entrance of the theme park, the pendulum-style ride swings more than 50 feet in the air while spinning. Ride geeks will know this best as a Revolution 20 (it holds 20 passengers). Similar rides can be found in other amusement parks, but this one has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme. The adjacent gift shop offers a bevy of TMNT items. The other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ride is called Shell Shock. Rides can twist and flip while soaring above the park. Sometimes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will make guest appearances at the Blue and Green Spots in Nickelodeon Universe. Cowabunga!
Several new restaurants have opened at MOA, including Burger Burger, a fast food joint boasting natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free, premium Black Angus Beef that is ground daily. Fresh-baked buns are delivered daily from St. Agnus Bakery in St. Paul. The other big news is that the Rainforest Cafe relocated to the 3rd floor from its original 1st-floor location. The new space is sitting across from sister restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and in the vicinity of the soon-to-open Margaritaville. Another fun place to grab a snack: Disco Fries in the new food court of Phase II! If you’re lucky, the one round booth beneath the disco ball will be open and you can have an extra-groovy fry-eating experience.
New Crayola Experience a Huge Hit with Families
We’re impressed with the array of interactive, hands-on, and high-tech exhibits in this new attraction. The experience is adaptable to all ages. My toddler was as entertained as my preteen; though they had different interests, they both stayed busy and didn’t want to leave. This is one attraction that you will want to carve out several hours for. Once you start creating, you won’t want to stop!
About the author: Beth Blair knows Mall of America inside and out. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, co-owner of the award-winning TheVacationGals.com, and lives in Lakeville, Minnesota.