Minnesota is home to the massive Mall of America (MoA). The shopping center is located in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, specifically to the southeast of the interchange of Interstate 494 and Minnesota State Highway 77, to the north of the Minnesota River, and directly across the freeway from the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport. It first opened in 1992 and has since become the largest mall in the United States and the Western Hemisphere.
The Triple Five Group (which also owns the West Edmonton Mall and the American Dream) is responsible for mall management. Each year, the mall attracts over 40 million customers, 80 percent of whom are from the eight surrounding states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Illinois, and Ohio. Hotels, kiosks, restaurants, and shops can be found both inside and outside of the mall.
The mall offers a wide variety of entertainment options.
Over 4,500 marine animals, including sharks, turtles, stingrays, and many others, are on display at the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, which is accessible via a 300-foot-long curved tunnel submerged in 14 feet of water. The Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium hosts a variety of activities, including birthday parties, scuba diving lessons, snorkeling excursions, and overnight sleepovers.
The mall’s core is home to Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park originally known as Camp Snoopy. The park is the largest indoor theme park in the United States and has roller coasters among many other rides and attractions, many of which have nothing to do with Nickelodeon. There is a lot of greenery everywhere around Nickelodeon Universe, which is unusual for an indoor theme park, and the park’s floor rises and falls by as much as 15 feet. They have the Fairly Odd Coaster, the Avatar Airbender, the Back at the Barnyard Hayride, and the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge roller coasters, and the BrainSurge thrill ride. Moose Mountain, a miniature golf course, is also available. The astroturf at this miniature golf course is fairly fast, and there are eighteen holes for you to play on.
When it first opened, Mall of America was the largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of both square footage and the number of stores it housed. The 42 million people that visit the Mall of America each year are equivalent to about eight times Minnesota’s entire population. In 2015, the mall had over 11,000 full-time employees and over 13,000 during the holiday and summer seasons.
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