Mall of America"We're never going to find it," Eli 15.9 said. We had walked several miles already.
"It's okay," I said. "I'm sure many people have just sat down somewhere and started crying, not knowing if they would ever be found."
"Don't worry," I said. "I brought a flair gun. I'll send up a flare and we can wait for the golf carts to arrive."
He burst out laughing.
I'm referring to Mall of America.
We eventually did find the store, passing the skeletons of several shoppers along the way, and Eli did get his University of Minnesota zippered light jacket, which looks quite good.
It's a big, big mall.
Mall of America (MOA) is a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota...Opened in 1992, it is the largest mall in the United States in terms of number of stores and total floor area.
The Mall of America has a gross area of 4,870,000 sq ft (452,000 m2) or 96.4 acres (390,000 m2), enough to fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside, with 2,500,000 sq ft available as retail space.The mall is nearly symmetric, with a roughly rectangular floor plan. More than 530 stores are arranged along three levels of pedestrian walkways on the sides of the rectangle, with a fourth level on the east side.
Yeah, that big. 530+ stores, 50 sit-down restaurants, and probably 100 fast food restaurants.
When I booked the hotel for our trip, I was looking for the closest decent hotel to the facility where Eli would be training. Happily, that was 10 minutes from the airport and 5 more minutes to the facility. Right next to the airport, on the way to the hotel, was Mall of America.
That was perfect, because I hate chasing food on these trips. We would be 10 minutes away from an incredible variety of food.
Over three days, we spent about seven hours in the mall and walked over six miles. Almost every store in the mall is some kind of flagship store for its company, so not only do you see a huge variety of stores, they're the best stores for their brand.
Oh, and the roller coaster. Did I mention there's one in the middle of the mall, as part of a Nickelodeon Universe amusement park?
Now, some pictures. First, the mall directory:
See those little black panels? There are 20 of them, and there are 30+ stores/restaurants on each one. There are maps everywhere, because it's incredibly easy to get lost, and finding a store at random (like we did) is an endurance contest.
There's a LEGO store, of course, and these LEGO sculptures are absolutely massive:
We also, for the first time, saw a store called "FBFG". That's "Farm Boy, Farm Girl", and I am not joking:
I'm not sure about that image for advertising. The red-haired girl looks relatively horrified that someone is expecting her to shop there. Not a great look. Maybe the evil grandmother in the panel to the left abducted her?
This next image is of the crayola store, and if you look in the center back of the photo, you'll see a wall of crayons that you can buy individually. It was a riot of color, in a very good way:
There are plenty of candy stores in the mall, and one featured two of the most offensive candies I've ever seen. Of course, I took pictures:
Sorry, sideways image coming up. Leaving soon and no time to fix.
Lastly, a couple of pictures from the trip outside the mall. First, please enjoy this giant wall of pickled vegetables: