I remember it like it was yesterday, I was sitting in my first grade classroom and we were discussing where we wanted to go for our “senior trip” after our future graduation. At that point in time, I’m not even sure if we knew what year we would graduate, but there we sat making BIG plans. The plans were finalized and the girls in that small, first grade classroom made plans to hop in a car and drive to the biggest mall in our country, the Mall of America (MOA). While it all sounded great, and we talked about it for the next 10 years it unfortunately did not happen. When all was said and done, I ended up going to California with my best friend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This past February I thought about the trip, and how determined I once was to shop at the MOA. I had a chat with the three biggest shoppers (and more than likely the ones to blame for my shopping passion) in my life- my mom, my aunt and my cousin, and the plans were made! My mom and I would leave from Pittsburgh while my aunt and cousin would leave from Ft. Lauderdale, and we would meet in Minneapolis for a fun weekend of shopping.
We arrived in Minneapolis on a Thursday and we were ready to shop ‘til we would drop! We took Thursday night easy, got settled in our hotel and spent the evening mapping out our strategy to make it through the mall. You’re probably thinking, “Why would you need a strategy for a mall?” Take a quick glance at the following fun facts from the MOA website, and you will immediately understand.
“MALL OF AMERICA® BY THE NUMBERS
- 15 miles: Walking distance around one level of Mall of America
- 8 acres of skylights: What allows about 70% of the natural light to enter the Mall
- 4 out of 10: Visitors to Mall of America who are tourists
- 9: Yankee Stadiums that can fit inside the Mall
- 27: Rides and attractions in Nickelodeon Universe®
- 43: Boeing 747s that could fit inside the Mall
- 65: How many semi-trucks were needed to transport trees to the theme park to create the outdoor feel of an indoor park
- 70 degrees: Temperature inside Mall of America whether its spring, summer, winter or fall
- 100+ pounds: Amount of food fed daily to animals at SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium — plus 90 extra pounds on the days the sharks are fed
- 347: Statues of Liberty that could lie inside the Mall
- 400+: Events held at Mall of America each year
- 520+: Stores located in Mall of America
- 8700+: Weddings that have been performed at Mall of America
- 11,000: Year-round employees at Mall of America (13,000 during peak periods)
- 12,750: On-site parking spaces at Mall of America in two ramps
- 30,000+: Live plants in Nickelodeon Universe® — plus 400 live trees climbing as high as 35 feet tall
- 32,000+: Tons of trash recycled each year
- 170,000+: Legos that have been lost in the LEGO® play area
- 3 million-gallons: Size of the aquarium at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium
- 6 million: Square feet of gross building area
- 40 million: Visitors annually which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa…and Canada
- 174+ million: Number of rides ridden in the park since opening
- $650+ million: Cost to build Mall of America
- Nearly $2 billion: How much Mall of America generates in economic activity annual for the state of Minnesota”
Come Friday morning, I felt like a kid on Christmas. Our strategy consisted of completing the first two floors on Friday and the second two floors on Saturday. We did just that and were exhausted by Saturday night. I now know the real meaning, and feeling, of the “shop ‘til you drop” saying. When arriving home, my boyfriend asked, “Did you buy anything that you couldn’t have bought around here?” The answer is no. There were better options than here and there was no tax on clothes and shoes! In the end it was a fun experience and I can officially say that I made it to the Mall of America. Yes, I traveled 902.4 miles to shop, and I encourage all my fellow shopping addicts to book this trip too.