Americana: Mall of America

Inside Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Uploaded to Flickr by Poppyseed Bandits.

Inside Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Uploaded to Flickr by Poppyseed Bandits.

It’s a basic element of American culture. We like our stuff supersized. First there was the strip shopping center. Then the mall. Then the regional mall. Finally (?) we got ourselves the big ol’ honking mall on steroids, aka the Mall of America.

Okay, you can’t tell this story without some factoids, so here they are. This Bloomington, Minnesota behemoth encompasses 4.2 million square feet. It has 4.3 miles of storefront footage. It has more than 520 stores. Up to 13,000 people are employed there. There are 12,550 parking spaces. And each year, some 40 million folks visit the mall.

Uploaded to Flickr by auntbub55.

Uploaded to Flickr by auntbub55.

One of the things that sets MOA apart is its non-shopping attractions. Nickelodeon Universe, with its two roller coasters, is the country’s largest indoor theme park. Underwater Adventures Aquarium has more than 4,500 sea creatures. And a four-story LEGO world is a children’s favorite. This is in addition to 14 movie theaters, 18 full service restaurants, and the 350 events hosted annually.

And here’s the most amazing part: They’re expanding the thing. A new 306,000-square-foot IKEA store has opened, and that’s just part of the 5.2 million-square-foot new phase that will include a branch of the Mayo Clinic, hotels, a water park, and the new home of the Statue of Liberty.

Just kidding about the statue. Probably.

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