Yes - that is Dora the Explorer behind the ferris wheel and she is smiling because she is wanting you to come on in and have a great time.
Of all the things we have done and places we have visited I didn't expect to enjoy the Mall of America as much as I did.....but I did.
Last week we took a quick trip to Minneapolis - St. Paul. It was a family trip and we had kids with us .... so of course everyone was excited to visit the Mall of America specifically the amusement park that is inside.
It was a blast. The kids range from five to eight and many of the rides fit that age group perfectly....with a couple extra "CRAZY" ones that even the eight yr old decided to skip. The park itself is amazingly clean and well kept. Our daughter (who worked at Disney World one summer) commented that it was the cleanest amusement park she had ever seen. The operators were kind, friendly and helpful. It was a lot of fun...and this is part of the reason why:
We stayed at the Embassy Suites by the airport. I will give them two thumbs up for the accommodations and the facilities. On TripAdvisor they didn't earn the highest ratings but are undergoing extensive renovations in the public areas. They have two room suites, they offer complimentary evening drinks and morning breakfast. They have a shuttle that takes you to the Mall or to the Airport. I included some pictures just to give you an idea that this is a very nice property....although the rooms seem a little dated it worked well for us. Book the hotel - I don't think you will be sorry.
We took the shuttle from the hotel to the Mall which opens around 10:00 am. As the day went on there were many - many school programs that brought kids over for field trips. We decided to leave around 12:30 when it became crowded and the lines grew long. We returned around 3:00 when we thought many of the school groups would have left and we were right. It was perfect. Short lines. Lots of rides. Fun !!!! We stayed another couple of hours and played until the girls were so tired we headed back to the hotel for dinner....and treats. It was a great day.
I titled the Post from the Mall to a Prince.....so here goes:
I rented a car and journeyed to Paisley Park but not before a stop to explore "The Electric Fetus" a well-known, historical record store in Minneapolis. It literally was....a trip.
The store is known for their support of local musicians and Prince was one who returned the favor and supported the store. Inside you will find an eclectic mix of music, vinyl, cd etc as well as art, books, goods and various other items...lots of items. Make this a place to visit even though the construction on the road in front makes getting in a little difficult it is worth it.
On to Paisley Park....Prince's home.
Paisley Park is located in Chanhassen - a suburb of Minneapolis. It has been turned into a museum to honor their hometown hero. You need to purchase tickets online with date and time. The tour lasts about one hour and 20 minutes. No pictures.
At first I was disappointed that I wasn't allowed to take pictures. They actually have you power down your phones or cameras then lock them in a little bag which you carry with you until the tour is over - then they unlock it to give it back to you. Like I said, at first I was disappointed but the more I have had a chance to think about it .... I think the point was to just enjoy the moment. It was a wish that Prince left....for you to just enjoy the experience.
The "house" is about 65,000 square feet. It is a misnomer to think he lived in a such a large house. His personal living space was quite small and very simple by celebrity standards. But his "house" included recording studios, performance stages, production studios for videos and movies as well as a very hip "nightclub" called the NPG Studio where family and friends and some fortunate locals would gather for late night spontaneous shows, movies or just enjoy themselves rocking out to a DJ. Even though there are hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia this place was very different from Graceland which I visited earlier this year (see my blog). Graceland was a place where Elvis could get away from it all. Paisley Park is where Prince got to it all......very different, all Prince.
Finally - since I couldn't take pictures of the inside of Paisley Park - I was able to take a couple of shots of one of the homes that Prince lived in while he was growing up AND was used in filming Purple Rain. It was called the kids home. From such humble beginnings with two jazz musician parents we are able to enjoy an outstanding musician and performer........he was unique.
We had a wonderful time in Minneapolis and will be back. There is so much to see and do and the people were fantastic. We are even talking about having a family reunion there next year. No wonder Minneapolis-St. Paul is almost always one of the top cities of the country in which to live. It was terrific. We didn't even have a chance to get to any lakes that Babe made.........hmmmmmmm.........next time !!!!!!! Can't wait.
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.