It’s been on the girls’ bucket list for a while now – visiting the Mall of America. Gotta shoot straight with you – Coop and I weren’t fans of this dream. There were multiple possibilities that could make a trip like this a complete disaster.
3. Minnesota in the “spring?”
4. More snow.
5. A High of 22 degrees.
Amy had a family meeting before we left. Basic idea was this – have a good attitude or I’m leaving you home. As tempting as it was to test this theory and stay home, Coop and I thought better of it and decided to make a go of it.
Day 1: Left after church, headed to Minneapolis. It’s a 7 hour drive without stopping. We figure we’d do dinner in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa presented us with 3 surprises.
Surprise 1: There is basically nothing between Kansas City and Des Moines. And then nothing again after Des Moines/Ames to the Minnesota state line. Minnesota has lakes and rivers and snow. Iowa has…nice sunsets. Or I could just be being generous.
Surprise 2: Des Moines is a cool city. Much bigger than I thought with a great downtown area full of pubs and diners. Looks like a pretty cool place.
Surprise 3: Zombie Burgers in downtown Des Moines. It’s been featured on the Food Network – Man vs. Food and a couple of other shows. It’s worth the stop.
The burgers are great, the fries are very good. Then they have these incredible mixes of drinks and shakes. Like the Girl Scout vs. Leprechaun. It’s a ice cream shake with Thin Mints, marshmallows, and mint syrup. A great place to eat, nice little find on the way up.
The Mall of America Experience
As much I wasn’t looking forward to it – it was really fun.
The amusement park was a lot of fun – especially the ropes course. If you ever go – do the ropes course. It’s self-guided, 54 feet in the air. We spent probably over an hour doing this. Great fun.
The next day we drove through Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. There is actually a real fort but it was not open yet due to the snow. Ft. Snelling sits where the Mississippi and Minnesota river collide. It looks like a great place for hiking but alas – too cold and to much snow for that. The cemetery was pretty incredible. A nice reminder to the family that our freedom wasn’t free.
The mall is huge and has your typical mall stores but let me highlight a couple.
Wisconsin Cheese Store – they had samples of all these different kinds of cheeses. It was quite possibly the best store ever. Guys were diehard Packer fans as well. Great store.
The Magic Pan – crepes. Bananas and ice cream. Do I even need to explain why?
The College Shop – this has sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, and t-shirts from every college in ‘Merica. Great store.
We took a drive downtown to look at Target Field and Target Center. That was a bit challenging. They have demolished the Metrodome and there is construction everywhere. It was pretty much a disaster trying to navigate down there. The baseball field looks pretty cool but I have no idea how anyone gets to it.
At the end of the day – it’s not so much the destination but the travel companions. And we had a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter.