Ah, the Mall. That Mecca of merchandise. For those of you who have never been to this shopping haven, it's quite the sight. My favorite description of it comes from one of my favorite books, A Year at the Movies by Kevin Murphy:
"The Mall is, I believe, seventeen million square miles in total area, and contains, if I got my information right, sixteen thousand retail stores, eleven thousand six hundred restaurants, eighty-five thousand kiosks selling wrestling T-shirts, cellular phones, and ear piercing, one of the five oceans, an indoor airport, the state of North Dakota, George Wendt, and a herd of buffalo. I got this information from my seven-year-old niece, so I can't account for its veracity."
Murphy may be exaggerating a bit. In reality, the Mall consists of four levels, three of which contain the aforementioned stores and restaurants. The fourth floor has a movie theater and two restaurants, Cantina #1 and Hooters.
But back to the book signing. According to the ACFW website, it'll be held in the Best Buy Rotunda, down a hall, and into the smaller rotunda outside Sears. Here's the location in question on the Mall's map:
That doesn't show you much, so here's a shot of the Best Buy Rotunda from floor level. The book signing will go down the hall in the middle of the picture.
To the right of the photo, almost tucked behind the glass elevators, is the Barnes & Noble where you'll be able to pick up your books to be signed. It'll be an interesting event, I think. It's even been listed in the Mall's official calendar.
But enough about that. I mean, if you want more information about the book signing, you can find it at the official website. Many of you will arrive early and may want to scout things out for yourself. If that's the case, let me suggest three things you can do while there.
The first is the obvious: shop. There are many, many stores to choose from. In my wanderings through the corridors, I've spotted at least half a dozen stores that sell Minnesota souveniers. There's a small shop that has full size flight simulators called A.C.E.S. If you need more information, just check out the on-line Mall directory. You can spend a long time walking through the corridors. And remember the little tidbit I dropped two weeks ago: Minnesota has no sales tax on clothes. If you're planning on sending back a lot of books via the mail, why not pad the load with an outfit or two?
The second possibility is Nickelodeon Universe, the Mall's indoor amusment park.
Yes, the Mall has a bunch of rides in its center. And on this, I have to plead a bit of ignorance. I have never been on a single ride there. The food court my family and I frequent when we're at the Mall overlooks the rides. The closest I've ever come was when my wife and I had a caricature drawn for our wedding.
I did notice the discussion on the Forum about going on the log ride. A few people thought it'd be great to get completely drenched at the book signing. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I scouted the log ride. I found the end and watched as people got off. I only spotted small drops of water on their clothing, which would probably dry within minutes of leaving the ride. Don't let that stop you from taking the plunge, but don't expect to be dripping.
Finally, there's Underwater Adventures.
While a bit pricey, this is a fun experience. It's a massive indoor aquarium, complete with a whole slew of sharks. They've run a glass tunnel through it, allowing you to walk through the different habitats.
We recently took our son Isaiah through for his second birthday. He loved it. So did we.
Again, the tickets are a pit pricey, but if you have the time and are looking for something to do in the Mall, this is a fun time.
So there you go. The Mall of America. Obviously, I didn't go over everything that you can possibly do there. There's a lot more to find and enjoy. And hey, if you're single and you find your soul mate at the Conference, there's always this little gem:
See you in a week and half. Now where did my one sheet go...