Convention Blogging From the Mall of America

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The view from here ...
The view from here ... Credit: MOA
Let me say that I haven't totally abdicated my convention responsibilities just to go on the hunt for a Chick-fil-A and an Orange Julius. Nay, the Mall of America is sponsoring a Reporter's Retreat for media covering the convention. It's in a room overlooking the seven-acre Nickelodeon Universe amusement park. I was a little annoyed to find that Knott's Camp Snoopy has been replaced by SpongeBob SquarePants. I know he's good for the business and the kids and such -- and the Peanuts gang probably should have been retired back in 1983 or so, but still.

That's OK, I guess, because somewhere below my feet swim sharks (the real kind, not the political kind) in what is claimed to be the world's largest indoor aquarium. Sharks. In the mall.

There are no other reporters here at the moment ... and that's perhaps because the mall is a good hike from the convention center -- just like my hotel is. Public relations coordinator Bridget Jewell told me that yesterday saw more media folks coming through the door (because of all the cancellations by the RNC) and they expect a few more tomorrow for something called "Kids Stump the Delegates," which is sort of like "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" -- except it uses sixth-graders and Republican delegates and they battle over civics. And there probably won't be any redneck jokes.

Mall of America Phase Two
Mall of America Phase Two Credit: MOA
Of course, while the Mall of America might be the biggest mall in America at 4.2 million square feet, one thing is very clear. It could be bigger. A lot bigger. We can't let those guys over in Dubai keep one-upping us in mall technology.

Hence, Phase Two, which will add an extra 5.6 million square feet of mixed-use space, including hotels, a spa, an indoor water park and an NHL-size ice rink. I don't know what other stores they'll place in it. It seems that every store known to mankind is already represented here. Perhaps they can put a Starbucks (or Caribou) on every corner. And maybe a campground or two for those who decide to hike the entire mall in one week.

It breaks my heart, though, to report that there will no indoor ski slope.
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