Right now, I’m sitting on a bench in the middle of Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. I’m enjoying my vanilla cappuccino from Caribou Coffee, while the five teenagers that I brought here are practicing their driving skills over on the bumper cars. I’m also people watching. Watching way too many people pay full price for their wristbands at guest services. Watching people get in line for a ride that isn’t going to open for 20 more minutes. I’m also watching families with little kids who run up to the measuring stick at the ride entrance and stand on their toes so they are tall enough to ride Brain Surge. Guess what happens when mom says “no, you aren’t tall enough”. Alright, now I’m digging out my pen and notebook and starting a list of tips for visiting this fun family theme park. Here are 33 tips to help you get great deals on tickets, how to avoid the crowds, and what to expect during your visit to Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America.
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Planning Your Trip to Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
How to Save Money on Tickets to Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Review all of your ticket options before you buy. There are a lot of fun attractions at the Mall of America, and they sell bundled ticket packages. These packages can save you a lot of money, even if you only pick one more attraction besides Nickelodeon Universe. You can view the ticket bundles on the Mall of America’s website here.
Visit the Nickelodeon Universe website here for additional ticket offers. They currently offer a military discount, twilight tickets, toddler Tuesday discounts, annual passes, and a discount for purchasing your tickets online.
Another way to save money on your all day wristbands, is to purchase them through discount websites. Do a quick search on Travelzoo or Groupon to check for deals. These deals may require that the wristbands be mailed to you, so give yourself plenty of time to allow for the mail. We’ve also purchased reduced price tickets through AAA.
There are some coupons available in travel guides for cities near Nickelodeon Universe. You can find coupons for Mall of America attractions at websites for Bloomington, Eagan, and Roseville, MN. Or check at hotels surrounding the mall for coupon booklets. Sometimes, coupons are available at Taco Bell or Subway restaurants that are located within an hour or so of the park.
The rides are assigned point values, and you can either buy points or all day unlimited ride wristbands. If you plan to spend some time in the park, it’s a better deal to purchase an all day wristband for unlimited rides. If you’re only going to do a couple of the rides, purchase a points pass (and hope your kids don’t ask to go on more rides).
Visit the Mall of America website for current promotions. In prior years, we’ve seen some great promotions around the holidays, like the BOGO free wristbands for weekdays in November. Or, our favorite promo when you receive a free all day wristband for every $250 you spend in the mall during the Christmas shopping season.
When to Visit Nickelodeon Universe
Avoid attending on holidays, weekends, major Mall of America events, and MEA weekend (in mid-October, no school for MN kids). The park will be busy, crowded, and no one likes to wait in line.
One disadvantage to attending during the week is that there are fewer character greets and not all of the smaller snack counters and kiosks are open.
During non-peak time at Nickelodeon Universe, the rides operate on a reduced schedule. Certain rides open at the top of every hour and run for 20 minutes. Other rides only open at the bottom of the hour and run for 20 minutes. Schedules are posted online and at the ride entrances. Non-peak times are usually in effect on weekdays from September through May.
Once you pick the day(s) you are visiting, check the Nickelodeon Universe website to confirm that the park will be open all day. The park closes for private events throughout the year, and will post the dates on their website. The events are typically later in the day, so the park will be open at least part of the day.
Plan to arrive early at the park. It’s less busy, and fun for everyone to go on some rides over and over without a wait.
As long as you are on the Nickelodeon Universe website planning your visit, check the ride maintenance schedule. All of the rides need maintenance during the year, and will have to close for a pre-determined time period. There’s nothing worse, than promising your kids a ride on the log chute and seeing the dreaded “closed” sign once you arrive.
Other Things to Do Before Your Trip
If your kids are young and may fall under the height restrictions, measure your kids before you go. You need to tell them ahead of time what rides they aren’t tall enough for. Height restriction surprises at the ride entrance are not fun. The Nickelodeon Universe website details every ride, height requirement, chaperone policy, and point value.
If you have little kids that don’t meet the height requirement for certain rides, an adult can ride with them as a chaperone. There is no charge for the chaperone to ride. The chaperone policy applies mainly to the rides geared toward little kids, and you can find out more info in the ride descriptions on the Nickelodeon Universe website.
Not sure how scary some rides are going to be? Check YouTube for videos of the rides. We use this tip before we visit any major theme park.
What to Expect at Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
If you don’t already have your wristbands, you need to get them before you can do anything. There are kiosks near the main entrances where you can buy wristbands, or print wristbands that you’ve already purchased. Guest Services, near the carousel, is another location for your wristbands, as well as the retail locations in the park and Mall of America guest services desks at the first floor entrances.
Once you have your wristbands, it’s time to go on a ride! The first ride of your day is where your wristband will be put onto your wrist by a Nickelodeon Universe staff member.
All day wristband’s can’t be shared and can only be used one day. Point passes can be shared and do not expire.
Once you remove your all day wristband (by ripping the sticker), it’s voided.
It’s 70 degrees in the park every day, all day. It’s especially nice if you are staying at one of the hotels attached to the mall because you can avoid that harsh Minnesota winter weather while you are visiting.
Mall of America has free wifi, and this includes inside Nickelodeon Universe.
The Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe were built on the site of the former Metropolitan Stadium where the Minnesota Vikings and Twins played. There are some reminders of the history of this location inside the park. Look for plaques marking home plate of the baseball field and the fifty yard line of the football field. There is also a stadium seat hanging on the wall that commemorates the longest home run hit in the ball park. The seat is positioned exactly where the ball landed in the upper deck of the Metropolitan Stadium.
Nickelodeon Universe celebrates and decorates for Halloween and Christmas. There are giant SpongeBob themed ornaments throughout the park during the Christmas season, and special events during Halloween. Sign up for their newsletter to receive more info.
You can carry backpack’s, purses, shopping bags, and other bags into the park, but they can’t go on any rides. Each ride has shelves at the start that you can place your items on, otherwise there are lockers available near the ferris wheel.
When you are in the mall, the stores are given a number and then designated north, south, east or west. This way no one gets lost, because doesn’t everyone always know which way is north?! For reference when you are inside Nickelodeon Universe, the ferris wheel is north.
There is a Caribou Coffee inside the park (near the swings)! Just sayin’. Also, the entrance to Hard Rock Café is inside the park, and there are various snack counters around the park to order a meal from. It is nice though to take a break from the park, and run into the mall for a nice meal somewhere. We love the Culinary North food court…just leave the park under the ferris wheel and go up to the third floor.
Just across from the Culinary North food court is Moose Mountain Adventure Golf. You can bundle your all day wristband with entrance to the mini golf for a pretty good deal. This is an 18 hole mini golf course with fantastic views of Nickelodeon Universe.
Every Tuesday at Nickelodeon Universe is Toddler Tuesday. Reduced price wristbands are sold that are good for five hours on certain rides. The current price is $14 plus tax, and wristbands can only be used on the day of purchase. This is a fun way for every kid to spend a day. Check the Mall of America events calendar for special Toddler Tuesday events, such as story time, music, character meet and greets, and more.
Tips for the rides at Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
The Pepsi Orange Streak roller coaster is the perfect first “big” coaster for your kids. There are no steep drops, it doesn’t go upside down, and it still is fun with multiple twists and turns. This coaster is a great way to see the whole theme park, and you even get to take a slow trip through part of the log chute attraction.
Ride the ferris wheel during the day and at night. The park looks totally different with it’s nighttime lights on. The entrance to the ferris wheel is on the second floor.
Now this is an important tip, and something I did not know until it was too late. The Log Chute ride has two big drops. Yes, two. Every other log chute ride I’ve been on has only had one drop, so I was a little confused as to why our ride wasn’t ending after that first drop. And why were we going up again? It is a fun ride though, with a north woods theme.
There is a ropes course and a zip line at Nickelodeon Universe, but there is an additional entrance fee for them. You must wear closed toe shoes at Dutchman’s Deck Adventure course to use both the zip line and ropes course.
If your kids want to meet Dora or SpongeBob while visiting the park, check out the character schedule at the Green Spot or online. Various Nickelodeon characters show up throughout the day, with more meet and greets happening on the weekends. Staff members will take photos for you at the Green Spot. We’ve seen characters walking throughout the park too.
Well, the kids are back from the bumper cars and now we are moving on to the roller coaster. I think we’ll ride it a few times in a row, since there aren’t too many people here today (a Monday). Also, please don’t think I paid full price for our six all day wristbands…they were buy one get one free.