In any case, we were in Edmonton Alberta Canada and it is the home of the first big mega-mall in the world. Given all of its non-retail store attractions, Laurie and I had to check it out…
Driving by one end of the West Edmonton Mall just doesn’t provide the passerby with a clue as to the size and complexity of the place! We were about to wear out our feet and really work up an appetite for dinner…
The West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world. The mall was founded by Iranian brothers who had immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1959. This was the world's largest mall until 2004. The Mall covers an area of about 5,300,000 square feet. There are over 800 stores and services as well as parking for more than 20,000 vehicles. The mall, its stores and services, employ more than 24,000 people! Visitors total roughly 32,200,000 per year with between 90,000 and 200,000 guests each day!
As big as it is, if one measures malls by gross leasable space, with 3,777,000 square feet available, the West Edmonton Mall is only the 13th largest in the world. By way of comparison, the Mall of America in Minneapolis, (largest US mall), ranks 19th with 2,780,000 square feet. The largest shopping mall in the world is the New South China Mall with 7,100,000 square feet of leasing space!
This being Canada, one major attraction in West Edmonton Mall is the Ice Palace! Ice Palace is a scaled down version of a National Hockey League regulation sized ice rink located in the center of the mall. When the mall first opened in 1981, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers occasionally practiced here. As you can imagine, when Wayne Gretzky and the team were practicing here, huge crowds showed up to watch. The Oilers' contract for using the rink expired and now the rink is used for various hockey and other sporting tournaments as well as for skating by the Mall’s many visitors.
This is the entrance to West Edmonton’s “Bourbon Street”. This theme related ‘street’ is set up so that it can be closed off from the rest of the mall, allowing for late night operations by its tenants and for any special events that might be scheduled. The ‘Street’ features clubs and restaurants in a New Orleans-influenced setting. The lighting in this area is left intentionally darker than other parts of the mall to simulate a nighttime atmosphere.
From upscale dining to casual eateries and nightlife venues, Bourbon Street offers a broad spectrum of food and entertainment for Mall visitors. Establishments include: Boston Pizza; Earls; Hooters; Hudsons Canadian Tap House; Jungle Jim's Eatery; Marble Slab Creamery; Moxie's Grill and Bar; Mr. Mikes Steakhouse and Bar; The Old Spaghetti Factory; Oranj Sushi Bar; Rick Bronson's The Comic Strip; Sherlock Holmes; The Red Piano Bistro and Dueling Piano Bar, and; Tony Roma's Restaurant and Lounge.
This is West Edmonton Mall’s World Waterpark. This is one photo that gives you an idea just how big this mall is!
The World Waterpark was built in 1985. It’s the world's second largest indoor waterpark, covering almost 5 acres! The Waterpark has the world's largest indoor wave pool. There are 14 water slides in the park, including the Twister, the Skyscreamer, Skyscreamer Extreme and Cyclone, with the latter being 83 feet high. The wave pool has six wave bays, each of them generating waves up to two 6 ½ feet high. You can also bungee jump and zip line directly over the wave pool.
This is another view of World Waterpark at the Mall… There were people lounging on the ‘beach’, tubing, zip lining above us, enjoying refreshments and using the water slides.
FYI… Riders using the Cyclone Water Slide experience a “near vertical loop” and speeds of about 37 miles per hour. “Sliders step into a glass capsule and after an automated voice counts down from three, the floor drops out from beneath them, sending them on their journey!”
There was always a crowd waiting about mid-pool for the next artificial wave to hit them! Keep in mind, this good size crowd was visiting during mid-summer. It must really get crowded on the weekends in Edmonton’s extreme winters…
This is a map of West Edmonton Mall’s World Water Park. If you enlarge it you can see the detail…to include those 14 water slides. The place and the action was a bit mind boggling, while at the same time, quite fascinating to watch!
This particular attraction is called Deep Sea Adventure. It comes complete with the ‘Santa Maria’, an exact replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship for his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492! There is also the ‘Deep-Sea Derby’, a bumper boat ride with squirt guns.
Deep Sea Adventure is also home to the mall's aquatic life, most of which are housed beneath the main floor in the "Sea Life Caverns". The underground aquarium is home to more than 100 species of fish, sharks, sea turtles, penguins, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. In addition, Sea Lions' Rock is home to four California sea lions that perform daily.
This is Professor WEM's Adventure Golf, an 18-hole miniature golf course. The miniature golf course was originally known as Pebble Beach Mini Golf, and it was designed to be a mini golf version of Pebble Beach Golf Links. The course was refurbished and given the Professor WEM theme in the mid-1990s. As West Edmonton Mall continues to update and refresh its attractions, a new ‘black light’ miniature golf course is planned to open this fall.
This is a map of Galaxyland, West Edmonton Mall’s indoor amusement park. I’ve started this segment out with a map because it is quite literally impossible to take a picture of Galaxyland that demonstrates the scope of this attraction.
Galaxyland was originally known as "Fantasyland”. However, as one might expect, after a court battle with Disney, the Mall changed the park's name to Galaxyland. The Park features 24 rides and attractions. Galaxyland is the second-largest indoor amusement park in the world. Only Ferrari World at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf is larger.
If you’re interested or just curious and you’d like to see what our oil money can buy, you can check out Ferrari World and it’s multitude of luxury attractions at http://www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com/.
As I mentioned above, Galaxyland is so complex and packed with rides and attractions, it’s almost impossible to take meaningful photos… This photo shows the tangled web of roller coasters in one section of this indoor amusement park. A couple of the larger roller coasters stretch over most of Galaxyland!
To check out all of the rides at Galaxyland, you can go to either Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxyland or the West Edmonton Mall’s site at http://www.wem.ca/media/43315/gld-ride-information.pdf.
This is another photo of the massive maze of roller coaster track at Galaxyland. Sadly, there was a major incident with fatalities on one of these coasters…
The Mindbender is the world's largest indoor triple loop roller coaster. In June 1986, after the one of the ‘trains’ completed the second inverted loop it encountered one of three areas of uplift before the third and final loop. Missing bolts on the left inside wheel assembly of the last car of the four car train caused the bogey assembly to disengage the track with a full load of riders. This caused the final car to fishtail wildly. The passenger’s lap bars disengaged as the car collided with support structures. Passengers were thrown off. Then train entered the third and final inverted loop, but it didn’t have the speed necessary to complete the loop. It stalled at the top, it slid backwards and crashing into a concrete pillar. Three people were killed in this accident and another was seriously injured.
Here is one more photo of a ride at Galaxyland in the West Edmonton Mall. One of the rides impossible to photograph at this amusement park is called ‘The Space Shot’. It is a 12 person ride that launches passengers nearly 120 feet skyward and then thrusts them back to earth. Some of the advanced ‘adult rides’ have names such as Swing of the Century and Cosmos Space Derby. The Swing of the Century is an adult swing set that moves in a circular, swinging motion. The Space Derby involves 2-seated bumper cars built for adults!
Note: Galaxyland was even busier than World Waterpark!
The idea of shopping or visiting the West Edmonton Mall during the Christmas Holidays gives me the shakes, but I’m sure that this is a major Holiday destination for many families! On-line shopping has become my preference when buying gifts for family and friends… But for the rest of you…to learn more about the West Edmonton Mall and all that it has to offer just go to http://www.wem.ca/. You should know that I didn't even mention many of the other attractions at this shopping/tourist mecca!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and walking through this massive shopping mall with Laurie and I!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave