I visited Edmonton when I was a teen around 1987 or so. I can't add anything here that anyone else hasn't already told you about, but for the sake of completeness I will add my experience there.
There were and are great gobs of stores in the West Ed mall. My favorite was a chocolate store that I remember being on the 2nd floor somewhere about halfway through the mall (yes, their chocolate was that good I still remember the store some 25 years later).
I was really fascinated with their fountain. Throughout the mall, there was music playing - including some of my most favorite classical pieces. The fountains throughout the mall were synchronized with the music so the fountains danced to the music. These types of fountains had been built before, but never on the scale that I had seen in the West Ed mall - encompassing an entire vast indoor area like that!
However, for people my age the most popular attractions (other than some of the girls and the shops) was the huge indoor amusement park. This included two roller coasters - one of which went upside down several times in its twisting and turing through the very compact indoor park. Alas, that one wasn't running when I visited as there had been a fatal accident a few weeks prior to the visit, and thus a full investigation was underway. There were some five people killed when one of the cars came off the track - so it was certainly a problem that should have caused such a reaction anyway. There was also a great ride called "The Edge", in which a car was brought to the very top of a very tall tower, and simply let go into free fall. At the bottom it hit a curve and went blasting sideways for a time. It was a great ride, but very short.
Perhaps the most bizarre thing about the amusement park in that era was that it didn't look that great from the outside. The doorway between the main part of the mall and the amusement park was very small, and there were a few arcade-like games visible from the entrance, and that was it. Once you entered through the doorway the room got much larger, and was entirely unlike the area around the entrance. There was even a small forest of sorts growing among all the park rides.
There was also an astounding indoor water park, including a huge indoor beach and a very large wave machine that would change the wave action at the "beach" from time to time. Sometimes very large waves would be sent at the beach, and at others the waters would be very calm. The calm periods were for the little children that couldn't be out in the big waves, and the big waves were for those who wanted something much bigger and more challenging. There were huge water slides as well.
One little piece of the West Ed mall that I also remember very well was the mechanical sculptures in some of the courtyards. One of them was particularly noisy, and featured very large steel balls falling down various tracks. They would ring various bells and cymbals and various other noise makers, with the whole thing being very coordinated and organized, even though at first look it appeared that timing wasn't ever really part of the planning for the machine.
We like to stop at the wave pool as the half-way mark on our annual trip up the AlCan from Iowa. It is always one of the highlights of the whole trip. We take advantage of the excellent food court and RV camp across the street from the mall before resuming our trip the next day.
West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is not just a shopping mall, even though it has over 800 shops!! There are places to eat, places to sip coffee and people watch, places to play, places to swim, places to skate, places to watch movies, a place to sleep, and a big mall to walk through for exercise!!
Inside this cavernous building that stretches for 8 city blocks east to west and 3 city blocks north to south, you will find something for everyone, even for those who don't like to shop!!
Galaxyland has rides all the way from little kiddie rides to intimidating ones with names such as Mindbender and Space Shot.
The World Waterpark has a kiddie pool, waterslides, a wave pool and bungy jumping.
In the Deep Sea Adventure area you can watch a California sea lion show, or you can take a submarine ride (yes!! a submarine!! in a mall!!!), or you can admire the life size model of a Spanish galleon.
There are also a couple of courses for mini-golf, or you can skate in the full size ice rink (if there isn't a hockey game, or if figure skaters of all abilities aren't practising).
WEM also has a Chinatown, Bourbon Street (restaurants and bars), and a full service hotel with themed rooms - so in the deep bitter winters you don't even have to step outside!!
And oh yes, WEM is reportedly the number one tourist attraction in Alberta, drawing more visitors than even Banff or Jasper - the wonderful national parks - unbelievable!!!
UPDATE January 2007 - alas!! the submarines don't run any more!!
West Edmonton Mall
The province of Alberta's number one tourist attraction. The mall features over 800 stores and services, over 110 eating establishments, plus seven world class attractions. There is the world's largest indoor amusement park, the world's largest indoor waterpark, an NHL-size ice arena, four seaworthy submarines in the world's largest indoor man-made lake, dolphin shows, an exact replica of the Santa Maria ship, a miniature golf course, 26 movie theatres and a Las Vegas style casino.
West Edmonton Mall
I think the mall is a great family vacation. You never have to leave. I stayed in the Fantsyland motel. It was just like being a kid again. How fun!!
It was great. I got out of the elevator every morning and there was Star Bucks. I went in every shop there at least twice. There was a white out and I did not leave the mall for three days. I bought gifts there, not a thing for my self. I found the prices the same as other malls. It was wonderful. My son was with me and he really enjoyed it. His favoirte place to eat was New Orleans Rest. It was just like being in New Orleans.
West Edmonton Mall (WEM), located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is one of the largest shopping malls in the world, and as such is one of western Canada's major tourist attractions.
In the suburban part of the city, covers a gross area of 500,000 m©÷ (5.4 million ft©÷) and cost C$1.2 billion to build. There are approximately 600 stores, restaurants and services located on two floors. There are also several major tourist attractions (see below), and parking for more than 20,000 vehicles in the world's largest parking lot. More than 23,000 people are employed at the property. The mall receives 22 million visits per year, and sometimes refers to itself as "the eighth wonder of the world".
Galaxyland is an indoor amusement park located on the north side of the mall. There are more than 20 rides and attractions including the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster.
The World Waterpark is North America's largest indoor waterpark with a size of over 20,000 m2 (5 acres). The park is known for its high-speed waterslide called the Sky Screamer, which is often mistaken as the park's tallest slide at 78 ft (23.8 m). The highest slide in the park is the Twister, which is 83 ft (25.3 m) high.
World Waterpark, West Edmonton Mall
Blue Thunder Wave Pool - 1500 HP Hydraulic/Mech Wave Generators
Sky Screamer and Nessie's Revenge - side view
Sky Screamer and Nessie's Revenge - bottom view
You can't possibly think of going to Edmonton and not go to the WEM.
Of course you might feel compelled to spend a lot of money there - and god knows it won't be hard - but you don't really have to: exploring all of the mall alone will take you hours. You can take a look at the theme park, the mini-golf, e-ve-ry-thing and not have to pay for anything if you don't want to participate. It's an incredible place unlike any other and you don't wanna miss it. It's probably the only mall in the world you will enjoy even if you loathe shopping!
I'm not a mall person, but I like the West Edmonton Mall. It is much better than its slightly larger sibling the Mall of America near Minneapolis, Minnesota. I like this one much better. I spend most of my time on the food court. You can get a good meal and have a good time too. There is music, internet access, gambling and merry spirits.
When West Edmonton Mall opened in 1981 it was the largest mall in the world. It remains the largest mall in North America. The place is huge and boasts a number of attractions. Galaxyland is an indoor amusement park with more than 20 rides and attractions including the triple loop Mindbender roller coaster. The World Waterpark includes a giant wave pool, waterslides and a large children's waterpark. The Deep Sea Adventure is an indoor lake which contains a salt-water habitat with performing Sea Lions, a full-scale submarine ride, and a replica of Christoper Columbus' Santa Maria. Professor WEM's Adventure Golf, an 18 hole mini-golf course, and the Ice Palace, an NHL-size skating rink, are some of the mall's other attractions. Of course you can shop too. There are over 600 stores in which to choose from. You're sure to find one of the North American chains somewhere in here.
No trip is complete to Edmonton without visiting West Edmonton Mall..There is everything imaginable in the mall including an indoor beach, a skating rink, an amusement park, a huge oriental grocery store and everything else in between...Check it out when you come to Edmonton..
I was only in Edmonton for a few days. As I was attending a function, I did not have an opportunity to see many of the tourist sites. Fortunately for me, I lived walking distance from the West Edmonton Mall. All I can say is, each time I visited the mall, I discovered something new!
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