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Family-Friendly Guide to American Dream

by Teresa Bitler

Feb 16, 2020

Photo: Teresa Bitler

Age Specific / Adult Children

Similar to its sister property Mall of America in Minnesota, American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey, 20 miles from Manhattan, is an entertainment complex to travel to for shopping and family fun. However, where Mall of America dedicates 45 percent of its square footage to entertainment and 55 percent to retail, American Dream flips those figures.


More than half of American Dream is designed to cater to families with attractions while the 400-plus stores opening here will each feature an out-of-the-box, experiential component.


Here’s why your family may want to plan a visit:


Big Snow

The first indoor ski facility in North America, Big Snow boasts a 1,000-foot slope of real snow, divided into blue and black runs for skiing and snowboarding. Purchase a ticket online before you leave home or at the ticket counter once you arrive.


Big Snow at American Dream Mall. Photo: Teresa Bitler


Tickets start at $30 each for two hours on the slope. Day passes, lessons and gear rental are also available. Kids aged 6 and under ski free with an accompanying adult, although you will need to rent equipment if they do not have their own.


Winter sports fans can also skate at the separate NHL-sized ice skating rink at the mall. Skate rentals are available, helmets are free.


Nickelodeon Universe

Opened Oct. 25, Nickelodeon Universe features the tallest and longest free spinning coaster, the steepest roller coaster and tallest indoor spinning drop tower. But it’s not all thrill rides. While one-third of the indoor park is dedicated to thrill seekers, one-third is for tots and the other third for families.


Kids must be accompanied by an adult in the park although there is a wristband option allowing access to the park, but not the rides. Be on hand to snap a few photos of your kids with favorites like SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer characters.


Nickelodeon Universe. Photo: Teresa Bitler


DreamWorks Water Park

The largest indoor water park in North America, DreamWorks Water Park is expected to open soon following a postponement of its original debut. When it does, guests can experience more than 40 slides and attractions, including the world’s largest indoor wave pool, largest hydromagnetic coaster and the world’s tallest indoor body slide.


The temperature will be a constant 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll still be able to get a tan even though its indoors — the roof allows natural light to come in but doesn’t block UV rays.


ITSUGAR store at American Dream. Photo: Teresa Bitler


More Fun

When completely open in March, American Dream will also feature a CMX Luxury Movie Theater, SEA LIFE Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, 300-foot-tall observation wheel, two 18-hole mini golf courses and a KidZania family entertainment center. The mall is also planning an aviary, koi pond and grassy area with live bunnies.


Thinking of spending a few days seeing everything the mall has to offer? American Dream is already zoned for a 3,500-room hotel that should begin construction soon.


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