Christopher Straub is a Mall of America trend specialist and talented author and illustrator (his two children’s books include “Albert the Confused Manatee” and “Rocky the Confused Platypus”). If Christopher looks familiar, it’s because you may recognize him from season nine of the hit show “Project Runway.” Christopher and his partner Ronnie are celebrating 13 years together this year. Their family grew by two when they recently adopted toddler brothers. They currently reside in Shakopee, Minn. and have always enjoyed visits to Mall of America®, which haven’t slowed down, but have certainly changed now that they have a two- and three-year-old.
Having grown up in the Twin Cities, Ronnie and I have long relied on the never-ending food and attractions at Mall of America to keep us entertained. We just adopted two toddler boys, and they always want to go to MOA® for theme park rides and a dinner out. Here’s how we plan to spend Valentine’s Day as a family at Mall of America.
Valentine’s Day with the Kids
The kiddos have their favorites at Nickelodeon Universe®: Big Rigs, Diego’s Rescue Rider and La Aventura de Azul. Together, we’ll ride the Carousel (I call dibs on the dragon!) and Ghost Blasters.
If we have extra time before dinner, we’ll go to the play area at The LEGO Store and build the craziest houses you’ve ever seen. I like that they have the LEGOs and DUPLOs separated so our little guys can build with age-appropriate blocks.
Dinner for Four!
Our go-to restaurant is CRAVE. They have great classics but also rotate the selection seasonally to offer new dishes. We’ll get a pizza or flatbread to share for the appetizer and, inevitably, one of us will get the French Dip. We always save room for the S’more Brownie, and we suggest you do the same. (Also: Kids eat for free on Sundays, so keep that in mind.)
Memories in the Making
After dinner, we’ll head back to Nickelodeon Universe for Universe of Light, a playful mix of lights and sound that gets the kids chasing beams of light across the floor and dancing to music.
Not only will we, as parents, get to have a great Valentine’s Day out as a family, but the boys also get to learn, play, eat and make memories that will last forever.