Wednesday, August 10, 2011
West Edmonton Mall
Well, today was Gene’s big day--the day he’s been dreaming about since we left home in March. This was the day we went to West Edmonton Mall--the largest mall on the continent. This seems so funny to me because I never really think of Gene as a shopper. He is, however, more of a shopper than I am. I think he was mainly interested in seeing the attractions and not so much in shopping.
The statistics I read were pretty impressive. The size is mind boggling--over 6 million sq ft. We wanted to see it all, so we just started walking in a counterclockwise direction from where we entered at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on the second level about 10 AM. We stopped to make a few pictures and to look in a couple stores. It was noon before we had made a complete lap. After lunch, it took another couple hours to walk around the lower level.
In that space are some 800 businesses and 100 or so eateries. The stores are those common to most malls and most are familiar to us in the United States. The eateries consisted mainly of fast food places. There were 4 or 5 food courts. I lost count. All were fast food except for the real restaurants located in the Bourbon Street area. We ate our lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
Perhaps the main attraction, especially for kids, are the attractions--largest indoor wave pool in the world, largest indoor amusement park in the world, putt-putt golf, aquarium, ice skating rink, IMAX theater, and the list goes on and on. They say there’s a bowling alley, but we didn’t see it in our circuit. We did find the casino. The attractions are not free. Of course, you wouldn’t expect a movie to be free, but neither are the other activities. We didn’t pay for anything, but got a lot of enjoyment just watching from afar.
With all that stuff to do, food to eat, and goods to buy, the crowds are also pretty impressive. There are over 20,000 people there trying to do their jobs of serving another 60,000 to 150,000 shoppers every day. Surprisingly, parking was not a nightmare. Parking decks provide space for 20,000 vehicles within a relatively short walking distance to the mall.
We wouldn’t come back to Edmonton just to go to the mall. Then, again, we’re not shoppers. Nevertheless, we had fun and enjoyed our day at the WEM. Did we buy anything besides lunch? Gene looked for tennis shoes, but was unable to find what he wanted at a price he was willing to pay. I got a pair of house slippers on sale for $13. I think we got out of there for less than $35 including lunch. Not bad for a day at the mall.
That’s all for now. Thanks for tagging along.