No trip to Edmonton (especially for a first-timer) would be complete without a stop in at the West Edmonton Mall. Forget anything you’ve experienced until now: this is an actual DAY OUT. I was lucky to have been given a map (for planning) prior to my visit last week, as this “mall” even has its own hotel (the Fantasyland Hotel).
Yes, the West Ed Mall does remind me of Disneyland with its World Waterpark, ice skating rink, and amusement park.
There is one thing (aside from the over 800! stores and services) that I hadn’t expected to come across: sea life.
A cheeky California sea lion posed for me at Sea Lions’ Rock while I hung out with a few penguins and baby sting rays (that visitors can actually pet) underneath the mall at the Sea Life Caverns.
If you took an immense shopping mall, added an amusement park, surf, three levels of rope courses, and wildlife, plus entire streets of dining options, you might be able to envision the West Ed Mall.
I was able to walk from one end (eight city blocks) to the next, but didn’t even scratch the surface of the shops along my journey, one that included a much-needed sitting break at Second Cup café.
This place must be crazy as the holidays approach. In the middle of winter, far away from warm tropical climates, visitors can head to the waves. I was inside the waterpark at the observation platform, and it’s nice and toasty in there (maintained at a constant 28C). For $36.95 (adult admission; kids and senior tickets are less), you can escape the snow for a day. In the warm summer heat, just walking by the ice rink cooled me down.
A few other aspects that makes this number three in the world (after the Mall of America and a newer behemoth in China):
- Alberta’s “third largest city” (5.3 million square feet)
- World’s largest parking lot (room for 20,000 vehicles)
- World’s largest indoor amusement park (over 24 rides/play areas)
- World’s largest triple loop roller coaster (1,285 metres of track)
- World’s largest indoor lake (with a full-scale replica of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria)
- World’s largest indoor wave pool (12.3 million litres of water)
- World’s largest indoor permanent bungee tower (30 metres)
- Zoned as a shopping centre, accredited as a zoo
The West Edmonton Mall is located at 1755, 8882 170 Street in Edmonton.