New Jersey

Nickelodeon Universe, Largest Indoor Theme Park in Western Hemisphere, Set to Open at New Jersey's American Dream Mall This Week

First to open, on Oct. 25: the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, which is expected to be the Western Hemisphere’s largest indoor theme park

What to Know

  • The first phase of the much anticipated and long-delayed American Dream project in the Meadowlands opens on Friday, Oct. 25
  • First up - Nickelodeon Universe, which is expected to be the western hemisphere's largest indoor theme park; play with Dora, enjoy rides
  • More attractions open later this year, but the shopping part won't open until March - it'll be worth the wait, with 3M sq ft of retail space

Hope you've got some cash on hand — especially if you've got young kids. 

The long-delayed and highly-anticipated American Dream mall at the Meadowlands kicks off its grand opening later this week — and though the behemoth project is slated to roll out in phases, the first one is a doozy. 

First up with Friday's grand opening — the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, which is expected to be the Western Hemisphere’s largest indoor theme park. It will feature roller coasters — The Shredder, Nickelodeon’s Skyline Scream and the 122-foot plunge Shellraiser. The park will host more than 35 rides and attractions — with character favorites like SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on hand to greet eager patrons — and even live entertainment on the Nickelodeon Slime Stage.

But if you were hoping to bring the kids there this weekend, you may already be out of luck. Tickets for afternoon and evening sessions at the mall's Nickelodeon Universe are sold out for Friday through Sunday, according to American Dream's website.

General tickets for the Nickelodeon park sell for $39.99, but you can get an all-access ticket for $10 more — and kids under 2 are free. 

Aside from the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, The Rink at American Dream, a National Hockey League-size ice rink, will also open Oct. 25.

The Rink is a NHL-regulation size ice rink that will be the site for numerous family-friendly activities, including open skating, figure skating and hockey tournaments.

More fun happens in late November, when DreamWorks Water Park will open, allowing for visitors to immerse themselves in Madagascar’s Rain Forest, Shrek’s Swamp and the Kung Fu Panda Zone within North America’s largest indoor water park. The water park will feature more than 40 water slides and 15 attractions including SurfRiders and a lazy river.

The enormous water park will also have a 1.5-acre wave pool and the world’s tallest indoor body slide.

A week later, on Dec. 5, the indoor ski and snowboard slopes at Big SNOW will debut, allowing visitors to ski and snowboard 365 days a year at North America’s only indoor real-snow park. Private lessons, coaching and kid’s camps are available.

But what about the shopping, you ask? The mall's more than 350 shops won't open until March of next year, but it sounds like that part will be worth the wait. Internationally renowned luxury houses including Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent and Moncler will call American Dream Home.

Iconic American specialty retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., plus the world’s largest fast-fashion favorites, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Primark along with unexpected emerging designers, art galleries and more are also set to open up at American Dream.

There will also be more than 100 carefully curated dining destinations. Ultimately, you're looking at 3 million square feet of retail space. 

Merlin Entertainments’ SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center, CMX Luxury Movie Theater, Kidzania, a 300-foot-tall Observation Wheel, as well as other entertainment, will also be a part of the megamall.

It's a highly anticipated opening for a project that has been plagued by financial problems since the first contract was awarded in 2003. The immense structure, once called "the ugliest damn building in New Jersey" by former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, has sat unfinished between MetLife Stadium and the New Jersey Turnpike for years.

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