BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The Mall of America on Thursday is celebrating three decades of being an economic engine for the state.
It's also been the site of many gatherings, weddings and celebrity sightings - bringing a little bit of Hollywood to the Bold North.
WCCO's Reg Chapman was there for the celebration and has more on where MOA has been and where it hopes to go in the future.
The Bloomington mall first opened its doors on Aug. 11, 1992. It's still the largest mall in the country.
"It was crowded here, wall-to-wall people, it was busy, it was a good time. Bloomingdales was here, Sears, Macy's, Nordstroms. A lot of big stores, a lot of people," said Bloomington native Sam Snyder
Snyder was one of the first to walk through the doors when it opened. He was also one of the first in line to celebrate its 30th birthday.
Hundreds gathered on the third floor to celebrate with cupcakes - all with their own special memories.
"We had to wait in this long line outside of Macy's and we got this canvas bag," said Sandy Young.
Young and her sister-in-law Linda Hughes have a tradition of meeting up at the Mall of America. They've been coming since day one.
"The mall has changed a little bit. There are different stores but it's the same atmosphere. It's just fun to be here, it's not just shopping, it's an experience," Young said.
Forty-one of the Mall of America's original stores are still here. The 5.6 million square feet building hopes to expand in the future to more than 10 million square feet.
"Our next big project is going to be our water park. It will be the largest enclosed water park in North America," said Dan Jasper.
The Mall of America has had its challenges over the years.
Two recent shootings inside the mall have some concerned about safety, while others continue to trust it's a safe place to shop and gather.
"There have been things that have happened here. The key I think is being prepared and always learning from whatever takes place," Jasper said.
The Mall of America says it will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to make sure guests have a safe experience.
On Facebook, we asked WCCO viewers to share their favorite memories of the mall. From family shopping trips to Camp Snoopy visits, viewers had plenty of fond remembrances for one of Minnesota's most iconic locales.
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