I grew up in the 80s, and while I can’t relate to today’s youth when it comes to technology, or fashion, or pop idols (I may be biased, but no one compares to Madonna, Prince, and Michael!), I can still relate on one level: Barbie™ reigns supreme.
I still have many of my original dolls, one who was the victim of an extremely unattractive haircut (sorry, “Twisty Curls”), one who is missing a foot (my big brother decided she needed surgery without first consulting me), and one whose nose tragically melted when I left her outside in the backyard on a hot summer day (sorry, “Happy Birthday Barbie”). Damaged or not, they all have a special place in my heart. I find it reassuring that this treasured childhood toy of mine has stood the test of time. Her fashion has changed, and her proportions have changed, but playing with Barbie encourages kids to use their imaginations and dream up elaborate storylines, and in that way—Barbie is timeless.
I passed on my favorite Barbies and accessories to my oldest niece, who played with them whenever she was over at my parents’ house. Over the years, my dolls got mixed in with her Bratz dolls and more modern looking Barbies, along with a slew of plastic furniture to go in an elaborate Dreamhouse. Today, my younger nieces and nephews and friends’ daughters play with them. (My sons have played with them a few times, too.) The Dreamhouse really does make it more fun to play with Barbie.
If you—or your kids—have ever wondered what Barbie’s Dreamhouse would look like if it was life-sized, now is your chance to find out. On Valentine’s Day, the Mall of America opened the Barbie™ Dreamhouse Experience™ exhibit, which is expected to remain at the Mall for up to two years. For the price of admission, you can tour 10 of Barbie’s rooms, help Barbie decide what to wear in the expansive dream closet, virtually design a cupcake with Barbie in the kitchen, take a trip to Barbie’s workplace in Paris (by private jet), walk the runway in the Barbie fashion show or enjoy the spotlight as a pop singer, and watch Barbie episodes in the tour bus. Be prepared for pink (100 gallons of pink paint was used), glitter (more than 20 pounds of glitter was used), and more than 300 Barbies—many of them rare collectibles—throughout the 30,000-square-foot exhibit. Each guest wears a personalized bracelet for a truly interactive experience.
Barbie is both smart and beautiful, and in the exhibit she’s shown in a variety of careers and portrayed as a driven woman with career ambitions rather than just a fashion queen. For over 50 years she has been an Olympian, an astronaut, a Marine Corp sergeant, a veterinarian, a police officer, a firefighter, a pilot, a chef, a race car driver (we actually bought that one for my son one Christmas), an architect, an engineer, and a presidential candidate. I hope kids take away the lesson that being smart is beautiful.
At the end of the exhibit, a Barbie Café offers unique snacks and selections, and the Barbie Boutique features dolls only available at the Dreamhouse. Birthday parties for up to 10 can also be scheduled.
Hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. (last admission at 7), Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (last admission at 8:30 p.m.), and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last admission at 6 p.m.). General admission is $23.99 (adults receive $4 off admission when accompanied by a child 12 and under), $16.99 for seniors, and free for those two and under. A military discount is available with valid military ID.
The Dreamhouse is located at the southeast corner of Level 3 (the former location of Bloomingdale’s).
For more information, call 952-883-8800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.