West Edmonton Mall through photos / by Jessica Lee

After work on Friday, Josh and I headed to the West Edmonton Mall, a monstrosity of fun and contagious consumerism.

I'd been previously when I was young and remembered it as exhaustingly huge. It took forever to just to walk to everywhere I wanted to go.

This time though, we only did a cursory walk through the mall because we had an agenda. We planned to go to the water park. (Yes, there is a water park in the mall.)

First though, a stop at the skating rink:

I've seen skating rinks in malls throughout Asia, so this is nothing new. It's still nice to have though.

What makes West Edmonton Mall stand out is that it used to be the largest mall in the world up until 2004. It's still the largest mall in North America and here is what it has going for it:

Here's a snapshot of what a section of the mall looks like:

The above photo looks pretty normal until you factor in that there is a grocery store in the background (T&T). Still lots of malls have grocery stores attached to it.

But they probably don't have ropes courses:

Or a giant water park with a wave pool.

This was some sea world-esque amusement in the middle of the mall.

Here is a penguin show being put on.

Here is a seal. By the way, I really liked the environmentally-friendly natural lighting. Great touch by the architects.

And here is the rest of the marine park.

Next, we headed to Galaxy Land just to browse.

There was a kids section and one with bigger roller coasters. It was pretty impressive to see massive roller coasters just run around the space. It kind of reminded me of a smaller-scale version of Las Vegas, where you have roller coasters spiralling around hotels.

This is the biggest roller coaster in the joint. We watched people get on and get off the roller coaster. It sounds terrible, but their facial expressions were our entertainment.

We finally made it to the water park, which is definitely the best way to spend a Friday evening unwinding.

Here is the wave pool:

And the water slides. If you can see, there is a purple water slide which does a loop. I'd never seen anything like it before and was keen to try it.

That is, until I saw how steep the initial drop was.

Basically, they put you into this upright chamber, the door locks and the attendant presses a button which causes the floor to disappear, allowing gravity to help you gain speed. If you watch a clip of it on Youtube, the whole thing is over in a matter of 10 seconds, but I just wasn't feeling very adventurous that day I suppose. There's always next time.

Here's another photo of all the water slides. We did go on most of them.

Also really cool was the zip line that went over the water park.

And a final photo of the park.

We finished the day with a selection of the mall's finest restaurants. There was Hooters, a dueling piano bar (was really tempted to go), the Old Spaghetti Factory and your typical chain pubs. We went with Hudson's Steakhouse because they don't have that in Toronto yet.

We didn't check out the golf course or the skatepark, the bowling alley, shooting range, the cinemas or either of the hotels attached to the mall, but of course there just wasn't enough time. When doing anything, you have to set priorities.