I'm amazed, and also a little mad. How did it take out-of-town visitors for me to learn that there's a giant mall, theme park, AND the largest indoor water park in North America just an hour drive away from my house in Newburgh, NY? Sounds like we may have the answer to the perfect short memorial Day road trip.

Austin M
Austin M
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It all started with a simple question my brother-in-law asked when my wife got back from picking him up from the Newark airport: "What's that mall with the rollercoaster coming out of it?" I was floored. First I thought they were talking about the Palisades Mall that has a small rollercoaster inside and that massive Ferris wheel in the front window. But when I showed him a picture he informed me that no, what he saw was in fact way more impressive. That's when I discovered the massive treasure that's been hiding in plain sight for the last three years.

Austin M
Austin M
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American Dream Mall, East Rutherford, NJ

The reason for my ignorance is that they are both part of the decades-long and multiple-delay-suffering American Dream Mall that had multiple struggles ever since construction started way back in 2004. There were several bankruptcies, ownership changes, and hiccups, but the mall finally (re)opened with the theme park and water park included in 2020.

Google Maps
Google Maps
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What my brother-in-law saw from I-95 was the roller coaster from the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and a giant Shrek that's park of the DreamWorks waterpark. As you see above, several waterslides also pop out of the mall's exterior wall. Since it's only an hour drive from the Hudson Valley, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend hopped in the car for a short day trip and had the time of their lives.

Austin M
Austin M
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DreamWorks Water Park

In addition to the Nickelodeon theme park that heavily features Sponge Bob, the Shrek-helmed DreamWorks water park was the main draw for my out-of-town visitors. There was a surprisingly modest (for a water park) entrance fee of $69, and they were able to rent lockers for an additional $15. I just still can't get over the fact that the mall and parks were finished right under my nose and I had no idea.

Austin M
Austin M
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Perfect Memorial Day Plans

This is the perfect solution for a Memorial Day trip. Traffic is going to be bananas, so you'll want to stay close. Families can be large and opinionated, so you'll want to have something for everyone. This checks all the boxes! American Dream Mall is less than a hundred miles away and has a water park, theme park AND mall... no one can complain. You're welcome.

You can check out more here, and check out the water park at nearby LEGOLAND Resort below.

Splash Into Summer at New LEGOLAND Water Park

Splash into Summer at the new water playground at LEGOLAND New York. Build and race a LEGO boat, splash on a water slide, and be doused by a giant water bucket when the playground opens this summer. 
 

Inside New York's Largest Indoor Water Park

Step inside New York's largest indoor water park