Members of a hospitality and event planning class made a pilgrimage last week to the Mall of America.

Park Rapids High School business teacher Angie Kuehn’s students were guided on their tour by the mall’s group sales manager, Sarah Anderson, and vice president of communications Dan Jasper.

“It was a very informative and entertaining tour, which focused on how the Mall of America team works to make each visit an ‘experience,’” said Kuehn. “We also got to see some behind-the-scenes activities, such as the employees at work that monitor and maintain all social media related to the mall, and heard about their ability to provide ‘surprises and delights’ to mall visitors.”

The students also toured the mall’s underground recycling system.

“We highly recommend this tour to other groups,” said Kuehn.

Several of her students commented about their experience.

“I learned a lot about the mall that I didn’t know before,” said Noel Skadberg. “I realized how much work they really put into the little things to make your experience great.”

“Learning new things about how the mall operates and its history … is unforgettable to me,” said Braeden Berg.

Jasper “really was connected, and he really wanted to inform us about all the facts and history that was made even before the mall was built,” said Darryl Etter. “He really showed us the behind-the-scenes and proved that the hospitality industry has a lot of factors to it.”

Cole Ackerman appreciated being shown “the little things you would never notice,” such as the Christmas trees surrounding Santa, so that each child can enjoy one-on-one with him without being stared at by a crowd.

Emma Frieze said the tour showed her “how much thought goes into planning for events and daily activities in the mall.”

Peyten Sherk enjoyed learning about a plaque on the ground at Nickelodeon Universe, marking the spot where the first Hail Mary pass was thrown, back when Metropolitan Stadium stood on the site. “We got to see what shoppers don’t get to see,” Sherk said.

“The amount of effort and care the Mall of America puts into making their customers’ experience memorable is incredible,” Batiste Huss enthused.

“We learned all of the thought that goes into the mall,” said Chloe Tretbar, recalling that the class heard stories of both good and bad service by mall employees. “They plan for an event two years in advance,” she said. “Wow.”

Evelyn Guajardo liked seeing how much Jasper cared about the place. “I also enjoyed the shopping, but who wouldn’t?” she said.

Star Norcross, who had never been to the Mall of America before, called it an exciting opportunity.

“It was really fun and easy to get around,” said Lily Friedl.

Tatiyana Smith appreciated that Jasper was kind and the mall staff were friendly. “I would 10/10 recommend going to the Mall of America,” she said.