Nickelodeon theme park planned for massive mall at Meadowlands

A Nickelodeon theme park is coming to the long-delayed shopping and entertainment mall American Dream at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

It is called Nickelodeon Universe and will be open 365 days a year. The park will feature rides and attractions based on Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Blaze, the Monster Machines, and more. It will also have live shows, retail, games, entertainment, restaurants, and themed party rooms.

Developer Triple Five said the success of the Nickelodeon Universe theme park at the Mall of America in Minnesota makes the company excited to bring it to the tristate region.

"The Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream will give kids and families in the New York Metro area the opportunity to interact with their favorite characters like SpongeBob and the Turtles on a grand scale, through rides, attractions and Nick-themed party and event spaces," said Sarah Levy, the chief operating officer of Viacom Kids and Family Group, the parent company of Nickelodeon.

American Dream, approximately 3 million square feet next to MetLife Stadium in Bergen County, will feature anchor tenants Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor; 450 retail, food and specialty shops; a fully enclosed indoor water park; a performing arts theater; observation wheel; movie theaters; aquarium; ice rink; mini golf course; and an indoor ski  and snow park.

The project, originally called Meadowlands Xanadu, has dragged on for many years as its original developer went belly up and the second developer couldn't secure financing. The third owner, Triple Five, took control of the project in 2013 and hoped to open in 2017, but some financing issues have delayed it until at least 2018.