Memories of Livonia's Wonderland Mall (Part 3)

Wonderland Mall closed in 2003

Photo: DetroitYes
Photo: DetroitYes

DETROIT – If you grew up in Metro Detroit between 1960 and 2000, you likely remember Wonderland Mall.

Wonderland Mall, originally named Wonderland Center, sat on Plymouth and Middlebelt (or Middle Belt) roads in Livonia, Michigan.

The mall closed in 2003.


We asked you to tell us about your favorite Wonderland Mall memories. We received nearly 1,000 submissions!

Here are some of the memories you shared:

Does anyone remember the Parrot that perched on a trapeze from the ceiling at Wards near the toy department? As a kid it was always exciting to toy shop and gawk at the noisy bird. - Unnamed

I loved AAA PET STORE! It was a must every time we went to the Mall, which was quite often since both sets of grandparents lived on W Chicago less than a mile away. Eating at Kresge, Woolworth counters. Oh, and the Monkeys they had in one of their center exhibits! So many great memories - Unnamed

When I was a kid they were converting it from an outdoor to an indoor mall, They had the walls/ceiling up, but still the outdoor paving blocks for the floor. I remember walking the paths trying to pretend it was still an outdoor mall. When I grew up we bought a house a few blocks from the mall. At that time there was an eatery with many different food venders in one big room. Since the family could never agree on what to eat, it was perfect. We ate there often and were really sad when they closed it. - Unnamed

My dad worked for Montgomery Wards. First he worked at the Dearborn store and then was transferred to Wards of Wonderland. - Unnamed

Perhaps it came just once a year, but I remember Wonderland always having carnival rides. My Dad would take us kids there (3 of us) plus a friend or two each to ride the rides. This is why I thought it was called :Wonderland". The tilt-a-whirl was always my favorite, because it made us laugh and laugh! I wouldn't get near one of those today with a 10 foot pole! My Dad was the only dad in the neighborhood that did stuff like that with the kids! - Unnamed

Boy, I'm older than dirt, compared to most of these people. My memories are mostly of the open air mall. The anchor stores were: Montgomery Wards and Federals at one end; and Winkelmans and Woolworths at the other. Some of the stores in between were, Kresge's Hughes & Hatchers, Thom McCanns, I think, a Joanne Fabrics, and a couple more girly stores. For a short time, there was a head shop there, called The Village Green (hung out there a LOT). A couple satellite stores, I remember are: a bank and the Red Barn, in the North parking lot; and, of course, Wonderland Cleaners (still there!), to the South. My friends and I, mostly walked up to the mall, and entered the South parking lot through an opening in the wall, from the neighboring subdivision. We'd hang out there, people watching, and begging spare change, in order to have a coffee and/or a banana split at the Woolworths soda fountain. Got moved on by mall security more times than I can count and once got busted by store security, for trying to shoplift 45s from the upstairs record dept. at Montgomery Wards. In the early '80s, my mom worked at the K-Mart that was built in the West parking lot and we'd have lunch at the Big Boy, where, I think, the Woolworth's used to be. I kinda moved away, in '86, and the next thing I knew, a Walmart had been built, in place of the K-Mart, and the rest of the mall was being bulldozed. - Brian S.

I'm not entirely sure if it was at the wonderland mall, but I feel as though it was. There use to be some sort of movie theater were you had to walk up steps outside to get inside the movie theater. I remember going to see Captain Hook when it first came out in theaters. It is a pretty awesome memory.

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