It’s been a hot, humid week across KELOLAND. For a lot of families, playing out in this kind of heat is not an option. That’s why several people with young ones flock to the Empire Mall. We find out how the mall uses it’s climate control and child-friendly events to draw in the kid crowd.
With such hot temps outside, parents like Kelsey Zubko are thankful for a break from the sun inside the Empire Mall.
“It’s safe. The equipment is cleaned daily. I know that it’s a safe place. They’re not going to get hurt. We can easily see them, what they’re doing. And if we need to run errands we can, or if we want to eat lunch we can do that too,” said Kelsey Zubko, visiting Empire Mall.
Last year, the Empire Mall unveiled it’s new Sanford Children’s Play Area with a Summer Children’s Bash. This year, they’re keeping the party going.
“We saw the demand and the need and the excitement from all of the families last year that we just wanted to bring that back. We love to be more involved in the community and this was a perfect way to do it,” said Kirsten Schaffer, Sioux Empire Mall Marketing Director.
The Summer Children’s Bash is a unique way to bring in young families. It kicks off with a big balloon drop over the play area, followed by lots of stuff for kids and parents.
“It’s an activity for four hours for children and families to come out, play in the play area. There’s going to be a bounce house, face painting, balloon artist. Lots of activities for kids,” said Schaffer.
Parents will also find some goodies for themselves; like a Citzen Watch or Coach Purse.
“All the parents that attend can enter to win a sweepstakes giveaway. We’re giving away five prizes. Each valued up to $500,” said Schaffer.
Events like this, paired with climate control, seem to be a good recipe for keeping the mall busy year-round.
“We like to come in the winter when it’s really cold. And we like to come in the summer when it’s really hot, and it’s free! And if you want to stay for 10 minutes, that great. And if you want to stay an hour, we don’t ever feel like… Price is not an issue. You can just come in and enjoy it,” said Zubko.
This is not the only way the mall tries to bring in young families. They also offer meet and greets with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny each year, on top of quarterly events with Disney Junior. The Summer Bash is this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.