Five entertainment-related businesses are in various stages of opening or expanding in Trumbull, part of the town’s wave of development that continues to gain momentum.
“People want to spend their money more and more on experience-type things,” said Trumbull Economic and Community Development Director Rina Bakalar. “They’re still buying things as well, of course, but we have definitely seen an uptick in these types of businesses, and we are thrilled that so many have chosen Trumbull as their home.”
Two of those endeavors are at the Westfield Trumbull mall: a 20,000-square-foot interactive aquarium, SeaQuest, which as previously reported is under construction; and Kidz Klub, an indoor play park featuring ball bits, slides, trampolines and other kid-friendly attractions.
“It’s in a perfect location,” Bakalar said of the latter, noting that Kidz Klub is situated near the mall’s Build-A-Bear Workshop. “They do a lot of birthday parties and events like that, and it’s a way of breaking up the shopping for really little kids.”
Kidz Klub maintains that its mission is to combat child obesity by providing activities aimed at getting kids fit as well as providing healthy organic snack options, and encouraging children to socialize with their peers through interaction. No video games are available.
“Fitness is key to what we want to provide,” said owner Josh Horton, who said the inspiration for his business was the similar Discovery Zone chain of kid-friendly activities that he frequented growing up. (That chain closed in 1999.) “And it’s not just kids meeting kids. We have lots of parents meeting parents as well,” Horton said. “It’s becoming a social hot spot.”
Kidz Klub opened in the mall last December in an 11,000-square-foot space, but moved in May to its current 5,400-square-foot space when the Ulta Beauty cosmetics and salon took its original spot.
“The mall has the right to move you for a big national tenant, which is what happened,” Horton said. “But we’re really just a few feet from where we were — we’re across the hall from Ulta Beauty.”
The move was “a blessing in disguise,” Horton said. “I thought this could succeed, but I didn’t want to take a chance on a three-year deal (for the 11,000 square feet),” he said. “If it had failed, then we’d be on the hook for that.”
Featuring different prices for children under the age of 3 and the 4-to-12-year-old crowd, Kidz Klub has proven to be viable, he said — a statement backed up by the fact that he opened a 6,000-square-foot location at the Danbury Fair Mall earlier in November, and opened an 8,300-square-foot Kidz Klub at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford.
Horton is in discussions with the under-construction SoNo Collection in Norwalk to open another play center there, and said he would like to open a fifth in the Bronx or Queens in the near future. The goal for 2020 is to begin franchising, he said. Kidz Klub is already accepting inquiries by phone and email.
As for SeaQuest, the mall location will be its first in the Northeast. The interactive aquarium promises exposure to more than 1,200 animals representing over 300 species, including birds, turtles and snakes as well as opportunities to splash around with stingrays and the like. Prices will range from $10 for a daily pass to $70 for an annual family pass.
The 24,000-square-foot D-BAT Academy at 30 Nutmeg Drive also opened recently, joining the Technique Tigers Baseball Academy at 25 Lindeman Drive. While the latter is not a new business, it plans to expand by 1,200 square feet.
A 10,000-square-foot Escapology, an international chain of escape rooms, is under construction at 9 Trefoil Drive. Prices for a variety of escape room environments mostly fall in the $50 to $60 range.