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Indoor playground for kids to open in Tucson

Indoor playground for kids to open in Tucson

Parents will soon be able to take the kids to a playground without the need to slather on sunscreen or mosquito repellent.

Indoor playground Wild Katz is expected to open by November at 4629 E. Speedway in the Mission Plaza at North Swan Road.

Designed for children ages 6 months to early teens, Wild Katz will have climbing walls, obstacle courses, toddler slides and a ball blaster arena with spiral slides and tunnels.

All venues will have a seating area for parents to keep an eye on the kiddos.

There will be a centrally located, old-fashioned soda fountain with ice cream, television sets, massage chairs and couches.

“The parent is our true client,” said owner Jenni Gardner.

Six party rooms, themed as a different cat — tiger, jaguar, leopard, cheetah, bobcat and lynx — will be available for 90-minute rentals that include use of the playground.

Prices are being calculated and will be posted on as the opening nears.

It was during a visit to an indoor playground last year that the mother of four got the idea of replicating the concept.

“I sat there and thought, ‘How does Tucson not have one of these?’” Gardner said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

Looking for space in central Tucson, her broker showed her the 15,562-square-foot space that was once occupied by Hibachi Super Buffet.

“It looked like they had left mid-shift,” Gardner laughed. “There were plates, napkins and soy sauce everywhere.”

The space is now cleaned up and ready for equipment to be installed. Kevin Volk and Jeramy Price, of Volk Co., handled the lease.

More and more, shopping center and mall landlords are looking for tenants that offer services or experiences that cannot be found online with a click.

“The old model for shopping centers was based on true retail, the sales of physical goods,” Volk said. “Going forward, the most successful ‘retail’ projects will feature tenants that are compelling enough to get consumers to leave the comfort of their homes, and the best will have a combination of consumables (groceries, restaurants), services (fitness, beauty) or for experience — in this case — an adventure playground.”

He said the neighboring Sprouts store generates a high number of customers and that “Wild Katz will be an excellent destination that can draw city-wide.”

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