As New Jersey malls try to reinvent themselves, lots of new ideas are being brought in. The amusement category is one rung in the ladder of climbing back to where they want to be.

When it comes to amusement for kids, for a long time the most malls would do was set up a small area in the middle of one wing with a few crawl tubes or a couple old-fashioned dollar rides. They were almost an afterthought.

Kids are front and center in all of the thought put into something coming to one New Jersey mall. Imagine your childhood toys and games came to life.

That’s sort of the idea behind Planet Playskool. Based on the Hasbro universe, it’s a huge 20,000-square-foot entertainment center for kids opening this Thursday at Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

Now you remember the Mousetrap game from your youth, right? Picture a giant version of this that you crawl and slide and make your way through. You had a Tinkertoy? There’s Tinkertoy Town where your kid can build all kinds of crazy things. If you have young kids now you know about the tv show PJ Masks. They have PJ Masks Hero City where you and your boy or girl can save the day. Dibs on Gekko!

Altogether there will be six different interactive areas like these designed for children 3 to 9 years old.

Planet Playskool
Planet Playskool
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“Planet Playskool not only brings this vision to life but takes it to the next level through STEAM-based activities that encourage kids to let their imagination run wild and practice their critical thinking skills, while getting them up and active,” is how Matt Proulx explains it. He’s the senior vice president of global experiences, partnerships and music at Hasbro.

Two years in the planning with doors opening Thursday, Planet Playskool can be found on the first level next to Neiman Marcus. If you plan on taking your kids, here’s the pricing.

General admission prices start at $30.

Seniors and members of the military pay $25.

Kids under 2 are free.

If you try it and love it, annual passes are also available for $99. Tickets can be bought online https://tickets.planetplayskool.com/mainstore prior to arrival.

A sad, desolate look at NJ's Old Monmouth Mall

It was the last Christmas Eve for New Jersey's Monmouth Mall in Eatontown before major redevelopment in 2024. Here's what it looked like on that day.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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