Business

It’s more fun at Edgewater Mall these days

The fun’s been ramped up at Edgewater Mall, and there’s something to entice all ages.

Three new stores with video, arcade and other games are open at locations throughout the mall. And the new Edgewater Express train makes a lap of the halls every 15 minutes.

As they catch a glimpse of the train light coming down the hall and hear the bell, kids jump up and down and seniors turn into 9-year-olds, said Troy Wikel of Biloxi. Seniors age 63 and up can ride for $1; tickets are $3 for others. The train makes stops near all the anchor stores so passengers can hop on or off as they shop.

“It’s a beautiful mall,” Wikel said. “It needed some life back into to it.”

He and his wife, Kellie, operating as TK Amusements, also recently introduced Snookball outside of Belk, just down the hall from the carousel and climbing wall.

A combination of billiards and soccer, Snookball is played on pool tables on the floor using soccer balls in the colors of billiard balls. It takes about five or 10 minutes to get used to kicking the balls rather than using a cue stick, said Zach Williams and Tamara Lemon of Pass Christian, who were playing recently. “It’s really fun,” she said.

The game is big in Europe, where professional leagues have formed. “We’re actually the first center in the U.S.,” Wikel said. “We’re the first one with blacklight, glow-in-the-dark in the world.”

The cost is $5 for 15 minutes and up to four people can play at that price. Military and first responders get 25 percent off and Kellie Wikel said specials are offered every night and they have plans for summer camps and leagues. A DJ plays music for dancing under the blacklights some nights, and karaoke is featured a couple of times a week.

“It’s a kid-friendly environment,” she said, with no alcohol or inappropriate music, and families can order New York–style pizza and other Italian food with sit-down service. Birthday party packages can include a train ride, she said, and they’ve teamed up with Great American Cookies near the food court to supply a cookie birthday cake.

Games Inc. is open at the other entrance to Belk and the arcade is filled with air-hockey tables, video machines and other games, along with a redemption center to transfer winning tickets into prizes.

Play Live Nation recently opened in the hall between Dillard’s and the carousel. Players in reclining chairs and wearing headphones play a solo adventure, take on their friends or challenge the entire Live Nation and compete in a $50,000 game in progress.

“We’re very family-friendly,” said Crystal McGlynn, operations analyst for Play Live Nation, which is headquartered in Phoenix. The company started seven years ago with one location and now has 120 stores worldwide. All the games are Xbox, she said.

The reclining chairs and monitors stretch along the walls of the store and game tables down the center are for playing Pokémon or Dungeons and Dragons. McGlynn gives the introduction to each new group of players as they wander in, telling them how they can play for $9.99 an hour and save any unused time to use later in Biloxi or transfer it to other locations. Mondays through Thursdays, the special is an all-day pass for $12.

These new attractions are the latest round of fun at Edgewater Mall, which opened in 1963 and over the years has seen dinosaurs, art shows, boat shows, the Batmobile, celebrity appearances and a miniature circus.

The Easter Bunny is at the mall until April 15. Another sand sculpture will be coming later this spring, said Terry Powell, mall manager, and Wonder Woman will make an appearance during Kids Day at the mall April 22.

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