HAMPTON Pa. (KDKA) – With wide-eyed wonder, children have come through the front door of Wildwood Highlands for almost thirty years.
People who came as children returned with their own children to enjoy the wonder of arcade games of every description: skeeball, bumper cars, miniature golf, winning tickets, claiming prizes, enjoying slushies, the climbing maze and the ballpit.
That all ended today.
“It was not a decision that was taken lightly,” said Ryan Buries, President of North Park Sports Complex.
The Wildwood Highlands Entertainment Complex announced on Monday that they were clsoing effective immediately. Sunday Dec. 8 was the final day of operation.
Buries said it was a business decision rooted in a changing culture.
“This model of arcade if a tough model and other competitions of other venues in the area has made the birthday party industry very competitive,” Buries said.
In addition to Chuck E Cheese in McIntyre Square, a Dave and Busters recently opened in The Block Northway. So Wildwood Highlands is being dismantled and sold off in pieces, to be rebranded and replaced by North Park Sports Complex, featuring the massive sports dome opened on the Wildwood site a year ago.
“We’re choosing to shift our focus to what we think our strength is which is sports and fitness, healthly lifestyle, engaging children and their parents in a non-sedentary way.”
In other words, they are trying to get kids and their parents off the gaming chair and into a more physical environment.
“We can offer a birthday party that features any kind of sport and integrates a nerf battle,” said Buries.
As for the future of the space now occupied by Wildwood Highlands entertainment, North Park Sports is looking for a ‘compatible tenant.’ Buries said there are a lot of possibilities.
“Whether it be a physical therapy or a dance conservatory, martial arts, something like that that would be a complimentary business to what we’re doing next door in the dome.”
The dome itself is massive. The field is a regulation FIFA size soccer field. It is subdivided for multiple uses simultaneously.
Buries says NPSC will honor all Wildwood Highlands gift cards and certificates for either use in the new facility or refunds. The staff is currently contacting customers who have scheduled parties to see if they can be rebooked with a sports theme. If not any funds put down in advance will be refunded.
The closing of Wildwood Highlands Entertainment Complex is effective immediately, and the signs have already been changed to remove the iconic Wildwood Highlands name.
Those with gift cards to Wildwood or tickets should contact Ryan Mulligan at 412-487-5517. Refunds will be offered or funds can be transferred to apply to the North Park Sports Complex.
People looking for more information should visit the North Park Sports website.