‘Kids Week’ once again a hit at Southland Mall


By Gary Alan Ruse….

Burnie, mascot of the Miami Heat, (far right) entertains some of the kids and parents.

After the success of last year’s first ever “Kids Week” at Southland Mall, the event returned this year from July 18 through July 23, bigger and better than before. Maggie Anzardo, marketing director of Southland Mall, couldn’t have been more pleased with the community response to the second annual mini kids convention that featured entertainment and educational fun for the entire family.

“Thousands of people turned out this year to enjoy activities from Miami Children’s Museum, awesome animal displays from Zoo Miami , back-to-school give-aways from Sprinkles magazine, Buffalo Wild Wing’s popular wing eating contest, game show trivia courtesy of Superstar Productions, and even a visit from Miami Heat mascot Burnie,” Anzardo said.

Among other attractions during the event, Southland Mall also gave away six three-day cruises to the Bahamas on NCL’s Norwegian Sky courtesy of MK Travelplan, and awarded a $500 mall gift card to one lucky winner.

Andrea Obregón, events manager for the Zoological Society of Florida and Zoo Miami, said she was pleased with the event and thinks it turned out well.

“Zoo Miami enjoyed participating in Southland Mall’s recent Kids Week event,” Obregón said. “The children were amazed and fascinated by our albino red rat snake, the critically endangered radiated tortoise, our tegu lizard and our stripped skunk.

“Many of the children were very interested in learning all about the animals and parents couldn’t wait to become annual pass holders so they could visit the zoo during the entire year,” she said. “Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida’s mission is to encourage an appreciation for the world’s wildlife and to help conserve it for future generations.”

The festivities began at Center Court on Monday, July 18, with Miami Children’s Museum’s interactive program based on its newest traveling exhibit “Bob the Builder-Project-Built It” and “Burnie,” the popular Miami Heat mascot.

The wing-eating contest was on Thursday, July 21, courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings, and Friday brought a a visit from radio personality Gnarly Charlie from The Coast 97.3 FM. Saturday, July 23 wrapped things up with a four-hour grand finale sponsored by Sprinkles magazine and Zoo Miami, which brought live specimens from its reptile exhibit.

Anzardo said the mall plans to do it again next year.

“This has become one of two signature events at the center and will be held every summer at Southland,” she said.

Southland Mall is located on S. Dixie Highway and SW 205th Street in Cutler Bay. For more information visit online at www.mysouthlandmall.com. For more on Zoo Miami’s outreach programs go online to www.zoomiami.org.

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