Final prep underway for Saturday's KidzExplore

Connie Ernest, left, and Mercedes Lopez decorate the registration table in preparation for this Saturday’s 20th annual free KidzExplore event at the Monument Mall. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the entrance is through the double doors next to Applebee’s at the east end of the mall. J

SCOTTSBLUFF — Rolling into its 20th year, the community favorite KidzExplore is happening this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Monument Mall in Scottsbluff. The event is sponsored by the Star-Herald, the Monument Mall and Team Chevrolet.

“Everything is free for this event,” Connie Ernest, marketing director with Star-Herald said. “The first hundred kids through the door get a free knapsack courtesy of Cabela’s/Bass Pro and the second hundred get a free goodie bag with lots of swag.”

The entrance to this year’s KidzExplore is the double doors next to Applebee’s at the east end of the mall.

Ernest said last year, the first time KidzExplore was held in the Monument Mall, about 1,500 kids and adults attended.

“The kids can meet their hometown heroes on Saturday,” she said. “Members of the police and fire department will be there to greet the kids. And they’ll get to see some things they normally wouldn’t unless it were an emergency situation. And Air Link will be here to land their helicopter unless they’re on an emergency call.”

Also attending will be the comic book character Groot, and Lightning McQueen and Mader from the movie “Cars.”

Hiram, the mascot for the Western Nebraska Pioneers baseball team, will be there to visit with the kids as well.

Ernest said there will be plenty of activities for the kids. Cabela’s/Bass Pro is partnering with Nebraska Game and Parks for a portable archery range where kids can learn about the sport.

Team Auto Center will have a “U-Fix-It” garage where the kids can pretend fixing cars at a real garage.

Another popular event will be a building activity, sponsored by Home Depot.

Vendors will sell everything from kitchen items to cotton candy and some 50 nonprofit agencies will be in attendance with information and some fun activities.

At 3 p.m., Reel Lux Cinemas will show a movie for a dollar admission.

Manager Christa Pelster of the Monument Mall said last year’s event was a big success.

“We had a lot of kids and adults and we’re hoping for more this Saturday because it’s a free event. The kids can have fun while the adults can look around the mall and do some shopping.”

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at

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