KidSports

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KidSports

This one is near and dear to my own heart, as I grew up going to KidSports. It was located along Penn Avenue, connected to the old Boscov’s West Department Store building. Before Kid Sports, it was an Acme and/or IGA Grocery store for many decades.

KidSports
1960s

According to this Washington Post article, KidSports was the 1987 brainchild of local Gary Seibert, who wanted to create a place for kids to combat (the even then growing) childhood obesity epidemic.

He saw study after study that showed they were out of shape and unhappy — too easily lured by drugs and alcohol.

What America needed, he reasoned, was something that children would like, something that would help them make friends and believe in themselves.

He had lofty goals, to create what he wanted to be the “McDonalds of the kids’ fun and fitness business”, wanting to sell between 400 and 500 licenses around the country to operate under the KidSports namesake.

KidSports boasted a large indoor obstacle course, which kids could get lost in for hours, with a food area nearby to get a bite to eat after. It also had an indoor area to play sports, along with many rooms for smaller gaming activities. If I remember correctly, there was also a gym that adults could use if they purchased a membership.

KidSports

His dream ultimately became reality in July of 1992, when the first KidSports on Penn Avenue opened to the public (Edit: apparently it was originally located just up Penn Ave toward West Lawn, next to Adelphia Seafood. It also was existing pre-1992 Penn Ave move, but I cannot find a hard date on the previous location’s opening) It enjoyed success for the entire 90s into the 2000s, but ultimately merged with the old Family Grand Prix business on Route 61 in Leesport, which then became Ozzy’s Family Fun Center.

This old video commercial is the closest I can find to any glimpse inside Kid Sports. If you have any photos, please send them my way! [email protected]

Below is a photo of KidSports after it had closed down, but before it was demolished in 2010 along with the Boscov’s West building. In its place another strip mall was built, including a brand new Food Lion Grocery store, which ultimately failed after just 14 months open. It currently still sits vacant 6 years later.

August 2020 EDIT: Happy to announce that a Lidl grocery store just opened in the 8-year vacant Food Lion building.

KidSports
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John Scherrer
6 years ago

I remember when that was an IGA

Bob
Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  John Scherrer

Right, I think the original occupant was IGA, with Acme coming later.

tracy schmeck
tracy schmeck
6 years ago

I liked the food lion that was there. Not sure why they closed so soon

Lee
Lee
6 years ago

I think it was Ray’s IGA.

Mark Allen
Mark Allen
4 years ago

I remember having a Kidsports location in Lancaster near manheim pike. My stepdad used to clean their floors and he used to steal tokens to give to me when he’d bring me along. I had the whole place to myself and played games and found out how to siphon tickets from them.

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[…] 1 was the demolition and revitalization of the Boscov’s West / Kidsports Shopping Center area, which was completed in 2010. It briefly housed a Food Lion that went out of […]

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

Yes. It was owned by the Ray family and I went to school with one of the sons.

Kevin Marsh
Kevin Marsh
1 year ago

Used to LOVE going here as a little kid back in the 90’s. I used to love that rope thing that slid along the track which is prominently featured in the video. I remember my parents took me there one time and I stayed in the obstacle course thing for hours and wouldn’t come out on my own. My dad had to crawl through all the slides, ballpits, etc….. to get me out!! Good times! 🙂

Laurie Saren
Laurie Saren
3 months ago

In the 90s, KidSports had an exercise room where there were 2 recumbent bikes with animated screens showing where you were cycling. Cycling difficulty changed, like if you were in sand it got harder. I know they’re long out of business, but trying so hard to remember what they were called. Can you help???


Berks Nostalgia