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Entertainment center or intellectual incubator? Arena STEM attempts both at Garden State Plaza

Al Urbanski
Can learning science and math be fun? Perhaps, if a pool is involved--as it is at Arena STEM.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? In a mega-mall entertainment center?

Just opened at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., is Arena STEM, an education, entertainment, and retail center whose goal is to expose children to technology in fun and interactive ways. The center contains a Virtual Reality Pavilion, a DJI Robomaster Battlefield, a Drift Track, and a Drone Field and Aqua Zone.

Arena STEM offers individual instructions and classes, does birthday parties, and hosts private events accommodating up to 100 guests. Kids as young as 2 can enter the Pre-K Learning Zone and acquire initial coding and programming skills. School-age customers can join after-school and vacation programs in science and technology. Future plans include programs in basic financial literacy and other valuable life skills.

Merchandise for sale includes smart toys, construction sets, and hobby-grade models—artificial intelligence and machine learning tools included.

"It’s a fun destination that utilizes STEM principles and fosters critical thinking and innovation," said Arena STEM CEO Sergei Manevich. "We have created a unique environment where the entire family can spend a day and parents and kids can learn and have fun together."

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