LOS ANGELES – Several children could be seen laughing and sliding down a bedroom slide.

What You Need To Know

  • An interactive and immersive "Bluey" pop-up is now available at the Camp store in Westfield Century City

  • The pop-up is based on the hit Australian animated TV show, "Bluey"

  • The "Bluey" pop-up is part of an evolving retail landscape in which consumers are drawn into malls and retail stores through immersive shopping experiences – to spend, spend, and spend

  • The "Bluey" experience runs until President's Day 2024

In another room, parents bounce a balloon high up in the air as small children wait their turn for a bump. Meanwhile, exuberant staff dressed in colorful blue overalls encourage children and adults to join them in a make-believe bus ride through the family room.

Inside Camp's latest interactive and immersive experience at the Westfield Century City mall, the family experience company has transformed part of its retail store into the home of the Heeler family based on the hit Australian children's show "Bluey."

"Bluey speaks to not only children but families," said Nora Gustuson, show production manager for Camp to Spectrum News. "It's a perfect blend. The entire family has an amazing experience."

Families roam through the colorful and playful 5,000-square-foot makeshift home of Bluey. 

The families are tasked with playing an elaborate game of hide-and-seek looking for the show's main characters, Bluey and Bingo, and once it's complete, they walk into a room stacked with toys to shop all they want on Bluey and other merchandise.

The Heeler home living room at Camp in Westfield Century City. (Photo courtesy of Camp)

The "Bluey" pop-up, running until President's Day, is part of an evolving retail landscape in which consumers are drawn into malls and retail stores through immersive shopping experiences – to spend, spend, and spend.

"We're at a new crest, a new wave of peak experiences right now," said James Cook, senior director of Americas Retail Research at JLL, a commercial real estate services company. "Coming out of the pandemic, essential-only retail faced a backlash. Consumers are going away from goods to experiences."

According to a JLL report, consumer taste has changed when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Consumers are craving "memorable experiences and personalized interactions with brands."

"It's no longer simply about the size of the box or where it is located," wrote Emily A. Miller for JLL. "It's about what story it tells and how the space facilitates that journey."

JLL found that 9.1 million square feet of new entertainment space, such as eatertainment options, escape rooms, bounce houses and art installations, is slated to open in the U.S. and Canada within the next two years.

Spending on entertainment is expected to grow by 10.2% in 2023, according to the report released in May.

Cook said the 9 million square feet of retail space didn't account for the number of malls that recently began transforming its vacant big box stores into pickleball courts.

Cook breaks down the retail entertainment concepts in three ways – permanent locations, pop-ups like "Bluey," and traveling installations such as the Museum of Ice Cream or the recent Dr. Seuss Experience in Santa Monica Place Mall.

While Cook doesn't believe these types of experiential retail concepts are fads, he does caution that if the economy sinks, these stores are usually the first to get axed in a family's budget.

"People will limit their spending on experiences and use their money to buy essential items such as bread and milk," he said.

Still, these experiential concepts are taking over mall and retail spaces.

The Bluey experience kicked off earlier this month. The hour-long experience allows families to explore the home of the Heelers - Bandi, Chilli, Bingo, and Bluey. 

The animated show has been a big hit since its debut in Australia in 2018, and the audience size increased when it hit U.S. Disney channels the following year. Fans love the show's wholesome family message and loveable characters. 

Gustuson, the show production manager for Camp, said they are almost sold out for most weekend time slots until Dec. 31. Tickets range from $40 to $48 for children and adults two and over.

Some upcharges include Bluey and Bingo headbands for $20, a special photo frame and picture with Bluey and Bingo for $30 and bracelets for $18 and more.

The pop-up runs until President's Day on Feb. 19, 2024. But Camp could extend the date depending on demand, Gustuson said.

Gustuson said the show is part of Camp's business of creating wholesome family entertainment. During the run-up to the full-fledged Bluey experience, the store held a series of meet-and-greets with Bingo and Bluey.

"Creating immersive experiences are important," she said. "But what Camp has been a leader in is creating interactions and leaving [families] with a feeling that we helped build a core memory."