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Paducah Entertainment Business YaYa's Island Set To Close Due To Financial Losses From Pandemic

YaYa's Island

An indoor children’s entertainment center in Paducah will close this weekend due to financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

YaYa’s Island bills itself as the “premier kids’ play place in the western Kentucky area.” The facility offers bounce houses, tree houses, trains, slides, an arcade, laser tag and more for children. Business management posted their intent to close the facility Friday on Facebook.



Credit YaYa's Island

YaYa’s Island Owner Jessica Pace told WKMS the decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19 safety concerns was devastating for her business. 

“There’s not a lot of consumer confidence right now in the family entertainment and restaurant industry,” Pace said. “Unfortunately, COVID’s not going away and there’s so much uncertainty about the whole thing that it’s just very difficult right now.”

Pace said the initial shutdowns ordered by Governor Andy Beshear in March caused “hurt” for YaYa’s Island, with the following months continuing a grim picture that required Pace and her husband and business partner Dave Pace to dip into savings to keep the facility afloat. She said that wasn’t a sustainable business plan.

“We’ve just exhausted our resources trying to keep it going. We hate this. I love all my employees like my own children and for them to lose their jobs at Christmas time is just devastating to me,” she said.

Pace said community reaction to the closure has been overwhelming, with many social media users expressing regret over the situation. Marshall County parent Jessica Scillian visited YaYa’s Island Friday and found out about the impending shutdown while in the building.

 “We went [to YaYa’s Island] probably once a month. I have a kindergartener and a first grader, and we were there today for two and a half hours,” Scillian said. “It’s one of the only affordable places that you can go. They don’t dollar me to death there.”

Scillian said she hasn’t told her children about the closure yet and she expects them to be severely disappointed. 

YaYa’s Island game cards, gift cards and store credits must be used this weekend before the business is fully shuttered. 


Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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