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MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR $12 MILLION LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER IN ATLANTA’S PHIPPS PLAZA

Atlanta, USA (Wednesday February 16 2011) – Global leisure giant Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), the world’s second biggest visitor attraction operator, announced conditional plans to build a $12m LEGOLAND Discovery Center (LDC) in Atlanta Georgia.  It is planned to open in Spring 2012 at the Phipps Plaza, one of the Southeast’s premier shopping destinations.
Merlin’s newest attraction concept, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center will offer a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience ideal for families with children 3-10 years old.  Based on the ever popular LEGO brick, LEGOLAND Discovery Centers provide a range of interactive play areas including 4D cinema; master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder; exciting LEGO rides; special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations; as well as the popular MINILAND exhibit designed to reflect the iconic buildings and skyline of each individual attraction’s location.
The Atlanta attraction at Phipps Plaza also underlines Merlin’s aggressive growth plan, rolling out 6/7 new sites for its exciting brands around the world every year; and continuing to invest in new experiences and improved customer service across its existing portfolio of 70 attractions.
Merlin currently has nine other attractions in the USA including the LEGOLAND California theme park;  Madame Tussauds wax attractions in New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Chicago; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona, the Mall of America in Minneapolis, and alongside LEGOLAND California, underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator.  Three more Merlin attractions are also already scheduled to open in the USA in 2011, a SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Dallas/ Fort Worth; and LEGOLAND Florida, a major new theme park opening in Winter Haven, Florida in October, the second in the USA and fifth in the world.
Commenting Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, which includes the LDCs, said:  “The LDC concept is already successful in both Europe and elsewhere in the USA, and I know people will love it here.  North America is a very important development market for Merlin; and we believe that Atlanta, and particularly Phipps Plaza, is a great location for us.  Bringing together an exciting mix of retail, catering, and quality leisure attractions like the LDC creates a whole new element to a family shopping day, delivering significant incremental business to both the mall – and to the area as a whole.  Such projects play an important part in Merlin’s future growth strategy. I would also like to Simon Property Group, with whom we are already working very successfully on a number of projects in the US.”
“The decision by Merlin Entertainments to build a LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza, already one of our city’s premier shopping and dining centers, is another example of how Atlanta continues to lead as a tourism and convention destination,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.  “The city is pleased to partner with Merlin Entertainments and Simon Property Group and welcome this exciting new attraction to our growing list of cultural, historical and family-oriented leisure activities for residents and visitors alike.”

Plans and designs are already being drawn up for the site, and construction is expected to begin in July, with the LEGOLAND Discovery Center due to open in March 2012.  Models for Atlanta will be made in Merlin’s specialist studios around the world and shipped in during construction. 

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Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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