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.