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Amusement Parks: First New UK Attraction for Merlin Entertainments Group in 10 Years

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Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), the UK and Europe’s biggest visitor attraction operator, announced plans to open its first new attraction in the UK since the Edinburgh Dungeon in 2001.  The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (LDC) will be located at The Trafford Centre shopping complex in Manchester and will open in time for Easter 2010.
 
Merlin’s newest attraction concept, the £7.5m Manchester development will be the first LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in the UK, and the fourth worldwide. It offers a fun, highly interactive and educational indoor experience which is ideal for children 3 -12 years old.  The UK LDC is one of two scheduled to open in 2010, and underlines Merlin’s aggressive growth plan, rolling out 3 – 4 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 58 attractions. 
 
LDC and The Trafford Centre brings together an exciting mix of retail and leisure, a key strategy for both partners, which creates a whole new element to the family day out shopping.  Merlin’s experience with its Berlin LDC has shown innovative short stay attractions, enable for example, Dad to keep the children amused for 2 – 3 hours while mum is shopping – or alternatively are chosen as a destination for all the family to enjoy. Combining the quality retail and leisure experience in this way will play an increasingly important part in Merlin’s future growth strategy for its ‘midway’ or indoor City Centre attractions.  
 
Based on the ever popular LEGO brick, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres provide a range of interactive areas such as the ‘reach out and touch the stars’ 4D cinema; master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder; an exciting LEGO ride; and the global landmarks of the popular MINILAND exhibit.  The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre also offers special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations.
 
Commenting, Glenn Earlam Managing Director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, which includes the LDCs said:   “We believe Manchester and the Trafford Centre is exactly the right location for our first UK LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.  The Trafford Centre is already a high footfall ‘destination’ for the family – and the inclusion of a quality leisure attraction like the LDC will we believe deliver significant incremental business to both companies – and to the City as a whole.     This is our fourth LDC, the concept is already successful in Germany and the USA, and it is especially good to be opening one in our home market – the first completely new site we have opened here in the UK for almost 10 years.
 
“Merlin is the most dynamic company in the global visitor attraction sector and is committed to continuing our major programme of investment in both new and existing attractions not just in the UK, but globally. The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will bring the worldwide total of Merlin attractions to 59, with 21 already in the UK, including the London Eye, the Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, our Dungeons in London, York and Edinburgh, LEGOLAND Windsor, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Zoo, the SEA LIFE centres and Madame Tussauds.”
 
Work on models for the project is already underway ready for the Easter opening next year. 
 
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP is the leading name in location based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years.   The world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin has 58 attractions, 6 hotels and two holiday villages in 13 countries, across 3 continents.   The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 35 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 13, 500 employees.  
 
Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions – SEA LIFE – the world’s biggest aquarium brand, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo, Heide Park, and Earth Explorer.  All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

See also:
Amusement Parks: Merlin Entertainments Group Continues Strong Growth Record
Amusement Parks: Merlin Entertainments the Fastest Growing Private Company in the UK
World Leadership through People and Creative Ideas : An interview with Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments Group
Merlin Tops Fastest Growing PE-Owned Companies in UK for Second Year

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