Nickelodeon Expands in Asia
Viacom and Hong Kong’s Elite Global Group have broken ground on the first Nickelodeon resort in China. It is being built in Foshan, a metropolitan area with a population of more than 7 million people, located about an hour’s drive southwest of Guangzhou. “We will give kids and families across China the opportunity to interact with iconic and beloved characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” says Viacom International Media Networks Executive Vice President Ron Johnson.
The Nickelodeon theme park is part of an RMB 12 billion cultural village. One-third of the 750-acre project, which is expected to open in 2020, is being set aside for Nickelodeon-themed attractions. The resort is expected to draw 6.7 million tourists in its first year. This is the second Nickelodeon investment in Asia. Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon opened in Malaysia last year. A third park is being designed in Palawan in the Philippines.
Jurong Bird Park Celebrates the Year of the Rooster
You do not have to be a chicken to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rooster at Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park. In addition to daily chick hatchings in the breeding and research center, visitors during the new year season can explore the Fowl Trail to discover green peafowl, pheasants, and more. The park itself will be migrating to Mandai, near the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. A new bird park is set to open there in 2020. The closing date for the 46-year-old Jurong Park’s current location has yet to be announced.
‘Rogue One’ Ride a Hit at
Below, a father and daughter enjoy the pre-show at “Star Tours: The Adventure Continues” in Tokyo Disneyland. Following the success of the movie “Rogue One,” the 3-D motion-simulator ride, which provides more than 50 possible story combinations, remains a big hit. Star Wars-themed merchandise and food and beverage items are also popular. There is even a Death Star drink, which appears to explode in the glass when stirred (no blueprints necessary).
Oman’s New Aquarium Takes Shape
Oman’s marine life will be the focus of a new aquarium opening as part of the Palm Mall project in Mabella, Muscat, in Q1 2018. Developer Al Jarwani Group and its subsidiary Tamani Entertainment L.L.C. have appointed Tolliday Group International (TGI) to supervise development, provide consultancy, and handle operations for the aquarium.
“The aquarium is a key attraction in the mall and will deliver a world-class education and conservation program,” says Al Jarwani Group Chair Aman H.E. Mahmoud Al Jarwani.
Designs for the 8,000-square-meter aquarium draw inspiration from the travels of 15th century Omani seafarer Ahmed Ibn Majid. “The storyline always relates back to Oman’s rich culture and heritage,” says TGI CEO Adrian Tolliday.
The facility features 55 exhibits, with an ocean tank that holds 1.7 million liters of seawater. “This aquarium—the first of its kind in Oman—will be a window into the underwater world of the Gulf of Oman,” explains Tolliday. Additional exhibits will highlight aquatic life in Africa and Asia. “We are developing multiple experiences for our guests,” says Tolliday.
Palm Mall’s offerings include a Snow Village, a family entertainment center, a VOX Cinemas 12-screen multiplex with 4-D capability, retail, and food courts.
Tolliday—who has worked on projects including Atlantis, The Palm Aquarium and the Dubai Aquarium—also has plans to develop TGI’s first BioQuarium attraction in the Middle East.
Legoland Deutschland Brings Pirate Fun to Overnight Stays
Merlin Entertainments is investing €26.6 million into a new pirate-themed hotel at Legoland Deutschland. When it opens in 2018, Pirate Island will offer 142 rooms in colorful Lego style, accommodating up to 594 guests. Rooms will be arranged around a giant open-air playground with a pirate ship centerpiece. A new restaurant will offer 320 seats indoors and 120 outdoors.
The expansion is a response to strong consumer demand. The hotel will increase capacity of the site by 28 percent to 2,684 guests per night. “It is an important step in our resort strategy,” says Legoland Deutschland GM Martin Kring. Legoland Deutschland’s Feriendorf (Holiday Village) was voted the best family hotel in Germany in TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards.
São Paulo Water Park Opens New Slide
Brazil’s Magic City Water Park recently unveiled its newest attraction, the “Nitro-X” water slide. Inspired by classic automobile races, the 18-meter-high, 90-meter-long slide boasts six different lanes, allowing for large throughput and a bit of speed competition among riders. The slide, which opened in January, is just one of the many attractions at Greater São Paulo’s largest water park.
Delphinus Honored for Education Program
Late last year, Mexico’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources honored Delphinus, an organization responsible for the operation of six interactive marine habitats in Quintana Roo, Mexico, with Special Mention in the 2016 Ecological Merit Awards. The award was given for Delphinus’ environmental education program, Festival of the Oceans, which hosted beach clean ups with more than 275 volunteers, promoted the consumption of lionfish as a strategy to contain the accelerated growth of this species in the coral reefs, and focused on teaching the children of Quintana Roo ways to help combat climate change, solid waste pollution, overfishing, and invasive alien species.
Zoo Atlanta Names Cockroach Tom Brady
When New England beat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, the Falcons weren’t the only ones to lose. Zoo Atlanta calls the Falcons its hometown team, while Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, supports the Patriots. Before the football championship, the two facilities made a bet: the fan of the losing professional football team had to name a baby animal after the winning team’s quarterback. The baby Zoo Atlanta has named Tom Brady after the Patriots’ quarterback? A Madagascar hissing cockroach.
The terms of the bet, including the type of animal to be named, were determined well before the Super Bowl, and if Atlanta had won, Roger Williams Park Zoo would now be in possession of Matt Ryan, the cockroach.
Ottawa Has Its First Permanent Roller Coaster
Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, recently cut the ribbon to officially open “Crazy 8,” the first roller coaster to make a permanent home in Ottawa. The new ride, manufactured by SBF Visa Group, is located at Funhaven family entertainment center, which has been in operation for five years. The family coaster is 72 feet long and 17 feet tall, and features four carriages that accommodate four riders each. Each
carriage of the spinning coaster rotates freely as it travels along the track.
The Funhaven staff first rode the coaster at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015, and purchased it in August 2016. After expediting the naming and design process, the park arranged for its new coaster to be featured at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 before it was shipped to Ottawa for installation.