April 12th saw the opening of the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, or what some are calling “the ultimate indoor LEGO playground,” at the Shops at Rivercenter mall in San Antonio. This massive new attraction features two rides fit for kids, a 4D cinema, some 10 play zones, and a LEGO display of local landmarks!
The LEGO display offers a rotating miniature Tower of the Americas, a version of the Alamo-Dome complete with Lego figures cheering in the stands, a reenactment of the battle of the Alamo, and a few boats along the River Walk. Lighting around the display changes as day turns to night, and organizers of the new attraction promise that they will keep it updated with new features especially during events like Fiesta. Building the display was no easy feat, as it includes more than 1.5 million Lego bricks!
The new Discover Center is not the only attraction in the area perfectly suited for families and children. The Center is next to the SEA LIFE Aquarium, opening just this year. In the aquarium, visitors can walk through an underwater tunnel where they can see up close and personal several hundred species of marine life, as well as various feeding demonstrations. The aquarium is also home to a black tip reef shark that the city of San Antonio voted to name Selena.
Chase Hathaway, marketing manager for LEGOLAND, stated that the new center was build with locals in mind. The attractions span some three floors and cover well over 65,000 square feet. New York-based real estate investment firm Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., owners of the Shops at Rivercenter, is working with U.K.-based Merlin Entertainments, owners of LEGOLAND, on the attractions.
This new LEGOLAND is one of many around the world. The first theme park or Lego-themed resort was opened in Denmark in 1968, followed by one in Windsor, England, in 1996. More parks then opened in Germany, Japan, and the United States, with more on the way!
LEGOLAND parks are specifically marketed to families with young children; rides and roller coasters, for example, are not as extreme as those at other amusement parks and are built specifically for smaller children. The parks are also designed to offer educational elements, including interactive musical instruments, a driving area where children can drive small electric cars around a track, and water flow channels that allow participants to build dams. Most will also have miniature or replica versions of nearby attractions, built entirely out of Lego blocks!
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