John Jakobsen, managing director of LEGOLAND Parks, planted the 'seeds' for the new family theme park at the former Cypress Gardens with more than 100,000 LEGO bricks
Merlin Entertainments has made a multi-million dollar investment in the planned opening of LEGOLAND Florida by purchasing the 145-acre Cypress Gardens in Central Florida location, approximately 30 minutes from Orlando and also close to Tampa. LEGOLAND Florida will open on the site at the end of 2011. Merlin plans to invest more over a number of years, up to and beyond opening, by adding accommodations and further branded attractions. LEGOLAND Florida will be the biggest LEGOLAND Park ever opened and will offer a mix of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including LEGO models and other interactive elements for the whole family to enjoy together.
The Florida development will be Merlin's second LEGOLAND Park in North America. It will provide a full-day, year round, theme park experience geared towards families with children between the ages of two and 12. Its design will mirror the concept of the four existing LEGOLAND Parks in Denmark, Germany, UK and California.
LEGOLAND California opened in 1999 and was recently voted the country's best children's theme park by Amusement Today for the sixth year running. It is also recognized as the fastest growing theme park in the U.S., with an increase in visitor numbers year-on-year, including 6 percent in 2009.
"We are delighted at this news. We are extremely happy that the future of Cypress Gardens is secure," said Florida Governor Charlie Crist. "LEGOLAND is one of the most exciting names in family attractions and a welcome new addition to Florida."
When it opens, LEGOLAND Florida will be the Merlin's 13th attraction in the U.S. It joins LEGOLAND California; SEA LIFE Carlsbad; Madame Tussauds - New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.; LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago; and the Underwater Adventures Aquarium in Minneapolis/ Four more attractions are also in development - SEA LIFE Phoenix; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Dallas Fort Worth and New Jersey and the Pepsi Globe observation wheel in New Jersey.
Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz and www.LEGOLAND.com.