World’s Top 30 Indoor Entertainment Centers

Hotel Online. July 11, 2013. (English) by Jeff Coy. –When you think about Six Flags, Sea World or Cedar Fair, it is typically an outdoor experience during summer when kids are out of school. But now, major theme parks and amusement parks are going indoors — where they can attract visitors 365 days a year and not worry about poor weather wiping out profits.

Indoor theme parks are not new, but there is a surge of new development.

The first large-scale indoor amusement park, Galaxyland, built in 1985, was a giant success with 400,000 sf of amusements and thrill rides inside West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada — combined with a 355-room hotel and a 217,000 sf indoor waterpark.

It seems Galaxyland continues to have a lot going for it — satisfying numerous requirements for success.

Galaxyland, ranked 6th largest in the world, was soon followed by Lotte World’s Adventure Indoor Theme Park with 871,000 sf in Seoul, Korea. Then came Adventuredome at the Circus Circus hotel in Las Vegas and Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of American in Bloomington MN. But now we see the new indoor giants. First World Hotel at Genting Highlands Casino Resort near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a 500,000 sf indoor theme park. And Ferrari World, now ranked 2nd largest, is an indoor theme park with 925,000 sf under roof that recently opened in Abu Dhabi.

Theme Parks, Amusement Parks, Family Entertainment Centers and Arcades are crossing over, blending and merging together in new facilities that defy categories and labels.

Lodging, recreation and entertainment concepts are merging. Now the indoor entertainment center is attaching itself to a hotel, a waterpark, casino or shopping mall. Many new projects are mixed-use resort developments with a variety of components mixed together in one destination project.

Of the largest indoor theme parks in the world, 53.8% of them were opened or will open during the period from 2010 – 2015.

The recent surge in new development is led by two companies, KidZania and Legoland Discovery Centers, that occupy the edutainment space — a new concept that makes learning fun.

While the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) tracks the major theme parks and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) has an FEC Council, no one was tracking this newest phenomenon called the Indoor Entertainment Center.

As a result of a recent consulting assignment, JLC Hospitality Consulting of Phoenix-Cave Creek AZ completed an in-depth search and built a database which is rapidly expanding.

Upon completing the data search, the firm discovered that about 100 indoor entertainment centers, 30,000 sf or larger in size, were open or about to open worldwide. And it discovered that thousands of indoor facilities, less than 30,000 sf in size, were using entertainment, arcades and games to sell pizza, restaurant food and bar drinks.

To profile the Indoor Entertainment Center Industry, we decided to focus on facilities that were 30,000 sf and larger.

We purposely excluded companies such as Chuck E. Cheese with 507 stores, Dave & Busters with 68 stores, John’s Incredible Pizza with 23 stores, Boomers by Palace Entertainment, America’s Incredible Pizza Company, Gatti’s Pizza, ITZ USA Family Fun, Brunswick Zone, Adventure Landing and others — due to the small size of their indoor entertainment centers.

Highlights of the Indoor Entertainment Center Industry:

In the course of building this database we tackled the label and definition problems by creating two qualifiers — focus and anchors.

First, what is the focus of the entertainment center? Is it a themed experience, amusements & thrill rides, edutainment, high-tech games, bowling, adventure or sports?

  • 57.9% of all indoor entertainment centers are focused on edutainment, led by companies such as KidZania and Legoland Discovery Centers.

Second, is the entertainment center a standalone or is it anchored to demand generators, such as a shopping mall, hotel, casino or waterpark?

  • 75.5% of all indoor entertainment centers are anchored to shopping malls; again, the leading examples are KidZania and Legoland Discovery Centers.

Where is the indoor entertainment center located?

  • 40.0% of all indoor entertainment centers are located in the USA, followed by 11.6% in Japan and 6.3% in the United Arab Emirates.

How big are the world’s top indoor entertainment centers?

  • 31.7% are 30,000 sf to 49,999 sf
  • 25.0% are 75,000 sf to 99,999 sf
  • Only 6.7% are giants with indoor space between 500,000 sf and 1,000,000 sf — which includes the I-X Center Indoor Amusement Park annual event in Cleveland, Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Lotte World’s Adventure Indoor Theme Park in Seoul, Korea and First World Hotel & Indoor Theme Park at Genting Highlands Resort near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

When did indoor entertainment centers open?

  • Galaxyland was the first large-scale indoor amusement park to open in 1985 with 400,000 sf of space inside of West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada.
  • 15.0% of all indoor entertainment centers opened from 1995-1999 when the first KidZania opened near Mexico City.
  • 18.8% of all indoor entertainment centers opened in 2005-2009 when Plopsa Indoor opened in Belgium and Mt Olympus added the Parthenon Indoor Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells WI.
  • 53.8% of all indoor entertainment centers in the world were opened or will open during the period from 2010 – 2015. The recent surge in new development is led by two edutainment companies, KidZania and Legoland Discovery Centers.

What’s Causing the Surge in New Development?

  • During the global recession (2007-2009), many consumers in the USA faced loss of jobs, loss of homes due to a mortgage crisis and lower budgets to live on — thus a reduction in travel. It seemed that a visit to a theme park or an overnight stay in a hotel was a luxury that many could not afford.
  • Hotels were foreclosed, also due to a mortgage mess, and sold at bargain prices to new owners with private funds.
  • New construction of hotels and tourist attractions dwindled to near zero in the USA, while any new construction was happening outside the USA.
  • The Aldar Properties Group restructured itself and continued construction on Ferrari World on Yas Island in the UAE.
  • Slowly, money for expansion projects loosened up.
  • Gradually, the USA and world economy started to improve.
  • Indoor entertainment centers attached themselves to shopping malls, hotels, waterparks and casinos — to guarantee visitor demand and to help bolster shopping malls as mixed-use destination developments.
  • Indoor entertainment centers shifted their focus to a combination of entertainment and education — now called edutainment.
  • Legoland continued to roll out its string of discovery centers.
  • Xavier Lopez Ancona, the founder of KidZania, had opened his 6th edutainment center and was now ready for accelerated global growth.

What Recently Opened from 2010 through 2013?

When you look at what indoor entertainment centers were built since 2010, you see that almost all the growth is the result of two very successful companies — Legoland Discovery Centers and KidZania. What’s the story with these two companies?

Legoland Discovery Centers

Legoland Discovery Centers is an indoor edutainment chain operated by Merlin Entertainments, a division of the Blackstone Group, which also owns SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Hilton Hotels Worldwide. The centers, which feature models inspired by the Lego building block toys, are smaller versions of their Legoland theme parks in Carlsbad CA and Cypress Gardens FL.

A typical Legoland Discovery Center is 30,000 sf to 35,000 sf in size. The centers feature local landmarks built with Lego bricks. Visitors learn how Lego bricks are manufactured and participate in building classes. The edutainment centers offer a small roller coaster, a fortress, 4-D movies, gift shop, birthday party rooms and a restaurant. The typical center attracts families with children 3-12 years old. In one year, a single center can host from 400,000 to 600,000 visitors.

Ten (10) Legoland Discovery Centers were open and operating as of 2010; since 2010, the company has opened 11 centers:

What is KidZania?

KidZania is the fastest growing chain of edutainment centers in the world.

Founded in 1996 by Xavier Lopez Ancona. He and his partners opened the first center in Santa Fe on the outskirts of Mexico City in 1999. Seven years later, in 2006, after perfecting and expanding the concept, Lopez opened his second KidZania in Monterrey in northern Mexico. Using a franchising model, he expanded to Tokyo, Jakarta, Osaka and Lisbon by 2009.

THE CONCEPT

KidZania allows kids to pretend to be grown up and have fun at the same time. KidZania takes entertainment and learning to a whole new level by combining role playing with real life in a kid-sized environment. KidZania allows kids 4 to 12 to do what comes naturally to them; role-playing by mimicking traditionally adult activities. As in the real world, kids perform adult jobs and get paid for their work. It is a place where they can learn life skills and have fun. KidZania replicates the real world in a safe and contained 80,000 sf kid-sized city, which runs just like a real city, but with kids in charge.

There are typically 60 occupations to try and 75 brands that sponsor storefront establishments and about 100 learning experiences. Kids earn kidzos currency, open bank accounts, manage their money, cash checks and purchase goods and services. It is a place where kids can try out early what they want to be — before they are faced with real life choices.

THE SETTING

Hundreds of children wait in line to buy a ticket, typically US$20, to enter a kid-sized city that is built to 3/4th scale inside a shopping mall. The kid-city has a functioning economy with its own kid-currency, called kidzos. Once inside, these children or KidZanians receive a passport, RFID bracelet and 50 kidzos to spend or use to open a bank account which remains open to encourage repeat visits.

When kids run out of money, they learn they have to work. They put on the uniforms of fire fighters, police officers, painters, pizza chefs, bankers, pilots, travel agents, fashion designers, journalists and TV newscasters. They receive assignments to role play with other children to learn about the adult world — like how to direct traffic, solve a crime or fly an airplane. Real world sponsors, such as American Airlines, provide the lesson plan for how to fly a plane.

THE FOUNDERS

In 1996, Luis Laresgoiti came to Xavier Lopez Ancona, a Northwestern graduate, with a business plan to construct and operate several day care facilities where children could perform various trades, occupations and professions. The day care idea evolved into Kids City.

A few months later, Xavier Lopez left his vice president position at GE Capital’s private equity group and became an entrepreneur. He formed a partnership with Luis, Esteban Lopez and Francisco Ares. And the KidZania idea was put into motion.

Considering the overwhelming acceptance of KidZania today, it is hard to believe that 15 years ago Xavier Lopez and his partners had trouble getting funding for the idea. Back then, he says, “there were no seed capital investors in Mexico. It was really difficult getting financing for the project.” A recession hit Mexico in 1997 and bank funding dried up.

The first kid’s city opened in Santa Fe on the outskirts of Mexico City in 1999 with a US$7 million investment, where 55% came from participating sponsors, 25% from a bank loan and 20% from partners. The partners never imagined the success they would achieve. “For the first year, they estimated 400,000 visitors and they received 762,000.

The brand KidZania was created almost immediately after consolidating the business in Mexico City with Xavier Lopez Ancona as CEO.

THE PROPERTIES

The first center opened in Santa Fe on the outskirts of Mexico City in 1999.

Seven years later, in 2006, Lopez opened his second KidZania in Monterrey.

Using a franchising model, he expanded to Tokyo, Jakarta, Osaka and Lisbon by 2009. Franchise licenses are granted to a single exclusive licensee for each country. Upfront capital costs run about US$20 million per location.

From 2010 through 2013, thirteen (13) additional KidZania edutainment centers opened in Dubai, Seoul, Mexico City-Cuicuilco, Kuala Lumpur, Santiago, Bangkok, Jeddah, Cairo, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Kuwait City. KidZania is the fastest growing edutainment center brand in the world.

The KidZania recently built in Mexico City-Cuicuilco is twice the normal size at 149,800 sf and provides both indoor and outdoor learning experiences — where, for example, kids can drive real electric cars on kid-size highways.

In the period 2014-2017, twenty-three (23) addition KidZania centers are expected to open, including 14 in the USA, which will be company-owned and operated. The first three US locations may be Los Angeles, Chicago and New York; although as of May 2013 no locations have been announced.

Cammie Dunaway joined in 2010 to serve as global marketing director and CEO for KidZania USA, based in San Jose CA. Dunaway is working with CB Richard Ellis to identify US locations. Locations can be 65,000 sf to 80,000 sf and cost from US$35 million to US$45 million to develop. Costs are defrayed by income from corporate sponsors. For more, contact Dunaway at usinquiries@KidZania.com.

SHOPPING CENTERS ARE A KEY

Shopping centers offer a great location for KidZania for many reasons. First, the investment is lower than if you go buy a piece of land, build a structure and provide for parking. Shopping centers already have a well-known name, a visible address, good infrastructure, access and transportation. And most shopping centers need entertainment.

SPONSORS ARE A KEY

KidZania is a child-size urban environment in which companies such as McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Coca Cola, Walmart and American Airlines pay to open miniature authentic-looking storefronts. For example, there is the nose of an airline jet that sits above a travel agency check-in counter. Sponsors share inside knowledge on how their businesses operate, so KidZania can design a realistic, authentic experience for children.

An airline knows best how to train pilots or run an airport. A bank knows best how to teach children about saving and investing. It is the integration of real-world brands with KidZania staff that enriches the learning experience. KidZania and its sponsors go through an immersive process to make the learning experience interesting and fun. Companies pay millions of dollars to set up shop in KidZania, but there are very strict rules on how they get involved.

ADAPTING TO NEW MARKETS

Everywhere KidZania goes, they choose local sponsors who know the market and the culture. In Indonesia, for example, kids learn how to run a noodle factory. In Jakarta, kids learn how to grow and market coffee. In Kuala Lumpur, kids learn how to fly an airplane. In Bangkok, you can practice being a deejay on a radio station. In Japan, kids can attend a university where they earn higher kidzos.

KidZania is seeking potential licensees who are committed to fostering the education and success of children. A potential licensee must be locally based in each country where it operates. Candidates must possess the “know-how” necessary to achieve success and have extensive relationships with national and international brands — especially hospitality, entertainment and media.

What’s Coming in 2014 and 2015?

KidZania is definitely dominating the growth in new edutainment centers. There are more on the horizon for 2016-2017.

So, you want to build an Indoor Entertainment Center? If so, run the comparables, learn the requirements for success and hire an independent consultant to help you determine the market support and economic feasibility.

Theme Parks Focus on Education and Entertainment

Ten (10) of the world’s top 30 largest indoor entertainment centers are focused on education mixed with entertainment, a concept now called edutainment, while 9 are focused on providing a themed experience with characters such as Iron Man and Spider Man. Six centers specialize in providing amusements & thrill rides and 3 feature high-tech games and motion simulators.

Large indoor theme parks, indoor amusement parks and family entertainment centers are a relatively new phenomenon. No one had studied indoor entertainment facilities as a special group until JLC Hospitality Consulting of Phoenix-Cave Creek AZ was commissioned to produce a market analysis and economic feasibility report for a new development. As a result the consulting firm conducted an exhaustive search and built a database of all indoor entertainment centers worldwide. The survey revealed that:

  • 57.9% of all indoor entertainment centers are focused on edutainment, led by companies such as KidZania and Legoland Discovery Centers.
  • 75.5% of all indoor entertainment centers are anchored to shopping malls.
  • 53.8% of all indoor entertainment centers were opened or will open during the period from 2010 – 2015 based on a surge of recent openings and new construction.

After analyzing the similarities and differences of all facilities, the firm produced a list of the World’s Top 30 Largest Indoor Entertainment Centers for use by consumers, families and commercial real estate developers.

So you want to build an indoor entertainment center as part of your shopping mall, hotel, waterpark, casino or mixed-use resort destination development?

Start with this list for comparable projects in terms of selecting a location, sizing, components, layouts, facility configurations and other requirements for success.

A closer review of these top 30 facilities reveals the most important factors and requirements for success. For more, go to www.jeffcoy.com and click on Media Center.

Here is a brief description of each indoor entertainment center in order of size:

1. The International Exposition Center, also known as the I-X Center in Cleveland, is not a permanent place of amusement, but for 23 days during March and April each year, it does host the Annual IX Indoor Amusement Park in 985,000 sf of space which makes it the world’s largest indoor amusement park — for 23 days of the year. It all started in 1992 when the Greater Cleveland Auto Show displayed a 125-foot Ferris wheel. At the time, it was the world’s highest indoor Ferris wheel. Today, the 985,000 sf space is the centerpiece of the annual IX Indoor Amusement Park. The organizers create a Kidzville with 30 rides for the little ones and Thrill City with 22 rides for older children and adults.

New rides in 2013 include the White Water Ride where riders go through some soggy turns and downhill to a splash zone. And there is the Soaring Eagle Zipline which takes a pair of riders soaring 70-feet above the I-X Center floor. Live performances include Mutts Gone Nuts where comedic canines perform an array of tricks, Roberto the Magnificent, a Christian Jam Session and La Fiesta Latina. Admission is $22 for adults, $19 for children, $10 for seniors and free for children under 3 years old. Hotel packages with 4 breakfasts and 4 park admission fees are $169 at the Courtyard by Marriott Cleveland Airport South. Owned by the City of Cleveland, but leased and operated by the Park Corporation, the I-X Center boasts the largest indoor theme park in the world — even if it is an annual event during Spring Break. For more about the Annual IX Indoor Amusement Park, go to www.ixindooramusementpark.com.

2Ferrari World is an indoor themed experience anchored by a hotel on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi UEA. The central park opened in 2010 with 925,696 sf of indoor space under a 2,152,000 sf roof making it the 2nd largest indoor theme park in the world. The iconic red roof was designed by Benoy Architects to look like the side profile of a Ferrari GT.

Jack Rouse Associates of Cincinnati OH designed many of the park’s 21 rides. Guests can walk or drive a Ferrari 250 California Spider through the beautiful cityscapes of Italy. There’s a carousel, cinema, interactive 3-D shows, a dual-launched roller coaster and a second coaster called Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster reaching a top speed of 149 mph. Also, a G-Force space shot tower which launches riders up and out of the building. The park offers several racing schools, virtual tours, galleries, racing simulators, a flume ride and a hang glider voyage over Italy. Owner is Aldar Properties/Investment of Mohammed Nourawale, chairman of Jumeirah Group LLC. Managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management. Guests pay a single admission fee to enter the park and experience the attractions; discounted fees for children. For more, go to www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com.

3. Lotte World’s Adventure Indoor Theme Park is one of two main areas that comprise Lotte World in Seoul, Korea. In addition to the indoor theme park, there is an outdoor amusement park called Magic Island which is linked by monorail with a 350-store shopping mall, a 533-room luxury hotel, a museum, sports center, ice rink and movie theaters.

Lotte World opened in 1989 at a cost of US$1 billion. It attracts over 8 million people each year and is considered, along with Tokyo Disney Resort, a world-class theme park in Asia. The Adventure Indoor Theme Park features four main areas: (1) Adventures of Sinbad with children’s rides, bumper cars, flume and loop roller coaster; (2) French Revolution with a high-octane, rotating roller coaster that goes out and back inside buildings and delivers a feeling of near-miss crashes; (3) Jungle Adventure with a jungle boat water ride and monorail that tours the whole park; and (4) Pharaoh’s Fury where passengers board a Jeep ride through Egypt, a balloon ride, a theater with dynamic vibrating seats and an Animal Theater. The Adventure Indoor Theme Park is housed in a multi-floor complex totaling 20 acres or 871,200 sf. The outdoor amusement park, Magic Island, covers 6 acres. For more, go to www.lotteworld.com.

4. First World Hotel & Indoor Theme Park is a themed experience anchored by a hotel, casino and shopping plaza at the mountain-top Genting Highlands Resort, just outside Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. First World Hotel is a 3-star hotel with 6,118 rooms on 28 floors in two towers. Below the hotel is a 500,000 sf plaza housing shopping malls, arcades, 11 food outlets, Starworld Casino and the Genting Indoor Theme Park.

The indoor theme park has a mini stage for live performances, replicas of the Statue of Liberty and an Oscar statue. It also features a cinema, carousel, bumper cars, family rides, thrill rides, snow world, splash pool, bowling, snooker center, arcade, archery, cyber world, haunted house and Studio K. Other major attractions include the Watersplash indoor waterpark, Genting Outdoor Theme Park, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Genting Skyway, a cable car system, and Genting Sky Venture, Asia’s first indoor skydiving simulator. Owner is Genting Group. For more, go to www.rwgenting.com.

5. Sanrio Puroland is an indoor theme park in Tama New Town, Tokyo, Japan that attracts over 1,500,000 people per year. Opened in 1990, the 494,000 sf indoor theme park is a standalone facility, without anchors, managed by the Sanrio Company.

Sanrio Puroland features various musicals, attractions and theme rides using the popular characters Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Jewelpet and many more. After a rough startup, the park has become one of Japan’s most popular attractions along with Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. For more, go towww.puroland.co.jp/spl/english/.

6Galaxyland at World Waterpark inside West Edmonton Mall is a 400,000 sf indoor amusement park with thrill rides that opened in 1985 in West Edmonton AB, Canada. Of the World’s Top 25 Indoor Theme Parks, Galaxyland is the first to open on a grand scale back in 1985. It’s now ranked 6th largest in the world. It is home to one of the world’s tallest (14 stories) and longest indoor roller coasters. It is home to the Space Shot, the world’s tallest (12 stories) indoor tower ride until Ferrari World opened its Space Shot ride in 2010. Galaxyland offers 24 beginner, intermediate and advanced rides. Beginner rides include: miniature dirt bikes, merry-go-round, kiddie convoy, WWII planes, bumper cars, Indy-style go-karts, Ferris wheel and large play area. Intermediate rides include: a space-age tilt-a-whirl, train ride, a gentler Space Shot, swinging boat, turbo-ride theater, small roller coaster, a crashed space ship and a 12-car circular track. Advanced rides include: a spinning roller coaster, a 12-person Space Shot, a solar flare flipper-spinner ride, a giant swing, bumper cars for adults, a sonic twister and the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster.

Galaxyland has changed out many of its rides over the years — keeping the experience fresh and exciting. Open all year long. Individual rides require a number of tickets. Owner is West Edmonton Mall Properties Inc, a subsidiary of Triple Five, the Ghermezian brothers, who also built the Mall of America in Bloomington MN. For more, go to www.wem.ca.

7. Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America is a themed experience, anchored by a 4,200,000 sf shopping mall in Bloomington MN. Ranked 7th largest, Nickelodeon Universe reopened in 2008 with a 304,920 sf indoor theme park after being Knott’s Camp Snoopy for years. New characters include Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. There are 27 rides, 5 roller coasters and one water ride. Many rides, including the giant Ferris wheel, were renamed. New rides include Shell Shock, Brain Surge, Rugrats Reptarmobiles, the SpongeBob rock bottom plunge, a Euro-Fighter style coaster, a tower drop ride in the center of the park and the Avatar Airbender, a surf-rider attraction. The park is open year-round. Admission to the park is free, but the rides require visitors to purchase a varying number of tickets (points), depending upon the type of ride.

Opened in 1992, Mall of America attracts 42 million visitors annually. After a 6-year ownership dispute, the Triple Five Group gained full control of the Mall of America spending US$1 billion to do so. Triple Five consists of the Ghermezian family who also own the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, the biggest shopping mall in North America.

The Mall of America is expected to double its size to 5.2 million sf with the construction of Phase 2, which includes more retail, more parking, a dinner theater, ice rink, 3 hotels, an indoor waterpark and the integration of the existing IKEA store. Cost of the expansion is US$2.1 billion, but developers say the expansion will draw another 20 million visitors per year. MOA is asking the Minnesota Legislature for up to $250 million in tax breaks to pay for the project’s parking ramps, roads and infrastructure. It appears the house and senate could tap a special fund — money that is not part of the state budget — to make it happen. See the Phase 2 expansion plan in the layout below.

While the expansion plan has been dormant, the megamall has been expanding in small steps. On the south side, a new 500-room Radisson Blu hotel opened in March 2013. Preliminary work has begun on the near north side where more stores, a medical office building and more hotels are planned. MOA has signed contracts with Great Wolf Resorts to develop and manage a hotel indoor waterpark.

8. Spooky Nook Sports Center is a vast new facility being built inside a 14-acre former Armstrong World Industries Inc warehouse in Manheim, Lancaster County PA. Spooky Nook founder Sam Beiler is converting the huge space into the nation’s largest indoor sports & entertainment center — scheduled for completion in June 2013. The components include dozens of athletic courts, climbing walls, pitching lanes and batting cages, dance and yoga studios, fitness center, retail store, food court, video game arcade, conference rooms and offices. All this takes up half the building. On the other side of the wall is the other half, raw space awaiting development in Phase 2.

The economic impact of youth sports teams traveling to Lancaster County for events has grown from $10 million in 2008 to between $40 million and $50 million a year, according Stephanie Jordan, marketing coordinator. Spooky Nook expects to contribute about 58,000 room nights per year to local hotels. When USA Field Hockey relocates its headquarters to Spooky Nook, that number will increase to 100,000 hotel room nights.

Sam Bieler bought the warehouse for $11.2 million in December 2011. He is the sole investor. He plans to spend $30 million for both Phase 1 & 2. The 600,000 sf building sits on a 65-acre site that will feature outdoor sports fields and parking. Phase 2 plans will depend upon what draws the biggest in Phase 1, according to Jordan. A 100-room hotel is planned as the third and final phase of the warehouse conversion. For more, go to www.spookynooksports.com.

9. Trans Studio Makassar is the 9th largest indoor entertainment center in the world located in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It opened in 2009. Trans Studio has four play zones with 22 rides and games in a 290,501 sf indoor theme park inside a 20 story building built on 30 acres at a cost of $104 million. It can accommodate 5,000 people at one time.

At the heart of Trans Studio, visitors can get the feeling of being a celebrity in front of the camera or being the production crew of a television show. Studio Central provides visitors with the glamour of Hollywood and reveals tricks behind the scenes of great movies.

Trans Studio Indoor Theme Park was designed by the Goddard Group of Los Angeles CA, whose projects include Universal Studios and Six Flags.

The park is part of the larger Trans Studio World project that includes a shopping mall, supermarket, hotel, offices, residential, a recreational beach and the first monorail in Indonesia.

Trans Studio was developed by PT Trans Kalla, a partnership between Para Group and Kallas Group. Para Group chairman, Chairul Tanjung, is the 18th richest man in Indonesia. He owns Bank Mega and television broadcasting company Trans Corp, the first TV station ever to own an indoor theme park. Kalla Group owner, Jusuf Kalla, is the former vice president of Indonesia. For more, go to www.transstudioworld.com.

10. Adventuredome at Circus Circus Hotel is an indoor amusement park with thrill rides that is anchored by a hotel and casino in Las Vegas NV. It is the 10th largest indoor entertainment center in the world.

Adventuredome opened in 1993 with 217,800 sf of indoor amusement park space that is connected to the hotel via The Promenade. The dome itself consists of 350,000 sf of pink-tinted, insulated glass. The park offers 25 rides and attractions including a double-loop roller coaster, rock-climbing wall, 18-hole miniature golf course, an arcade, clown shows, an Xtreme Zone, Pikes Pass, Virtual Reality Zone, a water ride, hot air balloon, Ferris Wheel, a free-fall tower, bumper cars and carnival midway games. A second roller coaster called El Loco is under construction, expected to open in late 2013.

Every October, the park is converted to the Frightdome to celebrate Halloween. Adventuredome opens all year long. Admission to the park is free. Individual ride tickets as well as pay-one-price ($28) all-day passes are available. Owner is MGM Resorts International. For more, call 877-434-9175 or go towww.adventuredome.com.

11. Toverland, is a standalone indoor amusement park with thrill rides in Kronenberg, Netherlands that opened in 2001. Toveren is a Dutch word that means Magic or Wizard. Toverland has 171,200 sf of indoor amusement park space which ranks it the 11th largest indoor entertainment center in the world.

It is part of a much larger theme park that includes their top 5 attractions: Forest Racer bobsled ride, the world’s first roller coaster where you sit atop a motorbike, a log flume ride, a swinging ship that reaches a 75 degree gradient for maximum air time and the Troy wooden roller coaster, which is 3,280 feet long, 115 feet high, and reaches speeds up to 59 miles per hour. For more, go to www.toverland.com.

12. KidZania at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia opened in April 2013 with its 150,682 sf indoor edutainment center, which ranked as 12th largest in the world and the largest in the KidZania chain. KidZania is a kid-sized city where children role play their future occupations. As in the real world, children perform jobs and are paid for their work — as firemen, doctors or shopkeepers. The indoor education centeris built to ¾ scale for children, complete with buildings, paved streets, vehicles, recognizable storefronts and a functioning economy. Fawaz Alhokair, chairman of the Fawaz Al-Hokair Group is the master licensee for Saudi Arabia. He said he looks forward to establishing more KidZanias around the Kingdom in the interest of all their sons and daughters.

KidZania is the fastest growing chain of edutainment centers in the world. The company was founded in 1996 by Xavier Lopez Ancona. He and his partners opened the first center in Santa Fe on the outskirts of Mexico City in 1999. Seven years later, in 2006, after perfecting and expanding the concept, Lopez opened his second KidZania in Monterrey in northern Mexico. Using a franchising model, he expanded to Tokyo, Jakarta, Osaka and Lisbon by 2009.

From 2010 through 2013, thirteen (13) additional KidZania edutainment centers opened in Dubai, Seoul, Mexico City-Cuicuilco, Kuala Lumpur, Santiago, Bangkok, Jeddah, Cairo, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Kuwait City.

In the period 2014-2017, twenty-three (23) additional KidZania centers are expected to open, including 14 in the USA.

Typically, KidZania edutainment centers are 80,000 sf in size, which ranks them well within the Top 30. Of the World’s Top 30 Largest Indoor Entertainment Centers, KidZania occupies 10 positions, which will follow in this list. KidZania is the fastest growing edutainment center brand in the world.

13. KidZania opened its 9th edutainment center in Mexico City-Cuicuilco, Mexico in January 2012. It is ranked as the 13th largest indoor entertainment center in the world. At 149,000 sf, it is nearly double the size of its typical 80,000 sf indoor center. Anchored by a shopping mall, the center hosts an estimated 500,000 to 800,000 visitors.

At KidZania, kids role-play adult occupations. In this location, KidZania provides both indoor and outdoor learning experiences — where, for example, kids can drive real electric cars on kid-size highways.

14. Berjaya Times Square Theme Park (formerly Cosmo’s World) is a themed experience anchored by a shopping mall and hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It opened in 2003 with 133,000 sf of indoor theme park space.

It offers Asia’s longest (2,624-foot) multiple inverted indoor roller coaster with 48 seats reaching heights of 98-feet and speeds up to 50 mph. The park also has a giant pendulum swing ride, a crazy gondola, a wacky version of the merry-go-round and a spinning spider-like machine.

The indoor theme park is part of a 48-story twin tower, hotel, condominium and shopping center complex with over 1000 shops, 1200 luxury service suites and 65 food outlets — reported to be the 8th largest building in the world.

Architect is DP Architects. Owner and manager is the Berjaya Group. For more, go towww.timessquarekl.com or www.berjayahotel.com/kualalumpur/.

15. KidZania opened its 8th edutainment center in Seoul, Korea in 2010. It is 120,000 sf, third largest in the KidZania chain and ranked 15th largest indoor entertainment center in the world. Annual attendance is 876,000 people or an average of 2400 per day. Although KidZania Seoul is part of an international company, there are two exclusive activities that reflect the local culture: Rice Cake House and Home Shopping.

The Rice Cake House allows children to make rice cakes for themselves — from pounding grain with mortars and pestles to decorating and packaging. The Host Shopping Company allows kids to host a TV show using real broadcasting equipment. This is where kids learn the value of work and how the economy functions by earning, spending, saving or donating Kidzos, the KidZanian currency. Each job activity is about 30 minutes, just enough time for kids to achieve a sense of accomplishment and gain confidence by role-playing different jobs and professions. Parents can watch their children through large windows as they carry out certain missions with other kids. Weekday hours are 10am to 8:30pm. All-day passes are free for toddlers under 3 years old, US$28.36 for children 3 to 16 years old and US$14.18 for adults. Weekends are slightly higher.

16. iPlay America is a standalone indoor amusement park with thrill rides that opened in 2011 in Freehold NJ, USA, with 115,000 sf of indoor space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open year round, it boasts 200 arcade games, soft play areas for young children, traditional boardwalk games, go-karts, 2-story laser tag, bowling, a 4-D theater and several eateries, such as City Square Bar & Grille, Sonny’s Boardwalk Grill, Mixx self-service yogurt shop and Broadway Sweets candy store. Exciting rides include a swing that propels thrill seekers 15 feet into the air, a dragon roller coaster, a free-flight experience and the iPA Speedway, where visitors can show off their go-kart racing skills. When kids are out of school iPlay America offers extended hours. They also cater to company picnics, youth groups and team-building programs. No admission charge to enter. They offer a variety of pay-as-you-go options including $20 unlimited iRide bands from open to close. For more, call 732-577-8200 or go to www.iplayamerica.com.

17. Kalahari Indoor Theme Park opened a 110,000 sf indoor theme park with amusements and adventure facilities in 2008, part of Kalahari Waterpark Resort & Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells WI.

Take a ride on the 6-story Ferris wheel located in a spectacular glass enclosure or ride the African-theme carousel. Challenge yourself to a ropes course or climbing walls. Blast your way through a game of laser tag. Enjoy 24 lanes of bowling, 18 holes of mini-golf or practice golf using two high-definition golf simulators. Or you can race 430 feet around the 2-story elevated go-cart track. Plus, there is a giant 12-person kiddie swing. Recently, the owner opened the Safari Outdoor Adventure Park which includes a zipline, rock-climbing wall, ropes challenge course and a small petting zoo.

At Kalahari, owner Todd Nelson says bigger is better. His resort has 735 hotel rooms, 125,000 sf indoor waterpark, 125,000 sf conference center. Now his 110,000 sf indoor theme park is ranked 17th largest indoor entertainment center in the world.

18. KidZania Bangkok is the 12th center opened by the Mexico City-based chain of edutainment centers where kids learn to role-play adult occupations. The edutainment center opened in March 2013 with a 107,000 sf facility that is connected to a large shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand.

In Bangkok, kids learn to fly airplanes and manage an airport.

At KidZania, kids role-play adult occupations.

19. DisneyQuest is an indoor 100,000 sf interactive theme park located at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando FL. Opened in 1998, it is housed in a 5-story, windowless building connected to the shopping mall. Guests enter the first floor lobby are transported via a magical elevator to the third floor atrium and the start of their visit. Attractions include a pirate ship with interactive guns to destroy other ships, a virtual jungle cruise, cyber-space mountain, magic carpet ride, animation academy, create-a-toy, touch screen easels and Radio Disney Song Maker. In addition, there’s pinball, ride the comics and an alien invasion. There is a single flat fee for entry. After admission is paid, all games and attractions are included. Depending upon daily attendance levels, late-night tickets may be sold for half-price two hours prior to closing each night. Two quick service restaurants are located on site. For more, go to www.disneyworld.disney.go.com.

20. Joypolis-Sega at Umeda-Osaka, Japan opened in 1998 with 96,867 sf on the 8th and 9th floor of the HEP 5 Shopping Center, where an iconic red Ferris wheel rises above the 7th floor. HEP stands for Hankyo Entertainment Park. It is one of Osaka’s best shopping and entertainment complexes, partly owned by the Henkyo Railway Company. Inside, Joypolis provides space for over 600 games and 6 large-scale simulators that feature a UFO Catcher, Wild River and a Giant Jungle Creatures.

21. Plopsa Indoor Theme Park is a 96,300 sf entertainment center that opened in 2005 as part of an exposition center in Hasselt, Belgium. It is ranked 21st largest indoor entertainment center in the world.

22. KidZania Sao Paulo is about to open at Eldorado Shopping Mall in Brazil. Opening is scheduled for August 2013. The edutainment center has 91,485 sf and is ranked the 22nd largest indoor entertainment center in the world.

23. Joypolis-Sega Odaiba is an 88,275 sf indoor entertainment center, part of Deck’s Tokyo Beach shopping mall that offers high-tech games in Tokyo-Odaiba, Japan. It opened in 1996 and then reopened in July 2012 after renovations. You can simulate snowboarding in the half-pipe canyon or ride a virtual hang glider through tropical islands at this indoor park in Odaiba that is packed with Sega virtual reality machines on 6 floors — games such as Halfpipe Canyon, Burnout Running, Dance Dance Revolution, the Initial Drift car game and more. There is also the Spin Bullet, a whirling roller coaster and laser tag.

24. Joypolis-Sega Okayama is another 88,275 sf entertainment complex inside the actual Joypolis-Sega building. There is a large statue of Sonic the Hedgehog; those who have played the game know that Sega is the company that created the original Sonic games. Aside from the high-tech games, the Okayama shopping mall also has a bowling alley and karaoke. It is not only a night spot, you can go there in the daytime, but for those looking for a fun night out without going to a bar, Joypolis-Sega is a great option.

25. KidZania 4 in Jakarta, Indonesia opened with 80,722 sf in 2007. The KidZania Company occupies 10 positions among the World’s Top 30 Largest Indoor Entertainment Centers, including the last six positions — #25, #26, #27, #28, #29 and #30. Not only is KidZania the fastest-growing edutainment company in the world, it has centers that are among the largest in the industry. Typically, a KidZania center is 80,000 sf to 160,000 sf in size.

26. KidZania 11 in Santiago, Chile opened with 80,722 sf in May 2012.

27. KidZania at Cairo Festival City in Egypt is opening right now, June 2013, with 80,250 sf inside a shopping mall.

28. KidZania 7 at Dubai Mall in the UAE opened with 80,000 sf in 2010.

29. KidZania at R-City Mall in Mumbai-Ghatkopar, India is scheduled to open next month, July 2013, with 79,991 sf.

30. KidZania 10 in Kuala Lumpur-Petaling Jaya opened with 79,646 sf in January 2012.

Summary

That’s it for the World’s Top 30! Remember, there are about 100 indoor entertainment centers worldwide that we have identified in our database. Indoor is not new, but there is a new surge of activity — especially in the field of edutainment.

Fifty-eight percent (53.8%) of all indoor entertainment centers were opened or will open during the period from 2010 – 2015 based on a surge of recent openings and new construction. KidZania is definitely dominating the growth in new edutainment centers. There are more on the horizon for 2016-2017.

Visit an Indoor Entertainment Center! If you decide you want to build one or add one to your existing facility, learn the requirement for success. Ask an independent consultant to run the comparables and help you determine the market support and economic feasibility.

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