New Opening

World builders

Attractions Management rounds up 2020’s biggest openings across every sector of the visitor attractions industry

Super Nintendo World
Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan
Opening: Q2 2020

A ¥60bn (US$552.6m) investment, Super Nintendo World is scheduled to open ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, meaning at the latest, it will be open to the public by the opening ceremony on 24 July.

A similar scale and investment to Universal’s highly-successful Harry Potter attractions, the immersive Mario-themed addition to Universal Studios Japan will feature zones filled with modern rides, interactive areas, shops and restaurants. A Mario Kart ride – top of many Nintendo fans’ wish lists for the attraction has been confirmed, as has a Yoshi’s Adventure ride.

Nintendo’s creative team has joined forces with Universal Creative on the project which is being designed to make people feel as though they “are playing inside their favourite Nintendo games”.

A second phase of development, expected to open in 2021, will feature a Donkey Kong-inspired area, with additional Nintendo worlds planned for Universal’s parks in Orlando, Hollywood and Singapore.

Super Nintendo World is anticipated to be one of Universal’s biggest draws
Shanghai Planetarium
Shanghai, China
Opening: 2020-2021

Set to open late this year or in early 2021, the new Shanghai Planetarium will explore the mysteries of space, celebrate the history of Chinese astronomy and reflect the future ambitions of China’s space exploration programme. It will feature an optical planetarium, a digital sky theatre, an IMAX cinema, a solar telescope, an observatory and a range of galleries.

Architects Ennead are behind the design, which will comprise of three buildings: the Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere. These structures will “act as astronomical instruments, tracking the sun, moon and stars, reminding visitors that our conception of time originates in distant astronomical objects.”

The attraction will be the world’s largest planetarium when it opens to the public
Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, Georgia, US
Opening: Q3 2020

A new US$100m gallery will house a variety of sharks, as the Georgia Aquarium expands to accommodate an increase in visitors. The expansion is a four-storey structure housing a one million sq ft (92,900sq m) gallery – the aquarium’s seventh and most expensive – to house tiger sharks, hammerheads, sand tigers and silvertips.

Boasting a floor-to-ceiling acrylic window, a number of animal interactions are planned. An extension of the aquarium’s conservation and education efforts, the experience “will help guests have a deeper appreciation for the important role sharks serve in the oceans and inspire them to join conservation efforts”.

The new experience will help guests have a deeper appreciation for the important role sharks serve in the oceans
Obama Presidential Center
Chicago, Illinois, US
Opening: 2020

A monument to celebrate the legacy created by Barack Obama as US President, the Obama Presidential Center will comprise a museum, a library of Obama’s archives and a forum to advance the Obama Foundation’s public mission to promote global progress.

A Sky Room at the top of the building will provide views of the surrounding area, while a one-acre wetland area will capture and treat stormwater and feature a Wetland Walk.

Spread across a 78,000sq m (839,500sq ft) site in Chicago’s Jackson Park, the centre has been designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The building’s design has been slightly modified following local feedback, with latest changes showing a more refined and reduced form for the building.

The nonprofit Obama Foundation is overseeing the center’s creation and its campus’s constructions
Cartoon Network Waterpark
Bali, Indonesia
Opening: 2020

A second Cartoon Network waterpark is coming to Asia, with real-estate and hospitality investment company the MAJ Group currently developing a waterpark and family entertainment centre in Bali.

Set to open by the end of this year, the 43,000sq m (462,800sq ft) development will feature the tropical island’s largest waterpark, complete with immersive Cartoon Network theming.

Part of the Nusa Dua complex – a tourism development opened in 1973 – the waterpark will sit at the southernmost tip of the island and will feature a selection of rides and slides, as well as a giant surf and wave pool.

The new waterpark follows the 2014 debut of the Cartoon Network Amazone waterpark in Bang Saray, Thailand
Humboldt Forum
Berlin, Germany
Opening: September 2020

The Humboldt Forum – a museum and heritage site in Berlin – will open in phases starting this September following construction delays.

The museum – named after the explorer and polymath Alexander von Humboldt – aims to “bring together diverse cultures and perspectives and seek new insights into topical issues such as migration and religion”.

Italian architect Franco Stella has reinvented the Berlin Palace, which is considered one of the most important secular Baroque buildings in Northern Europe. His design combines the past with the present, including a reconstruction of the iconic historical facades. The project is reported to be around €600m (US$668m).

The Humboldt Forum will be housed inside the reconstructed Berlin Palace
Stephen Hawking VR
Opening: Early 2020

An immersive experience for museums which takes people on virtual reality tour of the universe, and is narrated by the late Professor Stephen Hawking, is due to launch in the coming months.

The project is a collaboration between Hawking and Atlantic Productions, the company behind a number of award-winning productions, including numerous David Attenborough documentaries among other projects. It will be delivered through a series of pop-ups across Britain early in 2020, before being distributed to museums worldwide.

“Before his death, Stephen recorded the narration of his journey,” said Atlantic Productions founder, Anthony Geffen, speaking to Attractions Management. “In this experience, he’s going to take you through space, sharing his thoughts as you explore.”

Anthony Geffen worked with Stephen Hawking on the project
Denver Art Museum
Denver, Colorado, US
Opening: 6 June 2020

The Denver Art Museum will begin a phased reopening of its campus later this year, with a new welcome centre, learning and engagement centre, 72,000sq ft (21,945sq m) of new and refurbished gallery space and new dining experiences.

Three levels of the existing Gio Ponti-designed Martin Building will be reopened, including the refurbished Bonfils-Stanton Gallery, new Amanda J Precourt Design Galleries and interactive space, and renovated Northwest Coast and Alaska Native gallery.

The Anna and John J. Sie Welcome Center is a new 50,000sq ft (15,240sq m) elliptical-shaped structure which includes a second level of 10,000sq ft (3,048sq m) of flexible event space – the Sturm Grand Pavilion – enclosed by 25ft (7.62m) tall floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The entire building will be reopened to the public by its 50th anniversary at the end of 2021.

The additions and renovations will add more than 72,000sq ft of new and refurbished space to the museum
Museum of the Home
London, UK
Opening: Q3 2020

The £18.1m (US$23.4m) renovation and reimagining of the Geffrye Museum will come to fruition in Q3 2020, with the museum’s reopening at its Grade-1 listed almshouse location.

The relaunch will coincide with a new name, as the museum is dropping the Geffrye moniker to be known as the Museum of the Home. Lottery funding to the tune of £12.3m (US$15.9m) has been critical in allowing the renovation of the museum, which will result in 80 per cent more space to present its collections. The redevelopment was designed by Wright & Wright Architects.

Placing the human viewpoint and personal stories at its heart, the museum will respond to national and global narratives about themes relating to the home – including those such as homelessness, immigration and mental health – through a programme of activities, such as festivals and exhibitions.

The museum explores the home from 1600 to the present day through evocative displays of urban living rooms and gardens.
Auckland Zoo
Auckland, New Zealand
Opening: February 2020

A multi-year opening for its phased development programme, New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo is set to open a new phase of its South East Asia Jungle Track project.

The development includes habitats for new species from the south-east Asian jungle, including a high canopy for orangutans, gibbons and other primates, lowlands for tigers and otters, a swamp forest dome with a scientifically-engineered environment to mimic the hot and humid Tropics, where the Sunda gharial and a range of other reptiles and fish will live. Also included will be a lake and wetlands with an extended climbing range for the zoo’s arboreal primates.

On a more functional level, a new 1,000sq m (3,280sq ft) café and function venue is being built, with views of the lake and wetlands habitat, while infrastructure services such as power, gas, data and water will be renewed.

Funded by Auckland Council, the NZ$58m (US$39m) investment is part of the zoo’s wider 10-year, NZ$150m (US$100.9m) evolution programme. The high canopy is set for February 2020, followed by the lowlands between June and August. The tropical dome will be open by November.

The development is the largest in Auckland Zoo’s history
Golden Horn Shipyard Science Center
Opening: November 2020

Ground was broken in February 2019 on what is expected to become the largest science centre in Europe, attracting upward of 30 million visitors per year.

DP Architects is the appointed Design Architect for the US$21m project, with the first phase of the development expected to open in November 2020.

The overall project will feature three museums, with the science centre to be joined by the first museum dedicated to women in Turkey, as well as the Sadberk Hanim Museum, a private archaeology and art history museum that will be relocated from its current site in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul, and a Turkish-Islamic arts museum.

“The project will not only increase the brand value of Istanbul. It will also make a positive contribution to Turkey’s tourism revenue,” said Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdo˘gan.

The Shipyard site was first established in 1455
Atlantic Museum Galway
Galway, Ireland
Opening: 2020

Among Ireland’s most popular attractions, a new plan for Galway’s City Museum will create a ‘medieval city walls experience’ to make more use of the Spanish Arch – one of the main tourism sites in the city.

The €10.2m (US$11.4m) plan will see the museum rebranded as the Atlantic Museum Galway alongside its redevelopment. It will be created at Comerford House, next to the current museum, with new exhibitions over three storeys highlighting the influence the Atlantic has had.

The €10.2m development opens 2020
The National Aquarium
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Opening: 2020
The aquarium will be home to 33,000 marine creatures, that will be cared for by a team of 80 sea-life experts0

Set to be the largest aquarium in the Middle East, the National Aquarium will be a cornerstone of the upcoming dining and entertainment destination Al Qana, which is being created by Al Barakah International Investment and the Abu Dhabi Municipality.

Covering a space of 7,000sq m (22,965sq ft), the aquarium will be home to 33,000 marine creatures, and will employ a team of 80 sea-life experts and specialist. The destination will highlight the importance of conservation throughout its themed zones. Developers say the destination will welcome one million visitors a year when it opens.

Polish Army Museum
Warsaw, Poland
Opening: November 2020
A visualisation of a cavalry charge

NM Architekci have designed a permanent exhibition space for the new Polish Army Museum in Warsaw.

Costing an estimated PLN 250m (US$65.4m), the new museum will be housed inside the Warsaw Citadel – a 19th century fortress in the city which served as a prison into the late 1930s. The design divides the exhibition space into three “sightseeing paths”. Either short, medium or long, visitors will be able to take in the exhibition at their own pace, with each path offering a different perspective of the exhibitions.

Dubai Expo
Dubai, UAE
Opening 20 October 2020
Dubai Expo will be a celebration of the UAE Vision 2021 by supporting tourism growth and stimulating business

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors, with 70 per cent of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos.

There will be more than 200 participants including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses and educational institutions. To date, 190 nations from across the world have confirmed their participation at Expo 2020.

In line with the Expo 2020 theme of sustainability, 80 per cent of Expo-built buildings and structures will find new life in the future city of District 2020.

Avengers Campus
Disneyland, Anaheim, California
Opening: 2020
Avengers Campus will eventually open at a number of Disney theme parks

Giving guests the opportunity to “suit up” alongside superheroes such as Spider-Man, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Avengers Campus features several attractions, including the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (or WEB), which is Disney’s first ride-through experience featuring Spider-Man. Here, guests can try out the Web Slinger vehicle, gaining a taste of the character’s superpowers as they help him collect Spider-Bots that have run amok.

The Campus also features the Pym Test Kitchen eatery, as well as the Avengers Headquarters, set to open in phase two, where guests will be able to board a Quinjet and fly alongside The Avengers in an adventure to Wakanda and beyond.

Orlando, Florida
Opening: 2020

The biggest transformation of any of Disney’s parks, Epcot is undergoing a radical transformation which will see characters such as Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Moana and Guardians of the Galaxy come to the park. .

The United Kingdom pavilion will be home to the new Mary Poppins attraction. Inside, guests can step inside the home of the Banks family, for whom Poppins was the nanny in the movie..

The French pavilion will feature a new Beauty and the Beast sing-along and a Ratatouille attraction. .

In World Nature, visitors will find Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, as well as Awesome Planet, a new film at the Land pavilion, showcasing the beauty of the planet and its dynamic story..

New in World Discovery will be Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. This will include a new storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees and has the first reverse launch of a Disney coaster.

The transformation of Epcot will feature four neighborhoods that speak to important aspects of the world
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