A kids’ role-playing city will open soon in Kuala Lumpur as part of the Malaysian government’s push to establish international branded theme parks and attractions within the country.
Set to debut in January 2012, the 80,000 sq ft KidZania Kuala Lumpur will be the latest global outlet for the Mexican franchise, where children learn about the adult world by taking up different professions inside a themed metropolis. The multi-award winning concept, which does not feature any rides, will include 59 individual establishments including shops, businesses, a mini fire station, police station and TV studio. Young guests will even be able to use their own currency.
KidZania’s arrival in Malaysia is the latest feather in the cap for Themed Attractions and Destination Resorts, a pair of government-backed companies that have already brought on board world-class names including Legoland, Hello Kitty and Little Big Club.
“We are proud to attract some of the world’s leading theme park brands,” says Themed Attractions CEO, Tunko Dato’ Ahmad Burhanuddin. “We will focus on attractions that will position Malaysia as the destination of choice for family-focused activities.”
The country is already the world’s ninth most visited nation, famed for its flora, fauna, lush rainforest, pristine beaches, shopping and mix of many cultures. Many of the planned parks and attractions will be located towards the south of the Malaysian peninsula in the state of Johor. Here a cluster of five flagship zones have been established under the Iskandar banner, strategically located at the border of Singapore and within easy reach of Indonesia.
Opening late 2012 along the straits of the Johor will be a 60,000 sq ft indoor theme park at Puteri Harbour. It will house Hello Kitty Town, the first Hello Kitty attraction in southern Asia, and Little Big Club, featuring a collection of HIT Entertainment characters including Bob the Builder, Pingu and Barney the dinosaur. Complementing these will be a themed restaurant based on Kampung Boy, a creation of the local cartoonist LAT.
Also set to debut in 2012, Legoland Malaysia will open its gates less than 5km away towards the end of the year. This 76-acre theme park will be the sixth Legoland worldwide and the first in Asia, featuring over 40 rides and attractions including miniature replicas of iconic buildings across from across the continent. Operator Merlin Entertainments, which is building the park as an joint venture with Iskandar Investment, is hoping to attract 1 million guests in he first year of operation.
Also planned within in Johor is a 17km beachfront development called Desaru Coast, promising a variety of leisure offerings including Water World, Ocean Quest, a shopping mall, convention centre, hotels and golf course.
Both Desaru Coast and the Malaysia Truly Asia project in Kuala Lumpur are scheduled to open in 2014. The latter is described as, “an iconic world class integrated cultural attraction offering an immersive cultural experience and gastronomic delight.”
In the north east of the country, in the state of Kedah, Langkawi Island will become home to The Datai, a luxury resort featuring beachfront residencies and golf courses amid UNESCO-accredited eco park.