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MERLIN TO OPEN SEA LIFE AQUARIUM AT GRAPEVINE MILLS

Published: 5/21/2010

Second new Merlin attraction coming to Grapevine

21st May 2010

MERLIN TO OPEN SEA LIFE AQUARIUM AT GRAPEVINE MILLS

DURING SUMMER 2011

Second new Merlin attraction coming to Grapevine

GRAPEVINE, TX (May 21, 2010) - Global visitor attraction operator, Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), has announced that it has reached agreement with The Mills®, a Simon Company, and the City of Grapevine to develop plans for a $15 million SEA LIFE aquarium attraction to open at Grapevine Mills during summer 2011. This new attraction will be located directly opposite Merlin's exciting LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, which was announced last year and is due to open at Grapevine Mills in March 2011.


"We have developed an excellent working relationship with The Mills® and the City, and our initial commitment to build the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre demonstrated our belief that the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, and particularly Grapevine and Grapevine Mills, is a perfect location for quality family-based leisure facilities. We are therefore delighted to now also be able to take plans for a new SEA LIFE development to a second stage," said Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainments' Midway Attractions group.

Merlin's fourth SEA LIFE attraction to open in the USA, SEA LIFE at Grapevine Mills will highlight all of the qualities which have gained the brand the support and endorsement of marine experts worldwide. Initial plans call for a two-story, 45,000 square-foot aquarium housing more than 30 spectacular displays of diverse marine life for visitors to enjoy - everything from shrimp and starfish to seahorses, sharks and rays.

In addition, a stunning centerpiece will be a huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel. In keeping with other SEA LIFE attractions there will also be a unique element reflecting its location with several displays, featuring creatures native to both freshwater and coastal habitats of Texas.

SEA LIFE at Grapevine Mills will garner immediate success as part of the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in North Texas. Grapevine Mills already attracts millions of visitors annually to enjoy its more than 180 outlet and value retail stores, as well as exciting dining and family entertainment venues.

"The SEA LIFE Aquarium will be the perfect complement to Grapevine Mills' already celebrated shopping and entertainment experience. We look forward to our partnership with Merlin Entertainments and are confident that families will revel in the deep sea wonders that the aquarium will bring," said Gregg Goodman, president of The Mills®, a Simon Company.

SEA LIFE is the world's biggest aquarium brand with more than 30 superb attractions. It's focus is on quality of experience rather than scale, taking visitors on a seamless journey under the sea, which entertains, inspires and teaches the young and old. As with the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Merlin calls the SEA LIFE experience ‘fun learning'.

SEA LIFE offers several unique interactive opportunities for all ages - from viewing windows offering a glimpse into the ocean itself; to enlightening talks, feeding demonstrations, as well as involvement in the brand's global SOS environmental and conservation marine campaigning.

"Bringing these two brands together will be a world first for Merlin, underlining our strategy of ‘clustering' our short stay, indoor attractions together to the benefit of visitors. Without the commitment and support of both the City and The Mills®, we would not have been able to progress plans for this second attraction so quickly," added Mr Earlam.

Merlin has already proven the success of the SEA LIFE concept in the USA at LEGOLAND, California. The company also operates Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN, and will open a second stand-alone SEA LIFE at Arizona Mills in Tempe, AZ. late this month. These developments underline consumer demand for the kind of quality family experience that SEA LIFE offers.

Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate commented, "This project further underscores Grapevine's success as a family leisure destination able to attract the best in quality global leisure brands. The combination of SEA LIFE, along with the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, will further solidify Grapevine's position as the leading destination city in North Texas for families. SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will also create new jobs and generate additional income for local companies supplying and supporting these attractions."

- Ends -

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS MEDIA CONTACT:

Sally Ann Wilkinson/Penny Roberts

+ 44 (0) 20 8899 6110 Mobile: + 44 (0) 7774 415372/ + 44 (0) 7887 542490

saw@thefirmcomms.com

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS PROPERTY ENQUIRIES:

Howard J. Samuels

Samuels & Company, Inc.

Tel: (818) 817-9500

hsamuels@samuelscompany.com

GRAPEVINE MILLS MEDIA CONTACT:

Michael Goodman/Scott Dobroski

Bitner Goodman

(954) 703-7935/(954) 714-5867

michael@bitnergoodman.com/

scott@bitnergoodman.com

GRAPEVINE MEDIA CONTACT

Robert McPherrin

Assistant Executive Director

Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau

One Liberty Park Plaza

Grapevine, TX 76051-5374 o-817/410-3524

bmcpherrin@grapevinetexasusa.com

Note to Editors

About the Merlin Entertainments Group

Merlin Entertainments Group is the leading name in location based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. The world's second largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin has 62 attractions, 6 hotels and two holiday villages in 13 countries, across 3 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 38.5 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 15,000 employees.

Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions - SEA LIFE - the world's

biggest aquarium brand, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The Merlin Entertainments London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures, Heide Park, and Earth Explorer. All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative - and which have great potential for growth in the future. These include eight attractions in the USA - LEGOLAND California; SEA LIFE in California and Phoenix; Madame Tussauds in New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Chicago; and the Underwater Adventures Aquarium in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Three more are also already scheduled to open in New Jersey and Florida. The company is also assessing the potential of a number of other

sites across the United States. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

About Grapevine Mills

Grapevine Mills, the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in North Texas, provides the ultimate shopping experience with more than 180 outlet and value retail stores including Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Forever 21, J.Crew Factory, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Generation, Ecko Unlimited, Tommy Hilfiger Company Store, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, Ann Taylor Loft, Nike Factory Store and Oakley Vault. Shoppers can dine at great restaurants including  Rainforest Café and Chili's Too. Plus, shoppers will enjoy exciting entertainment options such as AMC 30 Theatres, GameWorks, Island Carousel, Lunar Mini Golf and Woodward Skatepark.

About The Mills, A Simon Company

The Mills®, one of Simon Property Group's five real estate platforms, is comprised of 16 value-oriented retail destinations totaling over 24 million square feet. The Mills offers a unique brand of shopping with a mix of popular name brand outlets, value retailers and full-price stores, plus family-oriented dining and entertainment concepts. The Mills are well-located in major metropolitan markets and many are recognized as leading tourism destinations. Notable properties include Arundel Mills (Baltimore), Gurnee Mills (Chicago), Grapevine Mills (Dallas), Ontario Mills (Los Angeles), Opry Mills (Nashville), Potomac Mills (Washington, DC) and Sawgrass Mills (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami).

Simon Property Group, Inc. is an S&P 500 company and the largest real estate company in the U.S. The Company currently owns or has an interest in 381 properties comprising 261 million square feet of gross leasable area in North America, Europe and Asia. Simon Property Group is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. The Company's common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol SPG. For further information, visit the Simon Property Group website at www.simon.com.

 

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