Ripley Entertainment Plans $200 Million Resort and Aquarium in Niagara Falls, Ontario
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 5, 2004--
Ripley Entertainment announced plans today for a $200 million family destination project that will include a Ripley-owned Great Wolf Lodge,(R) a premier indoor waterpark resort and a state-of-the-art Ripley's Aquarium of Canada on a 25-acre parcel of land in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Great Wolf Lodge represents the first resort in Ripley Entertainment's vast empire of attractions and the first international license that The Great Lakes Co., developers of the Great Wolf Lodge brand of indoor waterpark resorts, has ever granted. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada will become the third sea life attraction for the company, joining Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
"This is a historic day for our brand and Niagara Falls, Ontario," said Bob Masterson, President of Ripley Entertainment. "We have added our first international world-class aquarium to our growing portfolio and look forward to extending our brand name into the resort business with Great Wolf Lodge. Niagara Falls, Ontario will now become a year-round destination for families who want to enjoy the Falls, take a swim and discover some of the most exotic marine life from around the world!"
About Great Wolf Lodge - Set to Open in 2005
Designed to capture the atmosphere and adventure of the northwoods, the log-sided, four-story, 404-suite indoor waterpark resort will provide a comprehensive package of destination lodging amenities, including an 28.8C (84F), 90,000 square-foot indoor waterpark.
Upon entering the grand lobby, guests will immediately sense they are on a northwoods retreat, complete with oversized oak furniture and a massive fieldstone fireplace.
Great Wolf Lodge will feature many first-class amenities and activities beyond the water adventure, such as a themed family restaurant, an enormous arcade, a gift shop, confectionery, Aveda(R) Concept Spa, a state-of-the-art meeting symposium, fitness center, outdoor recreation and pool area, animated clock tower and Cub Club activity center. The resort will offer travelers an alternative to the expenses associated with traveling to warmer climates, making a family getaway affordable and convenient.
About Ripley's Aquarium of Canada - Set to open in 2006
The 115,000-square-foot world-class aquarium will include interactive exhibits, showcase colorful species from around the world, and take visitors on a journey through the evolution of the Canadian Seas and the Ancient Savage Sea to present day in a unique, entertaining way. One of the main attractions will be the Greenland sharks, one of the largest predatory sharks in the world.
The state-of-the-art Ripley's Aquarium of Canada combines technology from the themed entertainment industry with lighting, music and viewer friendly design to create a one-of-a-kind aquarium experience.
One of the spectacular exhibits is an acrylic tunnel under a four million liter (one million gallon) aquatic habitat featuring a moving walkway that transports visitors through multiple marine exhibits highlighting a wide variety of sharks, eels and hundreds of brightly colored tropical fish.
Ripley's continued commitment to conservation and education will also be a key element of the facility. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada will house opportunities ranging from an interactive Discovery Center where visitors can explore fun and interesting facts about the mysterious underwater world to classrooms, a wetlab and both public and curriculum-based educational programs for all ages.
Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee are among the most visited aquariums in North America.
About Ripley Entertainment:
Ripley Entertainment Inc. has been a global leader in the attraction industry for 75 years. Ripley's currently owns and operates 46 attractions in 10 countries and is growing every day with current sites being considered for expansion in New York, Chicago, Europe and Asia. A member of the Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada's largest privately owned companies, Ripley's family attractions draw more than 12 million guests per year.
About The Great Lakes Co.:
Great Lakes, a privately owned, diversified real estate company based in Madison, Wis., has revolutionized the family vacation by creating year-round tourism in select markets with it's brand of indoor waterpark resorts. Great Lakes currently owns and operates seven indoor waterpark resorts in the U.S. Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls is the first international and licensed Great Wolf Lodge. This unique partnership between the attraction industry leader and the indoor waterpark industry leader will result in the largest family entertainment destination in Canada.
Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls, Ontario, will be the eighth indoor waterpark resort operated by The Great Lakes Companies, Inc. Other resorts include: the Great Wolf Lodge brand of resorts with locations in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.; Traverse City, Mich.; Kansas City, Kans.; Williamsburg, VA (opening spring, 2005) and The Pocono's, PA (opening summer, 2005); Great Bear Lodge, Sandusky, Ohio; and Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center, Sheboygan, Wis. To make a reservation or request a brochure, call toll-free 1-800-608-WOLF (9653), or visit online at:
CONTACT: Ripley Entertainment
Tim O'Brien, 615-646-7465
Mobile Phone: 615-496-5949
The Great Lakes Companies, Inc.(TM)
Erin B. Payne/Jennifer M. Beranek, 608-251-6400
Payne mobile phone: 608-206-5796
Dan Klores Communications
Scott Miranda/Amanda Thorn, 212-981-5208/5231
Miranda mobile phone: 914-806-6771
Thorn mobile phone: 914-282-0257
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