What is Best New Attraction in the US?
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium: The recently opened attraction has been named by USA Today as the best new attraction in the United States. It won the honor in a competition among 20 attractions around the country. Spanning 350,000 square feet and more than 1.5 miles of trails, Wonders of Wildlife takes visitors on a journey through immersive habitats that entertain and educate while sharing the story of America’s most significant conservationists throughout history and today.
There are numerous huge, multi-story tanks featuring exotic fish species; a tidal-pool tank for petting horseshoe crabs and small, child-sized shark; and a stroke-a-stingray experience stocked with five species of the flat fish. Later, the aquarium hopes to offer visitors a dive-with-the-sharks option. The new attraction is built around Bass Pro Shops’ flagship store in Southwestern Missouri, where Johnny Morris launched the brand. Tickets for the two attractions at the site—Aquarium Adventures and Wildlife Galleries—are $23.95 for children ages 4-11 and $39.95 for adults. For more information, visit: www.wondersofwildlife.org.
U.S. Civil Rights Trail Launched: The occasion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday served as the catalytic event marking the official launch of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a major project that highlights more than 100 locations in 14 U.S. states that were significant in the U.S. civil rights movement. The importance of the trail to tourism is underscored by the key role in its development and promotion by Travel South USA, which is comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The trail stretches from schools in Topeka, Kan., known for the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation court decision in 1954, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where thousands rallied for equal opportunity in 1963. Because of the impact of the movement on other parts of the globe, the marketing phrase is “What happened here changed the world.” Additional famous sites along the trail such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.; Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth’s–where sit-ins began–; the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.; and King’s birthplace in Atlanta, Ga., are anchors. For more information, visit: www.civilrightstrail.com.
LEGOLAND California Dives Deep Into 2018 With New Submarine Attraction: Opening this summer is the LEGOLAND® California LEGO® City Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride. It is Merlin Entertainment’s single largest investment in any LEGOLAND® Park and will take passengers aboard a real submarine where they will be submerged underwater and immersed in an ocean habitat. They’ll be looking for lost treasure on a sunken LEGO shipwreck. Among the real sea animals are bright LEGO octopi, marine tropical fish and LEGO scuba divers. Touchscreens at each porthole inside the sub are used by guests to help the LEGO minifigure dive team identify gems, pearls, LEGO gold coins and more throughout the journey. Up to 12 guests will board one of eight submarines that are designed after the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure line of toys. Ticket prices start at $89 for a one-day admission to LEGOLAND, and $105 per person, per day, for a LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel and theme park package. For more information, visit https://www.legoland.com/deepsea2018/.