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Arizona: Legoland plans to build new Discovery Center near Phoenix

Legoland will break ground this year on a new indoor discovery center near Phoenix

Legoland plans to expand its plastic-brick empire next year when it opens a Legoland Discovery Center near Phoenix.

"Discovery Centers" are bigger and more interactive than a plain old Lego store, a kind of sampler of the theme park.

The company plans to spend $12 million to build the 60,000-square-foot attraction at the Arizona Mills retail outlet in Tempe.

The schedule calls for ground to be broken in June and for the project to be completed in spring 2016, according to an announcement Feb. 12 by Merlin Entertainment, which operates Legoland attractions.

When completed, the center will join a Sea Life aquarium operated by Legoland that's already open at the shopping mall.

The indoor play areas will be primarily suited for children 3 to 10 years old, the statement said. Inside, kids will be able to create things at a Lego brick pool, take classes from a Lego brick master, go on a ride and watch a movie at what it calls a 4-D cinema, it said.

Each center has a Miniland created out of Lego bricks, reflecting its hometown. The Phoenix Miniland will include the city's skyline as well as area landmarks, the statement said.

With the Phoenix site, there will be seven Legoland Discovery Centers in the U.S. The others are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas Ctiy, Mo., and Westchester, N.Y.

Walk-up prices vary by location, but Lego Discovery Center websites show prices of $13.50 to $17.50 each for online advance tickets for children 2 and older.

Merlin Entertainment also operates two Legolands in the U.S.: One in Carlsbad, which has a hotel, water park and Sea Life aquarium, and one in Florida, which also has a water park and will gain a hotel this year.

Info: Legoland Discovery Centers

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