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Legoland to open first Asian theme park in 2012

Legoland to open first Asian theme park in 2012
(Legoland)

will feature miniature

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landmarks, including a 42,500-brick

Taj Mahal

and a replica of

's twin Petronas Towers -- which will become the tallest

Lego

model in the world -- when the theme park opens in late 2012.

Expected to draw 1.5 million visitors annually,

will be just across a waterway from

Singapore

, where a

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opened in 2010.

Geared toward children ages 12 and under, the 76-acre Legoland Malaysia will include 40 rides, shows and attractions set amid six themed lands: Adventure, Imagination, Castle, Town, Xtreme and the signature Miniland. An additional 43 acres will be set aside for future expansion, including a water park.

The $240-million kiddie park, the sixth Legoland in the world, will be anchored to a Lego-themed hotel and a shopping district similar to Universal's

CityWalk

or

Downtown Disney

.

Over the last two years, a team of 32

has been busy building 15,000 models for the new park.

The centerpiece Malaysian Miniland, which will employ 20 million Lego bricks, will offer miniature replicas of the Southeast Asian country's best-known landmarks and locales, including:

* Dataran Bandaraya, the main square in Johor Bahru, the capital of the southern Malaysian state of Johor.

* Jalan Wong Ah Fook, one of the busiest roads in Johor Bahru.

* Sultan Ibrahim building, the former state secretariat building in Johor Bahru.

* Sultanah Aminah Hospital, the biggest such facility in Johor Bahru.

* Datuk Jaafar Muhammad building, named after the first chief minister of Johor.

* Istana Besar, the royal palace of the sultanate of Johor.

* Perdana Putra, the Malaysian prime minister's office in Putrajaya, a city south of

Kuala Lumpur

that serves as the federal seat of government.

* Putrajaya mosque, a Lego model that took 4,600 hours to complete and weighs 440 pounds.

* Sultan Abu Bakar state mosque, which took Lego model builders more than six weeks to build.

*

, one of Southeast Asia's largest airports.

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