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Home Tourist Attraction Attractions trends 2024 | blooloop

Attractions trends 2024 | blooloop

by Staff

As a new year begins, we take a look at some of the biggest attractions trends to watch. Each year, operators in the location-based entertainment (LBE) business work to improve and innovate their offerings in a competitive market.

In 2024, we expect visitors to continue to demand more than an Instagrammable moment. Guests want to be immersed in elaborate environments or gamified experiences. They want to play an active role in an attraction, and they want to do it ethically.

Some of the top technology trends to watch this year include robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and immersive technologies. And when it comes to ethical trends, the attractions industry – like last year – is focusing on eco-friendly experiences, repatriation, accessibility and animal welfare.

As usual, several of our attractions trends for 2024 carry over from last year’s predictions. Keep reading to stay ahead of the game.

1. Gamification

Gamification was one of our key attractions trends for 2023 and it remains on our list for 2024. Theme park and other LBE operators are busy developing new technologies and concepts to add an additional, interactive layer to their attractions. As with last year, Universal’s Super Nintendo World is leading the way.

Now open at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood, this gamified land brings Nintendo’s video games to life. Visitors can enjoy interactive experiences thanks to wearable wristbands linked to smartphones via an app. They can physically hit the land’s Question Blocks to collect coins as if they are competing in a video game.

“Think of Super Nintendo World as a life-size, living video game where you become one of the characters. You’re not just playing the game. You’re living the game, you’re living the adventure,” said Thierry Coup, Universal Creative’s former senior VP and chief creative officer.

“We have developed some state-of-the-art technology to create the perfect fusion of the physical world with the world of video games,” he added. “I think the seamless integration of the gameplay is one of the most innovative experiences we have ever created at Universal Studios.”

Bringing Donkey Kong to life

New for 2024 at Universal’s Super Nintendo Land in Japan is the world’s first Donkey Kong-themed area. Donkey Kong Country will house the Mine Cart Madness coaster, as well as interactive experiences, and themed retail and F&B. Visitors will feel like they are playing inside the arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981.

donkey kong super nintendo world universal studios japan attractions trends

“In Super Nintendo World you can jump like Mario, punch blocks, collect digital coins and battle on Rainbow Road. In Donkey Kong Country, we’ve greatly expanded interactivity and gameplay,” said Brian Robinson, executive VP and chief creative officer of Universal Creative.

Universal Destinations & Experiences has also filed a patent for a wearable technology. This will enhance interactive experiences for theme park visitors. Via a report in Orlando Inno, the patent is titled ‘interactive device of an attraction system’ and describes a wearable headset that includes an interactive element with a projector to show images, as well as a microphone and a display.

2. Immersive technologies

Technologies like AI, AR, VR, holograms, LED screens, audiovisual (AV) tools and projection mapping can help to create the most innovative and immersive experiences around. This attractions trend will almost certainly feature in the LBE world in 2024. Visitors no longer want to be immersed in a space – they expect to be.

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, last year’s biggest theme park debut, is home to the One Epic Ocean show. This takes guests on an immersive journey through the ocean’s depths using cutting-edge technology. The show, by Thinkwell, is an unprecedented visual experience on the world’s largest cylindrical 360-degree LED screen.

attractions trends artechouse beyond the light

In the US, the state-of-the-art Sphere venue has opened. This boasts the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED screen, as well as the world’s largest concert-grade audio system. Designed by stadium specialist Populous, Sphere is the largest spherical structure in the world. Inside, it serves as an entertainment destination with immersive experiences, performances and competitions.

Outside, Sphere’s exterior features 580,000 square feet of LED lighting to display content.

Transporting guests to new worlds

At New York’s Artechouse studio, a new exhibition is immersing guests in NASA’s galactical data captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. “Conceptualized through many collaborative sessions with NASA’s team of scientists and specialists, ‘Beyond the Light’ takes groundbreaking science and data and brings it to life artistically in a way that’s never been done before,” said Sandro Kereselidze, Artechouse’s co-founder and chief creative officer.

More interesting developments in this field include a Universal patent for technology to generate realistic images using “retroreflection”, and the new Mission Ferrari coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. This is enhanced by cutting-edge technology and AV effects.

sphere las vegas refik anadol

Elsewhere, an interactive aquarium is utilising AI to recognise aquatic species and provide information about them. Luna Park Sydney’s new Dream Circus experience uses multi-layered immersive technologies such as 360-degree projections, blockbuster surround sound, and holograms.

Tech-enhanced experiences

One particularly pioneering use of immersive technology last year was part of a Van Gogh exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. This VR experience, a partnership with Vive Arts, takes inspiration from the last surviving paint palette used by Vincent van Gogh. Guests find themselves inside a virtual landscape of brush strokes and oil paints. These were created using high-resolution scans of the palette and reproduced inside the 4K visuals of the Vive XR Elite headset.

luna park sydney dream circus

“In line with Vive Arts’ mission, La Palette de Van Gogh harnesses the power of immersive technology to offer an experience that is at once entertaining and educational, with audiences in charge of their own adventure as they delve into Van Gogh’s world and distinct approach to painting,” said Celina Yeh, director of Vive Arts.

Also part of the Musée d’Orsay’s Van Gogh show is an AI-powered incarnation of the artist. He answers questions from visitors. The responses are based on an analysis of his letters. “This is still a subject of speculation among historians and specialists. The truth of my motivation remains a mystery even to me. Thank you for understanding my mental health struggles,” the AI avatar said when asked why the painter shot himself in the chest at 37 (via the Guardian).

3. Recreational fear

Like last year, horror experiences are a major attractions trend to watch in the year ahead. Recreational fear is a term coined by scientists from the Recreational Fear Lab, a research institute at Aarhus University in Denmark. The team partnered with Swedish amusement park Liseberg this year on a fear experiment. This revealed scary experiences can be good for visitors.

The purpose of the study was for the park to enhance and improve its spooky attractions. “Every year, thousands of guests visit Halloween at Liseberg to experience fear,” said Karl Svedung, head of marketing at Liseberg.

He added: “The results of this report show that Liseberg has excellent knowledge in the area of recreational fear. Now we want to use these insights to further develop our fear attractions. One aspect we want to examine is whether we can help visitors to tailor their fear experiences at the park.”

liseberg peak fear experiment

The biggest news in horror LBE last year was Universal Destinations & Experiences’ year-round horror attraction at Area15 in Las Vegas. The upcoming venue, called Universal Horror Unleashed, is Universal’s first permanent horror experience outside of its parks.

It will showcase Universal’s vast library of classic scary films and characters. For instance, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein, as well as Dracula and the Mummy. It will also be home to attractions based on its modern horror stories through collaborations with filmmakers including Jason Blum and James Wan

Halloween all year round

Fans of Halloween Horror Nights can expect to see many similar experiences to those on offer at Universal’s parks during Halloween, as well as new and innovative offerings. There will be immersive experiences, frightening F&B spaces, seasonal events and unique merchandise.

In a recent interview with blooloop, Area15 CEO Winston Fisher said the spine-chilling site is going to be “incredible and standout”. Page Thompson, president of new ventures at Universal Destinations & Experiences, said the decision to open the new attraction is due to a “huge and growing demand for immersive experiences”, particularly horror-themed ones.

stranger things halloween horror nights attractions trends

John Murdy, creative director and executive producer of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, said the attractions trend for scares is “an adrenaline thing”.

He told blooloop: “It’s high thrills. We’ll just stand at the exit of one of our haunted houses and just watch what happens. It’s a great way to experience how your guests are enjoying the experience. You’ll see people come out and they’re screaming and then they immediately start laughing. To me, that’s the classic release of adrenaline.”

Universal Orlando’s new Epic Universe theme park is also rumoured to feature a land inspired by Universal’s classic monsters. Visitors can expect to see attractions based on Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and the Wolf Man. This year we’ve also seen new eerie experiences at Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Efteling.

4. Robot staffers

Thanks to advances in AI, bots remain a top attractions trend for 2024. Already, robots can greet visitors, critique and create artworks, curate exhibitions, provide security, serve food and entertain guests. Recently, robodogs have been big news. Dubai’s Museum of the Future introduced a robotic dog to interact with visitors. Designed by US technology firm Boston Dynamics, the robodog has 3D vision and moves using 17 joints.

In the UK, Blenheim Palace has been testing a robot dog monitoring the impact of climate change. The Times reports that the bot, named Spot, uses hyperspectral image analysis and AI to collect this information. In Spain, Colección SOLO is home to a robot canine called A.I.C.C.A. The robot can write critiques of artworks and then poop them out on paper. The museum’s resident art critic looks like a cute, plush terrier and has a camera in one eye.

aicca robot dog art critic
A.I.C.C.A., 2023, Mario Klingemann © Courtesy of Onkaos

RoboLand, an innovative new attraction with exhibits, shows and robots, opened last year on International Drive in Orlando, Florida. One robot star at RoboLand is Sophia, who the park calls the world’s most sophisticated humanoid robot. Sophia has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. She has also addressed the United Nations. Powered by AI, Sophia has more than 70 facial expressions. She can understand, recognise, research, and have conversations with visitors. 

Disney robots

Entertainment giant Disney is dominating this attractions trend with its myriad robotics projects. New developments include plans to take “untethered” robots into the sky with “hybrid air and water power”. At Disneyland, a robotic Spider-Man is already performing stunts above Avengers Campus.

disney project kiwi groot robot attractions trends

Walt Disney Imagineering has been testing its new Baby Groot robot at Disney California Adventure. The free-roaming Groot animatronic is part of the Project Kiwi robotics platform. “This prototype robot of Groot is one of many ways Walt Disney Imagineers are developing new, innovative ways to bring stories to life in Disney parks,” Disney said.

Additionally, “droids in training” are being tested at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “The robots actually learn to imitate artistic motion – that’s the secret sauce to make them work so quickly. They can actually emote and learn to dance,” said Moritz Bächer, associate lab director at Disney Research.

5. Artainment

Artainment, more commonly known as immersive art, has been a key attractions trend for many years now. It refers to the merging of art and technology, or art and entertainment. Innovators in this field include Meow Wolf, teamLab and Culturespaces. Artainment spaces seek to display art in new ways through the likes of technology-driven artworks, immersive playgrounds and secret passageways.

The attractions trend for digital and distinctive art installations no signs of slowing down, despite one company behind a Van Gogh art experience filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy.

Last year, Meow Wolf debuted its fourth permanent exhibition, The Real Unreal, in Grapevine, Texas. The new attraction contains a series of dreamscapes, otherworldly landscapes, installations, surreal environments, and Meow Wolf’s iconic portals.

meow wolf the real unreal grapevine texas
Image credit: Kate Russell / Meow Wolf

“At Meow Wolf, we opt to tell stories about our world and worlds beyond through nuanced, timeless science fiction, and I hope the guests will take the time to explore this cohort of artists along with the deeper meaning behind the work that they have created with us,” said Han Santana-Sayles, Meow Wolf’s director of artist collaboration.

Digital art experiences

teamLab is also expanding to Abu Dhabi and Tokyo’s teamLab Borderless is reopening in a new home at Azabudai Hills in February 2024.

teamLab’s museums project art onto the walls. These works evolve and interact with each other and with the guests.

teamlab borderless bubble universe attractions trends

Founded by Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab has art experiences in Shanghai, Tokyo and Macao. “Physical media is no longer the limit,” teamLab told blooloop in a recent interview. “Digital technology has made it possible for artworks to expand physically. Art created using digital technology can easily expand.”

More artainment groups are expanding their offerings. Wake The Tiger, an experiential art gallery and interactive theme park in the UK, is growing, as is Mad Arts, a museum for immersive art in South Florida. Arte Museum has opened its first North American exhibition in Las Vegas following locations in Korea and China.

6. Animal welfare

A major attractions trend to keep an eye on in the next year is animal welfare, which relates to the emotional and physical well-being of animals. It refers to animals kept in captivity and under human control – i.e. at zoos, aquariums and theme parks.

Canada’s Marineland and the Miami Seaquarium made headlines in 2023. First, captive orca Lolita died at the latter just as plans were progressing to release the killer whale to her home waters. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also cited the Miami Seaquarium for various violations in 2023, including inadequate animal care.

Most recently, two manatees named Romeo and Juliet were released from the venue. This happened after advocacy group UrgentSeas posted footage of Romeo swimming alone in a dirty and isolated pool.

lolita miami seaquarium

As for Marineland, 14 whales and a dolphin have died since 2019 at the park in Canada’s Niagara Falls, according to an exposé by the Canadian Press. Since January 2020, inspectors from Ontario’s provincial animal welfare services have been to the park 160 times.

In May 2023, the province charged Marineland over its handling of American black bears in captivity. This came after the park was charged under the Criminal Code for allegedly using dolphins and whales for entertainment purposes without authorisation. Last month, a third beluga whale from Marineland died at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut after arriving at the venue in 2021.

Animal encounters

In the summer, Ruben, the world’s loneliest lion, returned to his natural habitat in Africa after being abandoned in a private zoo in Armenia for five years. Elsewhere, Zoo Miami in Florida had to apologise for offering an encounter with a kiwi, New Zealand’s national bird. A spokesperson said the zoo has “offended a nation”. Animal rights nonprofit organisation PETA also obtained federal records revealing injuries to a dolphin and a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando.

ruben the world's loneliest lion

In more positive news for attractions with animals, a new study by Nottingham Trent and Harper Adams universities found that elephants at zoos enjoy interacting with visitors. Other animal species to display positive responses to guests included grizzly bears, polar bears, penguins, cheetahs, servals, bantengs, black-tailed prairie dogs and cockatoos.

Animal species found to display negative responses to guests included marsupials, flightless birds, tuatara and hedgehogs, as well as odd and even-toed ungulates.

“Animal responses are attributed to various factors and recognising what these may be is important to improve welfare,” said Dr Ellen Williams, a zoo animal welfare scientist at Harper Adams University.

7. Ethical collections

An important trend in the attractions industry, specifically the museums sector, is ethical collecting. Throughout the last two years, museums across the world have been repatriating stolen and looted treasures to their countries of origin. As well as returning objects, institutions last year worked to make their collections more ethical.

For example, New York‘s American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian addressed their human remains collections. The latter is to remove all human remains from display. Via a report in the New York Times, the institution’s president Sean Decatur told staff in a letter:

“Human remains collections were made possible by extreme imbalances of power.”

gilder center, american museum of natural history

Before that, Smithsonian secretary Lonnie Bunch responded to a report on the institution’s human remains collection. The report found that the majority had been gathered using unethical practices and without consent.

Returning artefacts

Manchester Museum in the UK and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts made some of the biggest returns last year. Manchester Museum returned 174 artefacts to an Aboriginal community in Australia’s Northern Territory, while the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts repatriated 44 ancient artworks to Italy, Egypt and Turkey after an inquiry.

Other institutions – the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, London’s V&A, and the Met – announced agreements with Yemen to care for and display the country’s artefacts before they can be returned. Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, the ambassador of Yemen to the US, said the country “is reclaiming ownership of its precious and priceless cultural heritage”. He added: “Due to the current situation in Yemen, it is not the appropriate time to return these artifacts back to our homeland.”

british museum benin bronzes

As for the British Museum, the institution is under even greater pressure to start returning the items in its care after around 2,000 treasures in its collection were reported stolen or damaged.

In response to one of the biggest scandals in the museum sector in recent years, officials in Greece and Nigeria called for the return of the Parthenon marbles and Benin bronzes, while Chinese state media asked the museum to return all Chinese cultural relics “free of charge”.

8. Unique hotels

Disney World may have closed its ambitious Star Wars hotel experience after 18 months of operating, but unique and immersive overnight experiences are increasingly opening up. This attractions trend is for guests who want more than a king-size bed and a mini fridge.

Some of the most exciting accommodation offerings in 2023 include Shrek’s “mud-laden, moss-covered, murky-watered swamp” going on Airbnb. Located in the Scottish Highlands, the swamp is described as a “secluded haven fit for a solitude-seeking ogre”. Guests could light ‘earwax candles’, tell stories around the fire, and enjoy Donkey’s freshly made waffles in the morning.

shrek swamp airbnb

Shrek’s swamp is lovely. Just beautiful. The perfect place to entertain guests,” Donkey said in a playful press release. “You know what I like about it? Everything. The overgrown landscaping, the modest interiors, the nice boulders, all of it. I can’t wait for guests to experience this muddy slice of paradise for themselves.”

Elsewhere, Madame Tussauds and Warner. Bros joined forces with the InterContinental Hotels Group to launch an overnight eerie experience in New York for Halloween 2023. Guests enjoyed drinks and a three-course dinner inspired by The Exorcist, The Conjuring and It before exploring scenes from the horror franchises.

Pop-up hotel experiences

Hard Rock also teamed up with Lionsgate to offer pop-up experiences based on John Wick: Chapter 4 at its hotels, and family experience company Camp has partnered with Marriott International to offer Camp Club experiences at Marriott Bonvoy properties.

madame tussauds halloween hotel experience attractions trends

“With Camp Club, we are offering a vacation experience that truly caters to everyone in the family,” said Jason Nuell, senior VP of premium brands at Marriott International. “We look forward to building on our relationship with Camp as we continue to reimagine family programming at our hotels and resorts worldwide.”

In more accommodation news, Las Vegas’ award-winning immersive experience Particle Ink is heading to the Luxor Hotel and Casino this year. The addition of Particle Ink to the Luxor is part of the hotel’s bid to become the Las Vegas Strip’s “most dynamic hub for immersive entertainment and experiences”. The Luxor Hotel and Casino’s president and COO Chuck Bowling said: “We are always looking to develop new entertainment experiences for our guests.”

9. Immersive history

Another attractions trend to watch in the next year is cultural experiences made immersive or unique. This concept is similar to last year’s trend for time travel, or bringing the past to life in new and exciting ways.

One interesting space coming in 2024 is a collaboration between multi-sensory experience design studio Bompas & Parr, Historic England and Museum of London Archaeology. This immersive museum about William Shakespeare is under construction on the site of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, east London.

museum of shakespeare london

The Curtain Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse, opened in 1577 and closed in 1624. It was the main venue for the English playwright and poet’s company before the Globe was built. The new museum will include historical displays and a projected reconstruction of the original theatre above the remains of the stage.

Using AI, the museum will replicate the sights, smells and sounds of Shakespeare’s London in 1598. Visitors will get to perform on the stage where Shakespeare presented plays including Romeo and Juliet and Henry V.

“The Museum of Shakespeare will be the most ambitious project that Bompas & Parr has undertaken and is in line with our mission to create location-based experiences that make London a more interesting place and a city unrivalled in its cultural importance,” said Harry Parr, co-founder of Bompas & Parr. “This will be Shakespeare as you have never experienced it before.”

Bringing the past to life

Also in London, the city’s mile-long Kingsway Exchange tunnels are to be transformed into a unique cultural experience. Originally, the underground tunnels were built to shelter Londoners during the World War II Blitz. They were a secret for nearly 70 years, under the UK government’s Official Secrets Act.

london tunnels visitor experience attractions trends

If the plans are approved, architecture firm WilkinsonEyre will create an innovative visitor experience that explores the history of the tunnels through high-resolution screens, interactive structures, scent-emitting technology and hundreds of individual acoustic pinpoint speakers.

Elsewhere, a new experience at the Carrickfergus Museum explored Ireland’s last witch trial using cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) from technology firm Sentireal on behalf of Ulster University.

Islandmagee witches, Carrickfergus Museum

The VR project “has allowed us to bring this important piece of our history to life in a way that will engage people in the 21st century”, said Dr Helen Jackson, senior lecturer in interactive media at Ulster University.

Dr Andrew Sneddon, senior lecturer in international history and co-author of the book The Witches of Islandmagee, said:

“The project is designed to take the hidden history of Ireland’s last witch trial to new audiences using new technologies and approaches. It taps into an essential part of Ireland’s cultural heritage and allows people to navigate, in an interactive way, the moral choices and dilemmas in accusing someone of witchcraft in the early modern world.”

10. Children’s IP

Attractions for kids aren’t new, but we’re seeing an upward trend for big names like Peppa Pig and Bluey in permanent spaces. Also, family entertainment companies and media conglomerates including Universal are working on innovative branded experiences for young guests.

The biggest news from 2023, of course, is Universal’s first-ever family resort in Frisco, Texas. Universal Kids Resort will have a themed hotel and a theme park home to lands inspired by Universal’s family brands, characters and stories. There will be family-friendly attractions, interactive entertainment, unique merchandise, F&B outlets and character experiences.

universal kids resort

Molly Murphy, president of Universal Creative, said:

“We’re designing the resort so kids and families can feel the thrill of being physically immersed in their most beloved stories and characters.”

Texas will also boast a Peppa Pig Theme Park from this year, as will Günzburg, Germany. The new parks follow the launch of the first standalone Peppa Pig Theme Park in Florida in 2022. Highlights in the Peppa-themed parks include rides, playgrounds and character shows.

Kids’ favourite brands come to life

Bluey is another children’s TV show to get an LBE home of its own. Bluey’s World, opening in August in Brisbane, Australia, is an immersive experience to celebrate the award-winning series. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Brisbane is at Bluey’s core and now the show is a global sensation, we want to invite fans from around the world to come and experience Bluey’s home.”

bluey immersive experience brisbane attractions trends

Merlin Entertainments, which also operates the Peppa Pig theme parks, opened a Gruffalo-themed attraction in Blackpool, UK. This has immersive zones based on six of writer Julia Donaldson’s and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s children’s stories. 

Meanwhile, family experience company Camp is revolutionising retail experiences with its experiential toy stores in the US. Guests enter through Camp’s signature ‘magic door’ to find a themed world inspired by stories such as The Little Mermaid, Encanto, Bluey and Trolls Band Together. Then they can buy exclusive, official merchandise.

11. Fun food

Food is a progressively important part of the visitor experience, and we expect to see a lot more F&B news in the attractions sector this year. This attractions trend is burgeoning; guests no longer want a hotdog while they wait in line. They expect food and drinks to be themed, curated, and sometimes the main event. If not, the environment must be distinctive or immersive.

We’ll start with Eatrenalin at Europa-Park, a media-based multi-sensory restaurant where guests are immersed in a unique world through scents, tastes, visuals, acoustics and haptics. The new gastronomic experience offers a 10-course fine dining meal on a dark ride vehicle, with guests moving through various rooms for different courses. Eatrenalin was a winner in the 2023 Thea Awards and blooloop’s Innovation Awards.

eatrenalin

Elsewhere, media experience brand Bucket Listers is behind several F&B experiences, themed to Mean Girls, Malibu Barbie and The Golden Girls. At the Mean Girls experience in LA and New York, visitors can consume dishes created by Master Chef semi-finalist Becky Brown, including the ‘Burn Book Burger Sliders’ and the ‘Stab Caesar Salad’. Desserts on offer include the ‘Rainbow + Smiles Cake’, ‘Is Butter a Carb Cookies’, and the ‘Fetch Strudel’. Additionally, the venue includes the ‘Cool Mom Bar’.

Eatertainment

Area15, Las Vegas’ immersive entertainment district, has opened a restaurant called Kaia Handroll featuring artworks generated by AI. Guests can also use their smartphones to activate a unique augmented reality (AR) moment on Kaia’s menus, with computer-generated characters and sea creatures coming to life on the physical menu.

SUPERBIEN Jungle Palace courtesy Fred Durantet

For Halloween 2023, Kraken Rum launched a unique horror bar in London where the price of drinks was determined by visitors’ heart rates. Guests were equipped with heart rate monitors before experiencing “an immersive gauntlet of relentless horror”. The faster the heartbeat, the more guests paid at the bar.

Creative studio SUPERBIEN also worked with Ephemera Group on an immersive restaurant named Jungle Palace in Paris. During dinner, guests are surrounded by a range of animals and immersed in a jungle experience from dawn to dusk. They even find themselves in a tropical storm.

12. Accessibility

Another ethical attractions trend for this year is accessibility. We’re seeing more and more venues working to provide a space for everyone. This includes visitors in wheelchairs and those with sight or hearing impairments, as well as neurodivergent guests. Recent innovations in LBE accessibility include special glasses in museums for colour blindness, multi-sensory exhibitions, and audio descriptions in theme parks.

Morgan’s Wonderland is the world’s first theme park designed and built for people with special needs. It recently announced its largest expansion to date for the 2024 season. The park in San Antonio, Texas is spending $6 million on new attractions. “We’ve worked closely with the manufacturers to make sure our new attractions are in sync with the rest of our ultra-accessible, fully-inclusive park,” said Richard Pretlow, park president.

phillip island nature parks attractions trends

“We believe guests of all abilities will enjoy them as we pursue our mission of inclusion – bringing together those with and without special needs for fun and a better understanding of one another in a colorful, upbeat, non-judgmental environment,” Pretlow added.

DEAI

Phillip Island Nature Parks, a conservation organisation operating eco-tourism attractions off Australia’s southern coast, is transforming the entire island into the country’s first sensory-inclusive tourist town. Staff are being trained to identify sensory overload, and attractions, restaurants and shops are also becoming safe spaces for neurodivergent visitors.

meow wolf real unreal texas

Nature Parks’ general manager of tourism operations Peta Wittig said:

“For people who have sensory issues, simply knowing there are people nearby who understand and can help them if they become overwhelmed has a significant impact on their wellbeing and confidence.”

Back in the US, all of Meow Wolf’s immersive art exhibits are now Certified Autism Centers. Brian Loo is VP of operations development and exhibition engineering at Meow Wolf. He said the company “believes that art and creativity should be accessible to all”.

Eco attractions

To become more sustainable, operators are turning to solutions such as measuring carbon emissions, going solar, capping attendance, recycling, electric transport and ditching plastic. Here, however, we’re looking at the attractions trend for eco-friendly experiences and those promoting climate action.

The UK’s Eden Project is a trailblazer in the eco-friendly LBE space. In addition to several new UK sites, Eden is developing a series of green attractions across the world, from South America to Australia. In early 2023, the Eden Project’s co-founder Sir Tim Smit confirmed plans to build a hotel at the original eco-tourism site in Cornwall. This will use local materials sourced from within 30 miles.

The new hotel, a spokesperson for the Eden Project told CornwallLive, will be “an exemplar of regenerative tourism and positive social impact, with the aim of making it climate positive – beyond net zero”.

A focus on climate change

Environmental art exhibit Arcadia Earth has expanded to Canada after successful runs in New York, Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia. The new venue highlights global challenges like overfishing, plastic waste and biodiversity loss.

arcadia earth

“From the moment you step into an Arcadia Earth experience, your relationship with our planet changes,” said Craig Perlmutter, president of Arcadia Earth Toronto. “Our aim is to ignite a passion to learn more, drive tangible lifestyle changes and activate visitors to understand the positive impact they can have on the world around us.”

Other interesting developments to be announced or launched in 2023 also include an eco-glamping resort with an AR gaming experience in Scotland, a nature-inspired theme park in Japan, and a fossil fuel exhibition at the Climate Museum in New York. In the UAE, Expo City Dubai’s Winter City event for Christmas 2023 featured eco-friendly festive experiences to promote climate action.

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