San Francisco, California: WOWtopia, WOW Explorations’ first touring attraction, is dedicated to inspiring kids with the wonder of the world through physical play, hands-on creating and active multi-sensory experiences. A new form of family entertainment with an adventure park in a circus-like touring model is scheduled to begin touring in the U.S. in late 2017. Donna Friedman Meir, Founder and CEO of WOW Explorations, in a discussion with Amusement Parks News, speaks about the concept.
Donna Friedman Meir is an accomplished brand builder, producer, programmer and marketer of children’s media content. She was founder and President of National Geographic Kids Entertainment, and held senior executive positions with the WB Television Network and Nickelodeon. Her career has been dedicated to creating inspiring entertainment experiences for children across multiple platforms and for a global audience.
What is WOWtopia?
Donna Friedman Meir: WOWtopia is a hands-on, grab-on, global festival for kids and families that will tour from city to city. With WOWtopia, we’re introducing a new category of family entertainment combining the physicality of an adventure park, the hands-on interactivity of a maker experience and the awe of a cultural festival. WOWtopia will bring to life the people, places and cultures of our extraordinary world in a festival atmosphere. It offers active engagement such as ziplining, rock-climbing, dance, music and art activities; authentic cultural experiences with an international team of artists and ambassadors; and broad appeal through a variety of workshops, playscapes and interactive performances for kids and adults, all at a price that is affordable for most families.
What are the various activities that WOWtopia will offer?
Donna Friedman Meir: Everyone will be able to experience WOWtopia in his or her own personal way, choosing what mission to undertake and which activities to do. Our site will be organized into four principal zones, where you’ll be invited to Move, Make, Connect and Celebrate. In Move, a series of adventurous activities will get you running, climbing and even flying! Imagine climbing a Sardinian rock face or hurtling through the sky on a Costa Rican zip-line. In Make, you can get your hands dirty creating your own traditional artworks from around the world—Moroccan mosaics, Japanese bamboo lanterns and Nigerian batik fabrics, to name just a few. Connect is all about immersing yourself in the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and textures all around us—from the cold of an Arctic glacier to the distinct scents of an Istanbul spice market to the spectrum of sound behind our Magic Doors that will transport you to locations far away. In Celebrate, you’ll join in cultural celebrations from all over of the world—like the colorful Hindu spring festival Holi, Northern Europe’s Maypole tradition and the Rio De Janeiro Carnival—with a vibrant mix of music, dance and performance.
What are five reasons why this concept is an attractive venue for kids and their parents?
Donna Friedman Meir: WOWtopia…
- Actively engages kids and parents through physical play, hands-on creating and active multi-sensory experiences.
- Is culturally enriching, inspiring kids with the wonder of the world and deepening their connection to other cultures.
- Involves such a variety of activities, workshops, playscapes and performances that there’s something for everyone, including all different kinds of kids and their grownups.
- Is a great value for families, with so many different kinds of activities to do, all at a reasonable price.
- Is a completely new form of family entertainment, combining adventure, artistry and authenticity in way that both kids and parents will love.
What are the physical and emotional benefits of this concept?
Donna Friedman Meir: We’re designing WOWtopia for all kinds of kids, with a core target of 7-11 year olds, with varying interests and needs. We know that at this age kids thrive on trying new experiences, learning new things and pushing their boundaries in terms of challenge and risk, while still wanting to spend time with their families. WOWtopia is a unique opportunity for this type of experience. A hands-on experience for the mind, body and spirit, it emphasizes challenging physical activities, different types of play and hands-on, experiential learning—all as families get a taste of rich and exciting cultures from around the world. This is all brought to life in a series of exciting “WOW” moments.
At how many locations are you planning to launch WOWtopia?
Donna Friedman Meir: We plan to bring WOWtopia to three U.S. cities in our first year, beginning in the fall of 2017. We’re currently identifying national and regional strategic promotional partners, as well as investors, to help bring WOWtopia to those markets. As WOWtopia grows beyond its flagship tour, we intend to expand to other U.S. and international markets including key cities in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
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