THE ULTIMATE child’s playground for youngsters in the West Midlands is now under construction and will be open to the public next year.

The £7 million LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham – a 58,000 sq ft indoor attraction – at the Arena Birmingham will be built on two floors and will offer visitors the chance to jump inside the world’s biggest box of LEGO bricks.

Excited youngsters were invited to launch the construction with a ceremonial ground-breaking dig of more than 90,000 LEGO® bricks delivered by digger and wheelbarrows. Bertie, the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre mascot, was on hand to oversee the delivery and helped the children start the build programme.

Specially created and designed from a child’s perspective, it will provide two to three hours of interactive and educational fun for children aged three to 10 years old.

Young visitors will be able to play in 10 themed LEGO play zones, a Build and Test area, two LEGO themed rides and a 4D cinema. There will also be special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, master classes and creative workshops from a LEGO Master Model Builder.

There will be features including global and local landmarks made from around 421,800 LEGO bricks in the MINILAND attraction, to fun and exciting LEGO themed rides including Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice.

Once open, members of the public will be encouraged to vote for which Birmingham landmarks they want to see included in MINILAND at locations across the city centre later in the year.

Amy Langham, general manager from LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham, said: “Now that construction has officially started, we are all excited about the opportunities the new attraction will bring to the Midlands when it opens in summer 2018. Not only will it ignite children’s imaginations and encourage learning through play with LEGO but it will also provide up to 50 new jobs to the local economy and give Birmingham another great family indoor attraction which will encourage new visitors to the city.

“We’ve already been inundated from parents across the Midlands who are really excited about LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham, and we can’t wait to open the doors to our next generation of architects and builders who will be able to show off their talents.”

Paul Thandi, NEC Group chief executive officer, said: “Across the NEC Group we’re committed to connecting with our audiences through great content and Merlin’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, which is specially created and designed from a child’s perspective, will be an exciting addition to the leisure and entertainment experience already provided at Arena Birmingham.

“Not only will the new attraction create genuine destination credentials by adding to our existing offer, it will also give our customers even more of the experiences they want from us. At the same time, it will contribute to the overall tourism and leisure offer in Birmingham’s developing city centre, thereby contributing positively to the regional economy and creating new job opportunities for local people.”