Fri, Nov 26, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Fun and games at Taipei's latest mall

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Miramar Entertainment Park in Neihu is open for fun, above, or shopping.

PHOTO ABOVE: AP; PHOTO BELOW: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

If you live Taipei's Dazhi district and you've got cash in your wallet but don't know what to do with it,then a trip to the nation's fourth-largest shopping mall could be in the cards this weekend.

People may gripe about an economic downturn but since the Miramar Entertainment Park (美麗華百樂園) opened last Friday, 5 million visitors have already walked through its doors and large numbers of those have spent a great deal of money.

Covering an area of 25,000 pings or 82,500m2, the mall has 400 tenants and incorporates a mixture of name-brand stores, lesser-known local retailers and an assortment of fast food and Western-style diners.

Along with offering the millions an opportunity to shop until they drop, the mall also houses a 3,000 seat, nine-screen cinema complex, which is being touted as the nation's second-largest Warner-owned multiplex.

The cinema may play second fiddle to its elder brother in the Xinyi district, but the Miramar's IMAX 3D movie theater is second to none. With a screen measuring 21m by 28m, the NT$270million, 406 seat IMAX theater is the largest in Asia. Currently screening Everest, Warner Miramar has already purchased several IMAX flicks including T-Rex and Deep in the Sea. Others like Space Station and NASCAR IMAX will be screened in the future.

Warner Miramar also plans to screen specially adapted 3D IMAX versions of popular films like Harry Potter and Spiderman. The first of these will be Tom Hanks' latest feature, Polar Express, which will hit the very big IMAX screen in early December.

If shops and cinemas aren't your thing, then you can take a ride on Taiwan's largest Ferris wheel -- if you don't mind standing in line from 40 minutes to an hour. Located on the Miramar's fifth floor the 100m by 70m, 48 by six-person compartment Ferris wheel has already been ridden by 50,000 people.

The wheel takes 17 minutes to revolve and offers stunning vistas of Taipei City. It costs NT$150 on weekdays and NT$200 on weekends and is open from 11am until midnight.

More importantly, according to Alex Lu (呂俊昌), Miramar Entertainment Park's deputy marketing manager, it is 100 percent safe. Built to the same specifications and designed by the same manufacturers as the whopping 106m by 75m Ferris wheel at the Hep 5 Shopping Mall in Osaka, Japan, the wheel has an 80 tilt factor and can reportedly withstand an earthquake measuring eight on the Richter scale.

The wheel is not, however, as is claimed by its proprietors, Asia's second-largest Ferris wheel. It is, in fact, Asia's third- largest, as the city of Changsha in China's Hunan Province boasts the largest, which measures 120m by 99m and has 60 compartments.

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