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Crayola To Open Family Attraction In Orlando

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EASTON, PA - JUNE 18: Red crayons await packaging at Binney and Smith, Inc., the manufacturer of Crayola crayons, June 18, 2003 in Easton, Pennsylvania. Binney and Smith is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first box of Crayola crayons this year. Introduced in 1903, a box of Crayola crayons sold for a nickel and included eight of the same colors available in today's palette: red, blue, yellow, violet, orange, black and brown. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

EASTON, PA – JUNE 18: Red crayons await packaging at Binney and Smith, Inc., the manufacturer of Crayola crayons, June 18, 2003 in Easton, Pennsylvania. Binney and Smith is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first box of Crayola crayons this year. Introduced in 1903, a box of Crayola crayons sold for a nickel and included eight of the same colors available in today’s palette: red, blue, yellow, violet, orange, black and brown. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

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EASTON, Pa. (CBSMiami/AP) —  Crayon company Crayola is set to build a family attraction in Orlando.

The company said Tuesday that Crayola Experience Orlando will open next summer at The Florida Mall.

Crayola Experience Orlando will feature 25 hands-on activities in 70,000 square feet of space. One attraction will let children create their own unique crayon with a personalized wrapper. Another will let kids appear on their own coloring page.

“We definitely feel like there’s an opportunity to expand in major markets around the country,” Crayola CEO Mike Perry told The Associated Press.

Crayola, a subsidiary of Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark Cards Inc., noted Orlando is a top family destination.

The area has three major theme park resorts – Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld – and many more specialty parks and attractions, some built around children’s brands, such as Legoland Floridian nearby Winter Haven. But Perry said the attraction doesn’t expect to rely entirely on tourists for its success.

Like the Easton location, Crayola expects its Orlando attraction to draw plenty of local families.

“I think Orlando stands on its own,” Perry said. “For just the local market, that is a big enough population by far, with enough young families in that market, that it sustains itself.”

Russell Schmid and his family traveled some 130 miles from their home in Gardner, Pennsylvania, to take in the Crayola Experience in Easton on Tuesday.

He expects the Orlando location to do just as well as the original, which is typically packed on very hot or rainy summer days.

“Who doesn’t like crayons? The adults in there are having as much fun as the kids,” Schmid said as his 18-month-son, William, played on a giant crayon.

The company is private and declined to say how much it’s spending on Crayola Experience Orlando.

Crayola Experience has its origins in a single floor of interactive activities the company offered at a visitors’ center it opened in 1996 in Easton, where Crayola is headquartered.

The company said the center was primarily founded as a tool to help revitalize the downtown of the eastern Pennsylvania city.

With a decision made to “dip its paint brush into the attractions industry,” the company said, the facility was completely redesigned and re-opened in May with activities spread throughout four floors.

Crayola was launched by Edwin Binney and his cousin, C. Harold Smith, who started out in 1885 making red oxide pigments for barn paint and carbon for black automobile tires.

In 1900, they opened a mill in Easton to produce slate pencils for schools. They soon identified a market for affordable wax crayons and in 1903, Binney & Smith produced the first box of eight.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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