Member news

27 April 2021

Storyland Studios to design four new location-based entertainment concepts for Grupo Cataratas

Storyland Studios has been appointed to design a series of new location-based entertainment concepts for Grupo Cataratas, the largest tourism operator in South America.


Grupo Cataratas currently operates six sites in Brazil, with more in development. In 2019 alone, the group welcomed nearly six million guests. The group champions conservation, sustainability, and preservation of the natural environment for future generations.


“Brazil is home to some of earth’s richest landscapes, and many of the most undiscovered parts of our world; places, communities, cultures and histories that have not yet been documented to this day,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios.


“Grupo Cataratas is a wonderful organization because their core purpose is about celebrating and securing the legacy of the natural environment; the flora and the fauna, the indigenous species, the landscapes and the ecology of this beautiful country. Grupo Cataratas sees their role as custodians of the natural world, creating educational, fun experiences that immerse and educate people in the things that really matter in our world.”


Attractions managed by Grupo Cataratas include:


  • BioParque do Rio, a reimagined zoo experience which focuses on research, education, and conservation.
  • AquaRio, the largest aquarium in South America, which features immersive exhibitions and 350 aquatic species.
  • The Paineiras Visitors Center at the base of Corcovado mountain, where more than two million visitors per year travel to see the famous statue of Christ that overlooks Rio de Janeiro.
  • The Marco das Três Fronteiras tourist complex, located at the meeting point between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina featuring historical sites, regional fare, and an immersive educational experience in the Parana region.
  • The Iguaçu National Park and its visitors’ center, where travelers can discover incredible natural wonders such as the Iguaçu Falls.
  • EcoNoronha park, a beautifully preserved, government-protected series of islands that include coral reefs and locations such as Praia do Sancho, twice voted the world’s most beautiful beach.
  • The upcoming AquaFoz, an aquarium facility that will champion research of both marine and freshwater species, particularly from the ecosystems supported by the Paraná and Iguaçu rivers.


Grupo Cataratas is looking to grow their tourism offerings throughout South America, adding new immersive experiences and attractions. That’s where Storyland Studios comes in.


“Grupo Cataratas hopes to dive deeper into location-based entertainment, in addition to their current, successful aquarium brand “Aqua” which I had a hand in developing as a consultant,” Thompson said. “They want to explore other kinds of immersive, story-led visitor experiences they can offer that are in line with their core purpose. These could center around technology, IP, gaming, or educational content. We’re thrilled to have been selected to help them with this next stage of their journey.”


Storyland will work to develop a themed entertainment strategy for Grupo Cataratas, which includes identifying locations for potential attractions and concept development for the attractions themselves.


“Our team will come alongside Grupo Cataratas to determine whether these attraction sites will utilize existing international or local intellectual property (IP), or develop something completely new for each space,” McGowan says.


For example, Grupo Cataratas recently inked a deal with a Brazilian IP owner, Turma de Monica, to develop an attraction which will operate from the AquaRio aquarium in Rio de Janeiro’s Porto Maravilha Urban Operation. This waterfront community is located in one of the oldest urban developments in Rio de Janeiro, and its goal is to breathe new life into the area through inclusivity, sustainability, modern infrastructure, and innovation, while honoring the region’s rich heritage.


As the partnership develops, Storyland and Grupo Cataratas will explore multiple potential avenues for these immersive attractions. Possible attraction formats include physical activity, IP, edutainment, and both indoor and outdoor water parks.


“This is a fantastic company for Storyland to work with,” Thompson said. “Grupo Cataratas leads with their values and the impact they want to have on future generations. Their goal is to both preserve the natural world, but to also celebrate its power to educate.


“Grupo Cataratas wants to create ways for people to enjoy landscapes, environments and the natural world in a way that leads to better understanding, better actions for a better world.”


Storyland Studios imagines, designs and creates immersive experiences and environments that lift the spirit. For more information, visit


Photo by Gabriel Rissi

Posted by PlainJoe Studios / Storyland Studios


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