A link-up with the Natural History Museum could lead to a new heritage-based visitor attraction for Blackpool.
Golden Mile Exhibitions has secured a three-year deal with the prestigious London museum to bring world class displays to the resort.
They kick off today with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, a display of award-winning images taken by photographers around the globe, which has opened in the council-owned Golden Mile Centre.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “This is the first small step in exploring the potential for a heritage-based visitor attraction to boost the local economy.
“We want to provide a focal point for local people, visitors and particularly school children to learn about history, the natural world and other aspects of culture.
“This is something that I’ve been particularly keen to push forward and is completely different to what we currently have on offer in Blackpool.
“We’ve worked closely with Golden Mile Exhibitions which will be bringing a series of exhibits to Blackpool from the Natural History Museum that should be extremely exciting.
“This is a real coup.”
The current exhibition will be replaced in September by Myths and Monsters which explores ancient legends using animatronic models, and then Ice Station Antarctica will open in April 2014 and run for the whole of the 2014 summer season.
Gareth Harold, managing director of Golden Mile Exhibitions, said: “It is something different to what is already here but we are really raising the game for Blackpool and adding to the cultural offer of the town.
“We have invested heavily in the project. It has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition here, and £1m to bring Myths and Monsters.
“But we have two million people who will pass our door in July and August and if we get only one per cent coming through, it will pay for itself.”
Tickets for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition cost £15.95 for an adult, with discounts available if tickets are purchased online or in advance.