Charlie Chaplin Theme Park Aims for April Opening After Decade of Delays

Charlie Chaplin Theme Park Aims for April Opening After Decade of Delays
Charlie Chaplin
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02/17/2016 AT 05:00 PM EST

Following years of delay, the Manoir de Ban, the Swiss home where Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life, will finally open to the public in April, developers announced Monday, according to reports.

Following extensive rebuilding and renovations, the stately home will act as the centerpiece of Chaplin's World, a theme park dedicated to "The Little Tramp."

Set on an 18-acre property overlooking Lake Geneva in Corsier-sur-Vevey, the restored home will form half of the attraction. A separate Hollywood studio-tour-type structure tracing his life from Victorian London boyhood to Hollywood screen legend will treat visitors to films, interactive exhibits and memorabilia drawn from the comedian's life and work.

The opening – which has been delayed for over a decade – is scheduled for April 17, the day after Chaplin's 127th birthday.

Developed by France's Musee Grevin parent company, the theme park is expected to include replica film sets from legendary Chaplin movies (such as City Lights' flower stall and a barbershop from The Great Dictator), a state-of-the-art multimedia theater and a realistic wax-figure gallery. Over 12 acres of landscaped gardens will also be available to the public.

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A restaurant, conference facilities, gift center and parking area have already been built as part of the estimated $60 million project, which developers believe will attract up to 3,500 visitors daily.

Endorsed by the Chaplin family heirs and regional tourism officials, the 15-year-long development has been marked by construction-permit delays and lawsuits brought by neighbors along a highly exclusive, private residential stretch known as "The Swiss Riviera."

Chaplin spent the last years of his life at the Manoir de Ban after leaving the United States during the McCarthy era. He and wife Oona O'Neill raised their eight children in Vevey and are both buried in the village cemetery. Chaplin died in 1977.

The dedicated attraction is a partnership between the Chaplin family, the Swiss government and a French leisure group involved with several amusement parks in France (including Parc Asterix) as well as wax museums in Paris, Montreal, Prague and Seoul.
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