The best new openings of 2017: Part 2

The elephants will be a hugely important addition to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Image courtesy: ©Gary Latham/Lonely Planet

Want to train with the world’s best rugby team? Learn about Buddhist art? How about record a song in Prince’s very own personal studio? It’s all possible in 2017 with these great new openings. Here’s the second part of our special three-part series. 

11. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Rwanda
One of the largest elephant migrations in history is taking place this year with a total of 500 elephants being moved from an overpopulated park in Malawi to Rwanda’s Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Combined with a change in management and a strong commitment to biodiversity and conservation, this will transform both the lives of the elephants and the experience of travellers who visit the reserve.

12. Art 42, Paris, France
Opened October 2016

The opening of Art 42, France’s first museum dedicated to street art, takes the country’s cultural scene in a fresh, exciting direction. With an innovative layout that relies more on individual discovery than careful curation, you’ll find works from Banksy, Speedy Graphito and Shepard Fairey around every corner. Entry is free but you’ll have to reserve a spot every Tuesday and Saturday to take a look.

13. Royal Opera House, Mumbai, India
Opened October 2016

(Also read: Best new openings of 2017: Part 1)

Mumbai's Royal Opera House has re-opened after 22 years

After a 22-year hiatus, the curtains have risen at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House (royaloperahouse.in). As India’s only surviving opera house, it occupies a unique place in the country’s cultural history and is set to reclaim the centre stage with a full programme of events in the coming months. The painstaking renovation will see the gilded, baroque ceilings and stained glass windows restored to its former, shining glory.

14. The Chung Tai Chan World Museum, Puli, Taiwan
Opened August 2016

The ‘Louvre of Buddhist art’ lies next to the 43-storey Chung Tai Chan Temple that itself is a highlight in any Taiwan itinerary. It’s now also home to one of the largest collections of illustrations, sutras and statues in the Buddhist world. Visitors can explore no less than 18 exhibition halls inside the museum, carefully created in Tang-dynasty architectural style.

15. Eataly World, Bologna, Italy
Opening late 2017

Different kind of roman pizza selling in pizza shop.
Eataly World will be home to 25 different restaurants.
Image courtesy: ©Tania Volobueva/Getty Images/Moment Open

In a country famous for its food, it’s hard to get excited about a new menu in Italy but this 20-acre gourmet park dedicated to ‘field to fork’ dining has us positively salivating. Visitors can explore six different ‘worlds’ of produce in Eataly World (eatalyworld.it), following the entire production process before trying out the finished product in one of 25 different restaurants. Foodies can expect chocolate fountains, a craft beer factory and even areas dedicated to truffles and oils.

16. All Blacks Experience, Auckland, New Zealand

Expected to open late 2017

Get closer to the world’s most famous rugby team in an immersive and interactive experience that will have you learning the tactics of the game, testing yourself against the famous All Blacks and exploring the meaning of their iconic Haka war cry. Nowhere in the world is rugby revered as much as in New Zealand and this is the perfect opportunity for travellers to experience that passion for themselves outside of the rugby season.

17. First commercial flights from Cuba to USA
Flights started September 2016

HAVANA, CUBA - APRIL 15,2015 : Colorful stiltwalkers dancing to the sound of cuban music in Old Havana.
Colorful stiltwalkers on the streets of Cuba.
Image courtesy: ©Kamira/Shutterstock

For the first time in 55 years, US travellers will be able to fly to Cuba commercially, making a country of incredible history and vibrant culture available to many more travellers. With diplomatic relations between the two countries finally thawing, this is the final move that will transform tourism on the island forever. Both 2015 and 2016 were record-breaking years for visitors and 2017 is set to continue the trend.

18. New Holland Island, St Petersburg, Russia
Opened August 2016

This historic artificial island has been remodelled as a city park and arts and entertainment centre and the restoration includes the revamp of some major historic buildings. This is the first time New Holland Island has been accessible to the public for the best part of three centuries and promises to be a core cultural centre for the St Petersburg, with a playground, shops, design spaces and even a herb garden open year round and an ice skating rink for the winter months.

19. National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington D.C, USA
Opened September 2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture.

After 13 years in the making, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has finally opened its doors as the first national museum to exclusively focus on the proud and painful history of African Americans. Many of the 36,000 artefacts in its collection were donated by members of the public, making the museum a tapestry of real voices reflecting history and culture since the 1850s.

20. Prince’s Paisley Park, Minnesota, USA
Opened October 2016

This generation’s Graceland is finally open and, like the artist himself, the Paisley Park Studios (www.officialpaisleypark.com) continue to surprise. There are several themed tours fans can avail of, where you can record your own vocals over his famous songs, have an after dark dance party or attend brunch and screenings of some rare performance footage. Prince always envisaged opening his home of 30 years to the public and finally the dream is a reality.

This article was first published on www.lonelyplanet.com