Smurfs theme park to be built in China

Papa Smurf and his band of blue men (and one sexy Smurfette) are headed to China.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that a $2.9 million Smurfs theme park is set to open in three to five years in Chengdu.

Chengdu is best known for its pandas, but there’s a movement there to smurf up the tourism numbers, and this new theme park is part of the plan.

The Smurfs were dreamed up in 1958 by Belgian cartoonist Peyo. At the height of their popularity in the 1980s, the Smurf€s pulled in 42 percent of Saturday morning cartoon audiences in the United States.

But then they smurfed out of view in most of the world. A Smurfs theme park in France struggled to survive during the 1990s, and while the park is still there today, the Smurfs are not.

The WSJ says since their 50th anniversary in 2008, the Smurfs seem to be making a comeback. There are new Smurf toys on store shelves and the classic series has been released on DVD. A live-action/animation hybrid Smurfs movie starring Neil Patrick Harris and Katy Perry is set to be released in 2011.

2009 is the year of the comic book in Brussels

When it comes to exports, Belgium may be better known for its fantastic beer and chocolates, but one of its most successful export products is actually comic books.

Some of the most popular comic book names in the world are from Belgium, including the Smurfs (by Peyo), Tintin (by Herge) and of course Asterix and Obelix (by Goscinny et Uderzo).

To celebrate their success in the comic book world, Brussels has been chosen to host the 2009 year of the “comic strip”.

With over 36 events and 2 comic book walking tours, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something comic related in the city. A calendar of events can be found here.

All of this is of course in addition to the many other things Brussels has to offer. Visitors to Brussels can find a one-stop source of activities at