Last month's announcement that Finland would receive the world's first Angry Birds theme park attraction came as no surprise. With more than 700 million downloads of the popular videogame (as well as millions cleared in merchandise), it was only a matter of time before creator Rovio would expand into the lucrative theme park market. I mean, who wouldn't want to play with a giant, real-life version of the game? 


The endearing part about the whole thing, however, is how they're approaching the concept with a goal of making the park attraction a healthy experience. 


"Our goal is to motivate the fans, both adults and children, to exercise and enjoy the outdoors," Rovio Executive Vice President for Licensing and Merchandising Harri Koponen told TravelBite.


Today, Rovio announced that locations around the U.K. will be the first to experience the play centers, dubbed Angry Birds Land, with plans to launch more around the world in the future. 


"We will be developing a service which brings together the digital world and the physical world in a way that's never been seen before," Rovio said late last year. "The popularity of Angry Birds isn't restricted to any age, sex or social group, and the activity parks too will be designed to be interesting places for absolutely everyone, all around the world."


Merchandising is also at the forefront of the company's goals. Rovio has also partnered with an undisclosed major U.S. retailer "to put its branded toys, books and T-shirts in dedicated areas of thousands of stores nationwide, timed to coincide with the launch of its new Angry Birds Space game this week," reported Reuters. 
"We want to make Angry Birds a permanent part of pop culture," marketing chief Peter Vesterbacka told the site. "We're just getting started."
To get an idea of what the theme parks will look like, check out this playful rendering of the Finland attraction below. And yes, there appears to be a giant slingshot. Awesome

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Angry Birds theme parks coming to the U.K.
Rovio says it plans to open new activity parks in the United Kingdom and to ramp up merchandising in the United States.