Cardiff Bay’s iconic Red Dragon Centre is celebrating two incredible milestones this year, its 25th anniversary and its 50 millionth visitor through the door.
To commemorate this landmark year, the Centre is asking visitors to come forward with their stories of the flagship entertainment venue.
Officially opened in 1997, the former Atlantic Wharf Leisure Village is inviting visitors to share their special stories about the complex. Whether that’s a first date, an engagement, a birthday party, a happy memory or a favourite restaurant, The Red Dragon Centre wants to hear about it.
Having weathered a challenging two years due to the pandemic, the Centre has exciting plans to return to its usual vibrant event calendar while also celebrating the landmark year ahead. This will include welcoming their very own Snoopy as part of the Dog’s Trail with Snoopy by the Dog’s Trust from April, as well as planning a series of special activities for 2022.
Cardiff Bay’s leading entertainment venue houses a multitude of interactive, lifestyle and food and drink venues including Odeon Cinema, the home of Wales’ only IMAX screen, and the Hollywood Bowl, both of which have been key Centre attractions since the beginning.
And since then, a whole host of additional brands have joined the Centre family to become an intrinsic part of the entertainment and dining experience, including Grosvenor Casino, Simply Gym, Bella Italia, Five Guys, Spice Route, Volcano, Cardiff Bay Tavern, Cadwaladers and Zaika.
The Centre is the site of the Capital FM South Wales studio, which was formerly Red Dragon FM, as well as Heart FM. Today, you’ll find the likes of Josh and Kally broadcasting their Capital Drive Show live from there every weekday.
Emma Constantinou, marketing manager at the Red Dragon Centre, who joined the business in 2006 said: “We might have been open for 25 years but in a quarter of a century, we’ve never had two years like 2020/21. For us, like so many Welsh businesses, the challenges we’ve faced have been huge but thanks to their determination and resilience, I’m delighted that our brands are coming out of the other side of the pandemic while continuing to deliver superb customer experiences.
“The Centre boasts that it has something for everyone and that’s as true now as it was 25 years ago. We might have seen some changes along the way but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to providing a warm welcome and a fantastic time for everyone that steps into our great indoors.
“Our customers are a huge part of our history and that’s why we’re keen to hear from anyone who has celebrated any special moments with us. I really hope that over the next few weeks and months, our customers will come forward and share their stories so that together we can celebrate some of our customer highlights of the last 25 years. If you have a story to share, please do get in touch.
“People can either contact us on social media or email us their story to firstname.lastname@example.org .”
During the last twenty-five years, the Centre, which was opened by Sporty Spice, Mel C, has been home to iconic attractions such as the Doctor Who Experience and popular 90s / early noughties nightclub, Evolution. It also hasn’t been unusual to spot well known faces there either with celebrity guests popping into the radio stations and most recently Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston hosting their popular breakfast show in The Centre in October.
The Red Dragon Centre prides itself on creating unique, fun, family friendly events.
Emma said, “In 2011 we hosted the UK’s first balloon art festival which was so popular that we went on to host additional displays with Dr Bob Balloons in 2013 and 2019. The Centre’s Lunar New Year celebrations are a well-known spectacle, beginning in 2007 and celebrated annually until Covid restrictions prevented recent activity. We’re looking forward to working with the Cardiff Confucius Institute to plan our 2023 celebrations.
“Christmas is a big one for us too and we’ve tried not to let Covid stand in the way of our festive celebrations. In 2020 we had an augmented reality dragon, Blizzard, which people could download and enjoy at home, and in 2021 we had a giant elf treehouse on site. We’re constantly thinking of new ways to spark joy in our visitors – we’ve even had a Star Wars Santa Claus in the past.
“In addition, we have also forged excellent community relationships, like with Mount Stuart Primary School (who most recently took part in a Red Dragon Centre artwork challenge around the theme of hope), Waterfront Partners and many local charities.”
In recent years Red Dragon Centre has hosted various Eisteddfod activities including hosting preliminary rounds which saw 110,000 visitors through the door in 2005, 133,000 in 2009 and 100,000 in 2019.