---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(8/28/14) What New Terrors Will ScareHouse Offer This Fall? (MORE...)
(8/21/14) Early Research for Legoland Park In New York (MORE...)
(8/15/14) South Carolina - New Year-Round Haunt in Myrtle Beach (MORE...)
(8/11/14) New Extreme Haunt For One Night Only In Florida (MORE...)
Alabama - (3/26/14) Alabama… home to Space Camp. You’ve heard about Space Camp before… maybe even saw a movie about it as a kid… but did you know that they also offer Space Camp for ADULTS?! Yep! Check out what the adult version of Space Camp is like at BuzzFeed.
Arizona - (6/12/14) Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare haunt will return in 2014, but will move from last year’s location in Southern California to a new location in Arizona at WestWorld of Scottsdale from September 19 to November 1. Opening night will feature a concert by Rob Zombie himself.
This year’s version will feature three haunts in one:Captain’s Spaulding’s Clown School in 3D, The Lords of Salem in Total Black Out and The Devil’s Rejects. Outside on “Bloody Boulevard” you can take in freak show performers, music, roaming characters, food and drinks, games and more. You can visit the official website here.
California - (7/30/14) According to a reader, two new attractions are under construction at Belmont Park to open later this year: a new 300 foot Zip Line and something called the Leap of Faith which sounds a bit like a SCAD Tower from the description of falling from a tower while in a restraint. Can anyone confirm, or get pictures of these under construction?
(7/24/14) Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor haunt event returns for 2014 on select nights from Oct. 2 through to Nov. 2. This year’s event will feature two brand new mazes, the new VooDoo Village and what they are calling an ‘Exclusive Encounter” aboard the ship itself. Note: the Hellfire and Containment mazes from last year have been retired. Other features include the Monster Midway, the Freakshow, the Deadrise maze and The Ringmaster running the Circus. You can view the details at the official site here.
(7/22/14) SoCal Haunt fans, ScareLA (the first dedicated Halloween convention in SoCal) will return August 9-10 and has announced another major feature: the Making Monsters panel that will take place on August 9th at 5:30pm on Stage 1. It will bring together for the first time the lead make-up designers for Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood and the Queen Mary to discuss their plans for this upcoming Haunt season and monster-making techniques. For all the latest details visit ScareLA.com.
(6/13/14) A huge review along with photos and video of the amazing looking Great Horror Campout 2014 event in Los Angeles has been posted to Theme Park Adventure. If you are a haunt fan, you really need to see this.
(5/16/14) Could Southern California’s infamous Santa’s Village park in Skyforest reopen? According to a fantastic article at Theme Park Adventure the park which closed down 1998, the 154-acre property has been sold to an “unidentified Lake Arrowhead resident” who apparently has big plans to renovate and reopen the property within a year of closing the deal. Make the jump to not only read the details, but see an amazing photo gallery of old images from the park itself, which largely remains standing as it was.
(3/28/14) LA will soon be home to America’s first 4D movie theater. Yes, the technology we’ve become accustomed to in 4D theaters in theme parks will finally be put to use in a theater showing feature length films under the name 4DX, coming to a theater at Regal Cinema’s L.A. Live Stadium 14 venue later this year. The experience is expected to feature seats that can move slightly and vibrate mixed with wind, smoke / fog, rain and scent effects, all custom synchronized to the movie on the screen. Should be interesting to see which film is first to get the 4DX treatment when it opens.
(3/27/14) SimEx-Iwerks launched a RIO Rainforest Adventure 4-D attraction at the San Diego Zoo late last year. The new 4-D attraction includes a 12 minute theater presentation built into a section of the Children’s Zoo section of the park, and should see a promotional boost as Rio 2 hits the movie theaters the Spring.
(3/5/14) Lake Dolores, the fascinating water attraction built next to I-15 between Barstow and Baker, many SoCal residents will remember driving past it on their way to and from Las Vegas. A popular local water fun spot that became popular in the 70’s when the owner created an array of unique waterslides out of sheet-metal (including one you stood up on), it was later transformed in 1998 to become a more modern waterpark known as Rock-A-Hoola. Bankruptcy troubles saw it close in 2000 and reopen in 2002 as Discovery Waterpark, which then closed again in 2004. The park has sat dead and empty for the past decade, but according to this article, a new owner seeks to bring it all back to life, renaming it as the Lake Dolores Waterpark with a goal of reopening the park in 2015. The new official website, OasisThemePark.com, has some great vintage shots of the old Lake Dolores slides, old video clips and more.
(1/14/14) I’m a bit sad today as Disney and More reports that The Encounter at the LAX airport has closed down. The Encounter was the name of the unique building located just outside the terminals that housed a SciFi themed restraunt and lounge for the past couple of decades. While the building didn’t start out this way, it was reborn in the mid 90’s as The Encounter with the help of Walt Disney Imagineering. I remember fondly taking a hopper flight from San Diego to LAX to catch a red-eye to Orlando for several vacation trips with friends and we would hop over to The Encounter for a quick beverage while waiting for our red-eye to board. The SciFi atmosphere was heavy, with even special themed music in the elevator and drink-guns at the bar that shot lasers and emitted sound effects when they poured you a drink.
Unfortunately the Post 9/11 world of modern airport security measures, mixed in with LAX’s legendary painfully slow security checkpoints simply made the quick visits to The Encounter a bit too risky or annoying for most air travelers to be bothered with. Such a shame to see The Encounter strangled to death this way. Follow the link over to the official report to see some great pictures of it from the inside and outside.
(10/3/13) I thought that they had given up the dream, but the Long Beach City Council has voted 7 – 1 in favor of starting a 30-day feasibility investigation into the possibility of rebuilding the area’s once famous Cyclone Racer dual-track racing wooden coaster. To do so, they would use the Cyclone Racer plans by Larry Osterhoudt, who claims to have spent $17,000 of his own money to reverse-engineer blueprints for the coaster, as well as use them to build a 1/15th scale model of the front section of the Cyclone Racer.
If Larry’s name sounds familiar, he made the Screamscape news pages quite a bit about 15 years ago when Disney was building California Adventure by starting a proposal (or demand) that Disney rebuild the Cyclone Racer in the (then) planned Paradise Pier section of the park.
I’m all for rebuilding the Cyclone Racer, but I do question some of the facts being thrown about in this report. For example, Larry told the council it would take about $30 million to rebuild the Cyclone Racer, which I find incredibly hard to believe as $30 million will buy you a giant steel monster coaster like Gatekeeper, Leviathan or Intimidator 305. By contrast a top of the line new style wooden coaster like Outlaw Run only cost $10 million, so I think someone needs to double check these figures.
Colorado - (7/21/14) What has to be one of the most frightening custom thrill rides ever built has just opened up at Colorado’s Cave of the Winds... and they call it the Terror-Dactyl. Imagine being strapped into a chair on the edge of a massive canyon... and someone begins to pick up the chair from behind, tilting you forward more and more until you are facing straight down at the rocky spires waiting to impale you below. Then you fall... dropping 200 feet down into the canyon, still strapped helplessly into your chair and all you can do is scream so loud that your voice echoes off the canyon walls. Scream in terror... scream for mercy... scream because you just want to wake the F*@K UP from this nightmare! But it’s not a nightmare... because this appears to be the latest creation from thrill ride genius Stan Checketts (Founder of S&S Worldwide / Creator of the Soaring Eagle Ziplines) and it looks simply amazing!
Need a little more? Check out the POV video of one of the first test riders below... but be warned... this video is filled to the brim with bad language from the passenger wearing the camera, so it is not safe for viewing in a work environment. View in an appropriate setting and place. You have been warned!
(6/4/14) An amazing photo trip report from Glenwood Caverns Adventurepark (Colorado) was posted to ParkJourney this week showing off this rarely see attraction that has some of the most visually crazy looking thrills in the world, like the ultra insane looking Canyon Swing.
Florida - (8/11/14) An interesting new haunt experience is coming to Florida’s St. Peterburg area this fall. For 15 nights in October the Radley Haunted House will become Dr. Radley’s Nightmare Machine, which will take you into the horrors of the dream world. However, on the night of October 22 the venue will go to the extreme for one night only and become Dr. Radley’s Sleep Sessions. This will be a 30 minute very intense haunt experience for groups up to 4 people with very limited availability. All who go inside must be at least 18 years old and sign a waiver, because unlike in a normal haunt where you are safe from being touched, physical contact with be a key part of your starring role in the “Sleep Sessions” experience. Go to the official website for all the latest information.
(7/4/14) Surprise… it’s 2014 and guess what? Drop the needle on the Elton John album and play “I’m Still Standing” because the Dania Beach Hurricane is STILL standing. Apparently it has also found a new purpose in life as a billboard. Yep… they are now using to mount a giant freeway advertisement according to a picture sent in by a reader this week. If you recall the owners even started a promotion to give away the roller coaster FREE to anyone willing to come and take it down back in early 2013 but have had no takers. Meanwhile the ride ceased to run way back in 2011.
(5/10/14) More rides are coming to Daytona Beach next year. The city commissioners voted in approval to allow for a new 80 foot tower ride and a 239 foot SlingShot ride to open on a vacant lot near Main Street.
(3/31/14) The Miami Seaquarium has now been officially sold to Parque Reunidos, a Spanish theme park operator, who will fold the operation of the park under their American property branch company, Palace Entertainment. The park sits on land leased from the city, under an agreement that will keep the park there through to 2031 before it expires. No immediate changed are expected for the Miami Seaquarium at this time.
Screamscape first heard the details of a possible sale to Parque Reunidos back in December 2013.
(1/29/14) According to the local news the Miami-Dade Finance Committee rejected the bids for both Dinosaur Park and the 20th Century Fox themed Miami Wilds park projects that were proposed for the land next to Zoo Miami. Moving forward however, the county apparently now wants to consider both bids together as part of one large project if the two groups are willing to work together.
(11/22/13) A monstrous tower attraction has been proposed for Miami… and it isn’t the Polercoaster. They call it SkyRise Miami, which will have a very modern and unique shape to the proposed 1,000 ft tall structure. If built the tower would be the tallest building in Florida, the tallest “tower” on the Eastern Seaboard and second tallest tower in the US, just behind the 1,148 ft Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.
Much like the Stratosphere Tower, the plan for SkyRise Miami also includes some thrill rides. In addition to an obverservation level and the obligatory restaurant with a view, the tower will include a “flying theater” attraction similar to Disney’s Soarin’, an 800 ft tall freefall ride called the SkyPlunge and a 600 ft controlled descent bungee jump called SkyRise Drop. The structure will also have room for several clubs and lounges as well as a 500-seat ballroom.
I’m sure there will be a lot of red tape and financial paperwork to deal with for months before this thing gets off the ground, but it would really give the city a globally recognized landmark if SkyRise Miami were built.
(8/23/13) According to the local news there are talks to bring two possible theme park style projects to the Zoo Miami complex. One would be called Dinosaur Park International, an open air museum with hundreds of life-sized dinosaur replicas. The company behind this is a subsidiary of a company that owns a similar Dinosaur park in Germany.
The other is said to be called Miami Wilds, which would be a theme park with ties to 20th Century Fox film properties that would also include a waterpark themed to the Ice Age animated films, performance venues and a 400-room hotel. If approved the Dinosaur Park could be open within 2 years and Miami Wilds is looking at a time-table that would see the first phase of the park open in 2018, and the second phase two years later. Concept art showing off more of the Miami Wilds project can be seen in this video.
(8/8/13) World Choice Investments, a group associated with Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and Pirate Voyage dinner theaters has purchased four parcels of property in Destin, FL, creating a 14+ acre site. While no plans have been submitted for the future intended use of the property, demolition of the existing structures has already begun. The popular line of thought, via connecting the dots, is that a new dinner theater attraction is likely to open up here in the future... which more than likely will be a second Pirates Voyage show given the location near the ocean. The first Pirates Voyage opened in Myrtle Beach in 2011, though it first opened as a Dixie Stampede location in 1992 before they choose to give it a Pirate makeover.
(6/6/14) I don’t know much about this, but it seems a new development is moving forward in Jasper, Georgia to build Port Royal, a $145 million Waterpark Resort & Conference Center. Themed after the city of Port Royal in Jamaica, the resort will have a tropical Caribbean theme.
The 176-acre resort will feature 400 hotel rooms, a day-spa, restaurants, a sport bar, conference center, 16,000 seat amphitheater and both indoor and outdoor waterparks. They are planning to break ground before the end of 2014 and open sometime in 2016.
It sounds great, though my biggest concern would be the location, and only because I’ve never heard of Jasper, GA. I admit, I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of Georgia, with my primary experience being driving in and out of Atlanta a few times, or passing through along I-95, so forgive me if I’m out of touch with this particular area of the state. Jasper is located an hours drive to the north of Atlanta, but not along the busy I-75 freeway, but instead lies to the east in what appears to be a less populated area. Given the location, it is still close enough for the local Atlanta market to make the drive and stay for the weekend, so they do have access to a vast market of locals who can drop in.
On another note… not too far away in Emerson, GA the local residents have been complaining for some time about the proposed PolerCoaster project announced for the LakePoint Sporting Community. The residents who were behind the LakePoint sports park project at first because it also was supposed to have a waterpark, which was later replaced by the proposed 250 foot PolerCoaster. Apparently the proposed PolerCoaster for LakePoint has been cancelled, because there is no longer any mention of the project on the official LakePoint website. In fact if you look at the list of what’s coming soon to the site, not only is there no mention of a PolerCoaster at all, but instead they are not working on a waterpark once again, along with ropes course, zip lines, mountain bike trails, a movie theater, bowling alley and more to go along with the rest of the huge and impressive sports complex.
Hawaii - (5/26/14) The local news reports that The Groove Hawaii, a small go-kart attraction on the Hawaiian island of Ohau in Honolulu has opened an a new outdoor virtual skydive attraction. Unfortunately it seems the loud noises it makes has caught the attention of the neighbors who have filed complaints. The Groove is working on a solution to help silence the attraction and bring it down into the legal decibel range by Friday.
Illinois - (3/17/14) Chicago is set to add a new and unique attraction this year… way up high, on the 94th floor of The Hancock building (aka: 360ºChicago). They call it TILT, and they’ve taken a panel of eight side-by-side floor-to-ceiling windows and for a $5 upcharge, you can stand in one and it, and the floor under your feet, will TILT out giving you a face-first view DOWN at the city below for about 30-40 seconds before it tilts you back upright again. They’ve posted an excellent video showing off what the experience is all about, and you can look for it to open sometime in April.
Indiana - (5/9/14) Video showing off the gondola’s of the new SkyQuest attraction being tested as the Indianapolis Zoo has been posted by Chance Rides and includes some POV footage of the ride experience.
(4/16/14) An assortment of new pictures from the Indianapolis Zoo showing off the new aerial tram attraction were sent in this week. Shouldn’t be long before they are ready to open it.
(4/3/14) Screamscape sources have sent in pictures from the Indy Zoo’s new International Orangutan Center construction site that show off the long in development Skyline attraction (formerly: SkyQuest). One interesting thing to note is a picture showing off what appears to be a green ride car, which is now confirmed to have evolved into something resembling more of a classic Von Roll SkyRide style enclosed gondola car rather than the hot air balloon basket concept shown in the original concept artwork. A video from the construction site can also be seen here.
(11/17/10) US Thrillrides has announced the sale of a SkyQuest attraction to the Indianapolis Zoo for the 2012 season at the IAAPA show. SkyQuest is the new concept from Bill Kitchen, which will be the “crown” of the zoo’s new Orangutan habitat, giving each rider a very up close experience and birds eye view of the animals. The 15-20 minute long adventure will load four passengers into gondolas, similar to a hot-air balloon basket, and move a mild 1mph through the attraction. The artwork sent out was a little raw, but it reminds me of a mini Skyride style system. You can see some other odd artwork for the ride system at the official US Thrillrides website, where they show off a more thrilling version that has riders strapped into a Skycoaster style harness, as well as options to hook up promotional “banners” to make their way around the track as well.
Kansas - (5/9/14) While Joyland will never reopen again, the park owners have decided to donate the park’s old carrousel to Botanica, a local botanical gardens park in Wichita. Botanica plans to restore the ride, which has sat closed for the past decade, an will construct a new building to house it inside when they are ready to open it.
Kentucky - (8/6/14) Kentucky’s long in development Ark Encounter park project was granted up to $18 million in tax breaks by the state after a unanimous vote this week. Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year with the first phase to open by Summer 2016 in Williamstown if all goes as planned.
(3/5/14) I’m a bit surprised this project is going forward, but according to the official Facebook page for the Ark Encounter park proposed for Kentucky, they have the funding now in place and are ready to begin construction and break ground in May.
Technically however, I don’t think they have the funding for the entire park… only to build the massive icon for the park, the Ark itself. The rest of the proposed theme park, and funding for it, will have to come later.
Louisiana - (4/4/14) The New Orleans committee in charge of finding a new use for the former Six Flags New Orleans theme park site has now turned away the two latest plans to revive the site, including the Jazzland revival park project from Paidia and a second plan submitted to also revive the park from Transformation Village LLC. They felt both projects lacked the financial backing to proceed at this time, but were welcome back if they could prove they had their financing in hand and ready to proceed.
(3/4/14) Consider me surprised, but it seems a new group has come forward to file a proposal with the city of New Orleans to redevelop the former Six Flags New Orleans theme park site as… an all new theme park called Jazzland once again. They’ve already created an official Facebook page for the proposed Jazzland Park, put up a JazzlandPark.com website, and you can also download their proposal to the city in PDF form to take a closer look at what is planned.
The new proposal is from a group called TPC-NOLA, which is a subsidiary of The Paidia Company, a local Louisiana company involved with themed entertainment projects. To be honest, the only time I’ve heard of The Paidia Company to date was that they were selected as one of the final four proposals to redevelop Rye Playland, where their plan involved working with Merlin to bring a Legoland park to the site.
So what do they have planned to bring Jazzland back to life? The proposal says they have 90% of the financing in place, and plan to spend $50 million in Phase 1 to open the theme park and the “back backlot” for a proposed film studio backlot project. Their plan for the park is to try and keep it open year-round to take advantage of the mild winters and year-round tourism and convention crowds in the area. Of the $50 million needed to reopen the park, nearly half would go towards the attractions budget: $4 million to repair rides that can be saved, $15 million towards brand new attractions and another $3.4 million to install new performance theaters.
The park will also have four themed lands: The Beach, The Bayou, The Quarter and Sportsman’s Paradise. The Quarter will serve as the entrance area to the park and feature a heavy music theme, including a 4D theater attraction called the Voodoo Queen’s Battle of the Bands and a dark ride themed to the Imagination Movers and a Showboat themed theater.
Sportsman’s Paradise, themed to the great outdoors, will feature an interactive Hunting themed dark ride, Mudhoggin’ (a 4x4 version of the classic car ride), Red River Run (new River Rapids ride), a Fire Engine themed suspended roller coaster that will have water elements to interact with the nearby rapids ride below it. The existing “Jester” coaster will be restored and re-themed as Driskill Mountains, complete with black bear encounters.
The Beach section of the park will feature the MegaZeph coaster once again, with a plan to restore and reopen the coaster from The Gravity Group, who will install new Timberliner trains with an on-board audio soundtrack system. They envision having Better Than Ezra to perform the coaster’s new musical soundtrack. Other attractions in The Beach will include a drop tower enclosed inside a light house themed structure and Sea of Love: a boat ride through the former games building that will feature scenes of sunsets, moonlight and cupids as a modern take on the old Tunnel of Love rides from long ago. The former Jocco’s building will be expanded and turned into a modern day Laff-in-the-Dark ride, a former games building will become a Haunted House and the old Spillway Splashout will be replaced with a new Wild Maus coaster. Other new rides to be added include a Ferris wheel, carousel, wave swinger, bumper cars and more.
The Bayou will feature a brand new Simulator film attraction, the refurbished and expanded log flume will become the Sugar Flume with a ride into a sugar mill, refurbished pirate ships and airboat rides and more.
Beyond that, they also plan to open the Baritone Beach Waterpark as future expansion along with the Backlot Shoppes, a mixed use retail site that will be located next to the Backlot production area.
So what do you think? I like the idea and I like the vision and theme for the park… but I guess the real questions I have fall more along the lines of:
Should this site be used for a theme park again?
Has the New Orleans area recovered enough to support having its own theme park?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they get support from the city to move ahead or not, because if time has proven anything, it seems like no one else has come up with anything better to do with the site since Katrina.
Massachusetts - (7/22/14) The longest Alpine Coaster in the USA under construction at Berkshire East is said to be planning to open on Labor Day Weekend if possible.
(12/27/13) A new Alpine Coaster set to be the longest such ride in North America, has been given unanimous approval for the Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont, Massachusetts. The ride will feature approximately a mile of track for the round-trip ride up and down the mountain, with 3,775 feet track to be used for the winding descent, with a total of thirty 2-seater cars able to reach speeds up to 27 mph. The attraction will be open year-round once finished and installed into an out of the way section of terrain that was unsuitable for anything else.
New Jersey - (6/30/14) Action Park, perhaps New Jersey’s most legendary former attraction, has returned this summer. Gone are the dangerous elements however, but the legendary stories remain as you can read from this article from the New York Post.
(2/24/14) Gillian’s Funland of Sea Isle City has confirmed to everyone that the park has been shut down and will not reopen. The park was built for about $2.5 million in 2009, but after sustaining damage by Hurricane Sandy it was only able to partially reopen on July 4th, 2013. Given the work load, debt level and how much it will cost to fully reopen they park, they equate the effort and cost to building a new park from scratch all over again. For now Gillian will focus their efforts on their larger park, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City.
(1/17/14) Casino Pier will add a Zamperla Air Race ride for 2014. Look for the new ride to open on the lower deck of the pier this summer.
New York - (8/21/14) According to the local news there are talks to build a $250 million Legoland theme park in Haverstraw, New York on an undeveloped piece of land. Right now they are just looking over the site and I expect doing the research on the local area to see if it would work for a theme park or not, so don’t expect anything to move ahead anytime soon, especially while Merlin is busy expanding the chain around the globe at a number of new international locations. It may be awhile before they are ready to return and build another US park.
North Carolina - (7/3/14) SeaLife Aquarium in Charlotte/Concord will open a brand new exhibit late next week called “Serpents of the Seas”. The new exhibit is only here for a “limited time” and features nine species of eels from around the globe in addition to the rest of the newly opened attraction. (See our review and video below for details!)
Living in North Carolina the past 7 years has been awesome! We have experienced every season and I would not trade them for anything. With that being said, last week we experienced our first “winter storm” with about a foot of snow, so when Lance asked me to head to Concord, NC for the media preview of SEA LIFE yesterday I was more than willing. What better way to get your mind moving in the direction of warmer weather than getting up close with all kinds of sea creatures. I admit that when I first heard that Concord Mills was getting an aquarium I was a little skeptical, especially since it was moving into the space previously occupied by NASCAR Speedpark. When I arrived at the mall it felt like an ordinary day, however when I stepped inside the aquarium I felt like I was transported someplace else and forgot I was even at a mall.
(2/19/14) Kerry, my Wife, is joining us today as a guest writer after taking in a special Media Preview of the new SEA LIFE Aquarium in Charlotte - Concord. Enjoy the article, pictures and video below!
After watching a short video you will begin your interactive journey which will take approximately 90 minutes (if visiting with smaller children I’m sure your visit will last longer because they will be mesmerized. You will travel from the rivers in the Blue Ridge Mountains like the Catawba River to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. You will have the opportunity to get your hands wet in the touchpool, stand in the center of a school of fish and even go “under the sea” for an incredible view of life in the water. Bring your cameras or smart phones for sure! They also have a soft play area for kids.
SEA LIFE is definitely going to be an asset to the Charlotte region. Bigger is not always better and this unique, intimate attraction is going to be an awesome and fun learning experience for both young and old. Conservation is the heart of SEA LIFE and you will see how they incorporate their Breed, Rescue and Protect program right here.
They will be open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can visit Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm and Sunday 12pm-7pm, however the last admission is 2 hours before closing each day. The cost of admission will be $21 for adults, $17 for children 3-13, a special military rate is available for $18 and children 2 and under are free. For those of you who are local and frequently visit Concord Mills, you may want to purchase the annual pass that is being offered: individual passes will cost $55 or you can purchase a family 4 pack for $212 with additional passes for $50.
SEA LIFE will also be able to accommodate groups, corporate events, school field trips, as well as birthday parties beginning sometime in May. Birthday parties will cost $30.00 per child with a minimum of 10 kids and will include everything you need for a pretty awesome party including your choice of ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery.
The Grand Opening is Thursday, February 20th at 10am. I encourage you to go experience SEA LIFE for yourself. You won’t be disappointed! I can’t wait to go back with my kids!
Ohio - (5/23/14) Ohio’s Columbus Zoo is opening a major new themed area called Heart of Africa and Coaster101 got a sneak peek. They tell us that the area has some very well themed elements, though unfortunately it seems that early plans that included a zipline, train ride and boat ride, went under budget revisions and cut all of those attractions from the final product along with the once proposed off-road truck safari style tour ride
(12/27/13) According to this article the city of Aurora is planning to rezone the former 548 acre Geauga Lake property as a mixed use district that would combine residential, office, commercial and entertainment use options together. If it passes through the council, it will then have to be voted on by the locals in the May 2014 election.
Oklahoma - (5/26/14) I’m happy to report that the new Sky Zip at SandRidge that goes over the Oklahoma River is now open. Watch the video here.
(4/26/14) An interesting new Zip-line will soon open near Oklahoma City at the Riversports Adventures attraction. This is the first time I’ve heard of Riversports Adventures, but I believe it just opened last year with the SandRidge Skytrail which features a great looking six level ropes course, a 72 foot tall steel slide down from the top (America’s tallest) or you can jump down from 80 ft tall Rumble Drop which lets you experience a freefall drop before the cable slows your descent. The area also has climbing walls, bungee trampolines, and several zip lines. Remember that new zip line I mentioned? They call it the Sky Zip and when it opens it will be a 700 foot zip line experience that will send you from the top of the SandRidge Skytrail, over to the other side of the Oklahoma River and back again. Sky Zip expects to be open in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Pennsylvania - (8/28/14) Haunt season is almost upon us… and that means more fun videos from our friends at ScareHouse!! ScareHouse is always changing and evolving, so what’s new this season? For starters, The Basement, a special upcharge haunt for those 18+ will return again, where you enter either alone or with a single friend, to encounter intense psychological fears. The Basement will take you “on an interactive journey built to push them outside their comfort zone, challenge their expectations, and scare the hell out them each step of the way.” You must sign a waiver to experience The Basement, as it will include high voltage effects, electricity, sexual content, very low lighting, tight spaces, strong scents, profanity, moments of complete darkness, water, physical contact, violent situations and high impact scares. Sounds very intense!
Upstairs, Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D will return for this season, but there will be two new experiences with it.
Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out! - An expanded and improved version of last year’s maze, where the lights are going out and the zombies keep crawling in…
The Summoning (All new for 2014) - A new maze from the ScareHouse team that has been in the works for 9 months to create an immersive experience that will take you back in time to October 1932 to uncover sinister secrets and twisted characters in what they promise to be their most elaborate haunt yet. According to ScareHouse’s Creative Director, Scott Simmons, “We’re taking major risks this year. Our new attractions are very ambitious not only in terms of scenic detail and scale, but also in terms of personalizing the experience for our guests.” The new attractions will offer the rare chance to make decisions and interact with characters instead of just passively walking through the sets, so no two trips through ScareHouse will ever be the same. The choices you make along the way will lead to different outcomes… and consequences.
Now on to the video!!
(8/11/14) According to an email sent my way, the Chance C.P. Huntington train ride (now known as Time Traveler Express) at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium never opened for the 2014 season. Our reader contacted the zoo for a reason and was told that not only will it not open at all in 2014, but that they were still uncertain if it would open in 2015 as well. Seems they felt they could afford the maintenance costs to run the rail system and two trains that they have. Currently the attraction has been removed from all park maps.
(6/6/14) ScareHouse is back for 2014, and has posted an all new teaser of what they are working on for this season, which they believe is their most ambitious attraction ever built. The building that Scarehouse calls home is over 100 years old and has it’s own scary history… and perhaps a will of it’s own.
South Carolina - (8/15/14) Behind the Thrills tells us there is a great new haunt in Myrtle Beach this season called Outbreak: Dread the Undead. But this isn’t a seasonal haunt… this will be a new year-round haunt opening at the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center. Based on the photos, the sets look fantastic! Someone give this a try and let us know how it is!
(8/1/14) Concept artwork for the new Myrtle Beach location of The Track, along with their two-story arcade building can be found here.
(7/31/14) The owners of The Track attraction in the middle of Pigeon Forge, TN are now bidding on the site of the Myrtle Beach Shine Club in order to build a new go-kart based tourist attraction. If they get the property, their plans will include a multi-level go-kart track, bumper boats, arcade, train ride and more. The first phase would open by June 15, 2016.
(5/12/14) Hollywood Wax Museum will open a 4th location in Myrtle Beach, SC this summer. They currently have sites in Hollywood, Pigeon Forge and Branson and will open their newest location at the Broadway at the Beach entertainment and retail center. Along with the Wax Museum, they are also opening a Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors attraction as well as an unknown zombie themed attraction called Outbreak.
(4/30/14) As rumored a few weeks ago, NASCAR Speedpark Myrtle Beach has now closed down, and PARC Management is out of the picture. Site owner, Burroughs & Chapin has announced that the site will reopen as the Broadway Grand Prix go-kart park in the near future, and will be under the management of Mark Lazarus.
(4/9/14) According to this local news article some new rides are being installed at the Pavilion Nostalgia Park at Broadway at the Beach. One major new ride is the Rocket Flyer, a 180 foot tall tower ride that has already been put up near the Pirate Ship. In a close up picture of the new ride, it appears that riders will sit inside one of three or four giant rockets that will swing around the tower at high speed, looking very similar in style to that unique Rocket Ride seen in St. Petersberg, Russia. Note: Rocket Flyer replaced the Wave Swinger, which will be moved to another location elsewhere at Broadway at the Beach.
The list of other new rides on the way includes: Speed (?), Freak-Out (?) and a Giant Slide. Along with the new rides, control over the amusement rides has been passed on to Broadway Amusement Rides LLC, who took over after PARC Management’s contract came to an end. Broadway Amusement Rides LLC is run by Bill Prescott, who also runs other Myrtle Beach area amusements, including the Slingshot ride on Ocean Blvd.
(4/7/14) Over the last couple years we’ve seen PARC Management lose some management deals or be forced to close or sell off certain attractions and now Screamscape sources tell us another similar wave of change may be coming over the next month that could possibly impact their remaining Myrtle Beach, SC properties... the Myrtle Waves waterpark and the nearby NASCAR Speedpark. Stay tuned for the details as we uncover them.
South Dakota - (5/2/14) Thunder Road, a small park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be adding their first roller coaster to the park this season called Screaming Dragon, a Wisdom Orient Express style coaster. The ride was purchased from Como Town Amusement Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tennessee - (6/30/14) Amazing new concept artwork for what I’ve heard referred to as both “Opry Walk” and “Opry Town” was sent in and this looks like it could be a huge project for the Nashville area if they move forward with it.
On a somewhat related news item, Ryman Hospitality Properties (formerly Gaylord Entertainment) is planning a $14 million expansion project of the Ryman Auditorium to add a café, history tour, new event space as well as a slew of other renovations to the facility. The actual music venue however will remain unchanged, complete with keeping the wooden church pew seating, in order to preserve the legendary acoustics. With Ryman looking to start making improvements and expand their attractions presence in Nashville, this could be the first step towards making the proposed Opry Walk concept a reality.
Local sources also tell me that they may have been planning this for awhile, as over the past few years many smaller support buildings and left-over structures from the former Opryland theme park in this zone have all been removed one by one.
(6/25/14) A reader sent me the following drawing, showing off what appears to be the creation of a new CityWalk style project to be placed right next to the Opry Mills mall (by the Dave & Busters and Aquarium Restaurant section) in Nashville, TN. On the far North end of the project, near the convention center, is an outdoor waterpark, which will be connected to this new themed retail/dining/entertainment zone.
No exact name is given for it, but it will be connected to the Convention Center on the one end and stretch down to connect to Opry Mills and the Grand Ole Opry house on the southern end. The layout shows several themed zones: Central Park, Music City Way, Town Square, and Country Roads, and scattered throughout the project are various rides and attractions. For example, there will be a Trolley that runs from one end down to the othere, where it will loop around a “radio tower” built in front of the entrance to the Grand Ole Opry house before making the return trip to the Central Park district. Other attractions listed include a carousel, a “Guitar Ferris Wheel”, something called “I’ll Fly Away”, and even a Wooden Roller Coaster. Compare the layout image with the current map of the site here.
(9/27/13) Could a new park or attraction be on the way to Tennessee? According to this article a town hall meeting has been set up in Lake City, TN (about 21miles North of Knoxville) with local businessman Buddy Warren. Warren owns several companies including Rocky Top Beer, Rocky Top Moonshine and even the legal rights to the name “Rocky Top Tennessee”, and would like to propose relocating his bottling company, brewery and distillary companies to Lake City, along with plans to build a theme park, sports museum, live music theater, restaurants, a lodge with an indoor waterpark and more. Could be a very interesting proposal...
Texas - (3/10/14) The official website for the proposed new Adventure Pointe theme park in Texas has been updated and has announced the Adventure Pointe Roundhouse in their blog. The Roundhouse is described as a event center dedicated to showcasing how the Slusky family’s historical train collection will be maintained and refurbished. The structure will host banquets, weddings, dancers and more. They also have confirmed that Adventure Pointe will also feature 4,200 SqFt Ice Skating Rink that will be open to the public year round.
(3/6/14) The EarthQuest theme park project is still alive it seems, and is now seeking out a new 500-acre site to build the project on…. twice the size of the original site. According to this article, they are looking at a Houston area site in East Montgomery County.
(2/20/14) Summer Adventures, an attempt to create a small amusement park at the Dallas Fair Park, wont reopen for the 2014 season and may never return at all. After spending $30 million to build up the area and add attractions, it seems odd to give it all up after just one season, as the goal of the project was to try and keep the site alive and active during the rest of the year when the Fair wasn’t going on. To just give up and close it seems short sighted to me… hopefully we haven’t heard the end of this story.
(12/18/13) More details about the proposed Adventure Pointe theme park coming to the Houston area can be found in a new BlooLoop article about the park. Don’t forget to keep up with things at the park’s official Facebook page as well.
(12/9/13) A second park project is in the works for the Houston, Texas area called Adventure Pointe. The 25-acre project comes from the family of the man who created Playland Park decades ago and will be located next to the Tanger Outlet Mall on I-45 South. Groundbreaking is slated to happen in Spring 2014 in order for the park to open in 2015.
(7/1/13) According to this news article the developers behind the EarthQuest attraction project outside Houston are not ready to give up and believe that it is only a matter of “when” and not “if’ the park will get built. They claim that they are currently in talks with nine different investment groups to fund the project with commitments of over $100 million at this time. I’ll give them this… they are persistent.
(3/18/13) While the Houston, Texas area still lacks a large theme park, the greater area around Houston seems to be flourishing with new ideas for smaller park projects. Back in December we first heard the early rumors of a possible 25-acre mini-park planned to be near the Tanger Outlet Mall near Texas City that would have a tie to the old Playland Park.
Today a little more information has come out as the city “has confirmed an area physician’s interest in building the park on 25 acres near the Tanger outlet mall, but no plans have been submitted.” However, a new Facebook page for “Playland Park” has gone live and does outline the details a little more, calling it “Playland Park – Texas City”. They have named the new park project in honor of Houston’s first real amusement park, Playland Park, and hope to open it by Summer 2015.
The park will have a retro-Americana theme to it, and will feature locomotive rides on the refurbished trains that formerly served at the Houston Zoo, but will now make runs around this new 25 acre attraction. The park will also have a Grand Carousel, an Eyerly Monster, Antique Car ride, Tea Cups and a Tilt-a-Whirl to celebrate the classic rides of the past. They will also offer new style attractions such as a “unique roller coaster zip line, an Xtra-ice 'ice' skating rink, and fast though eco-friendly Indy-type electric go-karts.” There will also be green spaces, a large picnic area, an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and an indoor pavilion to be rented out for corporate events or private functions.
Good luck to them, I hope this one happens… but it wouldn’t be Playland Park without also offering a wooden coaster as well. Lets hope they include this in the final plans too.
(12/7/12) A small update about the new small amusement park project in the Houston area by the Tanger Outlets has been posted by the local news. They say that 25 acres have been purchased by a man with “ties” to Houston’s old Playland Park which was open from the mid 1940’s to 1960’s. Could we see the return of a new Playland Park in Houston?
(12/3/12) According to this article, land has been purchased near the newly opened Texas Tanger Outlet center in the Galveston/Houston area, with the intention of building “an amusement park”. As we have heard nothing about this before hand, I do have to wonder if they are confusion an Amusement Park with something smaller, like a Family Entertainment Center style attraction instead. Anyone else have any insight into what may be planned for the area?
Utah - (6/13/14) ThemeParkUniversity spoke with the CEO of the proposed Evermore Adventure Park project in Utah. You can read about the interview here.
(5/23/14) An interesting project called Evermore is attempting to launch in Pleasant Grove, Utah, about half-way between Salt Lake City and Provo. To be clear, this isn’t an amusement park… or even what anyone would call a “theme park” by today’s standards… though it does promise to be well themed. No… Evermore is calling themselves the first “Adventure Park”, which for all intents and purposes seems to be an attempt to create a year-round CosPlay / Renissance Fair style playground with a Victorian period theme.
The idea is to build up a site to resemble the world of the era, staff it with actors to play various roles throughout the land, as well as include many different and functional shops and restaurants to create a living landscape. Throughout the year the tone of the park is planned to change as well, taking on more festive atmosphere in the Spring and Summer, aided through special events, a cheerful winter holiday theme will blanket Evermore in the colder months and in the fall, a Jack the Ripper style haunt theme will fill the shadows. There will be no rides… or at least none on a regular basis, though they could bring a few in for the various festivals where the theme might fit, but in a nutshell, you’ll get out of Evermore what you bring into it.
The idea is really interesting, though to be honest, I’m not sure if Utah has the year-round tourism to support such a venture, but according to the preview website, they are already planing on opening in 2015. Should be facinating to watch and see how this develops.
Vermont - (3/6/14) In a sad story to report, 18 animals were found dead at Santa’s Land, a small attraction in Vermont. Both the park’s owner and the animal caretaker have been cited for animal cruelty. The animal bodies were found grouped in one area of the park and include 16 deer, a pot bellied pig and a pheasant. Four other deer that live in the park are currently unaccounted for.
Virginia - (10/24/13) Is Merlin considering opening another full scale Legoland theme park in the US? According to this article the local government officials may be in early talks with them regarding a possible incentive package to build a third US park near Fredericksburg, VA.
For those who may have forgotten, a Virginia location was in a head to head race against California to be the location chosen for the first Legoland park in the USA back in the 1990s before LEGO opted to go with the West coast. VA was also intended as the site for Disney’s America theme park concept as well, before local opposition turned Disney away from the state. For one reason for another, VA just hasn’t worked out in the end of a number of proposed park projects over the years, but with a Legoland in Florida as well as California, I’m still thinking VA may not be the best location for a third Legoland, as opposed to something more in the middle of the country. If it were me calling the shots at Merlin, I’d be looking into a Texas location myself... either in San Antonio or in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Washington State - (3/5/14) The family behind Seattle’s Great Wheel on the waterfront has now proposed a new downtown aerial gondola line that would be able to carry both tourist and commuters on elevated ski lift style enclosed cars. They are proposing a run down Union Street from the waterfront area by the wheel to the Convention Center, with a midpoint station at the Pike Place Market.
While there are always issues with those who don’t want to see things like this built near their property, this will be a privately funded project (so no tax dollars, which is good) which already has the support of the Convention Center, Port of Seattle and the Waterfront Association.
Washington DC Area -
(4/15/14) Want to see something impressive? The Capital Wheel is now almost fully installed over it’s new waterfront home. Check out the great pictures sent in to Screamscape this week.
(2/21/14) The Capital Wheel, a new 175 foot tall giant wheel, will now be built out in the Potomac River (yes, in the river!) just outside of Washington DC. Steel for the new ride was delivered this week by barge and construction has already started on the site. Click here to see the concept artwork that shows off the unique location. NOTE: The Capital Wheel is actually in Maryland, in the National Harbor development area. So it’s just a hair outside of the official boundaries to be officially considered Washington DC.