Business Strategies:
Using Lighting to Improve the Appearance of Leisure Entertainment Facilities

March 27, 2012 No Comments

Increasingly, owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities are taking into account that lighting, like most design components, plays a significant role in “making” or “breaking” the appearance of their venues and, in turn, the visitor experience.

Consider the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, N.Y., where an outdoor lighting installation project handled by Bulbtronics, Inc., in conjunction with Acolyte Industries, a manufacturer of LED fixtures, was undertaken not long ago. The project entailed an enhancement of the museum’s island, which rises above its flight deck and was previously illuminated with fixtures that only served to support a rather drab appearance and did not properly take into account the ship’s physical plant.

“As a museum that also happens to be an aircraft carrier, we had some challenges with installing proper lighting to highlight the (exterior of) the ship,” stated Darren Stone, the facility’s assistant vice president of technology. Such challenges included better illuminating the numerals that appear on both sides of the island and accounting, in the lighting design, for its angular shape. On the objectives front, Stone and his colleagues wanted a controllable means of using light to jazz up special events held at the facility.

Cold cathode light bulbs used on the numerals were replaced with high-power, waterproof LED extreme ribbon lighting. This controllable lighting option not only allows the color of the numerals to be changed at will; it also affords a side benefit, reduced energy usage, not attainable with the cold cathode light bulbs. For the main fixtures, Bulbtronics implemented High Power RGB Exterior Linear Wash models in two-and four-foot lengths. Each LED fixture is independently operable, thereby allowing additional control. The new LED lighting illuminates the Intrepid for special occasions and provides everyday lighting for the numerals.

“We had to be very strategic in where we placed the fixtures, so as to evenly and entirely wash all the walls with” the desired color, said J.R. Guerrieri, Acolyte’s CEO. “Because of the ship’s gray color, we had to custom-configure the individual colors to achieve the end color.”

In many recent instances, bowling alley operators are leveraging new lighting innovations to take their appearance and “vibe” from old-fashioned to “hip”. For instance, at Cordova Bowling Center in Cordova, Tenn., multiple bulbs and projectors that rotated in different directions (also known as “spin-and-puke” lighting and very popular in past decades) have been supplanted by 28 programmable colored fixtures from Martin Professional. These are linked together to present a coordinated light show in tandem with the facility’s smoke machines.

Similarly, harley’s Simi Bowl in Simi Valley, Calif., last year installed the MURREY’s  LaneFX™ Lighting System, which features a high-tech fully, programable control system with eight standard programs, chase, race and pulse modes. Owner Ron Plander said the system creates the necessary environment for atomic bowling, which is held at the facility once each week. Earlier this year, Terrace Lanes Bowling Center in Frederick, Md., completed a modernization project that added LED lighting to the fluorescent component, along with three 180-inch projection screens. Along with the installation of entertainment other than bowling, the new accoutrements are helping the center, by supporting the introduction of Rock N Bowl sessions, to “get out of the Stone Age and into modern times,” said Scott Lyon, assistant general manager. Attendance has “shot up” since the changes were made, he added.

For other facilities, a need to make it easier for patrons to engage in activities leads to lighting enhancements. Ice Line Quad Rinks ice skating rinks in the Philadelphia, Pa. area have undergone a lighting retrofit for this purpose, with LED lights by Appalachian Lighting Systems replacing 400-Watt metal halide lighting fixtures. The new fixtures are much brighter than their predecessors, paving the way for skaters to see much better as they glide around the ice, noted Ice Line Vice President Mike Graves.

An energy savings is also resulting from the change. The original fixtures consumed 458 watts of energy apiece; the new lights, 91 Watts per fixture, Graves said.

The San Diego Air and Space Museum in San Diego, Calif., meanwhile, has replaced tungsten halogen lighting used throughout the exhibits with LED bulbs that were originally in use only in the gift shop.  According to a spokesperson, the change facilitates and enriches exhibit viewing because the museum’s lights may be dimmed without any shift in the color spectrum, and as well as because more focused illumination may be offered without “any of the irregularities that occur when the tungsten halogen passes through lamp lenses.” Additional boosts come in the form of energy savings and low maintenance costs, as the LED lamps reportedly last up to 13 years if left on 12 hours a day versus four months for tungsten halogen lamps.

Industry News

Hersheypark Recognized for Top Aquatic Standards

Hersheypark announced recently that it has been awarded the prestigious “Platinum International Aquatic Safety Award” given by Jeff Ellis & Associates (E&A), the world-wide leader in aquatic safety. Earning this award demonstrates the aquatic facilities at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark consistently exceed industry standards in risk management and epitomize aquatic safety excellence. The Platinum Award recognizes performance in the top 10 percent of aquatic facilities.

“The entire staff of The Boardwalk embodies the idea of setting the standard in aquatic safety. Guests of The Boardwalk are afforded the highest degree of protection currently available for the aquatic industry,” said Richard A. Carroll, E&A Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Hersheypark Director of Ride Operations Laura Woodburn spoke for the full-time staff when she said “We are thrilled and humbled to be part of the prestigious Platinum award-winning group. E&A has over 400 clients and we are in elite company with some very large amusement corporations. Thank you to each and every member of the Boardwalk Team who made our program a success!”

International Aquatic Safety Awards are presented annually to participants in E&A’s Comprehensive Aquatic Risk Management Program (CARMP) and are based on the results of multiple random Unannounced Aquatic Facility Operational Safety Audits throughout the year.

These audits include undercover video surveillance of individual lifeguards while they protect their areas, to accurately evaluate their professional diligence. Additionally, individual and team basic life support and rescue skills are evaluated, along with simulated emergencies that measure the effectiveness of established Emergency Action Plans. The audit concludes with administrative, supervisory and facility evaluations.

The full-time staff in the Hersheypark Ride Operations Department.
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