News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine


Fourth Fromm/Seninsky Class to be Held in New Jersey, August 6-10, 2012

CRT/LCD Video, Redemption and Crane Game Repair Workshop Comes to the Northeast

Industry experts Randy Fromm and Frank Seninsky are once again merging their talents to present their fourth, five-day amusement operator and game technician training workshop to take place in Newark, N.J. August 6-10, 2012.

The upcoming course will guide attendees through a simple, (non-mathematical) look at electronic components, electronic circuits and schematic diagrams, which allows them to learn the basics of how circuits and components operate. Randy Fromm will cover the theory of operation of power supplies, CRT and LCD monitors and will show attendees the most common failures in each of these areas so they can repair them quickly and easily without having to spend time troubleshooting.

Frank “the Crank” Seninsky will discuss the most common video, redemption and crane problems and what tools you need to fix them. Attendees will learn how to layout the games and program them properly, inexpensive technologies to track game play in real time, as well as some popular game marketing ideas. He will share tips and tricks for maintaining and fine-tuning cranes, money making and money saving strategies, how to maximize your percentages for profit, best practices for merchandiser displays and enhancing player appeal, how to apply marketing magic in self-redemption and much more.

The upcoming class will be held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Newark Airport starting at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, August 6, 2012 and will run for five days, ending on Friday, August 10, 2012. Early bird registration is $795 per person. After July 6, 2012, registration will be $895 per person. A special group room rate is available at the Wyndham for a limited time.

To get more information and to register, go to and click on the CRT/LCD Video, Redemption & Crane Game Repair link to download the brochure or contact Tracy Sarris at 717-533-1945 or

Kennedy Space Center Welcoming Visitors During 50th Anniversary Year with Special Tours and Offers Popular Summer Travel Destination Features Vehicle Assembly Building Tour

Opportunities to View Rocket Launches, Shuttle Launch Experience and Authentic Saturn V Rocket

NASA is offering visitors rare access to several key areas of Kennedy Space Center during its 50th anniversary year to enhance a popular destination that already features an array of authentic attractions showcasing the space program and opportunities for up-close viewing of ongoing rocket launches.

A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour has been extended through the end of 2012 to provide visitors a look inside the 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where the Apollo rockets and space shuttles were assembled. One of the largest buildings in the world, the VAB had been off limits to visitors for more than 30 years until the tour was added in November.

The space agency is also working with Delaware North Companies, which operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, on final details of new tours featuring operational areas that visitors have also rarely had the opportunity to see.

Ongoing Rocket Launches

The visitor complex remains one of the best vantage points to see rocket launches taking place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. More than 10 launches have been scheduled for 2012 to carry NASA science missions and government satellites, as well as to test commercial space programs. An Atlas V rocket carrying a satellite was launched May 4, and next is a demonstration launch of a Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, the first mission by a commercial company to travel to and dock with the International Space Station.

“There’s an opportunity to see fascinating aspects of the space program that few people have seen, and a chance your visit can coincide with a rocket launch,” said Bill Moore, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

“We want people to know that a visit to Kennedy Space Center remains a visit to an operating facility where a lot of exciting things are happening. It’s a world-class destination that offers a truly authentic and memorable visitor experience, and this year is an ideal time for Florida residents and vacationers to visit,” Moore said.

50th Anniversary of Kennedy Space Center

The 50th anniversary year features several events, including a celebration July 1 to mark the anniversary of the space center being officially acknowledged as an operating spaceflight center under the name Launch Operations Center. It was later changed to John F. Kennedy Space Center in honor of the president and his vision of Americans landing on the moon.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is offering guests two special offers that can save up to 30 percent on admission, food and merchandise, as well as secure access to view rocket launches. Details of Kennedy Space Center’s 50th Gold Admission Package and a $50 Annual Pass are available online.

New Home for Space Shuttle Atlantis

Events are also planned to mark milestones in the creation of the future home of the space shuttle Atlantis, expected to open in July 2013. Ground was broken in January on the exhibit, and this fall Atlantis will “roll over” from its processing facility inside the Kennedy Space Center to the visitor complex for permanent display. The 65,000-square-foot Atlantis exhibit will provide guests a unique vantage point to view Atlantis up close, while telling the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program through a number of hands-on, interactive and immersive mediums.

Humankind’s Greatest Adventure

From the earliest days of America’s storied space program, Kennedy Space Center has captured the world’s attention and fed its imagination as the epicenter of mankind’s greatest adventure. Nestled on a placid barrier island on Florida’s “Space Coast,” the endlessly bustling Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex features attractions and interactive programs unfolding year-round, making it a must-see for every Florida visitor.

Kennedy Space Center’s remarkable collection of rockets, launch pads, NASA aerospace technology components and launch viewing opportunities offer an authenticity and behind-the-scenes access unlike any other Central Florida destination. The visitor complex offers visitors numerous activities and interactive programs, including meeting real astronauts, that will leave them with a new-found understanding of the United States space program.

Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine Newsletter Editorial Feature

Business Strategies:
Choosing a Theme for a Leisure Entertainment Facility

There is no getting around the fact that attractions are the main catalysts for driving guests to, or away from, leisure entertainment facilities. However, other enticements also play a role in attracting clientele. A carefully chosen theme, whether it applies to a given operation as a whole or to one of its components, ranks at the top of the list.

For family entertainment centers, uniqueness, at least, on a local level, is an important consideration in selecting a theme. Given a choice between, for example, a miniature golf course that has an unusual theme and one whose theme is similar to that of many in the same area, many potential customers may gravitate towards the former. Marcy Birch, owner of Barnyard Swing Mini Golf and Family Fun Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., said she had a different twist in mind when she engaged Castle Golf to design the miniature golf portion of her facility. Barnyard Swing’s miniature golf course features a farm theme with a cowboy twist that is reflected in its fixtures. Similarly, “Glow Golf: Heroes,” the history of video games and the world from the 1970s to the present, is the theme of the indoor black light miniature golf course at the Family Fun Center XL in Omaha, Neb. Each hole is designed to represent a different video game hero or heroine, from classics like Mario, Frogger and Pac-Man to Angry Birds.

Some operators may prefer a more conventional, timeless staple theme, such as tropical/jungle, pirate/nautical, island/pirate and western/mining. These can also be tweaked a bit for the sake of uniqueness. Wonder Mountain Family Fun Park in Moody, Maine, has two miniature golf courses; one, called “Nautical Nightmare,” incorporates nightmarish challenging elements like dark, water-filled caves through which players must proceed.

According to Castle Golf and Bill Hachmeister, national accounts manager at Water Odyssey by Fountain People, themes that reflect the heritage of a locale or region can be very effective, as can those that “transport” guests to a new environment. “Mountain Mania,” Wonder Mountain Family Fun Park’s second miniature golf course, replicates a mountain range and therefore fits into the latter category.

Sources also pointed to the viability of themes that somehow represent the general area in which a leisure entertainment facility or that area’s history, as well as those that tie into adjacent venues. Funset Boulevard, a family entertainment center in Appleton, Wis., is connected to the Hollywood Cinema and, accordingly, features a Hollywood-themed restaurant and attractions (including miniature golf). Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark, in McMinnville, Wash., has an aviation theme in accordance with adjacency to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Choosing a theme other than aviation would not have made sense, noted Larry Wood, executive director.

Should a local area not tout an obvious theme, sources stated, owners and operators might pick two or three currently popular ones, then look to a vendor to propose means of giving each one of them a unique twist. “A decision about themes should also consider market issues, such as are you a tourist or a local market, who is the customer you want to attract, the quality of the competition, and your available budget,” said a spokesperson for Castle Golf. He added that in cases where budget is a factor, opting for a theme that can be “expanded and adapted” over time is a good idea: “The guiding principle is to do less, but to do it well. Make quality more important than quantity; it gives you a first class foundation to build upon.”

Uniqueness is also a major factor to be kept in mind when picking themes for individual exhibits, museums, zoos, aquariums and similar venues given heightened competition for consumers’ leisure entertainment dollar, sources observed.  At the Tennessee Aquarium, in Chattanooga, Tenn., a desire to not only set the facility apart from others of its kind, but to attract visitors’ attention with an exhibit unlike any other within the venue itself, led to the creation of “River Giants,” a freshwater habitat for such freshwater “mega-fish” as Barramundi, Alligator Gar and several species of giant catfish, among others. The habitat touts replicas of several features of the Gulf of Mexico, a home to freshwater mega-fish; examples include mangroves.  “This is a pretty big departure from all of our other exhibits,” said Jackson Andrews, director of husbandry and operations. “Rather than showcasing animals from one ecosystem, ‘River Giants’ is a collection of some of the world’s largest freshwater species. We’re able to tell the story of how these mega-fish are indicators of water quality and environmental health.”

Similarly, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Wis., often showcases special exhibits with toy themes. An exhibit centered on WEEBLES toys recently debuted at the facility. The museum also created, in cooperation with children’s toy manufacturer PLAYSKOOL, “The Adventures of MR. POTATO HEAD,” an interactive, educational exhibit wherein the toy character leads visitors on “trips” to outer space, a jungle safari, an archeological dig and the like. The traveling exhibit has been featured at several museums across the United States over the past few years, among them the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. It is currently at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, Md., where it will run until September 2.

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