Splashdown Beach Expansion Is Underway for 2013 Summer
Mega Funworks Inc., dba SplashDown Beach Waterpark in Fishkill, N.Y., is undergoing a $12 million expansion. The development will include two new rides for the summer of 2013.
The Mega Funworks team has collaborated with Zamperla Rides and HIT Entertainment to introduce Dizzy’s Water Whirler, currently the only of its kind in the world and first in North America. Located at the Bob the Builder Splash Works™ attraction, The Water Whirler will accommodate up to 24 guests at one time and feature 30 interactive water elements.
Adjacent to the Bob the Builder attraction will be the new Arctic Adventure. The first of the Arctic Adventure’s six new attractions will be the five-story Arctic Plunge from Pro-Slide Technology. The attraction is a competitive, multi-lane, headfirst mat racer. The ride features precisely engineered curves that are strategically placed to create positive pressure for maximum acceleration as riders exit a 360° horizontal loop. Riders are launched into a head-to-head drag race to the bottom, flying over vertical curve humps, experiencing weightlessness and gaining even more speed before the smooth deceleration run-out.
“This will be the largest single expansion at SplashDown Beach since we purchased the park in 2004. We have created a true family destination for summer fun,” said owners Shelley and Steve Turk.
“SplashDown Beach has been a great home to Bob the Builder’s first waterpark, and we’re thrilled to continue working together to expand Bob the Builder Splash Works,” said Julie Freeland, director, Live Events, The Americas, HIT Entertainment. “The Water Whirler ride will be a fun and exciting addition for kids and families to experience their favorite builder and his Can-Do Crew.”
Main Event Entertainment Expands Houston Presence with Addition of Newest Location in Stafford, Texas
Main Event Entertainment, a Dallas-based family entertainment company, is scheduled to open in late March in Stafford, Texas.
Stafford, the fourth location in the Houston market, will feature entertainment options for all ages, including laser tag showcased in between state-of-the-art bowling lanes, billiards, an indoor ropes course and more than 100 virtual and interactive games, as well as attractive dining options and full-service bars.
Main Event announced national expansion plans earlier this year. “We’re proud to expand our unique brand of fun in the Houston area, introducing our newest concepts to Stafford,” said Charlie Keegan, CEO of Main Event Entertainment. “Main Event is also proud to be a strong partner in the community by bringing jobs to the area, being a responsible corporate partner with the Variety charity, and by giving families an unrivaled entertainment option.”
Main Event will host a special event for the families of Variety, where children with the organization and their guests will be treated to the “Eat.Bowl.Play.” experience with access to unlimited games, bowling, the indoor ropes course and laser tag.
Each location in Main Event’s portfolio is anchored by contemporary bowling lanes that boast huge viewing screens playing popular music videos or sporting events, optional bumpers for younger bowlers and comfortable seating areas. The interior design of the venue features cozy seating and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The Stafford location will also offer GRAVITY, an indoor ropes course, which made its Texas debut at Main Event Frisco. Suspended 12 feet above ground, the attraction has more than 17 separate indoor vertical and horizontal challenges, including swaying bridges, narrow beams and a field of nets and ropes to scale, balance and trek through.
Other popular attractions at Main Event locations are laser tag arenas and game rooms.
Special Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine eNewsletter Feature
Business Success Strategies: Adding New Attractions at Leisure Entertainment Facilities
The periodic addition of new attractions remains a must for leisure entertainment facilities if they are to continue to maintain their competitive business edge. While any attraction has the potential to fulfill this objective, using trends as a partial criterion against which to evaluate the viability of any option is a good idea.
For instance, while thrill rides have long been a staple at amusement parks, waterparks are now jumping on the bandwagon in greater measure as visitors’ fascination with attractions of this type increases. Management of Schlitterbahn Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo., took such a trend into consideration when it chose to roll out several new water attractions at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark for 2013, reported Layne Pitcher, sales and marketing director. These attractions include Der Bahn, in which riders swish down a fully enclosed tube slide in the dark; Blitz Falls, in which guests are conveyed upward on an Aqua Veyor and subsequently let loose in a whitewater rapids tube chute; Comal Express and Loopy Luge, which involves a race through steeply banked curves on two head-first mat slides; and the King Kaw Rapids River, a journey through a sea of rushing rapids.
The same rationale was behind the introduction of the CliffHanger at Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, Idaho, and of The Dune Racer at Waterville USA in Gulf Shores, Ala. CliffHanger riders ascend six stories, then climb into a launching capsule. Once a trap door has opened, riders drop six stories, in an almost vertical position, within a four-second interval. The Dune Racer is a six-lane mat racer waterslide and the first attraction of its kind to be unveiled in the Gulf Coast area, at Waterville USA in Gulf Shores, Ala. Racers first enter a harrowing tunnel, circling 360 degrees high in the air, then “exploding” onto a high-speed straightaway for a race toward the checkered finish. All slides are about 55 feet high, enabling participants to reach a top speed of 40 feet per second. “We have always noticed, as have parents, that kids’ first inclination on a waterside is to challenge their friends to a race, to see who can reach the end first,” said Joe Warrington, park president. “That racing culture is encouraged on this new attraction.”
In a somewhat different vein, there have been initiatives by venues to incorporate attractions visitors might not expect to see at that type of venue. Miner’s Maze Adventureland, in Denver, Colo., represents an example, having rolled out its first dry water attraction for summer 2012. Created by Amaze n’ Mazes and known as Water Walkerz, the attraction features oversized clear plastic rubber balls into which riders climb. Once aboard, guests and then “walk,” crawl, float or bob along the surface of the water while trying to keep their balance inside the moving ball as they propel themselves forward. “We weren’t sure how people would respond to the unusual ‘dry’ water attraction within the park, but kids and adults have really loved climbing into the beach balls and then trying to maneuver them across the water,” noted Jared Vasold, a partner in the venture.
For its part, Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium now touts a log flume ride that surrounds three primate-inhabited islands and transports visitors past aquatic animals and through the aquarium’s South Pacific Reef tunnel tank before splashing down three stories. The tunnel tank is the longest tunnel tank in Arizona.
Meanwhile, Schlitterbahn Kansas City has installed a zip line attraction that takes riders 100 feet above the park. Stan Chicketts, founder of Soaring Eagle Zip Lines, said zip lines, some with a twist, are now being installed not only at theme parks, but at other types of tourist attractions. For instance, Cave of the Winds, a cavern and canyon attraction in Manitou Springs, Colo., now features a bat-themed zipline option called the Bat-A-Pult, in which riders enjoy a 1,200-foot round-trip flight across Williams Canyon at speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour. Miller Motorsports Park in Toele, Utah has also introduced a zipline, as has Craig’s Cruisers in Silver Lake, Mich.
Yet another cadre of venues are debuting attractions that are not unusual for their particular category, but feature elements that push the boundaries in some way. Notably, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio, is preparing for the opening of its 43-acre Safari Africa attraction in the summer of 2014. A zoo spokesperson said Safari Africa will differ from other safari attractions in that visitors will be able to truly “experience” its animal inhabitants in their natural habitats, rather than merely viewing them. As an example, guests will have the chance to hide food and “enrichment objects” for the monkeys as well as feed the giraffes and touch their tongues as they grasp branches extended to them.