---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(8/5/20) Arkansas - Dogpatch USA site sold to Bass Pro Shop Founder (MORE...)
(7/29/20) North Carolina Shuts Down Tweetsie Railroad Already (MORE...)
(7/23/20) North Carolina - Lighting Strike Causes Injuries Near New Alpine Coaster (MORE...)
(7/19/20) Tweetsie Reopens In North Carolina With Railroad Only (MORE...)
(7/1/20) Lakemont Park Set To Open This Week with Leap-The-Dips (MORE...)
(6/29/20) California's Belmont Park Shut Down For
Running Rides Without Permission (MORE...)
(6/24/20) New Jersey To Reopen Two FunPlex Locations Next Month (MORE...)
Arizona - (6/2/20) Castles and Coasters have announced that while the arcade, golf, go-karts and bumper boats are now open, they will finally open the ride park on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
(5/25/20) Golfland SunSplash in Mesa, Arizona has confirmed that they have now reopened, including the Golfland attraction as well as the Sunsplash Waterpark attractions, where the site says all attractions are now open.
(1/27/20) Talk about the flashback to my youth… ATARI, the video game company, has announced a licensing agreement with a Phoenix based developer, True North Studio and another company named GSD Group. The deal will see up to eight ATARI branded hotels to be built in the US. The first one is already planned to break ground in Phoenix sometime later this year, with the others set to rise in Las Vegas, Denver, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Austin. (Sorry East Coast…)
The hotel buildings would be themed with the ATARI logo and have a focus on video game culture in both the decor as well as on-site offers such as an E-Sport gaming studio, an Atari themed “gaming playground”, meeting and event space, restaurants, bars and even an on-site movie theater.
Arkansas - (8/5/20) It was announced that the site of the former Dogpatch USA theme park in Arkansas was actually purchased by the founder of Bass Pro Shop, Johnny Morris. His plans for the property are to preserve the property as “a nature experience” for future guests to enjoy.
(6/5/20) According to a local news report the site of the former Dogpatch USA theme park was just sold to a new owner for $1.12 million. The new owner is listed as “Down By the Falls LLC”, which was just incorporated in Delaware on May 28, 2020. The intended use of the nearly 400 acre site by the new owner was also not stated, other than a comment from a representative that it would “be good for Arkansas.”
California - (6/29/20) According to this news report Belmont Park in San Diego had apparently opened several of their rides earlier this month. According to the article Belmont Park was then closed on Friday ‘by officials who said it was operating rides in violation of state guidelines.”
(6/10/20) The San Diego Zoo has been given permission to reopen both the Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly: San Diego Wild Animal Park) starting on June 20, 2020. Certain experiences will not be offered for the time being, such as the Skyfari Aerial Tram and Bus Tours at the Zoo or the Africa Tram at the Safari Park. They ask that you prepurchase your tickets in advance, and face masks are required for all guests age 2 and older.
(5/28/20) According to this news report California has announced that all theme parks will be cleared to reopen as soon as Stage 3 of the reopening plan is ready to go into effect. Unfortunately they have not said when Stage 3 will go into effect, but early anticipation is that it could happen sometime in the next month or two. It is expected that discussions with the state over developing the proper plans to allow the parks to reopen should begin soon.
(5/12/20) According to the Scandia Sacramento website, the FEC attraction has reopened their outdoor attractions… Mini Golf, Batting Cages and Rides.
(5/3/20) According to an update posted to MiceChat, the various parks and attractions in San Diego have placed the return of their operations into the Phase 3 of the plan to reopen California business proposed by the governor. The official plans released to the public at that time did not clearly mention theme parks but the guidelines being put into place by the San Diego attractions are a bit more clear about their intentions, though it still may take months to reach this “Phase 3” state.
The new guidelines include masks to be worn by guests and staff, temperature checks for guests, along with some pre-screening where possible, in addition to all the current social distancing guidelines. Other items mentioned ride vehicle disinfecting procedures, guests to be queued in small family groups only, as well as staggered seating.
(4/29/20) According to some early guidelines mentioned by the state of California regarding a multi-phase plan to gradually reopen businesses in the state, it sounds like the opening of attractions that would normally contain huge groups of guests at one time may not reopen until the laser phases of the plan. This could potentially delay the reopening of big parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood for several months.
While the subject of “theme parks” are never officially mentioned, this is the early thinking based on the first suggested guidelines. Of course, during the early days of social distancing, before stay-at-home orders, theme parks were going to be allowed to stay open at the time. So you never know, with the right proof of concept in place (like the successful reopening of parks elsewhere…) exceptions may be made and parks could open sooner.
(4/19/20) SoCal theme park fans… you’ll be interested in this video. A local area helicopter pilot took to the skies over the Los Angeles area to fly over most of the regions currently closed theme parks. He flies over Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood (good view of Super Nintendo World) and Six Flags Magic Mountain, along with a fly by downtown LA. Unfortunately the No-Fly Zone over the Disneyland Resort is still in effect.
(4/5/20) Over the past several decades if you have driven I-15 between Southern California and Las Vegas may recall seeing a mirage in the desert that looked like a closed waterpark over the years. As many locals know, this was no mirage, but was an actual waterpark that started out as a campground attraction called Lake Dolores in the 50s. In the 80’s the lake area started to add some unique waterslides and attractions, and in the 90’s I believe it closed and was repainted in bright colors and reopened as Rock-A-Hoola for a few years before being shut down again.
Now would you believe that the former waterpark may return to service once again? According to the local news new plans to restore the waterpark along with other new developments to the 267-acre site around it have been approved to move forward by the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. The plans include reopening the waterpark, restoring the 22-acre Dolores Lake and a 2-acre pond for boating, swimming and camping use along with adding other retail and commercial space.
(3/23/20) This one goes out to haunt fans, as well as those who are fascinated by creepy real world locations. The famous Winchester Mystery House in California, while closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now offering fans free “digital tours” of the Estate you can enjoy from the comfort and safety of your home. This special 40+ minute video tour will only be offered while the Winchester Mystery House is closed to the public, and then will disappear forever.
I know the Winchester Mystery House has long been on my bucket list of famous places to visit in person. I had the chance to visit once over 20 years ago, and was disheartened to find out that I had missed the last tour of the day a few minutes before I had arrived. It was worth the drive to see the outside of the house, but I’ve been determined to make it back there someday ever since and see the inside for myself. Until then, this video-tour will help fill the void.
It is also worth mentioning that they are offering pre-purchase vouchers to visit the house when they reopen at 33% discount off the normal box-office price.
(2/28/20) The latest updated on Tyra Banks ModelLand attraction concept now say that it will be ready to open on May 1st and will be located in Santa Monica. You can sign up for more information from the official website which is now preselling tickets starting at $59 for adults and up to $1,495 for a “Fantascene Dream” package. This mega-package includes a photoshoot, a person consultation with fashion and beauty experts, plus a styling and wardrobe change.
(2/17/20) Apparently Tyra Banks was dead serious when she said she wanted to open her own themed attraction to be called ModelLand and they’ve got an official Instagram posting all about it. The idea is that it will be a themed experience where every member of the family can experience what it is like to be a model and include some special shopping and dining experiences as well. According to the posts it will be a “story-driven attraction” showcasing a “fantasy version of the modeling world”, but it is not a theme park, or a museum.
The plan is to open ModelLand in California sometime later this year.
(1/18/20) According to the local news a new 150-foot tall Ferris Wheel attraction has been approved for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park as part of the park’s 150th anniversary celebration.
(12/5/19) The Dreamscape VR attraction at the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles will open a new attraction on December 13th themed to DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragons” animated film series, called Dragons Flight Academy. It is described as an 11-minute experience for up to 8 people to experience together, as you learn to fly a dragon and take part in a rescue mission with help from Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and Stormfly. Much like the popular VR experience found at The Void locations, this will be a free-roam experience that will track your body’s movements and feature a real-world physical environment for you to touch and feel as you become a dragon rider. Visit the official website to make your reservations now.
(10/30/19) The ongoing story regarding the operations of the Queen Mary continue this week as a “real estate investment trust” connected to Urban Commons called Eagle Hospitality Trust requested to have their trading suspended on the Singapore exchange following the negative reports about Urban Commons status with the Queen Mary in order to calm their investors.
(10/14/19) While the determination on if Urban Commons will default on their lease agreement still has to be determined, it has now been reported that Urban Commons’ plans to update the Queen Mary complex have been pushed back at least another two years, as that will be the earliest they will have the plans finalized and ready for city approval. The project does have additional difficulties however, as they are in the city’s designated “Tidelands” area, which involves a separate funding process, as well as being forced to run every aspect of their plans through the California Coastal Commissions lengthy approval process.
(10/8/19) Urban Commons, the operations company behind the Queen Mary, is apparently in danger of defaulting on their lease agreement, and has not met the obligations to maintain and perform repairs on the ship. Follow the link to read about the various owners and operators who have tried their hand at the Queen Mary over the past several years, as well as to see what needs to be done now.
Georgia - (1/20/20) Netherworld has confirmed the details about that of that rumored special Valentine’s Weekend event I told you about last month. For one night only, on Feb. 15, 2020, Netherworld will host a Scream in the Dark limited capacity event. Guests will travel into the darkness of The Netherworld equipped with only a small LED candle to light your way. Keep an eye on the official website which says that the tickets will go on sale very soon, and I’d expect them to sell out quickly.
(12/20/19) While this isn’t official yet, Screamscape sources tell me that Netherworld is planning a special Valentines themed event that may take place on Feb. 15th. The tentative name for this is “Scream in the Dark” where you are sent into the Night of the Gordon maze where the lights hav been turned down very low, and you are given only a tiny little LED candle with which to light your way through the nightmare. Keep this in mind as Valentines Day approaches if you want to do a little screaming with someone you love.
(12/15/19) Netherworld, the famous haunt in the Atlanta area apparently put on some holiday fun this month. Unfortunately I didn’t hear about it until today, but they put on a special “Haunted Holiday” takeover of their Night of the Gorgon maze last night, along with a special Mutant Madness laser tag event in their Cold Blooded haunt space. Unfortunately those were a one night event thing, so we’ve all missed out this season, but I will be watching out next year!
But fear not… there is one more special event night planned in December for a different kind of event, one that those of you who really love haunts may enjoy! Netherworld will host a special LIGHTS ON TOUR night through the Night of the Gorgon and Cold Blooded haunts, exposing all the details for you to see. Small groups will be led through with a guide to explain the storylines and production details behind each of the sets, including several opportunities along the way to take pictures inside the haunts. The Netherworld Lights On Tour will only take place on Saturday, December 28th, and is a special reservation-time tour experience, so you need to grab yours online now before they sell out. Currently it looks like the time slots are all between noon and 5:45pm. (It’s also worth mentioning that the new Netherworld home in the Stone Mountain area does feature a highly themed outdoor Laser Tag battle arena (open select days) as well as several themed Escape Rooms that appear to be open daily with advanced reservation purchase recommended to make sure the experience you want is available for your group.
(10/23/19) According to the local area news the president of the Atlanta Motor Speedway showed off concept art of how they could build a casino concept that would cater to the whole family next to the race track. The concept would feature the casino, an indoor / outdoor waterpark complex, a TopGolf style multi-level driving range, multi-screen movie theater, an E-Sports arena and even a theme park with several roller coasters.
I gotta admit, they did their homework and have come up with a fine looking concept, but before anything like this gets built the state would have to pass a new amendment to allow for casino gaming, which would then have to go before a state vote of the citizens.
(6/7/19) I finally found a POV video of the new Georgia Mountain Coaster, now open in Helen, GA. Be warned that this Alpine Coaster is quite a bit shorter than the ones I’ve become more accustomed to riding in the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area. The whole video is only 4 minutes long and it takes 2:50 just to get to the top of the lift hill. That minute of downhill bliss however looks extremely fast and wicked however. Give the video a quick watch yourselves.
(2/2/18) According to our friends at BlooLoop the massive Georgia Aquarium is planning to expand the facility. They call the plan “Expansion 2020” and it would see the majority of the work added to where the current entrance is now, creating an entirely new larger entrance area as well as allow for “new larger exhibit space”.
I’m looking forward to seeing this in 2020. I had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Aquarium about six years ago and it was just an absolutely stunning attraction that made for a fantastic afternoon with the kids as we visited it and the World of Coke attraction that was within walking distance.
Mississippi - (2/17/20) I’m no longer sure of what kind of timeline they are trying to achieve with the mini amusement park going in for the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, but there are a few legal matters that have come up it seem. According to this report the resort is now in a $5 million payment dispute with a contractor helping to build the platform and parking garage for the attraction, along with another matter involving over half a million owed to the state of Mississippi for unpaid sales taxes.
(4/19/19) According to this report the new amusement area expansion coming to the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi will feature a rather unique attraction fitting to the brand called the AEROBAR. Riders will strap into seats around a circular shaped bar, complete with bartender standing in the middle, and then slowly rise up 137 feet into the sky for an awesome view while you enjoy your drink. According to the description it takes about 2 minutes to go up and town the tower, and you’ll spend five minutes at the top. A video showing off the first AEROBAR in action in France at Futuroscope can be seen below.
(7/4/18) Since it was announced last year, I had figured this project must have been completed by now, but it seems the expansion of the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi was delayed after getting caught up in some issues with the state over land use. As of last week the project was finally cleared by the state to go ahead and the resort will begin working on their $140 million expansion that will include a new hotel tower as well as an expansion to the amusements being offered that will include a giant ferris wheel and other outdoor rides on site.
Missouri - (7/29/19) A couple of fun new photo updates of local new attractions in the Branson area have been posted by MidWestInfoGuide this week. You can see a few new photos of the Branson Buzzsaw attraction that went up at the Branson Sawmill, as well as a look at a new Skyscraper ride installed at the Track 3 Complex of Branson Tracks.
(7/17/19) The local news reports that construction on the new St. Louis Wheel attraction at Union Station has begin. The new wheel will stand 200 feet tall and be just one of several new attractions which include: an aquarium, mini-golf course, carousel and more.
New Hampshire - (6/14/20) I missed this post made back on April 2, but the Candia Springs Adventure Park in New Hampshire has opted to not open at all for the 2020 season.
New Jersey - (6/24/20) The FunPlex in New Jersey has announced that they will open their outdoor attraction area and waterpark at both locations on July 2, 2020. The attractions will only operate from Wednesday to Sunday at first and use a manditory reservation system. According to the press release the Mount Laurel location will open their new High Velocity 55ft tall drop tower on opening day and will also feature an expanded Splashplex Cafe with a new outdoor kitchen. For all the details visit their official website.
(3/31/20) Bad news for the Fantasy Island amusement park in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. According to the local news a fire broke out in the Scoops Up ice cream parlor. The fire responders were able to put it out keep the damage contained to the ice cream shop, and there were no injuries.
(3/10/20) I just mentioned how staffing problems will likely become a major issue this season as a result of coronavirus cocnerns in my latest article for BlooLoop, especially when it comes to attractions who heavily use foreign student labor. If you haven’t given that a read, please do here.
Backing that up, NJ.com has now confirmed that Jersey Shore attractions are trying to figure out how they will manage to operate this year as the hiring season begins. A shortage of staff over the summer could force these businesses to make some drastic changes to their operations this year that could include shorter hours each day, and even result in a shorter operating season entirely. Normally a large number of foreign workers staff the attractions in New Jersey, with over 10,000 participants listed as being in the State Department’s J-1 Summer Work visa program in 2018 alone.
(12/31/19) For anyone wondering… Bowcraft is now nothing more than a memory as demolition and ground clearing crews have removed just about anything that remains from the once small park in New Jersey. You can find a quick video shot at the site by clicking here.
New York - (6/23/20) According to a post on Facebook, Sylvan Beach in New York has announced that the attraction will not open at all in Summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
(1/15/20) A little piece of the Wizarding World will soon open in New York City. Warner Bros. has announced that they will open the first “official Harry Potter flagship store” in the heart of New York City next to the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway. Look for this massive three-story, 20,000 sqft, themed store to open in Summer 2020 that will feature the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in world under one roof. Wand collectors will want to take note as well, as the location will also feature a new collection of ‘house wands’ that will be exclusive to the New York location.
North Carolina - (7/29/20) I had wondered just what was going on at Tweetsie after my last report. According to the local news, Tweetsie is now shut down again after North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services declared that the Tweetsie Railroad could no longer run during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I suspected, keeping the rides closed was an attempt to put the park into compliance with NC state policy, but now the state has shut them down again. The interesting thing is that railroad attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC are still up and running, and with the rides closed, all Tweetsie had was the railroad and gift shops, making it no different than the railroad attractions that are still permitted to run.
(7/23/20) A bad lightning storm in North Carolina on Tuesday struck a tree near the new Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk. Unfortunately several guests were sitting under or near the tree and at least six guests were injured by the lightning strike. The alpine coaster was closed and not running at the time of the lightning strike, though a post on their social media pages on Wednesday confirms that the ride is currently closed while they await a needed part in order to reopen.
(7/19/20) According to the local news, North Carolina’s small Tweetsie theme park has reopened for guests on Friday… kinda. Face masks are required for those 11 and up and social distancing is being used in the park. If you want to take a spin on the 3-mile long Tweetsie Railroad, capacity is limited to 50% and guests have to reserve a time to ride it. However… as indicated, the park really isn’t completely open, as all the “rides” other than the railroad are still closed.
When a news station asked the park how they were able to open when amusement parks are supposed to be closed under the current orders from the governor while North Carolina remains in Phase 2, they did not respond. I’ve got a feeling that the closed rides are the key here allowing Tweetsie to take advantage of a loop-hole that is allowing other Railroad attractions to still operate, such as the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City, NC. Tweetsie’s own website has made some subtle changes from years past, now showing just the “Tweetsie Railroad” logo, and moving the “Wild West Theme Park Adventure” line away from the logo to a location near the bottom of the fold.
The good news is that with the changes the price of admission has also dropped to just $10 for adults to visit and ride the train, and $7 for kids (3-12), though the park is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays currently.
One odd thing however, as of this writing, I am on their website and when I attempted to purchase a day ticket to the park it says to “select your desired date and train ride time”, but there are zero options to choose from, which makes me wonder if operations for next weekend may be in question or if all dates have sold out already.
(1/11/20) Just a quick update on the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. It did not open over the fall as earlier anticipated, but according to the latest post from their Facebook page, they are expecting to finally be ready to open sometime in February. Since their website is still under construction, follow along with their Facebook page to keep up on the latest status updates as they prepare to open.
(7/18/19) The first Alpine Coaster in North Carolina is set to open sometime this fall near Sugar Mountain. It will be called Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster and their website is already live so you can sign up to find out the latest project updates. It will feature a 770 foot lift hill and a 2,100 foot long run back down the mountain.
Ohio - (6/4/20) Good news for Ohio area theme parks and water parks. According to a statement issued by Cedar Fair’s Ohio area theme parks, an Amendment to HB 665 was adopted on June 4 in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee that will provide for the immediate reopening of Ohio amusement parks and water parks.
So far this doesn’t reopen the parks, but apparently they are waiting for extra guidance from the state Governor that they expect will be addressed on June 4th. (As of this writing, it has not happened yet, so stay tuned).
(6/2/20) Stricker’s Grove (Ohio), which is normally only open to the public a few days out of the year , has announced on their website that the park has chosen to remain closed for the 2020 season for both public and private events.
(5/26/20) Long time coaster fans may remember reading about the Blue Flash, a home-made steel roller coaster built by John Ivers at his home in Indiana. A few years later Ivers went at it again and built a second small coaster called Blue Too. About 18 years after building Blue Flash, Ivers announced in December 2019 that he would be retiring his creations forever.
Then something crazy happened… Tim May, the owner of a haunt attraction in Columbus, Ohio decided he wanted to add a small coaster to his Haunted Hoochie attraction. May had begun to put in a collection of odd and scary looking small rides as part of an ‘Abusement Park’ section of his Haunt and struck a deal with Ivers to take possession of the Blue Flash and Blue Too coasters and have now put them together in Ohio. If the state gives approval for the rides to carry passengers, guests to the Haunted Hoochie could find themselves able to get two of the world’s most elusive coaster credits. A video was created by Coaster Studios showing off the two coasters now fully installed at their new Ohio home, which you can see below.
Oklahoma - (5/10/20) For anyone in the Oklahoma area, apparently the Incredible Pizza location there has reopened with new safety procedures in place for food and rides. You can read a great trip report about the new experience posted to Facebook. The report also mentioned that the location seemed to have some kind of new attraction under construction as well, but no word on what it was going to be.
(11/18/19) The latest word from Bell’s posted in a new video is that they are said to be in talks with two different locations where they could rebuild the Bell’s theme park.
(9/21/19) In a follow up to last week’s message that Bell’s Amusement Park was looking to make a surprise return, Robbie Bell has posted a new video message as a brief follow-up to the positive response so far to the idea of bringing Bell’s back. No solid details are ready to be made public yet, but they want everyone to watch their page for the latest news and progress updates.
(9/13/19) I’m not too confident about this, but according to the local news Robby Bell, owner of the former Bell’s Amusement Park, is looking to rebuild his lost park once again. According Robby, it isn’t a matter of when, but rather a question of “where” the park will go. Unfortunately there aren’t any more details to share, and this isn’t the first time this kind of statement has been made, so we’ll have to take it with a grain of salt until we see some kind of physical progress.
Oregon - (4/19/20) The unique Wings and Waves Waterpark in Oregon was purchased along with the property and and vinyard land surrounding the nearby Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum complex by a company owned by Bill Stoller. While the purchase did not include the main museum, it did include the Space Museum building which will be leased back to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, which is also currently the home to Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose airplane.
The indoor aviation themed waterpark, located about 45 minutes from Portland, is a unique structure with a 747 placed on the roof. Guests to the waterpark climb stairs up into the 747 itself to get into the park’s tallest slides which depart from the inside of the plane.
Pennsylvania - (7/1/20) According to this article, Lakemont Park and the rides, including Leap-the-Dips, will open once again this Friday.
(5/9/20) According to this news report the “Stay-at-Home” order in Pennsylvania for counties listed as being in the “RED” phase will be extended through June 4th. The good news is that 13 more counties will switch from RED to YELLOW status next week. These 13 new counties are said to be in the states south-western area, and will include many of those around the Pittsburgh area.
And yes… this includes Kennywood which is located in Allegheny County. Please note that this does not mean Kennywood is cleared to reopen, but it does put them in the right direction to a change to the Green status in the county when the park will be allowed to reopen.
(5/3/20) Screamscape was sent a little more information about the current Pennsylvania rules and phases to reopen the state’s businesses. The state is is taking multi-phase Red / Yellow / Green approach to reopening for each county, so those with lower infection rates will open much earlier than those in urban areas that might have higher infection rates. Currently 24 counties are set to enter the Yellow phase starting May 8th.
This doesn’t mean that any parks in the Yellow can reopen just yet, but it puts them much closer than parks still in the red counties, such as Kennywood. According to our source it appears as if smaller parks like Waldameer, Conneaut Lake and part of Knoebels (which lies in 2 counties) may enter the Yellow phase on the 8th. Even so, it sounds like it may be several weeks before theme parks may be allowed to reopen, with mid July sounding like it may be the earliest we see it happen.
(2/12/20) After dealing with unexpected permitting issues and problems with their new location the Scarehouse is finally ready to open the doors to their new attractions in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. On Friday, Feb. 14th, Scarehouse Presents: BOLD ESCAPE ROOMS will open for year-round operations featuring two new escape room experiences: “Stalked by a Killer” and “data/bass”.
Also, for a very limited time they will re-open The Basement, a high intensity intimate horror experience. Follow this link to learn all about these new attractions.
South Carolina - (6/6/20) Local news reports that the plans to build the FunPlex mini amusement park in Myrtle Beach have been approved. The new park will feature seven attractions and we now have some concept art and a layout plan to see more about what is planned. Based on what I can gleem from the plans and artwork, it looks like there could be a number of SBF/Visa Group rides here, including a custom Big Air Coaster, a new concept they had on display at IAAPA last November that features a pair of “hamster wheel” looking cars that can flip riders upside down followed by a trio of their spinning coaster cars, so you can choose your experience. Also seen on the plans include what looks like a Space Gun (Twin Hammerhead style ride), a Reverse Time, a drop tower, a couple of kiddie rides and what almost appears to be a Zamerperla Super Air Race ride.
I could be entirely wrong about the Air Race, as the rest of the rides look as if the entire ride package could be from SBF-Visa, but I don’t see anything that looks quite like the ride in the art in their catalog, so I’m really not quite sure what it is. (I’m sure some of you readers who are flat ride experts may be able to help figure it out, as it could be something new not yet posted, like the Big Air Coaster.
In other ride news for the area, I’m told that all the currently set up rides at Broadway at the Beach are now up and running, which includes the West and Central Pavilion Park zones. The former Pavilion Park East is still disassembled. I’m told that some of the rides that used to run at the East ride cluster are sitting in an empty parking lot across the street, so perhaps they will come back in new locations once they finish rebuilding that section of the complex in about a year or so.
(5/23/20) The latest move by the Governor of South Carolina has now lifted restrictions on arcades, museums, aquariums, mini-golf, go-kart and amusement parks in the state, allowing them to reopen. Youth sporting events were also given the green light to return as well. This along with the reopening of beaches that happened several weeks prior should likely see people begin to return to regular tourist locations along the coast, such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.
I’m told that Concert Venues, Theaters and other Performance venues were not included in this reopening order and are still to remain closed along with night clubs, bowling alleys, race tracks and other ‘adult’ entertainment venues.
The Carowinds theme park that sits on the border of North and South Carolina just outside of Charlotte, NC however still remains closed. The Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC has reopened as of today however. Timed-Ticket Reservations are required to enter the Zoo for all guests and members. This will see guests groups allowed into the Zoo through the use of staggered entry times available every 30 minutes to prevent crowding at the entrance all at once in the morning hours. As part of a multi-phase reopening plan, the Zoo will resume operations, but with limited attendance numbers and new health and safety measures in place, and all staff will be required to wear face masks. Guests are not required to wear masks, but are encouraged to do so. Most attractions will be open but certain indoor attractions will be limiting how many guests can be inside at a time. They do note that the tram service between the Zoo and Garden will not be in operation at this time, but guests are welcome to walk along the tram pathway, or to drive their cars around to the entry on the other side of the Zoo & Garden and re-enter there.
(5/17/20) According to a local news report a new mini amusement park may be preparing to open in Myrtle Beach sometime in 2021. According to the plans submitted to the city the project would be called “The Funplex of Myrtle Beach” which would consist of a complex of amusement rides and food outlets to be located along 14th Ave North between Ocean Blvd and Chester St that appears to currently be used for parking.
Currently Funplex has two locations, both in New Jersey, and is looking to expand into a new market. The plans will include a small family coaster that will run the perimeter of the property, a number of other kiddie and family rides, along with a “tall tower ride” that is said to be the first of its kind in the country. If approved, construction could start as early as this fall and be open by April 2021.
(5/5/20) While hotels and some businesses in Myrtle Beach have been allowed to reopen. For starters only those with pre-existing reservations can stay in the local hotels. New reservations will not be accepted until May 15th. However swiming pools, spas and dining areas at the resorts are to remain closed under the governor’s orders for the time being.
(4/23/20) While the Governor of South Carolina announced that the state’s beaches could reopen this week, he left it up to the local counties to make the final decision on when they will reopen. Myrtle Beach has already voted to keep their beaches closed for now, giving the city council time to plan a meeting to discuss their options about a timeline and what restrictions they will put in place. However, public beaches that lie in unincorporated areas of Horry County are now allowed to open, but people must maintain distancing and patrolling law enforcement will disperse any groups of three or more.
(3/28/20) According to this article it appears that the Myrtle Beach area will be closing to tourists through to April 30th. The shut down includes hotels, campgrounds (public and private), rental properties and more. All visitors at these properties must depart by noon this Sunday and all amusement attractions (including movie theaters, golf and mini-golf, arcades, go-karts and more) are to have closed down already as of Friday night.
(3/25/20) For those wondering about the fate of the other shows in the Myrtle Beach area, following the nationwide suspension that shut down Pirates Voyage last week, we have an update! According to a local source Legends in Concert Myrtle Beach and Medieval Times have both suspended all shows indefinitely. The local House of Blues location is also now closed until further notice.
(3/24/20) A reader dropped by the nearly deserted Broadway at the Beach center in Myrtle Beach and snapped a few quick pictures from the huge clearing where the movie theater and rides once stood. So far there is no sign of any new construction for what is to come, but they’ve finally cleared away the debris that was sitting there for months.
(3/7/20) As previously rumored, The Hangout has been confirmed as coming to Broadway at the Beach by Late 2020 offering food, family fun and even live-music year-round on indoor and outdoor stages.
(2/15/20) Le Grand Cirque is coming to Broadway at the Beach for a limited time in 2020. The show will set up shop inside an 850 seat circus tent in the parking lot of Broadway at the Beach offering eight shows a week from June through to October. Le Grand Cirque performed in Myrtle Beach in 2019 as well, but was located in the parking lot of the Waccamaw Center, not far from the former location of Hard Rock Park. You can find out official details and how to book your tickets at the official site.
(1/21/20) Plans to build a go-kart attraction in Hilton Head has been given approval to begin construction by a judge after denying an appeal by a “Indigo Run” group who has been fighting to stop the project from happening for the past year. Look for the new go-kart attraction to be built on a 16-acre section of property joining the Aerial Adventure Park attraction, Up the Creek Pub and Broad Creek Marina.
(1/5/20) Alligator Adventure attraction in North Myrtle Beach at Barefoot Landing announced on their Facebook page that they are closing on Monday to undergo extensive renovations over the next several weeks that will include the addition of “future exhibits”.
(11/22/19) I’m not sure if this will be part of the expanding demolition taking place at Broadway at the Beach, but I’ve been told that the IMAX theater building that sat next to the former MagiQuest building which was being used for a live action magic show is now closed and dark as well. No signs of demolition however, so the building may be repurposed as something else, but everything else beyond it has been laid to waste.
(11/21/19) According to the local news the demolition of the old theater building at Broadway at the Beach came along with some other new demolition victims. Despite signs saying the closure was temporary, the Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf course has now been demolished along with the entire Pavilion Park East area and attractions, as well as the building that was formerly the home to MagicQuest.
So far the only replacement project announced for the area will be a new seafood restaurant/bar called The Hangout, based on an existing business in Alabama, that will inhabit a massive new 45,000 sqft building.
(11/12/19) For anyone still holding out hope that the former Hard Rock Park site in Myrtle Beach could return to life as some kind of new attraction… it isn’t likely to ever happen. The new owners of the site have requested a zoning change for the area away from the current ‘Amusement Park’ use and were given a unanimous recommendation vote from the Commissioners to rezone it all as a new industrial warehouse and manufacturing district. The next official zoning meeting to go over the request will take place on Nov. 19th with the Horry County Council.
(10/30/19) According to this local news report the new Penguin Playhouse inside Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach (at Broadway at the Beach) will be ready to open sometime in early 2020. The 5,500 sqft expansion is said to be the largest in the attraction’s 20-year history with floor-to-ceiling glass viewing panels into the penguin habitat as well as all new Oceans of the World aquarium gallery exhibits.
(10/19/19) According to one of our local readers, the wheel at Broadway at the Beach is up and running once again, and they also sent in some new pictures revealing that the old movie theater is now totally demolished to the ground. I’m told that an announcement regarding whatever may be coming to replace it may come just before the end of the year, around Christmas time.
(10/1/19) A new interesting items of note are taking place in Myrtle Beach at Broadway at the Beach. For starters, the Broadway 360 Observation Wheel that sits near Wonderworks is current down and even missing part of the wheel structure at the moment. According to reports the wheel bearings in the axle at the center were in need of replacement, so they are finishing up that work now and plan to get the wheel up and running again within the next week or so.
Meanwhile demolition has begun at the opposite side of the complex. The AMC Theater we just reported as having closed is now being demolished completely. As such the nearby Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf and pathways going over to the Pavilion Park rides is also closed. No word on what might replace the theater building just yet.
(9/2/19) The next time you visit Myrtle Beach and drop into the popular Broadway at the Beach entertainment / retail complex, don’t plan on staying to see a movie. After entertaining guests for 23 years the local 16-screen movie theater (last run by AMC) opted not to renew their lease with property owner, Burroughs & Chapin, and simply shut down the theater in August. The theater structure itself was located next to the long-closed MagiQuest attraction building, with the two now leaving a sizable dead-spot in the venue that could be repurposed for something else in the future.
The closing also puts a spotlight on how certain theater locations may be struggling to attract viewers on a regular basis who may be fed up with high prices and lackluster experiences, who are more willing to watch movies at their home theaters instead. It is also worth noting that AMC has another theater in the Myrtle Beach area to pick-up any lost business from this location.
South Dakota - (6/2/20) According to a local news report the Wild Water West waterpark is pushing back their plans to build that steel RMC single-rail roller coaster. Construction is now not expected to start until sometime this fall, which should see it ready to open in time for the 2021 season.
(3/24/20) The planning commission voted to approve the plans for Wild Water West to build their new steel roller coaster. While the world has turned upside-down since the vote, the original plan was to try to begin work on the footers sometime in April to meet an August opening date, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see if the opening of this new RMC Raptor coaster gets pushed back to 2021 right now. Now we just have to wait and see.
(2/27/20) Would you believe someone wants to bring an RMC Raptor style coaster to South Dakota? Apparently Wild Water West in Sioux Falls, which is a mix of a waterpark that also has more traditional FEC style attractions like mini-golf, go-karts, paintball, bumper-boats and a batting cage, has begun to file plans to add an RMC Raptor style steel coaster to the site. The initial permits say it will stand 113 feet tall, and based on the height and artwork shown, it looks like it would be a clone of the Wonder Woman Golden Lasso coaster built at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2018. Of course the local news article says it will be the largest coaster in South Dakota when it opens… but that’s not much of a stretch because I think the only other roller coaster in the entire state right now is Humpty Dumpty’s Great Fall at Storylandbook Land which opened in 2015.
Texas - (6/5/20) ZDT in Texas, home to the Switchback wooden shuttle roller coaster, has announced that they will reopen on June 6, 2020.
(5/30/20) Sad news for Morgan’s Wonderland in Texas. According to the website the mini-park designed for those with special needs in Texas has confirmed that they will remain closed for the 2020 season, resulting in an estimated $1.3 million loss for the non-profit park. They were sure to confirm that this is not a closure announcement, and they will return in 2021 under new guidelines where they can best serve their special needs guests.
Virginia - (5/4/20) A group of new construction photos showing off the new slide pieces and tower progress for the three-slide expansion coming to the Massanutten Water Park were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend and posted below. Enjoy!
(3/5/20) According to the local news a 16-year old girl with long braided hair had her hair get grabbed and stuck while riding the new multi-level go-karts track at Fun Land in Fredericksburg, VA. The rules require that long hair be secured up and away to prevent this from happening, which the teen said she did, but it came loose in mid ride, and resulted in the incident. Unable to free her with the tools at hand, Paramedics were called in to help free her from the go-kart.
(12/1/19) A reader sent in a couple of images showing off the preview artwork for a new 2020 outdoor waterpark expansion coming to the Massanutten Resort waterpark in Virginia. According to the artwork it looks like this will be a single tower addition with three different slide styles attached to it along with an “Enhanced Kiddie Area”, and observation area and outdoor bar.
Washington - (6/21/20) The former fleet of Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicles that once operated in Seattle will soon be put up for auction. The former tour company was shut down several years ago following a highway accident involving one of the vehicles that resulted in the deaths of a few passengers and injuries to many more.
(2/24/20) A quick update about the coasters at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. A reader got in touch with the PR manager there and was told that while the Rainier Rush coaster is being torn out for good, the Wildcat is just getting repainted and moved to a nearby location where it will be put up again.
(2/7/20) While we have no photos to back this up yet, a reader reported in after driving past the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA the other day that it looked as if they may have taken down both of the steel coasters that were on site: the Wildcat and Rainier Rush. If anyone else is in the area and can verify this, please do let us know.
Washington D.C. - (1/16/19) Meow Wolf has announced that they will add yet another new location to their growing collection of exhibits, this time in Washington D.C. inside a three-story structure located in Fort Totten. Set to open in 2022, it will feature a new and unique storyline within the attraction.