---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(7/25/22) Developers of Former Six Flags New Orleans Property Say City's Delays Are Hurting Their Efforts (MORE...)
(7/23/22) Washington DC To Open "Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience"
(7/10/22) California - It's Almost Midsummer Scream Time!
(6/27/22) North Carolina - Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster Adding More Attractions (MORE...)
(6/26/22) North Carolina To Add Another Alpine Coaster Later This Year (MORE...)
(6/18/22) LEGO's $1 Billion Virginia Project Is Not What You Think (MORE...)
(5/30/22) iFLY Signs Deal To Build First New York City Area Location (MORE...)
Alabama - (12/4/21) If you remember the former Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City, FL that closed down in 2004 then you’ll likely remember the park’s former Haunted Castle dark ride that ran from 1965 to 2004. What I didn’t know is that when the park closed down someone bought the dark ride and spent months shipping it, piece by piece, to Oxford, Alabama and later restored it and reopened it as part of their “Terrortorium Haunted House & Amusements” attraction.
Unbeknown to me, the ride has actually been up and running at the attraction in Alabama since 2010. Even better, you don’t need to wait until next Halloween season to visit and ride it, the park has been transformed for the Christmas season into “Santa’s Wonderland of Lights and Amusements” (open Friday and Saturday nights from 6-9pm) along with a complete transformation of the spooky dark ride into a non-spooky Christmas themed attraction.
Based on the map, the attraction is located just off I-20, about halfway between Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL. Could definitely be worth the drive to re-ride an old favorite you thought was lost forever.
Arizona - (11/6/21) For as long as Screamscape has been reporting news on theme parks, I always love it when I come across a report about a place I’ve never heard of. In this case, sadly, we’re talking about Legend City, a small theme park that was open for about 20 years in Tempe, AZ from the early 1960’s until it closed in the early 80s. The local news has posted a report looking back at the former park with old footage and photos.
(10/27/21) Arizona will soon add the states first and only alpine coaster. Named the Canyon Coaster, the new attraction will feature a mile-long track and be located along Route 66 in Williams, AZ. According to the website they hope to open it in November 2021 and the ride system is from Wiegand.
Arkansas - (10/2/21) For a few years now, we’ve read about how the site of the former Dogpatch USA theme park has changed hands a few times with the intent to put something new there, only for nothing to happen. The last change of hands was in 2020 when the site was actually purchased by Johnny Morris, the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops who wasn’t ready to share his intent for the site at the time.
In a new presentation this week, it was revealed that the 400-acre site would become “Marble Falls Nature Park”, which will resemble the larger Dogwood Canyon Nature Park (10,000 acres) in Lampe, Missouri, also owned by Johnny Morris. Dogwood Canyon features many nature attractions such as wildlife tours, horseback riding, trout and fly-fishing (and lessons), an on-site restaurant and working mill and more.
While the exact rundown of what Marble Falls will include wasn’t released, it was mentioned that the park would focus on the local history of the site which included a marble quarry that was used to build the Washington Monument. The site was also used as a ‘health resort’ due to natural springs on the site before evolving into Dogpatch USA. Back when the small theme park started it too was very nature oriented, featuring a trout farm, as well as horse-drawn buggy and a train ride through the wilderness. Much like Dogwood Park, I assume that list of activities that will be offered at Marble Falls may also have quite a few offerings that will change with the seasons.
California - (7/10/22) West coast Haunt fans… the Midsummer Scream Halloween and Horror Convention is nearly upon us! The popular haunt convention will take place July 29, 30 and 31st at the Long Beach Convention Center this year and has already announced a stacked list of special guests for this year’s show, along with the ever popular Hall of Shadows.
There are too many guests to list them all but the list includes Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Christine Mcconnell (The Curious Creations of…), James Jude Courtney (Halloween 2018), Nick Castle and PR Soles (Halloween), Jeff Daniel Philips & Daniel Roebuck (Rob Zombie’s “The Munsters”) Bob Gurr (Disney Legend) and many more.
Visit the official website for all the details on who can be seen on what day and how to buy your tickets in advance before they sell out!
(4/23/22) A quick note to anyone traveling to Los Angeles County. While the big headlines this week has been the dropping of the mask mandate for transportation throughout the US, allowing riders on trains, taxis and airlines to once again travel with their face uncovered, Los Angeles County has put a new mask mandate into effect of their own.
As before, travelers on all public transit (bus, trains, taxis and ride hailing services) as well as when inside any public transportation hub, are now required to wear masks once again. That last part includes the LAX airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport terminals. However the county’s new mandate does not affect passengers aboard the airplanes themselves, so while you may have to wear a mask while walking around LAX, as soon as you get on the plane you can take it off again. Of course this is bound to cause massive confusion for all passengers landing at LAX, coming from cities around the nation where the mask rule was just dropped, so it is unclear how the mask rule will be enforced for these departing passengers who very likely won’t even have masks to put on as they exit the plane.
The county is following along with the guidelines of the CDC who was actually set to drop the mask recommendation for public transportation last month before extending it to May 3rd to study the development and spread of another possible COVID variant. While other legal rulings have taken away the CDC extension for the time being across the nation, if the CDC sticks with their previous May 3rd date, LA County could see the mask rule dropped again at this time.
(3/5/22) For decades now the extremely popular San Diego Comic-Con has thrills many a guest with the crazy displays, themed temporary attraction, new project announcements and the chance to view hollywood celebrities. At long last the official Comic-Con Museum experience has soft opened in nearby Balboa Park. With the full exhibit said to be ready for launch this fall, it willf feature six exhibits and special programming to celebrate the magic of the Comic-Con experience all year-round.
(2/10/22) In an interesting decision, California’s Governor Newsom announced that the state’s current mask mandate, requiring masks to be worn indoors, will expire at the end of Feb. 15th. So starting Feb. 16, masks are no longer required indoors for those who are “vaccinated”, barring any local mask mandates in effect by local rules. Those are unvaccinated will still be required to wear face masks.
That said… we are waiting to hear how this will affect visitors to the various California theme parks. For example, it is within Disneyland’s rights to still require face masks for a time, even though the state rules do not require it. We already saw this play out in Florida earlier this year when guests were allowed to be entirely mask-free when visiting SeaWorld and Universal theme park.
As updates are issued by the various parks, we will post update on the various park pages, but besides Disney, I’d expect to see Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain requiring masks on high attendance days for awhile longer as those parks have to follow the stricter L.A. County rules.
(11/18/21) Would you believe a new pirate themed dark ride is coming to Monterey’s Cannery Row in 2022? According to the press release Sally Dark Rides will open Treasure Hunt - The Ride, a new interactive dark ride to be built in the basement level of 700 Cannery Row. The dark ride will take up about 8,145 sqft of space, taking visitors into the just discovered Cannery Caverns in four passenger vehicles before things “go wrong” and they have to battle their way back to safety. Theme Park Insider has posted a great interview with Sally’s Rich Hill who talks about the new ride in the video below.
(6/6/21) A few alarming stories have been published in the local news regarding the status of the Queen Mary. Due to an alarming amount of negligence and the deferment of funds meant for maintenance, it was reported that the historic ship was in danger of actually sinking sometime in the next few years if about $23 million in needed repairs were not begun immediately. The Queen Mary apparently suffered from non working bilge pumps, leaks from hull breaches and an amazing amount of decay to the ship’s structure.
Over the years a few different companies have oversaw the day to day operations of the vessel as a tourist attraction and a functioning hotel who apparently not only were failing in the operations department, but who also turned a blind eye towards the needed maintenance concerns of the vessel.
The good news is that it has been confirmed that the City of Long Beach has now taken back control of the Queen Mary from the latest operating company. According to Mayor Robert Garcia, “For the first time in decades, Long Beach has full control of the Queen Mary. We will be fully engaged in the preservation of this historic landmark and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”
The last leaseholder, Eagle Hospitality Trust (part of Urban Commons), who is in the midst of bankruptcy protection legalities, agreed to surrender the lease to the ship to the city. Eagle on the other hand had hired out a third party (Evolution Hospitality) to run the day to day operations for the past 11 years, and to keep things operating Long Beach has signed a $2 million contract with Evolution to keep things running for the next 6-months while they work up their own plans to take over and get the right people lined up to begin the necessary repairs.
This all seems to be much needed good news for the Queen Mary, which is an amazing attraction to see in person if you ever get the chance. It’s probably the closest thing you’ll ever get to stepping on board the Titanic. Though the Queen Mary is about two decades younger than the Titanic, I believe both were built and operated by the White Star Line company. The Queen Mary also has a proud war history, as the ship was outfitted to serve as a troopship to transport allied soldiers during World War II for several years before returning to transatlantic passenger ship duty she was built for until 1967, when she was retired from service and sent to Long Beach.
Colorado - (5/21/22) Star Harbor has announced plans to open a 53-acre private spaceflight training facility in Lone Tree, Colorado by 2026. As part of the anticipated increase in the number of people planing to train for future space flight missions Star Harbor’s goals are to offer four different training programs focused on: Operators, Users, Mission Specialists and Passengers. The inclusion of the later group may raise from eyebrows, but if the past few months are anything to go on, the concept of Space Tourism definitely seems to be a industry on the rise.
This becomes even more clear as the offerings of the Star Harbor complex are described as not only featuring microgravity flights, a neutral buoyancy facility, a high gravity centrifuge as well as simulation labs along with water and land based habitats, but the complex will also include a “space-themed hotel’ along with other assorted entertainment venues, including an esports arena. Star Harbor’s founder, Maraia Tanner described the present day as having an “unprecedented renaissance occurring within the space industry”, with aligning with Star Harbor’s goal to ‘foster a new generation of explorers, innovators, entrepreneurs, educators and technologies to leave a powerful, positive legacy for generations to come.”
(1/7/22) While the Jurassic World: The Exhibition will soon be closing up shop in Dallas, it will next move on to Denver and be ready to open once again starting March 4, 2022. It will be located at the National Western Center and advanced tickets are already on sale at the official website to visit the 20,000 sqft attraction.
Florida - (1/15/22) United Parks has announced that they have completed the sale the Daytona Lagoon waterpark to BWL Acquisition, effective Dec. 30, 2021. United Parks is listed as the company to “operate Standard Amusements”, which is the company who is taking over operations of the famous Playland amusement park in Rye, NY.
I was unable to discovery anything about who exactly BWL Acquisition is, other than a listing claiming that the company was first incorporated just under 3 months ago in Florida. So with zero track record, we have no idea what the future has in store for Daytona Lagoon and the high value property that lies right across the street from the beach and next door to the Ocean Center event and convention center complex.
(12/12/21) Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville ventures know no limits. You’ve see the chain of restaurants which has evolved into hotels and resort projects, a waterpark and yes, even a senior-living community. Now Jimmy is taking the Margaritaville fun out to sea with the launch of an official Cruise Ship. The first sailing will depart Palm Beach, Florida on April 30, 2022 and head for the Bahamas on the “Margaritaville Paradise”, a 659-cabin vessel with 10 passenger decks all themed out in true Jimmy Buffet fashion.
Illinois - (5/30/22) According to Theme Park Tourist the Chicago area may soon become home to what they are calling the “World’s First Eco Theme Park and Resort”. The exact location will not be announced until plans and zoning details are finalized, but the plan is to build it up over “several phases over a period of consecutive years.” The attractions overall theme seems to be one that will be about animals, both real and fictional, with the various lands to be themed to fit the environment of the species to be on display. This will include themed food, music and merchandise to tie into each area. Follow the link to see more, including some early concept art and details about some possible attractions for the project that is seen as becoming an entire resort experience with hotels and even an on-site indoor waterpark experience.
(5/15/22) According to various reports Donley’s Wild West Town in Illinois is closing for good after a nearly 45 year run. The family owned western themed park that allows guests to pan for gold, enjoy some small rides or the wild-west stunt show announced on their website that the park would not be reopening this year after sitting closed for the entire 2021 season.
In a forward looking statement they say that, “We are sad that the amusement park-era is over, but excited about future plans for the property. Stay tuned!”
Kansas - (1/30/22) The failed Schlitterbahn water park in Kanas City may now have a new purpose as a developer proposed an $85 million project that would transform the site into a new Margaritaville Resort. This is an addition to a plan from the developer who has already submitted plans to turn nearby property into a youth sports complex featuring 10 tournament-style baseball fields, a performance center and more. Having nearby lodging options to these kinds of sports complex projects is always a good idea, as families often travel long distances with their youth-players and being able to stay nearby would keep the resort busy.
Louisiana - (7/25/22) While a new contract was awarded to re-develop the former Six Flags New Orleans theme park site, the local news says that delays in releasing the property to new developers are causing issues that could threaten the entire project. The developers say they are unable to enter into negotiations with hotels, water park designers, operators and more for the various plans they have for the site until they are given control of the property. Without potential development partners are concerned that plans redevelop the property may yet again fail to happen.
Mississippi - (3/17/22) The long-planned little amusement park at the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, MS has now been named Paradise Pier Biloxi along with the launch of a teaser page on their new website URL along with a Summer 2022 opening date.
(1/9/21) The Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi says they are set to reopen March 10th after being closed since October following the resort taking damage from Hurricane Zeta. Now we’ve previously posted coverage about this Margaritaville resort as the initial build out included an indoor amusement center with games, bowling, a climbing wall and the Cloud Coaster. The second phase of outdoor amusement rides has long been in planning, set to begin construction and then delayed due to some legal issues over state taxes and a contractor dispute. So this $140 million expansion is still in the works, despite having been announced back in 2017.
Margaritaville says that once they open in March their focus will be back on getting the expansion plans under way, though they have no set date for completion at this time, so I’m guessing it could be 2022 or maybe even 2023 before they get it done at this rate. No word on if the plans have changed, but at the time plans includes a new hotel tower, a small collection of outdoor amusement rides, including a large Ferris wheel, a 137 foot tall AEROBAR and more.
Missouri - (12/19/21) A new Alpine Coaster attraction will soon rise in the Grafton, Illinois at Aerie’s Resort on the bluffs of the Mississippipi River. The new Alpine Coaster may be a bit of the small side compared to some others, as it is listed as being only 3,000 feet long, but that doesn’t take away from the fun that these kind of attractions offer. From the sound of the description, this will be one of the rare Alpine Coasters that start riders off at the top and end the experience with an 875 foot ride up the lift back to the top at the end. The attraction hardware is coming from world leader, Wiegand and is expected to open by September 2022 at the resort, which is actually just a short distance from St. Louis.
Montana - (1/30/22) Could a new small amusement park be coming to Montana? According to this article a couple in Butte, Montana are interesting in turning an 40-acre site they own into a new version of the state’s lost Columbia Gardens amusement park. The lost amusement park first open din 1899 and closed down in 1973, but it holds a special place in their hearts as it was the site of their first date and now they want to bring it back for future generations.
I know it isn’t an easy task to build an amusement park, and I really don’t know the background of this well intentioned couple to know if they have the backing, knowledge and resources to see this through, but I wish them good luck on it.
New Jersey - (1/9/22) According to the local news ground has broken on a project to build the “largest indoor beachfront indoor waterpark in the world” in Atlantic City. They are calling it the “ISLAND Waterpark”, which will offer 103,000 sqft of indoor waterpark fun all year long. The waterpark will include a lazy river, an assortment of water slides, pools, lounge space and more.
The project is from the owner of the Showboat Atlantic City and will be located right next door. It was noted that last year Showboat also opened Lucky Snake, a family-friendly arcade experience located on the former casino floor that also includes a sports bar, boxing ring and e-sports gaming area.
New York - (5/30/22) Blooloop reports that iFLY has announced their first New York City location, to be located at a site near the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel at 10-04 Borden Ave. in Long Island City. The new iFLY skydiving simulator will serve as an anchor attraction to a larger commercial project coming to the site that will transform an old commuter parking lot into a new three-story mixed-use space in a highly visible area to those passing by. According to the article the new iFLY attraction is expected to be complete by Q2 2023, with the rest of the surrounding project to be complete by Q4 2023.
(4/10/22) BATMAN x SPYSCAPE, a new interactive attraction, is slated to open in New York City sometime this Summer. Guests will be sent on a top-secret mission to infiltrate an underworld organization and become the on-site eyes and ears for Batman and Oracle.
SPYSCAPE currently has a 60,000 sqft museum attraction in Manhattan that opened in 2018 featuring a number of spy craft related attractions, including a James Bond exhibit.
(7/10/21) According to this update the new Harry Potter New York retail location is set to launch their new VR experiences starting on July 15th. There will be two VR experiences offered: “Wizards Take Flight” and “Chaos at Hogwarts”. Using state of the art VR tech with motion trackers and backpack based hardware, guests will be able to free-roam around the experience in Chaos at Hogwarts. During Wizards Take Flight guests will actually be seated on physically brooms to aid in their experience that will put them in battle against Death Eaters.
North Carolina - (6/27/22) Apparently the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk, NC has been adding some new attractions. Already open is a new Adventure Course and apparently a new mystery attraction is under construction inside the building, but they aren’t saying what it is just yet. My gut instinct would be to say it might be an Escape Room, but there is no telling at this point unless someone else knows more.
(6/26/22) North Carolina will soon add yet another alpine coaster, this one slated to be added to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone campground park in Golden Valley, north about 11 miles from Bostic, NC. We don’t know much about the layout of this new alpine coaster, but it will come from Wiegand and is supposed to feature “almost a mile of loops and curves at speeds of up to 25 mph!” According to the latest info from Jellystone, construction delays have pushed the project back a bit away from the intended summer opening timeline. Currently they are hoping to have it ready to open this fall if possible.
(1/30/22) A new 41,396 square-foot indoor “amusement park” style facility will open this summer in Fayetteville, NC. I haven’t been able to find an official website for it yet, but according to local news reports it will be called EPIC FUN PARK and located at 1400 Walter Reed Road, taking over the site of the former Omni Health & Fitness center. Based on the size, you can expect the attraction to be around the size of your average big-chain grocery store, which is only fitting as it looks like the building was originally built for that purpose before the fitness center moved in. So far there is no list of what kind of attractions they hope to include.
(10/17/21) A new Alpine Coaster is coming to North Carolina soon, with the project just finishing up construction at the Scaly Mountain Outdoors Center in the South-Western part of the state, very close to the North Carolina / Georgia state line, about a 60-90 minute drive South through the mountains from the Maggie Valley or Cherokee areas.
The Alpine Coaster will be named the “Scaly Screamer” and some pictures of the project were posted on FB a couple of weeks ago, showing off a nearly complete project, just “waiting on buildings to get finished up”. Below that a drone-pilot flew along the entire course back in August showing off a nice layout through some dense wooden areas that will feature two separate large lifts and two good sized downhill runs through the wilderness along the way. The overall length of the ride (from Wiegand) is said to be 2,667 feet, making it just a bit shorter than the Goat Coaster in Pigeon Forge or North Carolina’s other Alpine Coaster, the Wildness Run.
North Dakota - (12/10/21) A few more details were released about the proposed Bison World attraction in North Dakota. In this update, they mention that the attraction will offer a safari experience, an Aerial Skyway tramway as well as The Great Plains Air Race, a zip-line attraction that will fly over a herd of Bison.
(9/8/21) A new theme park project has been proposed for North Dakota named Bison World. The proposal for the park, which previously went by the name Buffalo City Park, would see the new facility in Jamestown on land owned by the state. Those who have gone over the modest proposal for the $60 million project have determined that the attraction would be good for the region.
According to the proposed timeline, if they can begin construction in 2022 it could be ready to open in 2024. Located near to the existing National Bison Museum, the project would include a hotel, a buffalo themed restaurant, some rides and a 1,500 seat Buffalo City Amphitheater performance venue.
Ohio - (1/24/22) It seems the proposed $1.3 billion Hollywoodland development in Ohio was a fairly short lived dream. According to a local news update Hollywoodland, as originally proposed, “is no longer being worked on.” and no longer something being pursued by the city council.
(10/8/21) Developers are eyeballing Middletown, Ohio for a possible $1.3 billion project that could include a theme park called Hollywoodland, a water park, entertainment district and on-site hotels. The 50-acre projects sound impressive… and yet, somewhat familiar as well. Over the years a few other mega entertainment-district projects have been pitched for the Ohio area, but they never seen to get beyond the idea phase. Maybe Hollywoodland will be the one.
Oklahoma - (5/14/22) According to a local news report the Tulsa State Fair will no longer operate the Sky Ride, and plans are already in place to demolish the classic Von Roll Sky Ride attraction. According to officials from the fair, the ride is in need of extensive maintenance and repair, which they have deemed to require a “specialized-service is difficult to solidify, costly, and a limited number of providers are available in the United States.” The fairgrounds also notes that the attraction has not run since 2019.
Funny though, similar Von Roll Type 101 systems just like the Tulsa attraction are kept running and maintained on an annual basis at Cedar Point, SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, Busch Gardens Tampa, Six Flags Great Adventure, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, California’s Great America along with several others scattered across various fairgrounds.
So while the Sky Rides manufacturer is no longer in existence, there are still plenty of them running in North America, so parts and maintenance are not a problem. A few of these existing attractions even took time during the pandemic to replace their entire cableway and perform extensive maintenance on their attractions, with the one at Busch Gardens Tampa set to reopen from a lengthy closure and restoration this Summer after being closed since 2020.
With all that in mind, the decision to close and try to quickly rush in someone to demolish the ride sounds more like they are just trying to quickly get rid of it, rather than maintaining and fixing something that obviously can be fixed. Rather than run it themselves, apparently the fairgrounds hired out someone else to run and maintain the attraction, with the last group running it from 2015 to 2019 until they broke out of their contract claiming that they were unable to make a profit from running the attraction. Part of that problem apparently stems from the fact that the Sky Ride really only runs about 11 days out of the year during the Fair, but that also means that compared to the counterparts that run daily in theme parks, the Tulsa ride should have very low operating hours on it by comparison.
One other fun note, the Sky Ride is actually a leftover from Bell’s Amusement Park, and we know how people at the fairgrounds treated Bell’s over the years, eventually ousting the theme park from the leased fairgrounds property. While the rest of Bell’s was removed, Tulsa County itself purchased the Sky Ride from Bell’s, which makes the attraction a “publicly owned asset” for the people of the County. But now the fairgrounds was quickly and quietly trying to demolish it without having any kind of formal presentation or hearing to even discuss saving it.
Unfortunately once they start the demolition process, there is no coming back. You can read more about this at TulsaSkyride.org who also lists a number of county officials who you can contact about the issue to save the Sky Ride.
(11/26/21) Fans of the Tulsa State Fair take note! The Tulsa State Fair Skyride did not operate for the 2021 fair, and from what I’m told the attraction is now at risk of possibly being removed. Take a visit to the www.TulsaSkyride.Org website to read more on the issues facing the ride and how you can show support to possibly save the ride for the future.
For those wondering, the Tulsa State Fair Skyride is one of the famous Von Roll made attractions, just like the Skyrides that used to cross Disneyland and Walt Disney World for years before they were sadly removed. Over the years many of the Von Roll Skyrides that graced America’s fairs and theme parks have been removed, with only ten now remaining in the United States.
(10/23/21) Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby announced plans to create a major resort destination near the newly-opened First Americans Museum along the Oklahoma River near downtown Oklahoma City. The plans feature the “OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark”, a $300 million project, with a first phase said to develop 40 acres of the 140 acre site with an 11-story 404-room resort hotel, a 5-acre adventure lagoon with sandy beaches good for play and relaxation, a 33,000 sqft family entertainment center, an 100,000 sqft indoor waterpark, along with a conference center, spa, golf simulator and a shopping district that will feature numerous shops and restaurants.
Future phases will expand the project and new amenities and attractions, like an amphitheater and large lawn space able to host various performances, festivals and other events. The OKANA Resort will also connect to the nearby Boathouse District through a new Oklahoma River Cruises Ferry Landing and have access pathways to the north and south side of the property. If all goes as planned, the project could be complete by late spring 2024.
South Carolina - (5/1/22) If you are visiting the Myrtle Beach area, just a warning that the SkyWheel may be closed for a bit. The local news reports that a small fire broke out on Thursday night after everything was closed. A follow-up post from the SkyWheel confirmed that the small fire damaged part of the loading dock and nearby gondolas. The SkyWheel will remain closed to complete the necessary inspections and repairs needed before they can reopen.
(3/12/22) Stars and Strikes have announced they are coming to Myrtle Beach to open their 16th location. The new 52,000 sqft family entertainment center is expected to open in late 2022 at 2000 Coastal Grand Circle as part of the Coastal Grand Mall complex. According to the press release they will offer 24 bowling lanes, 8 of which will be “VIP” lanes built into a more upscale lounge area. All 24 lanes will feature “SPARK Augmented Reality Bowling”, offering a high-tech method of bringing the lanes to life via projection mapping onto the lanes. In addition to bowling the site will have a 10,000 sqft arcade, VR games, a multi-story laser tag arena, axe throwing and a full service bar with plenty of TVs for sports viewing.
(3/11/22) Just a heads up for anyone heading to Myrtle Beach this weekend, but the new Funplex Myrtle Beach attraction that first opened in the middle of last year, will officially open for their first FULL SEASON starting this Saturday, March 12th. In addition to all the fun and attractions that they opened with last year, The Funplex will “add three custom-built carnival style games, a full-service Dippin’ Dots kiosk featuring eight flavors, a photo booth, a glow-in-the-dark bubble wand cart”, and new menu items at the Off-the-Coast Beach Bar and Grill. The Funplex will be open daily from March 12 to March 27 for ‘spring break’ but after that check their website for official hours of operation.
(2/4/22) A few days ago we came across a new video showing off the former site of Hard Rock Park where demolition crews were now working to demolish all the remaining standing structures on the property. Now we know why, as the local news now reports that a building permit has been filed by FedEx to build a large FedEx Ground facility on the former theme park site along the George Bishop Parkway.
(1/24/22) In an interesting video urban explorer TheDailyWoo has posted a new video checking out the site of the former Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC. While the rides are long gone many of the buildings and structures remained for quite awhile, but demolition crews are on site and now seem to be leveling all that once remained of the park. He did find what appears to be the remains of an old preview center building that still had a guitar themed door handles on the outside and a piece of aerial preview art of the entire park still on the wall.
The demolition work includes the former mall building that serves as home to many park back offices as well as the park’s former “Moody Blues: Nights in White Satin: The Trip” dark ride. All that’s really left besides rubble right now are a few old direction signs along the streets that have the ‘Freestyle Music Park” logo on them, that replaced the Hard Rock Park logo for the second and final year of park operation.
(10/24/21) A reader visiting Broadway at the Beach sent in another picture of “The Hangout” restaurant building under construction, this time viewed from the waterside of the project. (Added to the gallery below)
(10/10/21) One of our local readers stopped by Broadway at the Beach and sent back a new picture of the construction site for the new “The Hangout” restaurant. Looking good, as steel just started to go vertical back in late August and now it appears that most of the structural steel is in place and they are moving towards an 2022 opening.
South Dakota - (5/25/22) The first installation in the US of the ParadropVR experience is coming to Sprockets Fun Factory in South Dakota, not far from Mount Rushmore. The ParadropVR system offers a unique multi-player virtual reality flying experience unlike anything else offered elsewhere. You can see the system in action in the video below.
Tennessee - (6/30/21) A new theme park has been proposed for the Nashville, Tennessee area that would be called Storyville Gardens. According to a report at Coaster101, the park would feature four lands, each one themed to a different corner of the world: Africa, America, Asia and Europe. The entrance to the park would lie in the Africa section of the 100-acre theme park that would then branch off into the other lands, complete with rides, shows and other attractions.
The design of the park comes from Storyland Studios and Guerrier Development who hope to not only fill the family entertainment void left in Nashville after Opryland USA closed in 1997, but they also plan to build the park as a way to encourage literary. The developers state that currently almost 70% of young children are not up to their proper grade level in reading ability, so they hope to fill the park with wonderful stories to encourage the desire to read more at home about what they learn at the park.
More information will be available soon at the park’s official website, which currently lists a planned opening of Spring 2025.
Texas - (3/12/22) Dig World is coming to Katy, Texas, a heavy construction equipment theme “amusement park” of sorts. Look for Dig World to open on Mar. 17th next to the Katy Mills Mall on a 3.5 acre site offering a hands-on experience for adults and children to operate some acutal heavy-duty construction machines like Mini Excavators, Skid Steers, UTVs and more.
The attraction will offer some other attractions like a Gem Mining station, a playground, a turn field where you can play Cornhold and TowerBall and more. If the concept works out well for them, Dig World hopes to open up to 10 new parks over the U.S. in the next few years.
(10/24/21) According to a local news report, Splashtown, a local small waterpark in the San Antonio area, will be closing. The property was being bought by a local dealership company, pending approval for a zoning change to allow the waterpark site to become the new home of the Grande Ford dealership which will be moving.
(5/16/21) The former Scandia Screamer coaster (Miler) from California has been sold to Traders Village in Grand Prairie, Texas (between Dallas and Arlington) and is now slated to open in Fall 2021 under a new name, the Prairie Screamer. Traders Village isn’t a theme park or even a FEC like Scandia was, but rather a popular flea market site (over 120 acres!) that has amassed a small collection of rides for guests to enjoy on site. The list of rides includes the Village Vortex (Fireball / Superloop) and the Fleafall drop tower (128ft), but Prairie Screamer will be the site’s first roller coaster. According to the press release they’ve spent the past 10 months fully refurbishing the coaster and are now ready to start putting it up. Follow the link to see some recent construction pictures as they clear the area and the coaster pieces arrive on site.
Utah - (10/22/21) While Raging Waters is a well known waterpark name from California, many might not realize that there was also a Raging Waters in Salt Lake City, Utah. I don’t know the details, but about a decade ago the park changed names from Raging Waters to Seven Peaks, and in 2018 the waterpark apparently closed down entirely. Over the years since it has just been sitting idle, but as it was built on city owned property, the old waterslides have started to coming down. According to the local news, a small demolition crew has been hired to start the long process of taking it all apart, with the goal to clear the site for some kind of future public use, possibly as a park.
Virginia - (6/18/22) Would you believe that after all these years, LEGO is finally coming to create a new $1 billion project in Virginia? Back in the 1990’s, LEGO was scouring America for possible sites to create their first LEGOLAND theme park in the US and as I recall, it came down to California and Virginia as the finalists before the decision ultimately was made to build in California. Virginia was considered once again as a possible site about 7-8 years ago when the company was looking to build a park in the North-Eastern US, which ended up going to New York.
Now at last, LEGO is coming to Virginia… but NOT for a new theme park. Instead the company is planning on building a new LEGO brick factory in the Richmond area that they expect to have open by 2025, with a carbon-neutral design and plans to create over 1,760 new jobs for the region.
All good news for sure for Virginia, but after being passed over for theme park after theme park over the years (Add the once proposed Disney’s America theme park and a proposed Kalahari waterpark resort to the list), this has to bug the local park just a little bit. But who knows… remember that Legoland Billund, seen as the first Legoland theme park, was built near their factory in Denmark, so maybe someday Virginia will get their own Legoland park.
Washington - (5/21/22) According to the local news an interesting new attraction is coming to the Spokane, WA area in 2023 called Flight 509 Adventure Park. The concept is to build a 22,000 sqft. indoor $4.3 million family amusement center that will have an aviation theme and feature a 25ft tall ropes course, Spin Zone bumper cars, arcade games, a VR Omni Arena, mini bowling, a foam ball play center, two-story laser tag arena and a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course. It will also offer The Hanger Cafe where hungry guests can enjoy fun food, beer and wine.
Washington D.C. - (7/23/22) Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment in partership with Thinkwell, Unify and Fever have announced that a Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience will make a US debut later this year in the Warshington DC metro area. “The breathtaking light trail will be open from October 2022 for Harry Potter fans of all ages to enjoy on the estate of Morven Park in Leesburg, VA. Tickets will be available for purchase starting Thursday, July 28, but fans who sign up for the waitlist will unlock exclusive access to secure tickets.”
(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.
Wisconsin - (3/14/21) The local commission has approved the initial plans for a major new attraction to come to the Wisconsin Dells area. There are still many other hoops to jump through, but Lower Dells Adventures, LLC was given approval for a conditional use permit with a number of conditions that need to be met. The plan is to turn a currently vacant 70 acre site on Grand Cambrian Drive into an amusement park to be called “The Land of Natura”. This doesn’t sound like your typical “amusement park” however, as they are planning to preserve a lot of the nature on the site and lay out 14,000 feet of hiking trails and 2,000 feet of biking trails, zip lines as well as fishing and swimming areas.
Previously the site was earmarked for a resort that never happened from a previous developer due to complications with a railroad track that runs through the property that creates some challenges.