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America's Overlooked Amusement Parks

Americans have a love affair with amusement AMERICA'S parks. Every year, as soon as the weather warms up, families around the country turn out OVERLOOKED in droves for rides, food, and fun. But there's more to see than mega-parks like Disneyland, A MUSEMENT Six Flags, and Busch Gardens. Smaller, inde pendently owned amusement parks offer unique attractions and performances – and pack plenty PARKS of personality. FUN F ACTS More than 400 chain and independent amusement parks operate in the U.S. The cost of building a rollercoaster can top $100 million. 94% of visitors say they have a favorite amusement park food. 28% 17% 14% 13% 12% Funnel Cake Ice Cream Pizza Hot Dogs Cotton Candy Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., which opened in 1846, is the oldest continually operating park. Theme Park Revenue Regardless of size, most parks generate a bulk of their revenue through ticket prices. Many believe Americans fell in love with amusement 60% Admission parks in 1927 with the opening of the Cyclone coaster at Coney Island, N.Y. Secondary Spend (food, beverage, 37% retail, parking) Non-Visitor 3% (corporate events, sponsorships) Top Theme Park Operating Costs The cost of employing staff is by far the "Fun" appears in amusement park names more than any biggest expense amusement parks operators have. other word. 36% Personnel 8% Maintenance 7% WEL COME Promotion 5% Interest 5% General Administration 28% 50% of Americans visited plan to visit one in an amusement park the next 12 months ΤΗ CO νΟΜIC ROLLE RCOASTER last year 3 NEW REAS ONS T O TRY AN INDEPENDENT P ARK After a few years of pulling through the slug- gish economy, amusement parks large and Independent amusement parks are preparing for a big 2011 season with a small are starting to see signs of recovery. host of new thrills for willing visitors. “BUZZS AW F ALLS' Alabama Adventure in Bessemer, Ala., will launch a new water thrill ride this season. Riders will plunge down a five-story chute into Many parks reported increased crowds in 2010. a pool of water below. The park offered its community the chance to name the new ride. An anonymous winner submitted "Buzzsaw Falls." • Better weather during last summer and fall likely affected attendance. UNTA MED" 2 (1 Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H., is set to debut a grizzly-bear-themed coaster for the 2011 season. "Untamed" will take riders through a series of banked curves, loops, and Operators hope record high gas prices zero-gravity rolls. The park touts that the mean families will seek thrills close to home. "Compact Euro-Fighter" design will be the first of its kind in New England. • Many parks are planning to open new attractions and shows this season. 5ZPPINI IPPINIE "ZIPPIN PIPPIN" Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wis., is unveiling a new 2,500-foot-long WHER E SMA LLER IS BET TER coaster. "Zippin Pippin" will launch riders up to 40 miles per hour over several hills, and will include drops as high as 70 feet. The attraction will be the 17th ride at the park. For many, smaller amusement parks offer something larger parks just can't: history, strong community ties, plenty of personality, and a piece of Americana. These five gems fit the bill. HOLID AY W ORLD ENCH ANTED & SPL ASHIN FORE ST THE ME GILROY GARDENS SAFARI Originally begun as a family business, the horticulture-themed park is now a 501(c)(3) PARK This family-owned and -operated park set Nestled among the trees, charming parks like attendance records in 2010 with 1,182,636 this family-owned one could soon become a nonprofit. guests. thing of the past. Where: Gilroy, Calif. Where: Santa Claus, Ind. Where: Salem, Ore. Established: 2001 Established: 1946 Established: 1971 # of Attractions: 20+, in addition to six lush # of Attractions: 30+, in addition to water # of Attractions: 10+ gardens slides Admission: $9.95 Admission: $44.99 (after May 31) Admission: $42.95 Must-See: Storybook Lane – The first part of Must-See: Majestic Gardens – The park's six Must-See: Pilgrim's Plunge - The attraction is the park to be built features storybook-themed gardens demonstrate the best in landscape claimed to be the world's tallest water ride at play areas designed by the founder. architecture. 135 feet. 1. 2. 3. 5. KNOE BELS QUAS SY AMUS EMENT ΑMτ BH TΗΝΤ RESORT PARK Much-beloved Knoebels bills itself as the Maintaining its roots as a swimming area on largest free amusement park in the country. Where: Elysburg, Pa. Lake Quassapaug, the park still offers picnicking in addition to other attractions. Established: 1926 Where: Middlebury, Conn. # of Attractions: 60+ Established: 1937 Admission: Free, Pay Per Ride of Attractions: 20+ Must-See: Haunted Mansion – The ride is Admission: Free, Pay Per Ride raved about as one of the best dark rides in the Must-See: Saturation Station - This state-of- the-art jungle gym dumps hundreds of gallons of water on visitors. country. QuickBooks Online intuit. Sources: International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, Businessweek, TripAdvisor,

America's Overlooked Amusement Parks

shared by ColumnFive on Jun 24
Summer’s just around the corner, and for plenty of people the season means a favorite American pastime: a trip to the local amusement park. Unfortunately, a few amusement parks go overlooked every s...




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