The prospect of Weeki Wachee Springs becoming the 162nd Florida state park now looks in jeopardy. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted its budget request to fund Weeki Wachee Springs prior to this year’s session. The Senate voted in favour, but the House has not. The issue will now be addressed by the Budget Conference Committee.
Cypress Gardens, Winter Haven, Florida, is giving its animal encounter area, Nature’s Way, a new name and a fresh look. More animals are being added along with a tour that will take guests behind the scenes of several of the animal areas and nclude up-close encounters with reptiles, a lemur and other unusual creatures.
Frontier City, Oklahoma City, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season with the erection of Oklahoma’s first suspended coaster. The Steel Lasso is a 965ft Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster with a 49ft lifthill. “This is the single largest capital investment ever brought to Frontier City in one season” says general manager Stephen Ball. “We are extremely proud to offer this new type of family friendly ride.” Steel Lasso’s custom designed seats and restraint requirements allow children 39 inches or taller to join in the fun.
A Batman-themed Dark Knight Coaster has opened both Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, and Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. The 46ft-tall, 1,213ft long indoor coasters from Mack Rides take guests on a tour of Gotham City under siege
A family entertainment and attraction veteran, Christopher Thorpe, has returned to Darien Lake Theme Park, Darien Center, New York, as the new general manager. He replaces Bradley Paul, who has retired. Thorpe began his career at Darien Lake in 1994 as a promotions intern. Subsequently becoming promotions manager. In 2000, he left Darien Lake to become the marketing manager at Six Flags Over Georgia and being appointed to the Six Flags corporate agency review and corporate season pass committees. Most recently Thorpe served as manager of product marketing and public relations for Buffalo Games.
Pleasure Beach amusement park, England, recently installed six wind turbines installed on the roof of its new Education Academy on Ocean Boulevard. The 66-inch diameter turbines are expected to generate 10,000 kWh per annum which will be fed into the Pleasure Beach electrical system.
Martin Barratt has joined the UK-based leisure consultancy Vision XS as a director. Barratt became an independent consultant in 2004 after over 20 years of operations and development experience in the European attractions industry, including roles with the Tussauds and Merlin Entertainments groups, Royal Armouries museum and Wedgwood pottery. His consultancy clients included Historic Scotland, London Zoo, Woburn Abbey, Blackstone Group, Cardiff City Council and Merlin.