Astroworld as it stands today

Yeah! It would be wonderful for anyone to be able to build a "Mega-Park" from scratch, but that is not how it is done. You need to start off modest and grow at a slow/moderate pace. It wouldn't be a good idea for any company to build the fantasy park you described, imho. What's left to build later? You also do not need a looper and a floorless. Haven't you heard? Floorless is the new sit down looper. You'd have TEN shows?

Cedar point wasn't built overnight, ya know.

I'll agree that Shaggy's Astroworld pics are depressing. The park simply vanished.

I got to visit the park one time, but I was only 5 years old. One of my fondest memories is getting to meet Captain Crunch (the cereal mascot) at the dolphin show. One of my worst memories is of the park too. I cut my leg while jumping on some kind of moon bounce when it got caught between the platform and the bounce area. I cried for at least ten minutes.

Some people have the balls to build brand new parks...Hard Rock park in Myrtle Beach....Wild West World....thats two that are opening in the next 2 years.
On the other hand, there were plenty of people (non enthusiasts) at the park when I went lamenting the upcoming loss...some downright mad as hell at SF to others crying audibly as they walked out of the exit. I'm not convinced by any means that enthusiasts are the only ones who miss the place.

Out of curiosity, I wonder if the Sky Whirl carriages got saved.

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
Charles, You mentioned the Lincoln Park Comet, and yes its lift did collapse and its in the middle of the otherwise standing coaster. Its such a sad site, drove by a few weeks ago. I still would love to walk around, and the front gate was actually open last time i went by, but i really dont want to get arrested.

#1 Canobie Lake Park Fan!!! M/M's top 10 coasters: 1. S:RoS @ SFNE 2. Boulder Dash 3. Montu 4. Yankee Cannonball 5. Kumba 6. Gwazi 7. Mind Eraser 8. Thunderbolt (SFNE) 9. Cyclone (SFNE) 10. B:DK
I've never actually been to the park (never been to Texas, actually), but seeing that is actually kinda saddening to think there was once a thriving amusement park there, and now...well...nothing...

Haha no I'm not giving Patrick the finger

Houston is a special case and needs a big park quickly. There are 5 million in the local market and many others forwhich this would be the nearest major park. The only other place in the U. S. where a large park is needed from scratch is the Pacific Northwest (assuming that EV does not have enough room to expand.)

Such a park is expensive (approx 400 million) but considering the much higher amount spent to bring NFL football back (franchise and stadium costs) it is doable if the right investors come forward.

As for future attractions, by limiting the coasters to 8 initially, that leaves room for something new. Also, the future is likely to bring new flat rides that are still on the drawing board.

Location is another factor to consider. Two possibiliies are the hills around Conroe (for a more scenic park) or the flatlands near Katy (for an easier to design park). These locations both are far enough out of the city to reduce the presence of the "bad" element that was plaguing SFAW. They also allow the park to be located near an Interstate route. Reasonably priced land is available in both areas because the Houston area has not experienced the runaway real estate prices that many other large metro areas have.

If Six Flags were not so highly in debt, they would have, in all likelihood, moved SFAW instead of closing it. This would have solved two problems, the teen hangout situation and the lack of land to expand. Many of the coasters were movable (except Texas Cyclone (which violated new safety codes and was grandfathered) and Serpent (an unusual junior coaster that hugged the ground)). All that would have been needed from scratch regarding coasters would be a new woodie to replace TC and a hyper, which is the one main thing that the park lacked.

One thing more to do -- Don't do the bad things that Six Flags does. The regular admission price should be close to SFOT but with ample discounting to get people interested. Food prices should somewhere between Six Flags and street prices. This might mean $2.50 to $3.50 for drinks, $8 to $9 for a basic lunch with drink, $5 funnel cakes, etc. Parking should be $10, $15 for preferred. Games should mostly be $2 or $3. No pay queue system but keep a possible reservation system in reserve for the big coasters just in case the lines get long. Above all, have good operations. Run two or more trains on the coasters whenever the crowds warrant it. Provide ample food service (how does KW do this while keeping the prices so reasonable? -- the only stand there that has long waits is the Potato Patch).

As for management, get someone that has good experience with some of the better-run regional parks.

Lord Gonchar said:
That's exactly what I've been saying all along. To most people it isn't a big loss. Shaggy's informal, unscientific study helps confirm this.

The only ones who seem to be pissed are a bunch of enthusiast who don't even live there.

I suspect this is often the case. If the community wants a park saved, they'll do it.

Okay, time for me to start feeling better about myself and disagreeing with you again ;)

While I can appreciate the results of this "study", I don't really see it as indicitive of how the majority of people in the Houston area feel. If the park drew something like 2 million people a year, that means 2 million people (or whatever that number is minus repeat visitors) are likely missing the park. When a restaurant closes, many people don't know or care about it, but there is likely a group of people that are wishing it was back.

Maybe the community wanted the park saved- who knows? It's not like they had much of a chance to rally together and do something. Out of the blue, it was announced the park was closing. I'm wondering if that was the reason for the "oh, by the way..." announcement?

Charles mentions Lincoln Park. Chippewa Lake park is still standing (to some extent) in ruins 30 years (well, 29) after it closed. And I remember as a kid in the late 1970's-early '80's going to what remained of Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland. A lot had been torn down, but a lot still was standing there as well.
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
Okay, time for me to start feeling better about myself and disagreeing with you again

Good to see things are back to normal. :)

Mamoosh said:
Thanks for the pics, Shaggy...but they must be taken from pretty far away as I can't see the park at all. Is it behind the trees in the distance?

See that bridge in the middle of the frame? That used to be the entrance to the park. That big field is what's left of the park.

^^ Back to normal? Me? Normal? Hahaha.

I just got the pictures to load. Wow. Pretty freaky. Hard to imagine that was once a little amusement park paradise in there... or something close. You'd never know what was there.

*** Edited 2/16/2007 7:50:52 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

In stead of building 8 new coasters from the ground up, they could pick up tow or three (AT MOST) coasters from parks who are either building something new or are closing.

While you're at it hire some landscapers to design a park with plants that are native to the area or are low maintaince.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Maybe something can be salvaged from another park if a new Houston area theme park is built. By the way, I would like to see a reincarnation of some of the old SFAW rides including a rebuilding of the Texas Cyclone (modified to meet safety codes) and something similar to the old Alpine Sleigh Ride.

Arthur Bahl

Why are coaster enthusiasts, almost as a whole, unable to grasp the idea that nostalgia and sentiment don't matter worth a damn when it comes to making and losing money? When someone opens or closes a restaurant, very little has to do with anything but money. Same thing applies to a clothing store, a drug store, or anything else that "sells" a product or service. These places are there to make money for the people that own the land they sit on, plain and simple.

To the people that own the place, if given a choice between having logistics and insurance headaches to make a small profit or even a loss and having no headaches other than paying the tax bill on empty land and waiting for a HUGE profit on land bought for the development prospects, which are you going to choose?

In no way, shape, or form in there does what the park "means to the community" or "means to the people that went there when they were 5 and now claim to remember it as a this oasis of fun in a country full of sub-par amusement parks" (where was that sentiment when the place was standing? Wasn't the most ever said about Astroworld was to comment on it being a dumping ground for crappy rides that no other Six Flags park wanted?). Those things don't make money and people don't own businesses where they're dealing in more than a few cents for a lemonade on the street corner if they're not in it to make a profit.

Get over your whiny woe-is-me/the park attitude and try and look at it from another angle. If you think all these parks that are being sold off for more profitable land uses should be saved, come up with a great reason other than sentiment and nostalgia and take up that fight. But, if you look at it logically and from a business perspective, I think you'll find yourself hard-pressed to justify any of the now-closed parks staying open.

Even if it doesn't turn into something until a few years from now, Six Flags has already reaped a hefty reward for selling that land, so as far as their concerned, that was a much easier way to make the money they wanted/needed right now to help keep their company afloat. End of discussion.

--Brett, the other anti-enthusiast, who is probably ranting to deaf ears, other than Gonch's who at least in principal agrees with me ;)

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
^ THANK YOU. About time somebody just came out and said it.

And you definitely weren't ranting to deaf ears. If anything, that post should be that huge backhanded slap to the faces of people that don't understand it and bring them to think with their heads and not with their emotions.

I think MOST of us, inwardly, will agree at least in part, if not wholeheartedly. It's only the enthusiast part of us that wants them to remain. It's only a handful of local vocal people who would truly disagree. (And they'll be the first to say "stop whining" when it happens to someone ELSE'S home park because it doesn't really affect them)

"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
matt.'s avatar

Impulse-ive said:
Why are coaster enthusiasts, almost as a whole, unable to grasp the idea that nostalgia and sentiment don't matter worth a damn when it comes to making and losing money?

Can you point out to me exactly where this is going on in this thread?

Because without some direct quotes or something it sounds like you're just ranting for the sake or ranting, without backing up any of your perception about "coaster enthusiasts" without anything to back it up.

I think we all realize that SFAW was first and foremost a business but some people (lots of people) had a personal attachment to the place. Just because it was a business doesn't make those people's attachments any less valid, like it or not.

Nobody here needs to have the whole "it's a business first" speech parroted to us again, we've heard it, and it still sucks the park is gone.

It get's tiresome. *** Edited 2/17/2007 2:28:23 PM UTC by matt.***

matt.'s avatar

kRaXLeRidAh said:
If anything, that post should be that huge backhanded slap to the faces of people that don't understand it and bring them to think with their heads and not with their emotions.

And this is ridiculous. Most of us have personal attachments to amusement parks and certain rides. Thinking about these places with our emotions is completely valid because going to amusement parks might bring us some joy or make us happy for a little bit. Those are emotions.

Yours and Impulsive's points may be more valid if there were scads of people in this thread saying "Noooo...they should have never closed" or whatever and *then* backing that up with nostalgia and sentiment then I could see the point but to come into a thread about a former park and pretty much stomping all over it's memory for other people is a bit over the top.

If we all saw these places solely as businesses then we would be stock holders, not enthusiasts. I think we're more than allowed in this forum to discuss our emotions and our dollars.

The main factor favoring a new theme park in the Houston area as the size of the potential market. A major park that is properly run can be expected to draw at least 2 million annually and possibly as many as 3 million if the park is marketed over a wider area.

The main problem currently is that the major players are tapped out at present. Possibly the best way to get a park soon would be for local investors to come forward as they did with the Texans NFL team. The odds are that a park in the area will be quite profitable given the lack of major competition. Several years from now, it is conceivable that someone such as Cedar Fair might consider a park here once the debt is reduced. They currently don't have any parks in this region of the country.

Arthur Bahl

Matt, you are my hero! ;)

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