Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:01 AM | Contributed by Trick Track
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is buying Wyandot Lake from Six Flags for $2 million, promising visitors a fresh, botanical look for the water park as newer water-theme parks spout across Ohio.
Read more from The Columbus Dispatch.
This makes perfect sense for the zoo and perfect sense for Six Flags. Now they really ARE out of Ohio.
$2 million dollars, not much more than what Viper, and Cyclone at Astroworld could have gotten, if Six Flags wanted to sell them, instead of scrapping them.
With all of the expansion that the zoo is planning to do, along with the realignment of Powell Road that will wipe out a good chunk of Wyandot's picnic grove, it's nice to see that the park will not be going away.
Now I wonder if they'll change the name back to Zoo Amusement Park?
Six Flags DID want to sell them. There were no buyers.
Now how do we go about convincing Jerry Couch and the Columbus Zoo that the Screechin' Eagle really should be moved to Wyandot Lake? It's not as though that ride hasn't been moved before...!
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Ohio could use more traditional parks like KW, Waldameer, Camden, BB, and IB. Certainly GL could be converted into a top-notch traditional park with a little effort but what about the other parts of the state? Parks like Idora, Chippewa Lake, LeSourdesville, and Euclid Beach bring back great memories to so many people. If Wyandot could expand, this would provide such an experience to Central Ohio.
Coney Island is another example like this. With LeSourdsville gone and Strickers primarily limited to private events, a small traditional park with suitable offerings would be welcome in the area where it is located.*** This post was edited by Arthur Bahl 6/16/2006 7:35:01 AM ***
Look at Ford's new Mustang, which is a modern design based heavily on the original Mustangs that made the car so successful. Mustang sales have been through the roof since the redesign. Ford has insisted that the design has struck a chord with buyers partially because it is "retro"... because it makes people nostalgic for the original model. I guess that is why GM is planning a Chevy Camaro and Daimler-Chrysler a Dodge Challenger that harken back to those original models. Better not tell GM and DC that nostalgia is not a business plan because those companies are banking the success of their respective models on that theory. Also, you might want to look at the prices of restored muscle cars from the late 60s and early 70s- pristine examples are going for upwards of a quarter of a million dollars. It appears some people are willing to pay that kind of money for nostalgia.
The New York Yankees are building a new Yankees Stadium to look just like the old one (before it got butchered by a renovation in the mid-70s). The Mets are building a new stadium that resembles Ebbets Field, where the Dodgers once played in Brooklyn. Those two teams are betting almost $1.5 billion between them that people would prefer new stadiums that look old rather than new stadiums that look new. Knoebels installed an Allan Herschell Looper last year and is installing a Flying Turns this year/next year- two rides that are clearly nostalgic. There must be a reason why the park has gone that route instead of the "new ride" route. Note how Waldameer is pretty much banking their future on a new wood coaster that is modeled after an old wood coaster- something they will surely point out to people when it finally opens.
It seems to me that there are many examples where nostlagia is a better business plan than ignorance of nostalgia.
As for nostalgia, some parks such as Kennywood do a good job of using this as a selling point. Maybe parks like GL could use more of this. Thank goodness the Big Dipper is still there. This ride reeks of nostalgia in the midst of all of those newfangled coasters. If I get to GL this year, the Big Dipper will certainly be one of the reasons for going there.
All I see are these smaller parks dropping left and right like flies or struggling just to keep the gate open.
While I think we can all appreciate this type of park-going atmosphere, maybe it isn't such a solid business model with widespread appeal?
*** This post was edited by Lord Gonchar 6/16/2006 4:46:27 PM ***
I've always thought that a small amusement park as part of a larger entertainment complex would make for a great business in a great number of markets. After a decline, "nostalgic" things like roller skating, bowling and drive-in movies are making a slow comeback and I've often wondered if a complex containing those things, an amusement park, an arcade and some water slides could create a successful wave of FEC's that are more than just go-karts and mini golf. Properly designed to maximize the use of valuable space and marketed as something the whole family could visit at all times of the year, I can't help but think it would be worth a shot.
Of course some of the smaller parks haven't done anything wrong. Waldameer and DelGrossos are two examples and they have remained in sound condition.
*** This post was edited by Arthur Bahl 6/18/2006 2:45:42 PM ***
Instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket (eg. adding a whole bunch of new coasters), KE made an effort to upgrade the overall park experience. They retained some of the old attractions such as the carousel and the Wildcat coaster. New rides were added but with an emphasis on variety and family appeal. A major waterpark was constructed. and expanded several times. A top-notch wooden coaster using the parks unique terrain was built (Boulder Dash). Several water rides and an interactive dark ride were built. Several transport rides were included in the mix. To appeal to thrill riders, an Enterprise, a drop tower and a Screamin' Swing (Thunder 'n Lightning) were added.
LC also took one idea from Holiday World and became the second park to offer free drinks. Also the food prices were kept reasonable. A clean well-landscaped appearance was maintained. Overall, the park has a new image and the bad days from the past have been forgotten.
Maybe, what Cedar Fair needs to to is to look at LC as an example to what to do to improve GL. The waterpark is a start in this direction. Currently LC and GL have similar attendance figures even though GL has more rides and many more coasters. What is needed is some more attention to improving the overall park experience. More family rides, better landscaping, better service, and friendlier staff can all help make things better and to restore the park's image.
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