I didn't mean to indicate that you were slamming the locals... maybe it ended up sounding that way.
I'll agree that parks like DelGrosso's are the way they are because of where they are- how else are they going to compete with larger parks that are father away for the locals? But just because parks in places like Altoona have to offer cheap prices and free parking, it doesn't mean that park model wouldn't be successful in more populated areas. As Joe said, Rye Playland, the Coney Island parks, Quassy, Bowcraft and Adventureland are all successful parks, and they aren't large, nor do their prices approach those of theme parks. Well, maybe Playland a bit...
The thing is, parks rarely compete with one another. Instead, they compete with malls, movie theaters and other forms of local entertainment. Open a small park in a populated area and it's not going to compete with the region's theme park, it's going to compete with other businesses that fight for your entertainment dollar.
In many small metro areas, you are either going to have a small park like DelGrossos or no park at all. Altoona, PA is so unusual in having two such parks in a small population center.
Again, this park serves Altoona and the surrounding area well but there will always be those in the area who head for the bigger thrills at Kennywood and Hershey. The important thing is, DelGrossos found their niche and plays to it unlike many smaller parks that have not been so successful.
Personal gain and government. They are the only things that would stand in the way of something like that working in Scranton. Trust me, living here lots of residents still wish Rocky Glen was around, but the cold hard fact is that the government here really doesn't care. (That is unless they can make a profit personally)
What I would love to see is something in the Tannersville/Blakeslee area from the Hershend family of parks. I think a themed park ala Dollywood or Silver Dollar City taking on the theme of local history would be a smash, especially if you thrown in a moderate water park, a couple of nice family friendly hotels. Not only would you attract the NEPA residents, but NYC and Nothern NJ. But that is just my idea, unless I win powerball we will continue to drive to the great parks we have: Knoebels, Dorney or Hershey.
See, I think pretty much all of Pa has as many parks as it can handle, with big-players such as Dorney, Hershey, Kennywood and Knoebels. However, northern NJ doesn't have anything and it's one of the largest, most populated and wealtiest markets in the entire country. And that's not just local bias talking.
That's just a big market that needs more than one big park. They could use some of the smaller ones too but I doubt that they would have DelGrosso prices. The real estate is too expensive.
The problem with SFGAdv is that the big crowds keep going there so Six Flags can continue milking them for all they can. DP and HP mignt be worthwhile parks but they are a longer trip from the NYC area and they don't have as many really big coasters.
On the other side of NYC I believe that eventually LC will become the viable alternative to SFNE. It might take a decade but I believe that it will eventually happen.
The main point in this thread really was about getting amusement parks into small markets that don't have any or preserving endangered parks in such areas.
The big problem is that the required investment is quite high for a venture that can be quite risky. It's probably best to start as an FEC or a small waterpark or maybe a combination of both. Later add a kiddieland and a few grown-up flats and then if things go well, put in a coaster or two.
All I know is I love DelGrossos' sauces. Much better and usually cheaper than Ragu, Prego, etc. Plus I never saw a Ragu label offering $3 off an amusement park pass. :) That's actually how I first found out about the park. It pays to read the labels!
BTW, I noticed RCDB is saying that the coaster formerly known as Revolution isn't going to open at DelGrossos until 2008.
I often wondered how Knoebels managed to thrive when all the other parks in Northeastern PA went under (Rocky Glen, Nay Aug, Angela, Lakewood).
Not to insult the fact that you feel the need to make a decison, but a Gravity Group terrain coaster vs. an old Arrow loopscrew? That should be a no-brainer, especially for a traditional park enthusiast such as yourself, Arthur!
Nay Aug is making a comeback of sorts. It's actually a city park, but was in poor shape and getting worse through the 1980s. I used to visit it a lot when we went up there to visit relatives. The amusement area closed in the late 1980s I believe.
But since then, the park has been cleaned up, the old zoo has reopened, and rides have started returning (though not on the original park site). I don't think there is anything terribly noteworthy except that the original Nay Aug Park train is back in operation!
I also visited Magic Valley as a young-un. Though I don't really remember much about it.
I think a lot of small parks disappeared because people had knee-jerk reactions to them. "Look at what this land is worth!" "The traffic this place creates is awful!" "That ballroom is going to get set on fire one of these days!"
It seems that SOME towns and cities are realizing that small amusement parks aren't necessarily a bad thing, and are in fact something that might be a GOOD idea.