Is Six Flags more likely to obtain smaller theme parks in U.S

I was wondering as Six Flags company is looking to expand further in North America instead of obtaining other small parks around our country is it possible that Six Flags can finally look into building newer parks from scratch in bigger U.S cities that really lack a theme park like Indianapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Nashville, Phoenix, Denver, Miami, etc?

In a word, unlikely.

Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville - I think in general these markets are well served by regional parks. Their parks are not in-town, but each is served by two or more well-respected parks an easy drive away. Take Indianapolis. Holiday World, SF Great America, and even Cedar Point are easy drives. That does not include some of the smaller parks that you can find in this radius.

Seattle, Phoenix - These areas are populous enough, and far away enough from existing parks, but I think a successful park would have to be expensively built to accommodate the local weather. A Phoenix park would likely have to be built like the Dubai parks, very dense and practically indoors. Seattle is very wet for good large park operations.

Denver, Miami - These are the only cities I would wager would have a chance, and even then they have challenges. Denver is great in terms of people and location, and has a market opportunity as Elich Gardens fades away as I suspect it will in the coming decade. But with all the natural fun of the Rockies, you have a lot of competition. Plus, you have to use the argument that Denver has never been able to support a bigger park than Elich Gardens. Why does it now? Miami is in a similar boat. Miami has good year-round operations potential. But two words. Hurricanes (see SFNO) and Disney. You have to have a business plan that is ready for both of them.

SIx Flags itself - I would say it is unlikely SF would build new parks in the US, because that is not what they do. I do not know my Six Flags history as well as some here, but wasn't the last from-scratch park Six Flags built in the US one of their core Texas parks? They have bought the rest. It just isn't in their DNA to build new.

Six Flags took Fiesta Texas over. If I’m not mistaken is it was an Opryland park, or, Gaylord.

ApolloAndy's avatar

If those markets could support a park, it would already be there. Said partly in jest, but there's also some truth to it.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I don't think Six Flags has built a park from the ground up since having built the first three.

Not sure what parks they'd be looking at? The Kennywood family, perhaps?

slithernoggin's avatar

Yep, after building SF St Louis, they moved to acquisitions.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Time Warner era Six Flags was seriously considering building Six Flags New England from the ground up in Connecticut in the mid '90s. Remember there were web sites that had park map proposals at one time but can't find much on it now. It was all scrapped when things were sold to Premier, and then Riverside was rebranded.

Timber-Rider's avatar

I don't think building by metro Detroit would be a very good idea. But more north and west closer to Lansing might work. Then you get a lot of major Michigan cities within an hours drive. Those being, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, flint, bay city, and Saginaw. Which would be a close drive for 5 to 6 million people. Not including Ann Arbor and Battle creek.

But, unlike Michigan's Adventure which is in a high traffic resort area, with Lake Michigan drawing millions of summer tourist, there would be nothing else near by for people to get excited about. And with Cedar Point not that far from Detroit, it would have to be a pretty impressive park to get people to want to go there. Plus compete with Cedar Point and Michigan's Adventure.

Unless Six Flags buys Michigan's Adventure from Cedar Fair, I do not see them building a major ride park.

Though There is talk of them building a park near Traverse City. Which would be small, and resort oriented, with more focus on a water park, then an actual ride park.

Last edited by Timber-Rider,

I didn't do it! I swear!!

There is a fundimental miss-undersanding over what SF is doing of late. They are not acquiring or purchasing parks. Rather, they are managing them in a management agreement. There is no equity involved.

It's an interesting concept that multiple management companies are doing currently in the industry that started this trend around 10 years ago.

So how does that work? I see it as one of two models... Either Six Flags (or whoever) pays a lease fee to the owner of the parks, and then they run them as they see fit and take whatever profit or loss. Or, the owner pays Six Flags a flat fee to run the parks, and the owner takes whatever profit or loss.

Either way the biggest hangup (at least at Darien Lake, which has been owned by one entity but run by another since Six Flags sold them off 12 years ago) seems to be capital investment. The managing company isn’t gonna pony up the money because they don’t own the park and the owners (again, at least at Darien Lake) don’t want to put much into the park as they are mostly looking for a buy low/sell high flip.

But then again, what do I know?

There's probably a flat management fee that covers the salaries of some management personnel and then they split the net profit with the bulk of that going to the owner. Just a guess based on my experience with those type of arrangements, but I would bet it's 15-30% going to Six Flags. I would be surprised if there aren't conditions in their contract for capital investment. SFOT is owned by a limited partnership that has a management contract with Six Flags. In 1997, the partnership flirted with turning over the management contract to Premier. Six Flags wooed them back with a promise of a large investment in the new contract. Of course, Premier bought the entire chain several months later and the rest is history.

I love this OP. They start these what-if/opinion poll threads, which sometimes result in lengthy conversations, then never comes back to participate further.

Vater's avatar

Yep. 7 total posts, 5 new threads. No one's post count should be 70+% new threads.

I know this post is dead, but SF taking over Kennywood wouldn't be a bad idea. Before SC was added, it was essentially the park from that movie that was shot there. Run-down.

bjames's avatar

davies182 said:


How would Six Flags ownership alleviate this issue? lol

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

Idk they'd make it not smell like hot trash.


Your post makes me laugh. On my one and only visit to SFWoA the toilets decided to back up and spilled on to the sidewalks. There was sewage water everywhere by the front entrance and the smell was overwhemingly horrible.

Ugh. That makes my visit to SFWoA where no stands had any ice seem to, well, smell like roses.

But then again, what do I know?

ApolloAndy's avatar

PointMan said:


Your post makes me laugh. On my one and only visit to SFWoA the toilets decided to back up and spilled on to the sidewalks. There was sewage water everywhere by the front entrance and the smell was overwhemingly horrible.

If there were a down-vote button, I would be mashing it right now. That sounds horrific. My one day at SFWoA was fantastic, but that's probably because there was nobody there (though X-Flight was still a 45 minute wait).

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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