Podcast; Markets that could support a park but don't have one yet?

Omaha Nebraska I think is a Market that could support an Amusement Park.
The place would be flooded during the College World Series.
We also have other big events that sound like may be happening more often that would bring people into the city including; Olympic Trials, NCAA Baseball Regionals, and Omaha Classic PGA Tour Stop. There are other things but I'm trying to think of things that be during the operating season as this would have to be a seasonal park.
We are in the middle of the country thus being on the way to many destinations. Nebraska State population is estimated at 1,758,787. Omaha, Ne 404,267.
Lincoln, Ne 235,594.
Sioux Falls, SD 133,834(Sioux Falls is about an hour closer to Omaha then it is to Valleyfair).
Sioux City, Iowa 83,876.
Rapid City, SD 60,876(Rapid City is about 30 minutes closer to Elitch Gardens but could still draw some people from there. It is still about an hour closer to Omaha then it is Valleyfair).
Council Bluffs, Iowa 58,656.
Bellevue, Ne 46,734.
With a state population of 5,800,310 I am sure some of the people from the smaller towns in Missouri closer to Nebraska would flock to Omaha to ride some world class Roller Coasters.
We could Cater to all of Nebraska, Most of Iowa, Parts of Kansas and Missouri, and most of South Dakota.

Nebraska - 1,758,787 - Closest Parks to Compete With are Adventureland and Worlds Of Fun both over 2 hrs away

South Dakota - 775,933 - Closest Parks I know of Elitch Gardens and Valley Fair. Elitch Gardens would be closer then Omaha in most cities in South Dakota. Valleyfair however is about an Hour farther no matter what.

Iowa - 2,966,334 - Valleyfair, Arnold's Park, and Adventureland are the only parks we would have to compete with.

Missouri - 5,800,310 - Six Flags St. Louis, Worlds of Fun, Wild West World, Joyland, Silver Dollar City, Celebration City, Legoland(soon). Biggest competitor state right here.

Kansas 2,744,687 See Missouri. Plus a few parks in Oklahoma.

If a new park were built in Omaha and kept on top of the World Class Rides, World Class Theming, and World Class Customer Service I think it could stand a chance.

My research was very preliminary so any advise and our comments if anyone else thinks it would be possible please comment I just decided to check it out after they were talking about markets in the west being kinda dry and who they thought could possibly support a park but knowing any places off the tops of the their heads.

Thank you for reading and posting any further comments.

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
It's a shame that the WIld Escape project fell through. :(

I think a park on the scale of Celebration City would do very well in the Omaha area. Something as large as Worlds of Fun or Adventureland may be an initial hit, but would probably thin out the resources too much for Worlds of Fun, Adventureland and thw new park. I don't think there is enough population to support three large parks like that in such a close proximity. But a modern park with at least one GREAT coaster, a decent helping of quality flats and some other things to keep teens and families entertained would probably survive off the local population alone, especially if what they offered attracted frequent visits from the locals. It could be a popular weekend night spot if the pricing was reasonable. They need some really great attractions to draw in a good-sized season pass audience; something that Adventureland is lacking, but WoF has (at least in the eyes of the GP). *** Edited 2/11/2007 5:46:42 AM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf


I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
Olsor's avatar
Two parks throw a wrench into this discussion: Holiday World and Castles n' Coasters.

Holiday World proved you could draw over a million visitors while being in the middle of nowhere. And despite being the second fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, Phoenix only has the sprawling amusement complex known as Castles n' Coasters.

That jarring juxtaposition screws up the entire picture, because it proves everything and nothing at the same time. Essentially, you could put an amusement park anywhere. Heck, early last century, amusement parks were everywhere. It just depends on whether there's anyone interested in investing the time and money to build an amusement park in, say, Omaha.

You could draw a parallel to the locations of major sports franchises. The NFL has no teams in the second largest market in the country but has a wildly successful team in Green Bay, WI, population: 100,000. The NBA has a team in Salt Lake City but none in St. Louis.

So, yes, there are probably plenty of markets that could support an amusement park. But the big players in the amusement park business don't currently seem to be interested in building new parks, and independents don't have the cash to start off big (like Islands of Adventure). Places like Castles n' Coasters, Cliff's in Albuquerque, or Timber Falls in Wisconsin Dells seem like they might become more commonplace.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Interesting, Olsor.

I know we always say HW is in the middle of nowhere - but are they really?

I suppose we could debate all day over what is 'local' and what is a reasonable day trip for casual park visitors and such, but for the sake of argument, I'm going to go with 150 miles. It just seems like a good number - that's 2 hours at interstate speeds. (and I really started becoming interested in this mileage radius thing after the CLP thread)

So take a look at this map - it shows a 150 mile radius (as the crow flies) from Holiday World.

What's the first thing I notice? Two major cities that happen to lack amusement parks fall inside that radius. (Indianapolis and Nashville)

Also falling inside that radius are Louisville and Cincinnati - both with 'home' parks, but still a reasonable distance from HW.

That's a total metro population of around 5.5 million people in those four cities alone. (as of 2000 census numbers)

Indianapolis does have a closer choice in Indiana Beach and roughly equidistant (within 20 or 30 miles)choices in SFKK and PKI.

The folks in Nashville really don't have a closer choice (Beech Bend, I suppose) and SFKK & Lake Winnie would be roughly the same trip as HW. But anything else is an hour more away at best (Dollywood).

Extend the radius just 30 more miles and you pick up St. Louis (but that's admittedly pushing things a little).

Still, 5.5 million people in four city metro areas is a lot of people. You'd probably be hard pressed to find many parks with that many people within the same distance and those that are will be among the most visited parks in the USA. (and those areas will often offer more alternative amusement park choices within that same distance)

Speaking of alternative choices, the suprisingly sparse number of parks in that radius doesn't hurt either. Within that 150 mile radius there are only 5 other parks (PKI, SFKK, Beech Bend, Coney Island and Stricker's) - and I'd say it's safe to knock Stricker's right off of that list as they only open to the public two days each year.

Within 150 miles of HW you have:

- More than 5.5 million people in 4 major cities
- Only 4 parks as competition (and two of those are very small at best)

That's truly a setup that I don't think exists for any other park in the USA. :)

With that said, I have no idea how far away HW realistically draws from or if 150 miles is a reasonable day trip or stats on any of the hundred other factors at play. But man, if that's the 'middle of nowhere' - then sign me up for business. ;)

delan's avatar
Phoenix, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas could easily support a larger sized amusement park. Especially in the case of Vegas, I am surprised that their largest offering is Circus Circus. (Although Vegas is one big Amusement park anyway)
Surprisingly no one mentioned Houston. How far is it to get to Dallas or San Antonio? Could Kemah Boardwalk be considered its new home park now that they are building a wood coaster?

I think Indianapolis could support a medium sized local park even though, as Gonch has stated, has Indiana Beach and is within a couple of hours drive of PKI and HW. They were getting Garfield's Adventure America, which was in preliminary construction, until that development went bust.

I was just going to say that Houston could use a park.

Real Cbuzz quote of the day - "The classes i take in collage are so mor adcanced then u could imagen. Dont talk about my emglihs" - Adamforce
Olsor's avatar
Gonch - I'd still say that Holiday World is in the middle of nowhere. It just happens to be a centrally located middle of nowhere. ;) When hotels 30 miles away are still catering to your visitors, you're pretty isolated. Holiday World just lacks that built-in local market that most other mid-size and large parks benefit from. But then again, that shows how impressive that 2006 attendance was, when most of those people had to make a decent driving effort to get to the park.

delan - Miami's another excellent example of what I was talking about. Even though the population base could definitely support a park, it's got the Hurricane amidst this sprawling complex. Of course, Miami has to compete with Orlando, even though it's not local. Considering that people travel from all over the country (and world) to go to Orlando, Miami's practically local.

And Houston is definitely the latest example of an area that could (and did) support a large park, but doesn't. With Kemah building a major ride, it's starting to resemble all those small parks outside major areas that I mentioned.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Olsor said:
Gonch - I'd still say that Holiday World is in the middle of nowhere. It just happens to be a centrally located middle of nowhere.

I like that. :)

X Factor said:
Surprisingly no one mentioned Houston. How far is it to get to Dallas or San Antonio? Could Kemah Boardwalk be considered its new home park now that they are building a wood coaster?

Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston were roughly three-hours apart from each other from what I can remember. I think the trip from San Antonio to Houston was longer though. They form a rough triangle on the map. I wasn't driving, so truly your (gas) mileage may vary.

When people complained about losing Astroworld, to me I didn't see it as a huge problem if you have wheels or can charter a bus. Obviously, if it was your local park and weren't able to get out of town, then yeah that sucks.

Those of us who live in the Baltimore area for years had been making treks to KD, BG(W)E, SFGAdv., and HP long before Adventure World/SFA got build up. And we're still making those treks today!

Remember, before Premier Parks takeover of Wild World, it was a small waterpark (which unfortunately, hasn't gotten that much bigger), a few flats, and Wild One--when it was running--as it was SBNO one year. *** Edited 2/11/2007 10:08:19 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***

Seattle? Portland? Detroit/Windsor? Boise?

I know there are some parks nearby, just not in that actual city.

rollergator's avatar
Notes: Portland has Thrillville, Oaks, and Enchanted Forest.

Seattle has Fun Forest, Enchanted Village, and part-timer Puyallup.

NONE of those qualify as major parks (unless Puyallup goes full-time), but I don't consider them "amusement-deprived" either.

Indianapolis is certainly IB-territory. Somewhat of a further drive, but NOT an "unserved" market either, IMO.

South Dakota has a new (although very small) entrant in Boondocks.

Houston is kinda funny...could anyone NOT have predicted someone would come in and take advantage of the situation?? Smart move, Kemah.

Houston and the *revitalized* New Orleans will both be able to support a medium-sized park in the next 3-5 years. Be interesting to see what happens with the PARC parks, and with HRC park, in the next couple years...

Talked a few times with the manager of Boomers! in Lauderdale...seems like they *talk about* adding rides to that land they own across the street, but nothing ever comes of it. One nice splashy flat with alot of lights (Afterburner?) would give people reason to buy something other than the single-laps or RAD on Hurricane.

As always, feel free to argue otherwise on any/all points... :)

*** Edited 2/11/2007 11:20:48 PM UTC by rollergator***

ApolloAndy's avatar
From DFW it's about 4 to San Antonio and 4+ to Houston. At least driving at or near the speed limit.

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."

Gonch how did you do the radius thing on the computer? Thats pretty neat it puts things in a little better perspective.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
Microsoft Streets & Trips. (also essential for trip planning :) )

Thanks ApolloAndy for the time corrections. I just looked up Mapquest times (which of course can be off). Since I wasn't driving (and hence my memory is off), it turns out the easiest part of the drive would be from Houston to San Antonio.

You times sound realistic from Dallas to San Antonio or from Houston to Dallas--and not excessively speeding. From what I can remember, the traffic in Austin going down to San Antonio was really bad during rush hour in 02'.

Traffic was really bad in Houston as well during rush hour on the road passing Astroworld, so anyone driving those routes might have an even longer drive.

Still, from Houston, SW, SFFT, SFOT, and Shlitterbahn should certainly be considered day drives. I'm not saying that you won't need lodging once you're done with the parks, but it's certainly do-able.

ChicagoCoasterCub's avatar
For the case of Detroit, and most of lower Michigan, for that matter, think nothing of driving to Cedar Point. Those in SE Mich just go for the day, others, I would think, stay in a hotel.
Thanks Gonch thats actually really cool. I bet it is more reliable then Mapquest also.
What about Salt Lake City, UT? That's a decent size area with not much going on with coasters.

And, it they ant good size parks in Alabama?

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

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