Rob, I've seen numbers that range between "over a million" and 1.3 million for Knoebels. How do they count guests there without an admission fee, a parking fee, or even one designated location to enter the park? I'm sure they find a way, it's just not as simple as counting turnstile clicks.
Someone (I think it was AJ, ironically) told me that Morey's Piers- another amusement park with no admission and therefore no offical way of obtaining attendance numbers- has a formula or a system that estimates park attendance. I once read an article years back that listed Knoebels' attendance as somewhere around 1 million although I'm willing to bet that number has grown somewhat in recent years.
I think what you might do is ask 50 random guests "what did you ride today" (this includes the "zero rides" grandma and grandpa NAPPING on the benches by Phoenix).....add up the rides, divide by the guests, and you get a rough estimate of how many rides each guest rode.
From there, it's easy to *guess* how many people came in to your, ummmm...."gates"... ;)
Rob Ascough said: Or install cameras and hire a lot of cheap labor to count people, taking into account people that walk through each gate multiple times!
SCBB also doesn't charge admission, they guestimate their daily attendance by the capacity of the midways and the size of the crowds in the midways. By no means accurate, but without a gate, best they can do. Similiar to outdoor festivals and other large outdoor events where there are no gates, but they have a close idea of how many people are there by the capacity of the venue and the size of the crowds.