Smaller theme parks avoid extinction by catering to locals

Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 9:56 AM | Contributed by Jeff

When it comes to theme parks, it's almost impossible not to think about Busch Gardens, Disney or even Universal. But before the major parks took over, the thousands of tourists Florida would welcome from the very start of the automobile age depended more on what would best be described as roadside attractions -- places like the original Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven and Weeki Wachee Springs near Brooksville.

Read more from Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Monday, February 12, 2007 10:07 AM
Up here in New England, we've got Canobie Lake park in Salem, NH. It started as classic "trolly park," and gradually added new or improved rides through the years. My first love will ALWAYS be the Yankee Cannonball. It was the first "non-kiddie" coaster I rode. I still get goosebups thinkijng about it.
Monday, February 12, 2007 5:16 PM
In response to you, Hopman, my favorite will always be the Whalom Park Flyer Comet. It was my first wooden coaster ever. But yes, Canobie has been around since 1896-ish I believe, right?
Monday, February 12, 2007 5:51 PM
Idlewild is another of those small theme parks that has been around for many years, first as a traditional park and then with various themed areas added. It is now owned by Kannywood Entertainment but differs from KW by focusing more on families rather than big time thrill seekers. The Story Book Forest section was one of the early story book parks from the 1950s that were once so common but are much rarer now. I remember when Conneaut Lake had one, but theirs is now gone. .
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 2:18 AM
Waldameer in Erie is my favorite smaller park.

Free parking, IMO the best park fries and food anywhere, low prices, low cost games, free admission for non-riders, all nestled near a great beach and lake!

My Kinda Place :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 7:58 AM
Joyland here in wichita,ks is my favorite small park.It has an almost magic feel to it.I think the organ adds to the first coaster ride was there on roller coaster when I was in gradeschool.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 1:44 PM
Waldameer will be even better once Ravine Flyer II is ready. A big coaster is the only thing that this park needs but currently lacks.

Waldameer, because of its location, attracts some people from other areas that come come to Presque Isle and want to enjoy some amusements while they are there. With the new coaster, they will be able to draw more people from Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh and are likely to start promoting the park in those areas.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 4:29 PM
What we need is a grassroot thing for these smaller parks. Let's make the smaller parks just as much as destination os Bush Gardens or CP.



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