UA-20143982-1 What U.S. City Needs A New Theme Park? - The Coaster Guy

What U.S. City Needs A New Theme Park?

By on 05/05/2013

If you’re like me, you periodically look at a map to figure out which new theme park you want to visit next. As I was doing this recently, it occurred to me that there were a few areas of the United States that really don’t have a theme park very close to them. The green pins on the following map show most of the existing theme and amusement parks that have at least a couple roller coasters, while the red balloons show areas that might be able to support a park. I put the map together quickly, and mostly from memory, so I know I missed a few parks:

Theme Park Map

The eastern half of the country is covered nicely, but not so out west. One might think that weather would be a big reason for the lack of parks in some regions, especially way up north, but I don’t think it is. Places like Chicago and the New England states can have some very severe winters, but they still manage to have successful theme parks. Their seasons may be shorter than others, but they’re still successful none the less.

Therefore, the size of the addressable market must be the key. I took a look at the largest metropolitan areas in the country and saw that most of them are already being served. The only two that didn’t seem to have a major theme park were Phoenix and Seattle. The following is my list of cities that I think could use a new theme park, as well as any negatives.

  • Phoenix: There is definitely a large enough population in the Phoenix metro area to sustain a new theme park. In fact, given their weather, it could even operate year round. However, does it get too hot for a park in the summer? I know how hot parks can get here in SoCal, and Phoenix is much hotter. You wouldn’t want people burning themselves as they get on rides. They do have a Castles & Coasters location, but that looks more like a family fun center with two coasters and not a true theme park.
  • Seattle: Like Phoenix, there are also enough people in the Seattle metro area to support a new theme park. Seattle doesn’t get that hot, but it is very wet, which could be a deterrent. However, if parks can operate in the snowy northeast, I would think one could easily be designed to accommodate the northwest rain. There is a smaller park in Tacoma that Six Flags used to own, but I think it now focuses more on its water park without the means or desire to expand the theme park beyond what’s there now.
  • Las Vegas: Despite being one of the world’s top tourist destinations, there are no dedicated theme parks in Las Vegas. However, that doesn’t mean they are short on entertainment. There are even some roller coasters in a couple of casinos. Would a theme park be a good place for the kids to go play, or is there already too much entertainment competition for a theme park to succeed in Las Vegas?
  • Boise: I’m not sure that Boise has the volume of people for a really large park, but it could be home to a nice, family friendly park with a nice collection of rides. I only included it because there wasn’t anything else in the area.
  • Omaha: There appears to be a giant void right in the middle of the country where no big parks exist. The further north you go, the less people there are. Omaha seems to be centrally located in the region, but would it get enough traffic?
  • New Orleans: Not long after Six Flags took over the Jazzland theme park, just outside of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina hit and completely wiped it out. Rather than rebuild, they used the opportunity to vacate the location. I think the site was struggling and that was their way out. It’s hard to say if it would have seen long-term success. Was it just that particular location, or is that entire region not a good fit for a theme park? Texas and Florida have parks along the Gulf, but is there anything between them?

Which city needs a new theme park?

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What do you think makes or breaks a new theme park? Are there any areas I didn’t mention that you think need a park, like Hawaii? Let me hear from you.

71 Comments

  1. Mike

    05/05/2013 at 10:05 pm

    Here’s a half-off-the-cuff, half-serious “open letter” I wrote in my Las Vegas newspaper to Cedar Fair, making the case for a legit amusement park in Sin City:

    http://lasvegascitylife.com/sections/news/signed-sealed-and-delivered-our-annual-mail-drop-open-letters.html

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 7:50 pm

      That was funny! :-)

  2. Ryan

    05/05/2013 at 10:10 pm

    None of the above.

    Houston.

    • Dane. P

      05/06/2013 at 8:43 pm

      the trick with houston is you go to all the boardwalks they have great coasters and usually are to sixflags standard, but you make a good point with astroland getting closed.

    • LaurieF

      01/25/2016 at 10:28 am

      None of these….Manning, SC….Entertainment needed….Lots of Cheap land…..1/2 way between Columbia and Charleston….Near I-95…..By Biggest Lake in state yet there is no resort, entertainment area…Pool/ Waterparks too far away..Maybe canoe/boat rentals/fishing excursions.

  3. James

    05/05/2013 at 10:20 pm

    Seattle.

    You can add all the people from just over the border in Vancouver that don’t have access to a major theme park. It is only a 2 to 3 hour drive and Vancouver area has around 3 million people in addition to Seattle.

    They have Playland there, but it is small and mainly kids rides.

  4. Eric

    05/05/2013 at 10:46 pm

    Boise does have Silverwood not too far away, and Silverwood also has Spokane feeding people to it. I have not been to Silverwood, but it looks like it has some good stuff. Two wooden coasters, the Corkscrew from Knott’s, and Déjà Vu from Six Flags Great America.

    As for Las Vegas, they do have the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, the Stratosphere, and a couple of other coasters and small arcade/park like attractions. The thing is, unlike the ’90s when Vegas was trying to remake itself as a family destination, these days it’s not the case. I went to the old MGM Grand Adventures one time and thought it was decent, but it could have used more. Unfortunately, MGM pulled the plug on it before it could get going.

    Honestly, I think there are just enough parks—in the west specifically—to be successful.

    • Ashley

      05/10/2013 at 4:28 pm

      Silverwood is like 12 hrs away. You are better off driving to LA.

  5. Mike

    05/06/2013 at 12:41 am

    There was talk years ago that Six Flags was going to open a park in Benson Arizona just outside Tucson but I don’t know whatever happened with that does anybody know?

  6. MRod

    05/06/2013 at 1:05 am

    I would have voted Vegas as well, but then remembered why I go to Vegas…..not to spend a day at an amusement park. But rather order a beer and some shots at whatever time I please, smoke indoors and have someone bring me a beer as I lose my money haha. MM isn’t that far away from Vegas, as a matter of fact I see just as many license plates from Nevada as from Cali in the MM lot everyday. And I think Cedar Fair would be too scared to try to drop in on their main rival, that’s about 4 hours away, with a new park in Vegas. I think Reno would be a better choice in Nevada to set up shop for a new amusement park.

    Personally I feel like Phoenix would be the best bet, out of the choices in the poll. It has the culture and scenery to be a coaster enthusiast Mecca for wooden coasters (idk how you guys feel about it, but when I see wooden coasters all I think about is western, desert-y kind of stuff lol). Same with maybe Albuquerqe?

    On a side note; I think SLC(Utah) could be a candidate to improve what they have and make it bigger and better.

    • Jeff

      05/19/2013 at 4:40 pm

      Salt Lake (aka Lagoon in Farmington, UT) could definitely be a great place for a much bigger (better) park. That part of Utah doesn’t hit the insane sweltering heat of Phoenix/Las Vegas, nor does it have all the rain that Seattle has. I seem to remember years ago that there was talk about Six Flags acquiring Lagoon, but it never happened. It may have just been locals fantasizing about it. Either way, I’d be happy with a bigger park close by me in SLC.

      • Coasters

        01/29/2015 at 8:54 am

        Lagoon not being bought by Six Flags is a blessing. Six Flags suck. Lagoon needs to stay family owned park, I think a new family needs to own it now, but no corporate park. I think Utah could use another park and would be bale to support two parks.

        • Jeff

          08/30/2016 at 12:19 pm

          St. George Utah needs a theme park. First it is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the U.S. Second, it is only an hour or so out of Vegas and far more “family friendly.” Third, it is less than 20 minute drive from Zion National Park and only a couple of hours from the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Bryce National Park. Fourth, it has its own airport. Fifth, the weather is clear skies all year round — but not nearly as hot in the summer as Vegas. Fifth, it is only 4 hours or so out of LA and Salt Lake — right in the middle. Sixth, it is less than 2 hours from world class ski and mountain resorts in colder areas of Utah. A family-friendly theme park in St. George would do much better than one in Vegas.

  7. XYZ

    05/06/2013 at 6:36 am

    Houston, Memphis, & Miami could all use an amusement park. Places like Las Vegas and Phoenix would be too hot for an outdoor amusement park which is why all the Vegas coasters are either indoors or have an indoor station.

    • Dane. P

      05/06/2013 at 8:44 pm

      Miami is to close to Orlando for anyone to even try to open a park there.

      • XYZ

        05/08/2013 at 6:37 am

        Miami is over three hours away from Orlando. Plus, Tampa has a theme park regardless of being 90 minutes from Orlando.

  8. Brett

    05/06/2013 at 8:23 am

    I make the drive from phx to sfmm every 6 to 8 weeks. It’s killing my car, so please six flags come to phx lol.

  9. Zach

    05/06/2013 at 8:59 am

    I think Phoenix needs an amusement park no matter how hot it gets. I can’t tell you how many comments I get on my YouTube videos saying that they don’t like having to drive 9 hours to get to the closest Six Flags park. The same can be said for Facebook comments on all the SF Facebook pages.

    If an Arizona investor approached Six Flags about financing a park in Arizona, I’m sure they would take it. I can only see it more as a water park than a full amusement park.

    How about a water park with a few coasters that leave all leave from an air conditioned indoor building? Or a big indoor building with a spinning coaster and some other compact coasters that will fit indoors. Then outdoors, a full sized Six Flags water park.

    • Rick

      10/09/2016 at 8:54 pm

      I agree Phoenix needs an Amusement park , no matter how hot it gets

  10. Ryan

    05/06/2013 at 10:37 am

    Phoenix would be an excellent place for a theme park! With Arizona State not being so far away, there’s certainly an excellent market for it! I do agree with it being extremely hot over there, but then again, Circus Circus in Las Vegas solved that by building the Adventuredome. I wonder, could Phoenix build something similar to that?

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 10:55 am

      Anything is possible, it’s just a question if how much it will cost and whether or not you’d ever earn your money back.

    • Likegreenlantern

      05/06/2013 at 1:36 pm

      Adventuredome is getting a new el loco s and s ride

    • Likegreenlantern

      05/06/2013 at 1:40 pm

      After looking at the map a few times I thought of how many water parks there are in the States. Why don’t you do an update on six flags hurricane horber next to magic mountain!

      • The Coaster Guy

        05/06/2013 at 1:59 pm

        As “The Coaster Guy,” I’m really more into the theme parks than the water parks. However, I do plan on starting coverage of Hurricane Harbor this year, but I need to wait for it to open first. 😉

  11. Ezra

    05/06/2013 at 12:08 pm

    I think that a small city should be able to be able to support a theme park. In So Cal, there is plenty of population to sustain it. Like Claremont, Ontario, or Upalnd are all good places.

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 7:55 pm

      I’m thinking about cities with a metropolitan area of at least 5+ million people that don’t have another theme park within at least 100 miles. I think L.A. might be able to sustain another major park, assuming it was done right, but it would be expensive, and who would be willing to take on that risk when there are so many other ripe cities for the taking?

      • XYZ

        05/08/2013 at 6:40 am

        I think L.A. has enough amusement parks. Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s, and obviously Six Flags Magic Mountain are all in the Los Angeles vicinity.

  12. Tony Byatt

    05/06/2013 at 12:16 pm

    I may be from New Orleans but Houston is the 4th largest city in the country and it has no park. I’d say Houston should be tops…

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 8:04 pm

      Houston is actually 10th in population if you look at the entire metropolitan area, but still plenty large enough to sustain a park. The reason I didn’t throw it out there as a possibility is because it seemed very close to San Antonio. I decided to look further east, which is how I got to Louisiana. But it sounds like a lot of people would like to see one in Houston. Whatever happened to Astroland, why did that go away?

      • Dane. P

        05/06/2013 at 8:47 pm

        Astroland is right next door to the Houston Texan stadium and the old Houston Astro stadium (thats sport stuff), and the land value is extremely high, and they decided that they would make more money off the land then the park itself.

      • H-town

        06/06/2016 at 10:01 pm

        Houston isn’t close to San Antonio, it’s like a 4 hour drive dude (8 hours round-trip). It was called Astroworld, not Astroland. And if you include all of Houston, and not just look at the Metropolitan area, it is actually bigger than Chicago.

        • H-town

          06/06/2016 at 10:20 pm

          The fate of Astroworld goes like this (since you asked). Six Flags was losing money and thought they could get $150 million by selling the land. After spending about $20 million to clear the land, they were only able to get $77 million for it. Which means they only netted about $57 million. I’m sure they could have just sold the park intact for that price. The CEO was fired by the shareholders due largely to this loss. To add insult to injury, before they closed Astroworld, they bought up all the smaller amusement parks in the area, like Malibu Grand Prix and Splashtown, and shut those down at the same time — leaving Houston without ANY amusement park. Splashtown reopened a year later. Now it’s an over-priced joke of an waterpark with a poor safety record. I work in claims investigations; twice now I have had to go into Splashtown posing as a customer to take pictures of the dilapidated rides people were injured riding.

  13. Likegreenlantern

    05/06/2013 at 1:34 pm

    Omaha, I fell bad for that section of the state.

  14. Rory L. Aronsky

    05/06/2013 at 3:01 pm

    Nope. Move along. We Las Vegans are doing fine without one.

    • Mike

      05/06/2013 at 4:54 pm

      Speak for yourself, Rory.

      • Cannon Kolb

        05/12/2013 at 8:59 pm

        I completely agree, Mike. I’m a Las Vegan myself and the casinos get old, and fast. The Adventuredome at Circus Circus used to be fun. They are installing a new mouse coaster in it which replaced the terrible water ride. It’s a waste of money. The Adventuredome attracts some sketchy people. I wish the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park still existed but such is life. I will always love going to Magic Mountain because its the Cedar Point of the West Coast, but it’d be nice to have a park in your home territory.

  15. joseph

    05/06/2013 at 6:29 pm

    it would be nice to have a park in oregon!

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 8:06 pm

      I’m from Oregon and still have a lot of family there, so I’d love to see a park there, but I’m realistic enough to know they just don’t have the population to sustain a park. If I were to build a park in the northwest, it would be in Tacoma to pull people up from Portland and down from Seattle.

  16. Casey

    05/06/2013 at 7:44 pm

    New Orleans used to have a Six Flags.I believe it was called Six Flags Jazz Land? Correct me if i’m wrong,though. The park was destroyed by hurricane katrina,though.

    • Casey

      05/06/2013 at 7:44 pm

      I used “though” many times in that sentence. :)

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/06/2013 at 8:07 pm

      Did you not read the entire post? 😉

  17. Dane. P

    05/06/2013 at 8:40 pm

    I live in pheonix and their is 1 theme park here called castles and coasters. It has a very inaccurate name however it should be called castle and coaster, because there is only one of each.
    Link here: http://castlesncoasters.com/

  18. Seth

    05/06/2013 at 8:42 pm

    I think phoenix is the best out of those choices. Because of that big canyon it takes longer to get in/out of the state making trips to decent theme parks bigger ordeals than they should be. They definitely have the population to support an all year park as well. Although, I’m not sure how the hot weather affects the rides… But a Six Flags (or any franchise) Thrill/Water park combo would be an excellent addition to AZ.

    • Dane. P

      05/06/2013 at 8:49 pm

      ummmmmm what state are you trying to get to, the canyon is literally in the middle of nowhere it is not in the way at all. I only know this, because I live in Phoenix, and I have traveled in every direction out of the state, and you never need to make a detour to get out of the state.

      • Seth

        05/09/2013 at 1:53 pm

        I live in Utah and always drive around the canyon on my way to AZ, so I guess I spoke without really doing my research. But still, Phoenix is quite far from decent amusement parks.

  19. Thomas

    05/06/2013 at 9:23 pm

    Google USA government owned property, look at the maps, and I believe you will find the answer to your question. In fact your map almost mirrors what you will see in the results of this search.

  20. Jazzland Park

    05/07/2013 at 11:18 am

    New Orleans, most definitely. As your map pointed out, the closest regional park is in Atlanta, over 450 miles away. The previous Jazzland/Six Flags years were successful, despite urban legend, seeing an average of 833,000 guests annually while it operated seasonally and competed with Astroworld in Houston. Our plans to return it as a next generation Jazzland, with more emphasis on Louisiana’s unique art, music and cultural heritage, also include a water park and movie studio backlot. We’d also be open year-round to take advantage of New Orleans’ international tourist draw and convention season. Follow us on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/JazzlandPark, to stay up to date with our progress.

  21. Call Sign: Super Six Four

    05/08/2013 at 10:38 pm

    Take the map, anywhere there is an existing park draw a circle around it that is about 200 miles in diameter. The numbers simply won’t make sense anywhere inside the circle. Theme Parks don’t go in places with a lot of competition with out significant tourist traffic. Quote from a another consultant: “It’s not a McDonalds.”

    Las Vegas seems like a good place to build a park, but it is an adult play ground. Building there means that you are not going to be able to attract families and you would loose a good portion of the target demographic that typically patrons theme parks. There is significant competition from the Casinos and already existing resorts that it would not likely be sustainable. Hot weather is a problem for some types of rides and would require more investment into the hardware to make them reliable.

    Pheonix – Now this has potential. The problem with Pheonix is that an acre of land within suitable driving distance of the city, not built on a former waste dump, and with sufficient water access rights, is $50,000 to $500,000 an acre. If you need 100-400 acres to build a decent sized park you can see where this cost is commercially unreasonable. To be possible your gonna need the acreage cost to be around $10,000-$20,000 per acre. Like Vegas, hot weather is a problem for some types of rides and would require more investment into the hardware to make them reliable.

    Pheonix has 1.6 million people and is within driving distance of Las Vegas. It would be a good place to build a park if you could get the land and the water.

    New Orleans – One word: Uninsurable. You are asking someone to convince a group of investors to build a theme park in the middle of a swamp, that’s negative 8 feet below sea level, and that already has a history of completely wiping out one park.

    The demographics (while improving) in New Orleans post Katrina cannot sustain a new Theme Park build. No one is going to invest $400-600 million to do it. Many have tried it, it’s just not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

    Rebuilding Jazzland is not feasible for less then $360 million. Out of the five rides that are considered salvageable, with the exception of the mouse, rebuilding them would cost 70% of the cost new. All of the buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed, the park has no “big” power. The power company is not going to rebuild the service feed to the park for free.

    Baring a full rebirth of Jazzland, I recommended to the city that they salvage the few rides they can and move them to one of the big parks in the city and pay someone to re-hab and operate them. Would be a big boom during Mardi Gras. The City has no interest in operating a park, and rather then liquidate the park and it’s assets to remove the burden upon the taxpayers for securing it, they have chosen to keep it as a monument to a devastating event that took place almost a decade ago.

    I would argue in their favor that New Orleans could sustain a small water park or a micro water park quite easily, but not a theme park, and not in the location of Jazzland.

    Houston – My home during the off season. Where to start. Houston is still haunted by the ghost of Astroworld past. It’s kinda weird living here because it’s citizens have mixed feelings about building another park in the city, but most love to tell you about their fondest memories in the park that used to be.

    Astroworld will never be rebuilt in it’s former location. The land is too expensive to re-acquire. For that matter finding enough space to build a park big enough to sustain a crowd of Houstonian’s within the city limits is a bigger problem. You have a few choices, you can go north, west, or south. All of which are expensive and heavily developed. Houston is booming towards the north, the woodlands almost all the way to conroe, and to the west out past Katy. You can go 40 miles in ether direction and still feel like your in suburbia.

    There are some projects that have been proposed north and west of the city that are in various stages of stationary movement but nothing that’s really broken ground. There is an existing water park in the woodlands. The problem with these proposed projects is they aren’t vary interesting to the target audience.

    Houston has a very diverse culture, a culture which may not fully adopt a theme park on it’s own or in some cases have enough surplus income to ever visit it.

    A lot of investors still feel that Astroworld was put out of it’s misery, they won’t invest in a major park unless it was proposed by one of the major chains instead of an independent broker. They certainly won’t invest in it if Six Flags is involved in it.

    There is a stigma hovering over Houston that Astroworld was a toxic asset being dumped by the largest theme park chain in the country for poor performance. Astroworld was the victim of a series of bad business decisions made worse by a desperate executive trying to avoid walking the plank on a sinking ship.

    If you are going to build a park in Houston, your are going to have to find land that’s cheap enough and close to the city, your going to have to find investors, and then you are going to have to win the heart of the people back.

    • Dane. P

      05/11/2013 at 3:58 pm

      I LIKE THIS GUY

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/13/2013 at 10:09 pm

      Great input. Thank you!!

  22. Ashley

    05/10/2013 at 4:24 pm

    Boise needs a theme park. There have been so many people that have moved in. It would do well. We have nothing in the whole southern state. We have to go out of state to do anything fun. There is definitely the traffic for one here!

  23. Mike Ford

    05/11/2013 at 10:26 am

    The Portland, Oregon area could use one. But if not there, as others have been saying, Tacoma, Washington would be a good choice. All Oregon has really are a couple of small parks: Oaks Park in Portland, and Enchanted Forest near Salem.

  24. Sean

    05/12/2013 at 5:42 pm

    Las Vegas really needs a Theme Park, and since there is a lot of competition (amusement wise) in Vegas, the park could be ver unique, and ultra modern, especially if it becomes part of a resort. Families can go there during the day with their kids, put the kids in bed at night, and have a fun filled night Vegas-style. Because honestly, at this point in time, I think that Vegas is not really a family destination, which can easily be changed by putting in a large themepark. After all, there is space enough.

  25. c12dagod

    05/14/2013 at 3:34 pm

    ththe main theme parks that need one is Oklahoma cause all they have is CAsinos and barley any fun and loisiana as a whole the whole State need something like disneyland are universal studios cause it just sucks bothe these southern states have nothing

  26. Justin

    05/18/2013 at 9:02 pm

    Phoenix due to high population, Good toursim, and No major parks within a 5 hour drive.

  27. Andrew

    12/03/2013 at 5:58 pm

    I can’t Believe Las Vegas won. Here’s the thing about Vegas that someone already mentioned, no one goes for an amusement park. They go to the casinos. It has population but not the right type of population. I’ve been on the casino coasters, and they have like no line cause nobody wants to ride them. It’s also like a million degrees out there, and that’s a lot coming from a SoCal resident.

    • The Coaster Guy

      12/03/2013 at 6:12 pm

      You forgot to mention that it costs something like $15 a pop for every ride you take.

  28. lucho gonzalez

    01/28/2014 at 8:50 pm

    I think that las vegas really does need a theme park like mentioned before tourists mostly travel as a family more than half the time and they also have children, so with that being said I think that las vegas should go back to being family friendly they have the land, the money and control. for example the circus circus, stratosphere, new york new york, and up until it closed for remodeling the sahara they all have on thing in common they all have rides (circus circus has adventuredome) so how many of you want to get in your car drive half a mile to the stratosphere to pay approx 20$ to go up to the deck and $15 for the one minute ride = $35 that is fucking nuts compared to building a theme park and paying one fee for the whole day all rides THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!

  29. steve austin

    03/01/2014 at 9:57 pm

    I live in Phoenix, and have wanted a large style amusement park here for years. There was one here from 1963 to 1983 called Legend City, and most of us that were teenagers in the 70’s and early 80’s loved it. But it is unbearable to go on rides when its over 110 outside….not to mention the maintenance on wooden rollercoaster too costly. However I think if one were built halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff, it just might work.

  30. Eric

    04/03/2014 at 4:30 pm

    Houston: It’s been nearly a decade since the closure of Six Flags park AstroWorld. Since 2005, we’ve seen proposed Earth Quest Adventures theme park, which has been riddled with controversy. Earth Quest appears to have an uncertain future. Late last year (2013) came the announcement of Grand Texas, which seems to be picking up steam… if everything goes well, Grand Texas theme/water park is slated to open in mid-to-late 2015.

    Louisville: Kentucky Kingdom is slated to reopen next month (May 2014/Memorial Day Weekend).

    New Orleans: It’s been nearly a decade since the closure of former Jazzland/Six Flags New Orleans. There had been proposal to reopen the park that haven’t quite materialized. From proposed Legend City Adventure Park (by Southern Star Amusement, Inc.) to a Nickelodeon-branded theme/water park, and Jazzland 2.0. There was unpopular Jazzland Outlet Mall proposal. I doubt Six Flags plans to come back… and not sure if an investor (like those behind Grand Texas and Kentucky Kingdom)… or if Cedar Fair, Disney, Herschend Family Entertainment (owners of Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, and Wild Adventures), Universal Studios, or Busch Gardens/SeaWorld have mulled over starting up or acquiring New Orleans located theme park. Also not sure if a different location in New Orleans has been explored for possible new theme/water park.

    Las Vegas/Phoenix do need a theme/water park. The drawback would be 100-plus-degree desert temperatures during Summer months. Seattle/Portland need a theme/water park too. The drawback being rainy seasons in the Pacific Northwest. Omaha needs a theme park as well.

    South Florida (Miami/West Palm Beach/Fort Myers) and Florida Panhandle (Tallahassee/Panama City/Pensacola) do need a theme/water park, and not having to travel to Orlando/Tampa Bay (Disney, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Universal Studios) and Valdosta (Wild Adventures). Like Las Vegas/Phoenix, the hot summer weather… as well as Florida being high risk for hurricanes. Don’t know if Six Flags or Cedar Fair have mulled over starting up a park in South Florida or Florida Panhandle.

    • H-town

      06/06/2016 at 10:42 pm

      Earth Quest Adventures turned out to be a scam and was never going to happen. The grand opening to Grand Texas was pushed back to late 2017; apparently the availability of electricity in the area has been a problem (that’s what I heard anyway). Last time I went by the area the only thing there was a sign saying the camping area/RV lot was “coming soon”.

  31. Theo

    07/02/2014 at 8:57 am

    Dude, portland (oregon) needs a theme park. Six flags or Disney. Oregon only has one roller coaster with a loop and it’s not even that big. Oregon’s theme/amusement parks need a facelift and where better than near it’s largest city?

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/02/2014 at 12:57 pm

      Having grown up in Oregon without a nearby theme park, I considered Portland quite heavily while researching this article. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a large enough population in the surrounding area to make it pencil out financially. Putting a park south of Seattle not only pulls from that much larger metropolitan area, but it’s also close enough for Portlanders to drive up to. Portland supports a few Family Entertainment Centers, but those are usually much smaller and don’t typically have big (or any) roller coasters.

  32. Jeremy

    07/27/2014 at 4:53 pm

    Coaster Guy,

    I don’t know where you got your stats for Portland, but the new 2014 U.S. Census estimates just came out for combined statistical areas. Portland is now the 17th or 18th biggest metro in the country. Between Longview and Salem there are now over 3 million people. It is three times as big as the Boise Metro that you listed. People still have the small town mentality here and think it’s much smaller than if really is. It would easily support a bigger amusement park.

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/27/2014 at 7:54 pm

      I’m not sure what Portland stats you’re referring to Jeremy, as I didn’t include any stats in the article. I only focused on the top 15 or so metropolitan areas. As I mentioned, the only two cities on that list that weren’t being served by a major park were Phoenix and Seattle. Had I kept going down the list, I would’ve eventually included Portland, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I know how big Portland is. I grew up in Oregon, met my wife and had both of my kids there. I’d love to see a major theme park there.

      The other cities I listed were where there were still long distances from a major park. Boise fell into that bucket, but I also mentioned that I didn’t think they had a large enough population to support one. I also don’t think both Seattle and Portland could simultaneously support major parks, and I’d rather bet my money on Seattle if I had to pick between the two.

      Thank you for the comment! It’s nice to hear that there are others who would like to see a major theme park in Oregon.

  33. Jeremy

    07/27/2014 at 4:58 pm

    Here is the population link on Wikipedia which links their info from the US Census site.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Combined_Statistical_Areas
    Portland is 17th, Boise is 65th.

  34. Ronald Powell

    11/10/2014 at 2:22 am

    Las Vegas all the way……think bout it…….the people want to have fun during the day and especially the kids…….. cause most of the time the adults wanta party,gamble, and go to casinos at night…….right?????……..what would be a another cash cow to sin city ……..is a huge six flags in the desert…..lol……u have plenty of land!!!!

  35. lilith

    06/30/2015 at 7:49 pm

    I really wish they would build a park in Delaware. Our population is growing rapidly and during the summer we have more tourists than anyone could imagine. We can’t even get out to do basic errands. Right I have to drive three hours to Six Flags America which is a sub-par park, or four hours to Six Flags Great Adventure which is better, or four hours to Busch Gardens Williamsburg which is our park of choice this year. It would just be nice to have something within a one hour drive. I know others have wondered why we don’t have one. We certainly have plenty of room.

  36. Jeff

    09/15/2015 at 3:55 pm

    Really, the best place for a new theme park in the U.S. (as far as profitability is concerned) would be (without a doubt) St. George, Utah.

    For those who do not know, St. George has been in the Top 10 fastest growing metro areas in the U.S. consistently for the past 10 years. (During several of these years, the St. George metro area was listed in the top 5 fastest growing metro areas in the U.S.) It is only an hour or so North of Las Vegas by car along I-15. St. George has its own airport as well and is only an hour or so from the Las Vegas airport. The weather is MUCH warmer than Salt Lake, but just slightly cooler than Vegas. It almost never rains or snows in St. George since it is in a desert and because it has near Vegas temperatures. It is already a resort destination “getaway” for residents of the more populated areas along the Wasatch front, Salt Lake, and also Las Vegas. Any theme park in St. George could be open year-round due to St. George’s almost Vegas-type weather.

    St. George is also less than a 20 minute drive to Zion’s National Park — one of the most visited and scenic national parks in the U.S. It is also only an hour or so from Vegas. It is fairly close to other Utah national parks, including Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Arches, etc.
    It lies on the road which connects the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. It is close to Lake Powell and Lake Mead (i.e., less than 1 hour). It is only 4-5 hours or so from L.A. by car.

    St. George is also located on I-15 — i.e., the same interstate that connects Salt Lake, Vegas, and Los Angeles. The is also the interstate that people from Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming use when travelling to Disneyland, Vegas, and Southern California.

    Utah in general has large families. The average woman in Utah has 2.4 births. (The average birth rate of American women in total is only 1.7.) Utah has the fastest growing population per capita in the U.S. due to high birth rates and a thriving economy and, thus, healthy rate of immigration into the state. Utah has the second fastest growing economy in the nation per capita. Utahns are, in general, obsessive about family vacations. Unless they fly, Utahns will most often travel through St. George to get to Vegas and Southern California. Utah already has high rates of tourism due to (a) some of the best outdoor and national park recreation areas in the country, (b) low precipitation, (c) close proximity to entertainment areas like Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone, (d) religious tourism due Salt Lake being the headquarters for the LDS faith, and (e) 15 or so world class ski and mountain resorts.

    Honestly, Vegas is intriguing, but it is really not a family-oriented town. I could see a Vegas theme park failing simply because I fail to see a lot of families with kids wanting to attend a theme park located in the same City as legalized gambling, sex, and prostitution. However, putting a theme park close to Vegas, but outside the City in another neighboring city, would seem the best bet on profitability and attendance. St. George is an ideal location for all the reasons stated above.

  37. Justin An

    02/22/2016 at 4:01 am

    NASHVILLE! Huge Population, Miles From Any Park. Warm Climate

  38. Cole M

    04/03/2016 at 9:46 pm

    OMAHA NEBRASKA BEGS FOR AN AMUSEMENT PARK! It is ridiculous. Other than Adventureland in Altoona, IA, we are right here in the middle of the country and have nothing to show for it. Omaha was also voted second best city in the country to raise a family, and it is a big enough city which is growing that would thrive with an addition like this. The whole thought of Omaha absent an amusement park is opprobrious.

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