- Apocalypse Being Retracked at Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Justice League: Battle for Metropolis Construction Update #7
- Justice League: Battle for Metropolis Construction Update #6
- New VR Coaster Experience Coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
- Justice League: Battle for Metropolis Construction Update #5
What U.S. City Needs A New Theme Park?
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:
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?
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.