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IAAPA Releases Annual Preview of What's New in 2016 in U.S. and Canada

 Amusement Parks and Attractions across North America Prepare to Thrill Guests with Major New Additions in 2016 

Trends: Virtual Reality Roller Coasters, 3-D/4-D Immersion, Guest Interactivity, and Edutainment 

(Alexandria, Virginia, US) – As amusement parks and attractions prepare to open their gates for the summer season, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) releases its annual compilation of new attractions opening this year. Exciting trends for 2016 include virtual reality roller coasters, immersive 3-D/4-D attractions, interactive guest experiences, and edutainment.

Virtual reality (VR) was on display during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 and this summer roller coasters across the United States are implementing the technology to transform the coaster experience like never before. Riders wear specially designed VR headsets that provide an fully immersive experience with 360-degree content corresponding to the ride’s motion. Guests become part of a storyline that plays out as accelerometers, gyros, and proximity sensors synchronize in a realistic, yet virtual world.

Several parks will add 3-D/4-D attractions that immerse guests in a fictional world. Riders join the adventure as they experience a plethora of sensory elements often including wind, water, heat, and other effects. Attractions’ storylines are integrated with motion seating, 3-D glasses, high-tech sound, and other 4-D effects to create a compelling and immersive experience.

Interactivity continues to make its impact on the industry as parks open rides and attractions in which the guest’s actions directly impact the experience.

Edutainment is increasing in popularity and a trend worth noting as stand-alone attractions, zoos, aquariums, science centers, and museums continue to make learning fun.

According to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2015-2019 report, this year parks in the United States and Canada are expected to entertain more than 390 million people and generate $22 billion.

A list of new attractions, consumer tips for summer fun, images, videos, and other information are available at www.IAAPA.org/WhatsNewUSandCanada.

Following is a list of some of the new attractions debuting in 2016.




The World Water Park at the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton opens Canada’s first “Slideboarding” attraction. “Slideboarding” combines the traditional water slide experience with an interactive gaming system. Riders try to score points as they speed down a flume equipped with lights, sounds, and colorful targets they try to hit using the raft's game controller handles. The 601-foot-slide features an LED entry with 360 degrees of visual animation, 42 LED color-changing targets, and a 60-inch monitor that displays riders’ scores. westedmontonmall.com

Calgary’s Calaway Park celebrates its 35th anniversary with a suite of new attractions. The park opens two new stage shows at Calaway Live, Robinson Crusoe 3D, and Timber Falls, a log ride. Riders will be delighted with the continuous loading platform that reduces the wait line for the attraction and will experience thee high-velocity drops, a zig-zag river section, and new interactive components for both the rider and the spectator. calawaypark.com


Two new interactive flying adventures come to Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan. The park opens the 41-meter single-gondola high flyer “Skyhawk,” on which guests control the flight pattern of the ride with their hands. They can choose to sit and spin or rotate the ride like a plane propeller. “Flying Eagles” enables little flyers and their families to soar 8.5 meters in the air and allows them to control their ride experience as well. canadaswonderland.com

British Columbia

Victoria’s WildPlay Element Parks working in conjunction with The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), opens a zipline and an adventure course. The “MistRider Zipline to the Falls” consists of four high-speed, side-by-side lines that descend a distance of 670 meters from NPC’s Grand View Marketplace into the Niagara Gorge near the base of the Falls. “WildPlay’s Whirlpool Adventure Course” includes dozens of custom-designed ziplines, log ladders, rope swings, tightropes, monkey bars, and more aerial challenges woven throughout the forest. wildplay.com  

United States


The 43-acre Main Event Entertainment family entertainment center opens in Avondale, Arizona. The center features 20 bowling lanes, billiards, laser tag, video arcades, multiple dining options, and meeting space. mainevent.com/locations/avondale-az

Legoland Discovery Center, a 60,000-square-foot entertainment center, opens in Phoenix, Arizona. The site is designed for families with children ages 3 to 10 and features a Lego brick pool, building classes, a Lego ride, a 4-D cinema, and rooms for birthday parties. The Legoland Discovery Center in Phoenix is the seventh Lego-themed entertainment center in the United States. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona, becomes home to the new OdySea Aquarium. The three-story aquarium features hammerhead sharks, a martini-shaped aquarium, and animatronic sea captains. The new aquarium is part of the larger 35-acre OdySea in the Desert entertainment complex, which also includes an indoor skydiving attraction, a dining facility, and an Imax theater.  odyseaaquarium.com


Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, adds three new attractions in 2016. They include “Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters”; a new live stage spectacular based on the hit film “Frozen”; and the globally reimagined 4-D “Soarin’ Around the World,” which showcases some of the world’s most distinctive landscapes. While the original attraction focused on the beauty of California, “Soarin’ Around the World” takes riders to all corners of the globe.disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disney-california-adventure

The Ghost Town section of Buena Park, California’s, Knott’s Berry Farm celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2016. As part of the celebration, the newly renovated “GhostRider roller coaster opens with enhancements to its 4,533 feet of wooden track and passenger cars. The coaster reaches up to 50 mph. knotts.com

Legoland California opens Ninjago Land, a ninja-themed area, at the Carlsbad, California, park. The family area features rides and interactive attractions, including the “Ninjago: The Ride” dark ride. This high-tech ride includes sensors on the front of each vehicle to register the hand movements of riders, enabling them to zap color-coded fireballs at digital screens populated with animated Lego figures. california.legoland.com 

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California opens in Garden Grove, California. The 105,000-square-foot (9,755-square-meter) indoor water park resort features slides, pools, suspension bridges, and indoor surf simulators “Whooping Hollow” and “Mountain Edge Raceway.” The 600-suite resort houses a nine-hole miniature golf course, enables guests to battle dragons in MagiQuest, or get an ice cream-themed manicure at Scooops Kid Spa. greatwolf.com/southern-california 

The “Mass Effect” video game series is the basis for the 4-D holographic experience at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. The attraction combines 4-D effects, live performers, and special effects, as guests soar through the galaxy and face off against larger-than-life villains. cagreatamerica.com 

Universal Studios Hollywood brings the magic of Harry Potter to Universal City, California, with the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The themed land features a new 3-D version of the marquee attraction “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” as well as the “Flight of the Hippogriff” family coaster. The space is anchored by Hogwarts castle, and enhanced with restaurants and shops, including the Three Broomsticks restaurant, Hog’s Head pub, and Honeydukes sweet shop, plus Ollivander’s wand shop, Zonko’s Joke Shop, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. universalstudioshollywood.com 

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2016. As part of the festivities, the park adds new virtual reality technology to the “Revolution” steel roller coaster, creating “The New Revolution.” This coaster enlists riders as co-pilots of their own fighter jets in a futuristic battle to save the planet from alien invasion. The ride consists of 3,457 feet of track and features a 90-foot-high loop and speeds up to 55 mph. sixflags.com/magicmountain 

The Joker opens at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. The 3,200-foot roller coaster features a zero-G barrel roll, two additional inversions, and reaches maximum speed of 53 mph. sixflags.com/discoverykingdom 

OUE Skyspace LA comes to Los Angeles, California this summer. Standing close to 1,000 feet above downtown, the open-air observation deck is the premiere destination for panoramic, 360-degree views of Los Angeles. Skyspace LA is also home to the “Skyslide” attraction, a 45 foot-long outdoor glass slide located above downtown Los Angeles. skyspace-la.com 


Great Wolf Colorado Springs opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 311-room all-suite hotel features a 65,000-square-foot indoor water park, an arcade, miniature golf, mini-bowling, a rope-climbing attraction, a spa designed with kids in mind, restaurants, and meeting spaces. greatwolf.com/colorado-springs 

The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in Canon City, Colorado, adds a new amphitheater to the 360-acre park that showcases one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. The Elk Park Amphitheater is located on the south side of the Royal Gorge Bridge and features a 40- x 20-foot stage and lawn seating for 2,000 guests. The new amphitheater hosts live performances on the weekends and special events. royalgorgebridge.com 


Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol, Connecticut, opens “Phobia Phear,” a triple-launch coaster with a linear synchronous motor. The ride sends guests through an enclosed space and around several turns at 65 mph,  circling them through a 150-foot-high loop. lakecompounce.com 

Quassy Amusement & Waterpark in Middlebury, Connecticut, adds “Reverse Time” and five water slides. “Reverse Time” is themed as a giant clock and accommodates 24 riders seated in a circular configuration facing outward. The ride spins and lifts into the air, reaching a maximum speed of 20 revolutions per minute. When the ride is at its midpoint, the spinning ride changes direction. The Slide City play area for younger guests features five water attractions, two “KIDZ Twisters,” serpentine slides, a two-person “ProRacer,” Kidz Bowl 14,” and a “Kidz MiniRiver.Slide City is the first part of a two-year expansion that will double the size of the Quassy water park. quassy.com 


Busch Gardens Tampa adds spinning coaster “Cobra’s Curse” to the park’s Egypt section. After ascending an elevator-style vertical lift, riders encounter an 80-foot snake icon before being sent on a trek through the park’s Serengeti Plain. seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-tampa 

The film “Frozen” comes to life at Epcot in Orlando, Florida, with the opening of the “Frozen Ever After” boat ride. The family-friendly attraction, located in the park’s Norway Pavilion, takes guests on a water tour of Arandelle, visiting Queen Elsa’s Ice Palace and the Winter in Summer Celebration. The ride features animatronic “Frozen” characters, including Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, and new songs written by Academy Award-winning songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. In addition, “Soarin’ Around the World,” a 4-D experience that treats guests to an aerial tour of some of the world’s most distinctive landscapes, opens in the park’s The Land pavilion. disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/epcot 

The shark-themed roller coaster “Mako” opens at SeaWorld Orlando in Orlando, Florida and serves as the centerpiece of a new shark-themed realm, which includes the Sharks Underwater Grill restaurant. “Mako” is named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks and is a 200-foot-tall steel hypercoaster that reaches speeds up to 73 mph. During the three-minute ride, guests traverse 7 acres on the 4,760-foot-long track. The “Shark Encounter” attraction is also part of the newly themed area and allows guests to experience a rare and up-close look at the world of sharks through underwater viewing tunnels. seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando 

Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, brings King Kong to life in a new adventure in “Skull Island: Reign of Kong,” an immersive multisensory dark ride featuring animatronic figures and 3-D screens in a massive set. The upgraded “Incredible Hulk” launch coaster features a high-tech, immersive ride experience, complete with new track, new ride vehicles, and a new storyline. universalorlando.com/Theme-Parks/Islands-of-Adventure.aspx 


Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Georgia near Atlanta, debuts its first virtual reality roller coaster with the “Dare Devil Dive.” Guests are transported to a futuristic battle to save the planet from alien invasion as they pilot their own fighter jets. The park also adds the DC Super Friends Kids’ Area,  featuring five attractions, including the 65-foot-tall “Superman Tower of Power and “The Joker Funhouse Coaster,” a family coaster with 900 feet of track that reaches speeds up to 30 mph. Additionally, the park transforms its Bugs Bunny World into Bugs Bunny Boomtown, featuring seven family attractions, including “Bugs Bunny High Sea Adventure” flying ride; “Yosemite Sam’s Wacky Wagons,” a junior Ferris wheel; and the “Looney Tunes Adventure Camp” interactive playground. sixflags.com/overgeorgia 

Guests at Six Flags White Water near Marietta, Georgia, race to see who is the fastest on the new 60-foot-tall “Wahoo Racer” water slide. Riders reach speeds of up to 40 feet per second on six aero-dynamic water slides while sprinting along a serpentine stretch of multi-colored tubes before a splashing finish. sixflags.com/whitewater 

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia renovates and renames the Waddlesworth 4D Theater, redesigns the dolphin presentation, and adds more touch pools to its galleries in 2016. The aquarium also opens the Sea Lion Gallery featuring California Sea Lions and debuts the Waddle Walk, a daily walk through the atrium by the aquarium’s African penguins.  georgiaaquarium.org 

Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia, brings dinosaurs back to life through its new “Dinosaur Explore” exhibition. The exhibition highlights 15 prehistoric species with more than 25 life-size dinosaurs. Guests can watch the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex live alongside two 26-foot-tall, 33-foot-long Brachiosaurus. New special effects allow the dinosaurs to move and roar. www.wildadventures.com 


Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, adds one of the biggest water slides of its kind to the Boulder Beach Water Park for the 2016 season. The water slide stands at nearly 60 feet tall and more than 400 feet long. The mat racer features six side-by-side lanes that travel down winding tubes and converge at the final stretch where the winner is determined. silverwoodthemepark.com 


Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, opens a 196-foot-tall Ferris wheel. The wheel features two-sided cars, a structure that can withstand winds of 115 mph, and safety glass capable of weathering intense storms. Each gondola holds up to 10 people and has padded seats, TV screens, and speakers. navypier.com 

The epic battle between heroes and villains comes to life at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, with the new “Justice League: Battle for Metropolis” 4-D dark ride. Guests become members of the Justice League Reserve Team and battle alongside Batman, Wonder Woman, and other DC Comics heroes against villains Lex Luthor and The Joker while traveling in six-passenger vehicles as they shoot at targets along the way. sixflags.com/greatamerica 


Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana celebrates its 70th season with the launch of the Official Holiday World Podcast and upgrades to “The Legend” wooden roller coaster that includes a new double down, a fifth tunnel, and close to 1,400 feet of track work. Visitors will also see the return of the park’s first ride, The Freedom Train, which has been restored to its original color and design. The train will be on display along with other memorabilia of the park from the last seventy years. holidayworld.com  

Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort in Monticello, Indiana debuts Zero G. The looping-reversing coaster, located on Indiana’s Beach Boardwalk Funway, stands at five stories high and can accomadate 20 riders at one time. www.indianabeach.com


Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa, opens “The Monster roller coaster. The steel coaster features a 133-foot lift hill, five inversions, and travels at speeds up to 65 mph. adventurelandpark.com


A new laser tag arena operated by Main Event Entertainment opens in Olathe, Kansas. The 50,000-square-foot family entertainment facility features a multi-level laser tag arena, bowling, billiards, and more than 100 arcade games. mainevent.com 


The Louisville Zoo adds an expanded elephant exhibition to the Louisville, Kentucky, facility. The new elephants’ yard doubles in size to 22,000 square feet of outdoor space, giving the animals more opportunities to roam and additional access to trees. louisvillezoo.org

Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky,  adds “Storm Chaser,” the park’s fifth roller coaster. The 100-foot-tall wooden/steel hybrid ride reaches maximum speeds of 52 mph and features multiple inversions including a barrel-roll drop from a 10-story hill and a corkscrew. kentuckykingdom.com 

Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, completed the largest water park expansion in park history this offseason. Headlining the multi-million dollar expansion is the nearly 500-foot-long “Cyclone Saucers.” The park also adds water attractions “Tidal Wave,” “Riptide,” and the “Polynesian Plunge,” as well as “Spinning Out,” a race car-themed family roller coaster. beechbend.com   


Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland, adds a virtual reality component to its “Superman Ride of Steel” coaster.  Riders don virtual reality headsets to be fully immersed in the 360-degree comic-book world of Metropolis and soar alongside Superman as he battles Lex Luthor and his evil Lexbots. In addition, the park adds Splashwater Falls, an interactive water playground, to its Hurricane Harbor water park. The structure features seven slides and hundreds of water play components, including a super-sized tipping bucket that dumps gallons of water on guests throughout the day. sixflags.com/america 


Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, reintroduces the iconic steel coaster “Bizarro” as “Superman the Ride,” a virtual-reality coaster that allows riders to enter the fictional world of Metropolis and follow Superman as he battles evil. The ride reaches speeds of 77 mph along the coaster’s mile-long track. Guests can also enjoy the seven-story-tall looping coaster “Fireball.” Riders sit face-to-face for the two-minute experience, which features a pendulum-style takeoff with multiple 360-degree revolutions. sixflags.com/newengland 


The Lego Discovery Center opens at the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The 32,000-square-foot attraction features more than 1 million Lego bricks and is designed for children between the ages of 3 and 10. Activities include classes with Lego master builders, a Lego-themed ride, a 4-D cinema, and a Miniland showcasing Lego models of popular buildings in Detroit. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/michigan/holding 

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, opens “The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition”. Guests retrace the steps of the iconic band and understand how they changed the music industry and influenced American culture. The exhibition is only open for a limited time and runs  April 30- Sept.18. thehenryford.org 


Crayola brings the Crayola Experience family entertainment center to Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Mall of America. The 60,000-square-foot complex allows guests to personalize a Crayon label and create their own coloring page, among a wide variety of other Crayola coloring-related activities. crayolaexperience.com/minneapolis 

Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minnesota, celebrates its 40th anniversary and premieres the “All Wheels Extreme” extreme sports show in a newly-renovated outdoor amphitheater. The park also reopens the “Flying Eagles” swing ride. valleyfair.com 


Six Flags St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri, debuts its first virtual-reality roller coaster with “Ninja.” In partnership with Samsung, this ride transports guests to a futuristic battle to save the planet from alien invasion as they pilot their own fighter jets. In addition, the seven-story-tall looping “Fireball” roller coaster opens. Riders sit face-to-face for the two-minute experience, which features a pendulum-style takeoff with multiple 360-degree revolutions and moments where guests are suspended upside down. sixflags.com/stlouis 

Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, adds five new rides to its Planet Snoopy section, joining 16 established attractions for younger guests, all based on the popular Peanuts franchise. The rides include the gravity-defying “Snoopy Space Buggies”; “Snoopy Junction,” a railroad adventure that features Snoopy as the conductor; and the feet-dangling flyer “Linus Launcher.” worldsoffun.com 

The St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri, opens a Tasmanian devil exhibition in its children’s zoo. The $350,000 habitat features two Tasmanian devils, which is an endangered species. The exhibit was developed in partnership with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Project. stlzoo.org 


The Omaha Children’s Museum opens a new interactive summer exhibit. Walk the plank, fire the cannons, and keep watch for approaching pirates at the Pirates and Mermaids: Voyage to Creature Cove exhibit. Guests learn about the world of giant marine animals while searching for treasure and hearing from a mermaid. ocm.org  

New Jersey

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, debuts “The Joker,” the park’s 14th coaster. The 4-D free-fly coaster lifts riders up 12 stories, flipping them over six times along the journey. The ride features magnetic technology that gives guests the feeling of weightlessness outside of a traditional track, while the facing seats on the winged vehicles enable guests to look at one another during the ride.  sixflags.com/greatadventure 

Playland’s Castaway Cove debuts the 125-foot-tall “GaleForce” roller coaster in Ocean City, New Jersey. The three-launch coaster features a 90-degree drop and multiple inversions, including a corked roll and raven dive, reaching speeds up to 64 mph. The park also debuts a 55-foot-tall family coaster that circles “GaleForce,” as well as the spinning “Whirlwind Coaster.oceancityfun.com

Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, launches a vertical looping water slide. The slide sends guests through enclosed capsules at 50 mph as they experience a 90-degree, 30-foot-tall vertical loop. actionpark.com 

Mount Laurel, New Jersey’s Funplex opens an expansive three-acre water park adventure, The Splashplex. The water park features a five-story-high slide tower with four slides, the “Hammerhead Heat” and “The Great White” speed slides, a lazy river, and an expanded pool. funplexmountlaurel.com  

New York

The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, adds a virtual-reality experience to “Steamin’ Demon,” allowing riders to engage in a futuristic battle to save planet earth from an alien invasion. Also, opening is “Greezed Lightnin’,” a 1950s-themed looping thrill ride. Guests shuttle 360 degrees seven times, both forward and backward, and experience hang time 70 feet in the air. sixflags.com/great escape 

Coney Island’s Luna Park in Brooklyn, New York, debuts “Endeavor!” The ride draws inspiration from a classic attraction, giving guests the sensation of flying 60 feet through the air at 25 mph. lunaparknyc.com   

North Carolina

Carowinds near Charlotte, North Carolina, adds several new attractions. “Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: A 3Z Arena,” is a 3,600-square-foot indoor 3-D gaming experience created in partnership with Electronic Arts Inc. and PopCap Games. The experience features large screens, motion-based seats, hand-held laser devices, and surround sound. “Blackbeard’s Revenge,” a new 70-foot water slide complex, is part of the expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor water park. “Blackbeard’s Revenge,” features six slides, including four that spin riders 360 degrees. The new water park also features a two-acre family area with a multilevel children’s water spray ground, two toddler water play spaces, and a wave pool with waves up to six feet high. Carowinds also premieres “Cirque Imagine,” a multi-sensory show that includes bicycle stunts and acrobatics. carowinds.com 


New tiger lair “Tiger Passage opens at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio. The $4.1 million space is four times larger than its predecessor and includes four different habitats. clevelandmetroparks.com/Zoo/Zoo.aspx 

Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, introduces “Tropical Plunge,” a 65-foot-tall structure with six different water slides, in its Soak City water park. Three of the slides feature an "Aqua-Launch" chamber where the floor drops from under the guests, plunging them on a high-speed, near-vertical free fall through flat loops and S-curves. The complex also has 337-foot-long dueling slides and an enclosed chute featuring four 360-degree loops. visitkingsisland.com 

Sandusky, Ohio’s Cedar Point adds dive coaster “Valravn,” the park’s 17th coaster. Standing 223 feet in the air, the coaster reaches 75 mph as it drops and coasts along 3,415 feet of track. “Valravn” features three inversions, the highest of which is 165 feet tall. cedarpoint.com 

A new bowling alley and family entertainment center operated by Main Event Entertainment opens in West Chester Township, Ohio. The center offers more than 20 bowling lanes, a multi-level laser tag arena, and a gravity ropes course suspended over a games gallery offering more than 100 interactive and virtual games. mainevent.com 

Cincinnati, Ohio’s Coney Island Park opens the largest water project in its history to help celebrate the park’s 130th year of operation. Typhoon Tower, an interactive multi-level water attraction, covers 16,000 square feet. The centerpiece of the tower is a 33-foot-tall “Hydro Storm” that occasionally soaks visitors with more than 1,300 gallons of water. Typhoon Tower also includes two twisting 130-foot-long water slides and more than 70 interactive water activities. coneyislandpark.com 


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s Riversport Adventure Park opens a $45.2 million whitewater rafting and kayaking center. The center is one of only three man-made whitewater venues in the country. Six pumps recirculate treated water through two channels and the flow can be adjusted to cater to various levels of rafting and kayaking experience. The park also debuts three new high-speed slides. boathousedistrict.org 

Frontier City Theme Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, unveils the 60-foot-tall “Gunslinger. This thrill ride, powered by two motor-controlled rotations and a third driven by gravity, sends up to 24 daring riders through flips, twists, and spins. frontiercity.com 

A new family-oriented oasis opens at White Water Bay in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, called “Barefootin’ Bay.” Guests also will find updates to the park’s kiddie area along with a new water structure containing 35 hands-on spray elements, two mini-slides, and a giant tipping bucket. whitewaterbay.com   


DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pennsylvania, expands and renames the Tipton Waterworks and Rapids Water Park. The new “Laguna Splash” features a 311,500-gallon wave pool, and a 1,178-foot lazy river. mydelgrossopark.com 

Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, celebrates its 90th season with upgrades to the park’s award-winning wooden roller coasters, “Haunted Mansion,” and food stands. A new version of “The Galleon,” a pirate ship ride, opens and the park doubles the size of its laser tag area. knoebels.com 

West Mifflin, Pennsylvania’s Kennywood celebrates its 80th anniversary season with a full overhaul to the award-winning “Noah’s Ark.” For the first time in 20 years, visitors once again enter through the mouth of a large whale to begin their journey back in time. The attraction features new scenes that hearken back to its debut in 1936. Once a staple at amusement parks worldwide, “Noah’s Ark” at Kennywood is the only remaining operational attraction of its kind. kennywood.com 

Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania, renovates the classic “Hershey’s Chocolate Tour” with new cars, enhanced sets incorporating the latest in digital technology, more animals in the barnyard scene, and new photo features to best capture a guest’s visit.  hersheys.com/chocolateworld/ 

Hershey Lodge, one of the official Resorts of Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennslyvania, opens Hershey’s Water Works. The year-round 30,000 square feet indoor pool complex features the “Reese’s Water Walk,” “Twizzlers Twists” water slides, and interactive water features including a zero entry pool, sand castle spray zone, and lighthouse tipping bucket. hersheylodge.com/recreation/facilities.php


The Guest House at Graceland resort hotel opens at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Inspired by Elvis Presley’s iconic home, the guest house reflects the unique character of Graceland, from the Southern colonial exterior to themed specialty suites, many with designs supervised by Priscilla Presley. The Guest House at Graceland features two full-service restaurants, meeting and special-event space, a large outdoor pool, and a 464-seat theater for live performances and movies. graceland.com 

A new Main Event Entertainment family entertainment center opens in Memphis, Tennessee. The center features bowling lanes, billiards, laser tag, gravity ropes course, virtual games, and a restaurant and bar. mainevent.com/locations/memphis-tn 

The wooden launch coaster “Lightning Rod” opens at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The hot rod-themed coaster launches riders up 20 stories from a standstill to 45 mph, giving them 20 seconds of airtime along a 3,800-foot track. The coaster reaches top speeds of 73 mph. dollywood.com 


Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, launches “Shock Wave,” a new virtual-reality roller coaster where riders fight to save the planet from alien invasion as they pilot their own fighter jets. The park also expands its Gotham City section, adding three new thrill rides themed to super villains of the Batman universe. “The Riddler’s Revenge” swing ride stands 147 feet tall, swings riders back and forth while rotating counterclockwise, giving them experiences of weightlessness; the “Catwoman Whip spin-and-tilt ride increases speeds as it whips around; and “Harley Quinn Spinsanity” sends riders spinning and twirling 30 feet in the air. sixflags.com/overtexas 

Independence Plaza at Space Center Houston in Houston, Texas, gives visitors the opportunity to experience the historic shuttle era. The eight-story interactive museum is anchored by the replica Space Shuttle Independence and the NASA 905 jet which is a 747 that ferried space shuttles just back from orbit during the days of the shuttle program. spacecenter.org

Typhoon Texas opens in Katy, Texas. The 25-acre water park includes more than 13 rides and attractions, including the 50-foot “Open AquaDrop” and the “Family 6 Boomerango” raft slide that sends guests gliding along a 60-foot wall bearing a painting of the Texas flag. typhoontexas.com 

SeaWorld San Antonio adds “Discovery Point” to serve as the hub of the park’s animal interaction experiences. Guests journey to “Beluga Bay,” “Sea Lion Shallows,” and the newly-renovated “Dolphin Lagoon,” which features underwater viewing areas and a swim-with-the-dolphins experience. The park has doubled the water volume of its dolphin pools to more than 600,000 gallons and installed large viewing panes below the water’s surface so guests can learn more about the mammals as they swim and play. seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sanantonio 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas, adds virtual reality to its “Superman Krypton Coaster,” fully immersing guests in the comic-book world of Metropolis while accompanying Superman as he battles Lex Luthor. The park also opens Fiesta Bay Boardwalk with three new thrill rides, including the looping seven-story coaster “Fireball,” which suspends riders 72 feet in the air; the “Hurricane Force 5,” which features a five-story-tall half-pipe track; and the whirling “Spinsanity” thrill ride. sixflags.com/fiestatexas 

NRH2O Family Water Park opens its major expansion in North Richland Hills, Texas, with three new attractions. The park adds a Champagne Bowl, two new body slides, and “Flatline Loop,” which sends guests through a trap door into a 60-foot free fall, then speeds them into a looping water slide at 26 feet per second before they make a final splash in the runoff lane. nrh2o.com 

Massiv” opens in Galveston, Texas’ Schlitterbahn Water Park. Guests will climb 123 steps to reach the top of the slide, which includes four uphill sections with six blaster jets, a translucent section that makes riders visible from the river below, and a triple-drop ending into a landing pool. schlitterbahn.com/galveston    


Doswell, Virginia’s Kings Dominion opens the 115-foot-tall “Delirium.” The pendulum swing sends 40 riders in outward-facing seats spinning and swinging back and forth, higher and higher through a 120-degree arc. kingsdominion.com 

Sky Zone Virginia Beach, an 18,500-square-foot indoor trampoline park, opens in Virginia Beach. The attraction features two dodgeball courts and “Sky Slam,” a trampoline with basketball nets. skyzone.com/virginiabeach 

Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, introduces an evening show at the Royal Palace Theatre. The show is a contemporary take on the classic French tale of the three musketeers and asks audiences to join the trio on their quest to save king and country. This live performance embraces new technology to light up the night sky above the park. Busch Gardens Williamsburg also opens a new craft beer tasting room in the Germany section of the park and a new restaurant in the park’s Italian area. seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg