Quick Hits - November 2012

Quick Hits

‘Night Festival’ Lights Up Singapore’s National Museum

Onlookers gather outside Singapore’s National Museum during the annual “Night Festival,” when the facades of several buildings—including this one and the Singapore ArtMuseum—are transformed into giant multimedia projection screens. Here, in “We The People,” artist Brian Gothong Tan teamed up with composer Philip Tan to present a playful video loop that ran over two consecutive weekends. This panorama of the country’s ethnic heritage included images of “wayang kulit” (Indonesian shadow puppets), historical events, and even an homage to “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” 

Beware Sunway’s ‘Zombie Apocalypse’

Horror sells and not just during Halloween. Malaysia’s Sunway Lagoon is expanding its Scream Park with a new permanent attraction called “The Zombie Apocalypse,” featuring “three floors of fear,” where live-action zombies can haunt the darkest recesses of our minds. “While every culture has their dark entities that invoke terror, the thought of the dead reanimating is a universal anomaly that causes universal unease,” says Lynton V. Harris, CEO of Sudden Impact Entertainment, which produced the attraction. Twenty-five actors roam Sunway’s Scream Park, including zombies and creatures from local horror folklore like the Pontianak (vampire ghosts who are the spirits of women who died while pregnant) and the Penanggal (flying female heads with twinkling stomach and entrails dangling below). Sunway Lagoon, located in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

New Heritage Hotel Development on Sentosa

In a photo taken prior to Singapore’s independence in 1965, Malay soldiers march outside barracks on Sentosa island, which was once the headquarters of the British Army’s Royal Artillery. The site is being auctioned off for development as a 500-room heritage hotel. The barracks surrounding the Parade Square are typical of British construction in the Far East with high ceilings and wide corridors to provide maximum ventilation in a tropical climate. The new hotel is expected to open in 2015.

Hobbledown’s Farm Park Fun

Hobbledown is a new adventure-filled farm park in Epsom, UK, inspired by the children’s book created by author A.J. Kecojevic and illustrator Lyn Stone. Based on a revamped 50-acre farm site, the £3 million (US$4.75 million) attraction opened in July 2012. Visitors enter the world of the Hobblers, fantasy characters who live in quirky wooden play structures. In addition to the adventure play areas, Hobbledown’s barn offers indoor play and a restaurant. The farm park also cares for more than 200 animals. Hobbledown’s owners are Nick de Candole and Richard Farley, who run the Kidspace indoor adventure parks.

Netherlands Park Spreads Christmas Cheer

Attractie- & Vakantiepark Slag¬≠haren is investing in its first full winter opening this year. According to park director Angelique Klar, the Dutch facility is responding to visitor demand with new offerings that include a “Winter Circus” show, a Christmas parade, and “Langlaufbaan” (Nordic skiing). Klar wants to “develop the special Christmas atmosphere with the program.” The park will open on all December weekends and Dec. 26-30. Klar also expects to launch “several new family rides” in time for the park’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.

Fårup Sommerland Prepares for ‘Hurricane’

The “Hurricane” (“Orkanen”) is due to hit Denmark’s Fårup Sommerland on June 5, 2013. The Vekoma suspended family coaster “gives us a new type of ride that fits perfectly for our audience,” says Rasmus Mortensen, Fårup’s marketing coordinator. With a minimum height requirement set at just 105 cm (41.3 inches), “the entire family can enjoy this exhilarating experience together,” adds park director Søren Kragelund. The roller coaster combines speeds of up to 75 km/h (47 mph), with a drop into an 18-meter-long (59-foot-long) underwater tunnel. The total price tag for the ride is DKK35 million (US$5.9 million). 

New Neverland Opens in Buenos Aires

In August 2012 Argentina’s Center of Family Entertainment opened its newest Neverland location in Las Palmas de Pilar shopping center in Buenos Aires. The quick-stop entertainment shop provides a toy-box-like environment for children, fit with small rides and games for older children, as well as toddler-friendly educational games for the younger ones. Today there are more than 20 Neverland locations in Argentina.  Plans for expansion continue to other regions throughout the country, as well as in other Latin American countries.

Parque El Agua Opens 5,000-Square-Meter Wave Pool

Catch a wave at Parque El Agua’s newest attraction in Venezuela, Waikiki, a 5,000-square-meter (1.2-acre) pool that provides 1.8-meter-high (5-foot-9-inch-high) waves for body boarding. The pool is part of a five-phase expansion project, which includes an on-site hotel, an educational marine park (set to open in 2014), and a themed water plaza.

Guatemala’s Loops FEC Lets Kids Play Paintball—Without the Paint

It is time for the kids to get in on the paintball fun. The Loops family entertainment center in Guatemala recently opened its newest attraction, which allows children to try the concept of paintball using softer sponge balls. Each child wears a safety mask and an electronic vest, which registers how many times he or she has been hit.

Six Flags to Create ‘World’s Largest Theme Park’  

The 160-acre Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, announced it will combine with Six Flags’ adjacent 350-acre Wild Safari animal park to create the world’s largest theme park in 2013. The new property will feature 13 roller coasters, three children’s areas, entertainment and retail, games, the Hurricane Harbor water park, and a re-themed attraction called “Safari Off Road Adventure.”

Consisting of 1,200 animals from six continents, “Safari Off Road Adventure” will take guests on an intense, up-close animal experience that follows the fictional storyline of a family that traveled the world to bring fascinating animals to its home in New Jersey. Guests experience the adventure in large open-air safari vehicles and traverse rugged terrain, ponds, hills, and bridges.

Wild Safari closed Sept. 30 and is now undergoing an extensive renovation over the winter. The new “Safari Off Road Adventure” will open Memorial Day weekend 2013.


Destiny USA Lands WonderWorks   

WonderWorks, the “scientific amusement park for the mind,” will open its first location in the Northeast and its fifth overall in November 2012 at the Destiny USA retail and entertainment complex in Syracuse, New York. Among the attractions, guests will experience an antigravity chamber, a hurricane shack, a 4-D extreme motion ride, and a design-and-ride virtual roller coaster. 


Hollywood Calls on Canobie Lake Park  

In the wee hours of Aug. 10, 2012, a production crew working on the new Jason Reitman film “Labor Day” pulled into Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire, to film a scene on the park’s tea cup ride featuring Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet and actor Josh Brolin. All work was wrapped up before the park’s 11 a.m. opening.