AQUARIUM VISITORS FUND RESCUE CENTER: Donations from visitors to Merlin Entertainments’ 25 Sea Life centers in Europe have almost entirely funded a £240,000 (US$376,445) sea turtle rescue center on the Greek island of Zakynthos. The center was built by Sea Life partner NGO Earth, Sea, and Sky and will be staffed by volunteers. The new facility has tanks for up to 20 injured loggerhead sea turtles, which make their nests on Zakynthos beaches each summer. Previously, injured turtles faced an eight-hour journey to reach a rescue facility in Athens. The Sea Life network now includes Sea Life centers in the United States, Australia, and Asia.
MICROSCOPIC ART: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has procured some of the most remarkable—and tiniest—works of art in the world. The attractions company acquired 97 sculptures by artist Willard Wigan that are so small, most of them sit on the head of a pin or in the eye of a needle and are barely visible to the naked eye. One features detailed carvings of nine camels placed in the eye of a needle. Some of Wigan’s miniatures are currently on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums in Hollywood, Baltimore, and New York City, and more Ripley’s attractions will be displaying the art in the coming months.
NEW OFFICE: WhiteWater West announced Sean Hinton, vice president of business development for Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa, has relocated to Barcelona, Spain, to open WhiteWater’s 18th international office. This office, dubbed “WhiteWater Europe,” will serve as the hub for WhiteWater’s European, Russian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African activities, and coordinate the satellite offices already in operation.
POINT-OF-SALE PARTNERSHIP: Embed, a provider of cashless payment systems for the amusement and family entertainment industry, has partnered with Revention as a point-of-sale provider for the latter’s growing base of pizza- and restaurant-anchored entertainment locations. Currently installed in more than 1,000 locations worldwide, Embed systems are used to manage the cashless operation of arcade games and attractions, as well as the prize-redemption counters in many entertainment locations. The companies see the partnership as an excellent opportunity for Revention to reach out to vendors in different industries from all over the world.
MORE FACTORY CAPACITY: In response to demands for increased production of game units, redemption-game maker LAI Games announced a $500,000 investment in its factory in Jakarta, Indonesia. This includes a new CNC Laser Cutting Machine and CNC punch, which increase steel sheet-cutting capacity by 25 percent and significantly improve output from the 100,000-square-foot production facility.
TEAMING UP: QubicaAMF and Sports Challenge Network announced they are working together to provide social mobile experiences to bowlers worldwide. QubicaAMF has created a custom interface for some scoring and center-management systems, enabling bowling centers to easily integrate Sports Challenge Network’s Xbowling platform. This allows bowlers to create social experiences and challenges that combine bowling with the enormous network of players around the world.
MINI-GOLF FOR MINI-SPACES: One of the challenges for any amusement facility wanting to open a miniature golf course is that doing so can require a considerable amount of space. But Adventure Golf Services has solved that problem with its new product, LittleDuffer Mini Golf. Featuring lightweight holes that can be moved from one location to another, a nine-hole course takes up only 625 to 900 square feet and an 18-hole course fits into a 1,250- to 1,800-square-foot area. LittleDuffer also features specialty holes that can be purchased to replace individual holes in the standard model. www.adventureandfun.com
AUGMENTED REALITY FOR KIDS: CTM Group, a leader in children’s rides and souvenir-penny machines, is taking its children’s entertainment concepts to an innovative new level by incorporating augmented reality into its four-way motion-simulator kiddie ride. It provides the ability to face-map the kids and insert them in real time into the ride experience. Called iReality, the ride lets children do things like explore different lands on safari or collect moon rocks on a space mission. The augmented reality capability is provided by Total Immersion.
LASER DESIGNS IN STEEL: Witt Industries has enhanced its abilities to create the addition of intricate designs into its line of durable metal waste and recycling containers. When combined with paint to match any color scheme, custom laser cutting of logos and other designs can reinforce a brand and transform waste and recycling receptacles into amenities for outdoor or indoor use. The receptacles are manufactured from galvanneal steel, and almost any logo or design can be converted into a unique pattern covering more than 90 percent of the receptacle.
NEW GAME LINE: Timberplay has introduced a group of games and puzzles developed to engage children and adults alike called Rotating Pairs, Ball Labyrinth, and Four-in-a-Row. Also, the company has added three kaleidoscopic pieces to its product line—The Open Kaleidoscope, the Mirror Cylinder, and the Star Kaleidoscope, designed to complement play equipment in a park, but also to work well as standalone pieces.
JUST ADD WATER: Prime Play has enhanced its Adventure Trail product with multiple integrated water elements to create a first-of-its-kind attraction at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia called Geyser Towers. It’s a shoes-on attraction that sprays guests by means of geysers that erupt from the ground, some shooting as high as 25 feet. Other spray elements squirt, mist, and blast guests as they crisscross through suspended rope bridges, netted tunnels, towers, and a web-elevator climb. It allows kids to choose their own adventure and test their balance, dexterity, and strength. www.primeplay.com
EXPANDED PRODUCT LINE: SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment has expanded its line of entertainment attractions with its first adventure ropes courses called Eco Ropes Adventures. Designed in collaboration with experts who bring decades of experience in forestry, ropes safety, climbing, and mountain sports, the first Eco Ropes Adventure is already in place at the San Diego Zoo. Called “Jungle Ropes Safari,” the attraction offers three different courses, each containing more than a dozen elements. Participants navigate their way through various self-guided aerial trails, featuring tightropes, zip lines, swinging log steps, and moving platforms.