Weathering the Storm
Outdoor attractions face the unique challenge of retaining guests when the weather is less than cooperative. Here are a few tips for making the most of a rainy day.
Pack and Play
To help ride crews provide the best experience during inclement weather, Wild Adventures has play tools waiting at different locations (much like a first-aid kit would be used when needed).
“We have ready-to-go kits packed with fun things inside in strategic places,” says Cindy Romero, Wild Adventures’ attractions and admissions manager. “The most popular items are sidewalk chalk. We also pack balls for playing four square games, plus crayons and coloring books.” Lifeguards at Splash Island Waterpark will take shelter with children, sit in a circle, and play hot potato.
Keeping games simple allows ride attendants the ability to go back to work quickly when a park operations office gives the all-clear following severe weather. At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, ride operators at the “Cheetah Hunt” roller coaster will use the expansive boarding station for a game of cornhole (also known as a bean bag toss), which only requires two small targets and palm-sized bean bags. The games come out when extended downtime is forecasted during Florida’s afternoon thunderstorms. Once an all-clear is given, the game can be quickly stored away as employees return to their positions.
When the temperature dips, the Great Escape Water Park in Mumbai, India, will stay flexible and change food and beverage offerings.
“We change food menu options to cater to the change in climate, such as soups, teas, and vegetable curry,” says Rajen Shah, managing director, Arihant Industrial Corporation Ltd., which owns Great Escape.
Umbrella for All
At the Village Roadshow Theme Parks (VRTP) of Sea World and Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, the investment in a permanent roof structure allows the parks to provide greater entertainment.
“(The roof) enables us to continue with our characters’ appearances and shows during times of inclement weather,” says VRTP Chief Operating Officer Bikash Randhawa. Attractions should invest in properly grounded lightning diversion equipment that provides a low resistance pathway, thus protecting the structure and people standing under it.
Skip the Slip and Slide
Guest safety takes priority when surfaces become wet. “All access ways and footpaths are designed to accommodate inclement weather and are maintained to strict non-slip standards.” says Paul Callander, chief operating officer at Dreamworld in Australia. “These access ways are reviewed and maintained daily by our team.”