Alabama Splash Adventure

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Alabama Splash Adventure
ASALogo.jpg
Location Bessemer, Alabama, U.S.
Coordinates 33°22′48″N 86°59′55″W / 33.3800°N 86.9987°W / 33.3800; -86.9987Coordinates: 33°22′48″N 86°59′55″W / 33.3800°N 86.9987°W / 33.3800; -86.9987
Owner Koch Family Parks
Opened May 23, 1998
Previous names

VisionLand - 1998 to 2005 Alabama Adventure - 2006 to 2011

Splash Adventure - 2012 to 2013
Operating season May through September
Area 200 acres (0.81 km2)
Rides
Water rides 10
Website http://www.alabamasplash.com/

Alabama Splash Adventure (previously known as Alabama Adventure , VisionLand and Splash Adventure) is a water park and theme park, located off Interstate 20/59 in Bessemer, just west of Birmingham and east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is owned by Koch Family Parks.

History[edit]

Originally known as VisionLand, the park was built largely as a result of efforts by Fairfield mayor Larry Langford. Eleven cities came together to form the West Jefferson Amusement and Public Park Authority and with help from the Alabama Legislature, the group borrowed $60 million to build the park. Construction began in March 1997, and the park opened for business on May 23, 1998. The park opened with four major areas, including Celebration City Theme Park, Steel Waters Water Park, a children's area called Marvel City, and a shopping/dining area known as Main Street.

In 1999, the park expanded, adding Wild River Gorge, a river rapids attraction. Dino Domain, a walk through exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs, was built in the woods behind Main Street but closed after the season.

In 2001, Wild River Gorge reopened with minor adjustments along with Stratosfear Screamer, an S&S Power twin tower attraction.

The park filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2002, and only operated Steel Waters. It was purchased by Southland Entertainment Group for $5.25 million, a loss of $59 million in public funds.

In 2003, Visionland (uncapitalizing the "L") reopens with Magic Adventure Theme Park, Splash Beach Water Park, Marvel City, and Celebration Street. Magic Adventure received a scrambler attraction called Wild Scrambler and Splash Beach received a wave pool named Kahuna Waves and a nine-story-tall free fall slide called Acapulco Drop. Starting this season park guests had the option to buy tickets to either the amusement park or the water park or a combo ticket to both parks.

Splash Beach received a new water attraction called Splashdown!, a toilet bowl-style ride in 2004.

In 2005, Magic Adventure opened the first new roller coaster since the park's opening named Zoomerang, a Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster relocated from Sydney, Australia. The park also re-opened one of the former attractions named Cahaba Falls, a log flume attraction. It was later known as Woodchuck Run. The park held naming contests for both attractions on its website. The theme park was visited by approximately 345,000 people, making the park Alabama's second-most popular tourist destination according to the Bureau of Tourism and Travel and trailing only the Birmingham Zoo.[citation needed]

Alabama Adventure logo used from 2006-2011

Southland announced in 2006 the rebranding of the park under the Alabama Adventure name, along with major expansion plans, including a hotel including an indoor water park, an RV park, and other amenities. Magic Adventure was renamed Magic City USA to reflect the new theming strategy. The park also announced plans for a summer concert series, featuring popular musical acts and artists. The number of visitors to Alabama Adventure rose to more than 388,000. It was the winner of Alabama's "2007 Attraction of the Year."[1]

In 2007, the park added two new attractions, including Vertigo, one of the original attractions of VisionLand, which had been removed in 2003, and Salamander Bay, a re-themed children's play area at Splash Beach formerly known as Quarry Bay. The summer concert series returned to the park and became an annual event.

Southland Entertainment sold the park to Adrenaline Family Entertainment, a group of former executives of Six Flags in 2008.[2] Southland will concentrate on developing the remaining acreage that it owns adjacent to the park, with plans for hotels, an RV park, and other amenities.[3]

In 2009, the park announced the first major expansion since 2005, and the first to Splash Beach since 2004. The expansion included a new attraction from WhiteWater West called "UpSurge!", a 216 foot flume slide with a vertical half pipe ending in a 25,000-gallon splash pool.[4] The park also combined both parks into one ticket price.

The park began promoting a casting call for new "indoor theatrical entertainment" called "Beat Street" that premiered in the brand new Star Theater in 2010. The park also relaunched its website, branding the park as Alabama Adventure Water and Theme Park.

Buzzsaw Falls, a SkyTrans Manufacturing Shoot the Chutes ride was added in 2011. It was located between the parks Celebration Street and Stratos Fear Screamer tower ride.[5]

Adrenaline Family Entertainment sold the park on January 5, 2012, to General Attractions LLC, a company created by the former owners of the park who previously sold the park in 2008. It was announced on April 5, 2012 that the amusement park section would be closed, leaving only water rides. The park was renamed Splash Adventure for its 2012 opening season.[6] Also for 2012, three new attractions were added to the water park. One of their new attractions is called the "Mist-ical Maze" where in this attraction you go through a maze that has trigger water chutes and many other surprises. The second new attraction is a wipeout designed ride from WhiteWater West called "Wipeout Adventure Course" and the third new attraction is a zip-line that goes around the waterpark. There was a "Dive-In Movie" at Kahuna Waves every Friday night from Memorial Day weekend to the end of July.

In March 2014 the park was purchased by Koch Family Parks. New additions will include five new kids rides which are a new kids roller coaster, a train, two boat rides, mini helicopters and a lazer maze. [7]

Dan Koch has announced that the park's signature wooden roller coaster, Rampage, will reopen for the 2015 season.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • In 1999, when the park was called Visionland, five people were injured when a raft overturned.[8]
  • In 2001, a boat filled with park employees overturned when the employees rocked the boat. No one was injured.[8]
  • In August 2009, a family of three and one other park visitor were injured when the ride's boat capsized. Witnesses said that the family's boat hit an empty boat and was overturned. The family were underwater for approximately 20 seconds.[8]
  • In June 2011, a fight broke out between several youths and spread throughout the park. One guest described it as a "borderline riot." The Bessemer Police were called to the park and no more guests were allowed into the park. It was blamed on a "$10 before 10AM" promotion the park ran.[9]

Current attractions[edit]

Attraction Year Opened Description
Acapulco Drop 2003 Nine story tall free fall drop slide.
Castaway Island (formerly Tower Works) 1998 A multi-level water play area for children with slides, geysers, and other water features.
Kahuna Waves 2003 An 800,000 gallon wave pool with 4 ft (1.2 m) waves. Formerly had a real sand beach but now is concrete.
Mist-ical Maze 2012 A booby-trapped labyrinth with trigger water chutes.
Neptune's Plunge (formerly Mineshaft) 1998 Four enclosed tube slides.
Salamander Bay (formerly Quarry Bay) 1998 A water play area for smaller children. Re-themed, including new slides and other features, in 2007.
Splashdown 2004 A toilet bowl style slide.
UpSurge! 2009 A 216 foot flume that takes riders up and down a vertical half pipe and end in a 25,000-gallon pool of water.
Warrior River 1998 A relaxing "lazy river" style ride.
Wipeout Adventure Course 2012 A water-filled obstacle course.
Centispeed 2014 Fajume Wacky Worm style roller coaster. Previously located at Gillian's FunLand.
Helicopter Heroes 2014 Zamperla Mini Enterprise ride featuring helicopter styled vehicles.
Little Bumpers 2014 Electric Kiddie Bumper Boats.
Little Harbor 2014 Classic Allen Herschell boat ride dating to 1949.
Splash Express 2014 Zamperla Rio Grande Train Ride.
Jump Around 2014 Zamperla Jump Around with frog themed cars.
Crank and Roll 2014 Alter Enterprises individual hand crank cars reintroduced in their original location in the park.
"The Vault" lazer maze challenge 2014 Music, sound and lighting effects come to life, immersing you in the adrenalin-packed experience.

Former attractions[edit]

Name Year Opened Year Closed Type Description
Typhoon 1998 1999 A polyp style ride. Replaced by two upcharge attractions in 1999. The Scrambler opened in this location in 2003.
Loc-O-Motion 1998 2003 A children's hand truck style ride. The Convoy was relocated to this spot in 2005, however in 2014, Loc-O-Motion was introduced in this location as Crank and Roll.
Patriot 2003 2006 A Round Up style ride. Replaced the Voyager. For the 2007 season Patriot was removed and the Voyager was re-installed and renamed the Vertigo.
Rockwall/Venturer 1999 2000 Two up-charge attractions. Rockwall was a portable rockwall guests could climb and Venturer was a small motion simulator. Replaced Typhoon. The Scrambler opened in this location in 2003.
StratosFear Screamer 2001 2011 S&S Power FreeFall It featured Launch (what is now "StratosFear Screamer") and Re-Entry (A Turbo Drop). When Southland purchased Visionland they kept the Space Shot side, which was removed after the 2011 season and relocated to Darien Lake, and S&S regained ownership of the Turbo Drop. It is now at Lake Compounce where it operates as Down Time in 2004.
Barnstormer 1998 2011 Zamperla Mini Jet
Marvel City Speedway 1998 2011 Zamperla Speedway
Adventure Express 1998 2011 Zamperla Rio Grande Train
Ballon Wheel 1998 2011 Zamperla Midi Wheel
Motorcross 1998 2011 Hampton Motorcycle Jump
Convoy 1998 2011 Sartori Convoy Trucks Moved to former Loc-O-Motion location in 2005
Bump-A-Round 1998 2011 Bertazzon Kiddie Bumper Cars
Buzzsaw Falls 2011 2011 SkyTrans Manufacturing Shoot-the-Chutes
Woodchuck Run (formerly Cahaba Falls) 1998 2011 Arrow Dynamics log Flume Operated from 1998–2001;In storage 2003-2004
Wild River Gorge 1999 2011 FAB river rapids ride Operated briefly in 1999; Reopened in 2001
Giant Wheel 1998 2011 Mondial Ferris wheel
Hurricane 1998 2011 Bertazzon Musik Express
Scrambler 2003 2011 Eli Bridge Scrambler
Vertigo 1998 2011 Huss Enterprise Operated from 1998–2001; In storage 2003-2006
Mind Spinner 1998 2011 Fabarii Crazy Dance
Fender Bender 1998 2011 Bertazzon Bumper Cars
Tidal Wave 1998 2011 Zierer Wave Swinger
Pirate Ship 1998 2011 Huss Pirate Ship
Midway Carousel 1998 2011 Chance Carousel
Rampage 1998 2011 An Custom Coasters International wooden coaster
Marvel Mania 1998 2011 An E&F Miler Industries steel family roller coaster Relocated to Elitch Gardens in 2013.
Zoomerang 2005 2011 A Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster Relocated from the defunct Wonderland in Sydney, Australia.
Zipline 2012 2013 Zipline Portable zip line. Removed and sold prior to the 2014 season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]