Official Logo of Frontier City.
|Location||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Theme||Western "town" Theme Park|
|Owner||CNL Lifestyle Properties|
|Operated by||Premier Parks, LLC|
|Operating season||April – November|
|Area||55 acres (220,000 m2)
109 acres (0.44 km2) total
Frontier City is a western-themed amusement park in Oklahoma City. It is owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties and operated by Premier Parks, LLC. The park is the subject of the song "Frontier City" by the Nashville band Kings of Leon, as drummer Nathan Followill once worked there. Currently Frontier City is the only theme park in Oklahoma after the 2006 closing of Bell's Amusement Park.
Frontier City was opened in 1958 as a Western "town" theme-park. It opened up at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, but moved to its current location a few years later to become a "boom town," since it sprung-up quickly. The park added spinning rides, several roller coasters and a log flume ride starting in the 1960s and 1970s. Rather than a traditional ribbon cutting, Frontier City was scheduled to have an old fashioned six shooter aimed at a piece of rope stretched across the stockade entrance. The rope stretched across main street is still used today for the opening of the park.
Frontier City was originally owned and operated by Premier Parks. It was the company's first and flagship park. Premier Parks' corporate offices were located at the southeast corner of the Frontier City property until 2006 when the company's offices were moved to New York. Premier Parks purchased Six Flags Inc. in 1998. It was thought[by whom?] that Frontier City, Wild Waves/Enchanted Village, and Great Escape would eventually be re-branded as Six Flags parks, but they never were. The other two parks sold Six Flags season passes good at all Six Flags parks except for Frontier City and White Water Bay. The Frontier City passes were only good there and not at other Six Flags parks. But in some years, Six Flags passes were also available for purchase at a higher price. Six Flags corporate offices remained in Oklahoma City, but left in 2006, despite Oklahoma City's now booming economy.
On January 27, 2006, Six Flags put Frontier City and White Water Bay, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Elitch Gardens, Darien Lake, a couple of waterparks, and Wild Waves/Enchanted Village for sale. At the same time, Six Flags also announced its plan to close corporate offices in Oklahoma City and move to New York City. Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro had said he expected the parks to continue operation after the sale. But rumors surfaced that some of them could close.
On January 11, 2007, Six Flags opted to keep Magic Mountain, but then announced that it would sell Frontier City and White Water Bay, along with Elitch Gardens, Darien Lake, Splashtown (near Houston), and Wild Waves/Enchanted Village to PARC 7F-Operations. As a part of the deal, the Six Flags prefix was removed from the names of Elitch Gardens and Darien Lake. Frontier City and White Water Bay were never branded as Six Flags parks. PARC sold the parks to CNL Income Properties, Inc., and the two companies set up a long-term agreement in which CNL would lease the parks to PARC, which would operate the parks.
Since the management was changed from Six Flags to PARC Management, Frontier City has been granted the largest capital investment that the park has seen in its 50 years. The new ownership allowed for the addition of the Steel Lasso, as well as a few minor changes within the park.
On November 24, 2010, CNL announced that it had reached an agreement to terminate PARC's lease of Elitch Gardens and up to 17 other locations. The move came after, according to their 2010 SEC filings, PARC defaulted on their lease obligations on the properties. Five of the original six parks originally purchased from Six Flags are also involved in the lease termination.
In 2011, it was announced that, as the result of an agreement with owner CNL Lifestyle Properties, former Six Flags executives Kieran Burke and Gary Story would begin managing the properties as Premier Parks, LLC.
Rides and attractions
Frontier City has four major operating roller coasters and one children's coaster.
- Steel Lasso, a Vekoma family coaster that opened July 17, 2008 in celebration of Frontier City's 50th Anniversary. The Steel Lasso is the first, and currently the only, suspended roller coaster in Oklahoma. It has a top speed of 29.2 MPH and maximum height of 49 feet (15 m).
- The Wildcat is a wood "out and back" coaster consisting of a wooden track with structural steel supports. Built in 1968, it was designed by Aurel Vaszin and Edward Leis of the National Amusement Device Company for Fairyland Park in Kansas City, MO. It was relocated to Frontier City in 1991 and was a near complete relocation. The coaster was modified to fit the terrain of the current site. In 1999, the original NAD trains were replaced by new Philadelphia Toboggan Company trains. The Wildcat is 75 feet (23 m) in height and has a first drop of 65 feet (20 m). Its track length is 2,653 feet (809 m) and maximum speed reached is 46 MPH. The Wildcat's queue house contains several displays on the history of roller coasters, including profiles of some historically prominent or well-renowned coasters, such as Timber Wolf at Kansas City's Worlds of Fun and The Beast at Kings Island.
- The Silver Bullet is a steel coaster designed by Anton Schwarzkopf. The Silver Bullet was built to be a completely portable coaster. There are no concrete footings holding the coaster down like permanent structures. Instead, water-filled ballasts hold the weight of the coaster down. Operating since 1979, it had a brief position at the Texas State Fair from 1980-1983. It was relocated to Frontier City in 1986. Since being at Frontier City, it has gone through many color schemes, including blue/black, and teal/pink, but is currently black/silver. The Silver Bullet is Oklahoma's tallest coaster, at some 83 feet (25 m) high. The Silver Bullet has a top speed of 45 MPH.
- The Diamondback, built in 1978, is a "shuttle loop" roller coaster manufactured by Arrow Dynamics. Originally named the "Lightning Loops," it was relocated from Six Flags Great Adventure to Frontier City in 1994. In 2007 it was painted yellow and blue.
- Wild Kitty is another small children's coaster made by the Allan Herschell Company which opened in 2013. Relocated from Elitch Gardens.
- Brain Drain: New for 2015‚ this Larson Loop Thrill Ride stands 7 stories tall. It sends riders forwards and backwards in 360° upside-down loops. This ride is located between The Prairie Schooner and The Mindbender.
- The Nightmare Mine was a "Galaxi" style coaster built as an indoor attraction at Frontier City in 1989. Prior to that, it had been an outdoor roller coaster known as the Orange Blossom Special which was manufactured in 1974 by S.D.C. It has been SBNO since 2003. The one inside the building has been removed.
- Excalibur was an Arrow Dynamics "Runaway Mine Train" meant to be installed at Frontier City after being relocated from Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston, Texas. It was carelessly dismantled, and upon arrival at Frontier City, was deemed in too poor of shape to be rebuilt. It sat in the storage lot behind the park until 2005 when it was scrapped.
- Terrible Twister, a Chance Rotor, was closed from 2008 to 2013. It reopened in 2014 and renamed "The Tumbleweed".
- Treasure Mountain an indoor dark ride that was first named the 89'er ghost mine, and featured scary animatronics. In June 2007, the ride was modified to become the "Quick Draw".
- Tomahawk, a Zamperla Hawk 48. It was removed for the 2007 season and replaced by the Steel Lasso in 2008.
- Swingin' Six Guns was removed in 2008 so the Steel Lasso could be built.
- Bumper Boats, a kiddie ride, removed at the end of 2008.
- Eruption, a prototype S&S Power sky sling built in 2003. It was the tallest attraction in Oklahoma with towers reaching 250 feet (76 m). It closed in June 2012 and never reopened. In August 2012, Frontier City released a statement on their official website: “Unfortunately, due to the ride manufacturers inability to produce parts for this ride, the Eruption has been retired.” It was the last of its prototype 'sky sling' type, various theme parks with the same model are reported to have many maintenance problems causing the ride to go defunct. Its three towers are currently still standing, with the three cables hooked to the ground where the vehicle used to sit. The rider vehicle now sits to the southwest of the ride on a grassy area, and is covered with a tarp. The entrance is currently blocked by a wooden fence, and the queue line remains.
- The Wild Kitty, a small children's coaster made by the Allan Herschell Company operated from 1991-2012.
- The Hangman, a Chance tower/drop ride in which riders sit around a square tower in a ring of seats harnessed to a cable system which launches them into the air, where they "hang" for several moments before plummeting back down to the ground. In 2014 it was removed and replaced by "The Winged Warrior"
Other thrill rides
- Quick Draw is a family interactive dark ride designed and manufactured by the Sally Corporation with an old west concept. Riders use pistols equipped with infrared LEDs/readers that count up a score based on targets hit. The ride uses an old building that once housed a previous dark ride, Treasure Mountain. The old ride was completely dismantled, and walls deconstructed, so that Quick Draw's hardware could be installed.
- Tornado, a Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl attraction.
- Geronimo Sky Coaster, a free-falling attraction manufactured by Skycoaster.
- Sidewinder, a Eli Scrambler ride.
- Rodeo Round-up, a Huss Enterprise.
- Mindbender, a Chance Inverter.
- Casino, a Chance Trabant.
- The Prairie Schooner, a swinging pirate ship ride manufactured by Intamin.
- Dodge 'ems, Bumper cars that operate to classic rock.
- Mystery River Log Flume, formerly "The Ozarka Splash" (once being sponsored by Ozarka). Riders travel in a log-themed boat through a concrete canal filled with water. The Log Flume is characteristic of older-style flumes by the fact that 90% of the ride is at ground level, as opposed to newer versions where the ride is a fiberglass canal suspended over the ground. Not to be confused with the ride of the same name at Six Flags New Orleans.
- Renegade Rapids is a large raft-style attraction which carries riders through simulated white water rapids.
- Wild West Water Works opened in 2012. It is five stories tall and features an 1000 gallon tipping bucket, 8 slides, and a large lounging deck.
- Heath, Thomas. "Six Flags Sheds Seven Parks," Washington Post, January 12, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2015.
- Dunn, Julie. "Elitch Gardens Name to Remain," Denver Post, April 10, 2007. Accessed February 20, 2015.
- "CNL completes ouster of PARC Management from Frontier City". The Daily News. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
- "CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. October 2010 Form 10-Q". 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
- "Six Flags Execs to manage Frontier City & White Water Bay," NewsOK, January 25, 2011. Accessed February 20, 2015.
- Patterson, Zak. "New Thrill Ride Coming to Frontier City," KOCO, February 19, 2015. Accessed February 20, 2015.
- "New water attraction opens Saturday at Frontier City in Oklahoma City," NewsOK, May 24, 2012. Accessed February 20, 2015.
- Frontier City Official Website
- Frontier City at the Roller Coaster DataBase
- Frontier City on Oklahoma Tourism Website