Omaha Area Amusement Park?

Proposed Development Projects that got Minarded.

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Postby Omaha Cowboy » Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:33 am

the1wags wrote:Yeah D'Shawn and I have talked about an amusement park in the area behind hotshops, east of 16th, going towards Carter Lake. I know the area has alot of industrial and old train yard stuff, but the location would be SWEET for a park in there.


Agreed!..

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Theme park targets year-round niche

Postby MadScientist » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:41 pm

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_465606.html

Looks like it's one step further to reality in West Virginia. With a Cabela's in Sarpy County, maybe it's not that far fetched afterall...

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Postby Omaha Cowboy » Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:25 pm

From the Pittsburghlive.com site article:

'The Wild Escape theme park plans for the Wheeling area are similar to what Minard's company has wanted to build near Omaha, Neb., for the past four years. That project has been delayed, Minard said, because of the lack of government-sponsored tax increment financing for rural sites, a restriction that does not exist in West Virginia, Minard said.'..

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Postby omaja » Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:31 pm

Omaha Cowboy wrote:
ModestMouse wrote:rather we got a six flags...


The problem is, Six Flags wont look at a city unless it's metro population is well over 2 million..So that, unfortunately, leaves Omaha out..

But I do think a high quality version of Worlds of Fun is very doable for Omaha..

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Population isn't the problem... they own a park in Oklahoma City. The real problem with Six Flags is that it is in debt above its head and in danger of selling off quite a few properties. Consequently, there won't be new construction from that chain for quite some time.

Cedar Fair (Words of Fun's parent company) recently bought Paramount Parks for $1.24 billion, so I wouldn't count on them for anything too soon either, unfortunately, as Cedar Fair has a great record with running quality parks (unlike Six Flags).

It seems like Minard is pretty much the only shot Omaha has for a park, which isn't too promising given the park was supposed to be open way before now. :(

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Postby Omaha Cowboy » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:19 am

omaja wrote: Population isn't the problem... they own a park in Oklahoma City (


omaja-

The park in OKC is not a true Six Flags 'over' park..It's a water park/Frontier City..Fairly big difference..

Six Flags wont look at a market for a true prototype of their amusement parks unless the area polulation approaches 2 million (OKC has Tulsa, a Omaha sized metro within 100 miles..The Louisville KY Six Flags has Cinncinati 100 miles away)..A look at where the Six Flags parks are located will tell us that:

http://www.sixflags.com/pick_a_park1.asp

Omaha, even if Six Flags was in good financial shape (which I agree they are currently not), would probably be considered too small a market to meet their traditional demographic..But like I stated before, a Worlds of Fun quality park is very doable IMO for Omaha..

As we've discussed..The odds that Minard can pull off his vision for an Omaha park are long at best..

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Amusement Park?

Postby agibson95 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:48 am

I heard some people talking about a possible amusement park for the Omaha area. Possibly between Omaha and Lincoln. Since I overheard people talking I didnt want to interrupt their conversation. So, I thought Id ask her and see if anyone heard of this.

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Email from Steve Minard

Postby Erik » Mon May 28, 2007 11:51 am

Erik,

We are continuing to work on the Nebraska location.  Significant progress has been made on the legislation.

We are anxious to open a park, here, also.

Thanks,


Steve Minard
Steven.Minard@wildescape.com[/center]

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon May 28, 2007 12:56 pm

GOOD!

Come on, Steve.  We're rooting for you.  We still have faith!
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Postby Brad » Mon May 28, 2007 1:47 pm

We need something WAY bigger than this, not very close, but snapped it as I was crusing up L Street:

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon May 28, 2007 11:25 pm

Wow.  That looks really pathetic.
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Postby agibson95 » Tue May 29, 2007 7:08 am

StreetsOfOmaha wrote:Wow.  That looks really pathetic.


Compare Funplex to Adventureland and it makes it that much worse. There is a need for an amusement park in Omaha. If people are getting excited for the roller coaster at Funplex, can you imagine the attention a real amusement park would generate?

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Postby Stargazer » Tue May 29, 2007 11:07 am

Although please don't be critical of what Funplex has done.  Here is a businessman who has worked hard over many years to build up what he has to offer.  I'm sure to him it was no small investment to acquire this roller coaster.  I've taken my family here many times... the water park certainly has all of the basic elements of an Oceans of Fun (and alot smaller crowds to contend with), the go carts are a blast, and I look forward to getting a little roller coaster fix ... I am thankful Omaha has at LEAST this.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Wed May 30, 2007 12:48 am

I completely agree, Jeff.

I'm not necessarily saying that Fun Plex itself is pathetic, I'm saying that the fact that it single-handedly represents EVERYTHING that the Omaha metro has to offer in terms of an amusement park IS pathetic and ridiculous.
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Postby Brad » Wed May 30, 2007 1:32 am

I am not knocking Fun Plex, but for us single 30 year olds, we want bigger rides without the drive to KC every summer.  KC is great, but when you are tired after a day of roller coasters, 3 hours is a long drive.  

I have played roller coaster tycoon, I know you have to start out small.  :;):
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Postby agibson95 » Wed May 30, 2007 6:50 am

Stargazer wrote:Although please don't be critical of what Funplex has done.  Here is a businessman who has worked hard over many years to build up what he has to offer.  I'm sure to him it was no small investment to acquire this roller coaster.  I've taken my family here many times... the water park certainly has all of the basic elements of an Oceans of Fun (and alot smaller crowds to contend with), the go carts are a blast, and I look forward to getting a little roller coaster fix ... I am thankful Omaha has at LEAST this.


I didnt mean my statements to knock Funplex. I am thankful for Funplex and that the area at least has an option for an amusement park. That said, Funplex really isnt more than a glorified carnival without a midway. It is definately good for the area and offers a decent water park. I do visit there a couple times a year with the family and we do have a good time. However, the size and scale of Funplex compared to Worlds of Fun and Adventureland makes you long for sometime more. Since Des Moines has a smaller population base than Omaha, it makes it that much more confusing to me.

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Postby Stargazer » Wed May 30, 2007 8:16 am

I too am confident that Omaha/Lincoln could easily support an Adventureland sized amusement park... although I think we often overlook the market which Des Moines has in central and eastern Iowa... the vast majority of the state's nearly 3 million people are in these areas... while all Omaha really has to draw on are it's own metro and Lincoln's... a mere 1.2 million... in a state of only 1.8 million overall.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Wed May 30, 2007 10:32 am

If we're including Eastern Iowa in Des Moines' market, I think we can definitely count Western Iowa, Northwestern Missouri, Northeastern Kansas, and Southern South Dakota in the Omaha market for probably about 2 to 2.5 million people, at least.

And frankly, I think if Omaha had a park the likes of something between Adventureland and Worlds Of Fun, there would be a healthy exchange of people from all those markets visiting the other parks for a little variety.  In the first several years of an Omaha park, I bet TONS of people from Des Moines and Kansas City would come to Omaha, just to experience something new.
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Postby Omaha Cowboy » Wed May 30, 2007 10:37 am

StreetsOfOmaha wrote:If we're including Eastern Iowa in Des Moines' market, I think we can definitely count Western Iowa, Northwestern Missouri, Northeastern Kansas, and Southern South Dakota in the Omaha market for probably about 2 to 2.5 million people, at least.


Agreed..

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Postby Stargazer » Wed May 30, 2007 11:00 am

Western Iowa, Northwestern Missouri, Northeastern Kansas, and Southern South Dakota in the Omaha market for probably about 2 to 2.5 million people, at least.


Another 800,000+ from these areas?  I don't think so.  Let's face it... outside of Sioux City and Sioux Falls... there just isn't much besides Omaha/Lincoln.  Des Moines also benefits from a much more well traveled north/south interstate in I-35.  We get very little off of I-29.

Again, I'm not suggesting we can't support a comparable amusement park... but I do think Des Moines is better situated to support theirs.. with an apparently smaller population.

...in my opinion of course.

Don't underestimate the 'state loyalty' either.  Des Moines has the 'Iowa Cubs' and 'Iowa Stars'... we have the 'Omaha Royals'.   Iowans are just more likely go visit their state capital, to take in shopping, sports, amusements.   While I realize some here like to distance the city from being associated with the rest of the state... I think we need to do a better part of making the rest of the state feel like part of Omaha. Who knows but what the Knights/Royals could have been picking up a still larger audience if we had pursued a larger audience with something so seemingly trivial as naming the teams to include all of Nebraska.

Sorry to get off topic... back to Steve Minard.  "Come on Steve, bring us a real amusement park once and for all!"

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Postby nebport5 » Wed May 30, 2007 12:19 pm

If this park was big enough and regionally unique it could be a draw from Des Moines as well.  After all, many people in Omaha still make the trek to Adventureland.

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Postby Stargazer » Wed May 30, 2007 1:20 pm

Big enough and regionally unique... yes.  You'll forgive me though, if I selfishly desire to simply have something 'as good as' Adventureland.

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Postby nebugeater » Wed May 30, 2007 3:01 pm

nebport5 wrote:If this park was big enough and regionally unique it could be a draw from Des Moines as well.  After all, many people in Omaha still make the trek to Adventureland.


But ask yourself this.  If Omaha had an equal to Adventureland would the Omaha crowd still drive to DesMoines?

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Postby DTO Luv » Wed May 30, 2007 5:44 pm

Stargazer wrote:
Don't underestimate the 'state loyalty' either.  Des Moines has the 'Iowa Cubs' and 'Iowa Stars'... we have the 'Omaha Royals'.   Iowans are just more likely go visit their state capital, to take in shopping, sports, amusements.   While I realize some here like to distance the city from being associated with the rest of the state... I think we need to do a better part of making the rest of the state feel like part of Omaha. Who knows but what the Knights/Royals could have been picking up a still larger audience if we had pursued a larger audience with something so seemingly trivial as naming the teams to include all of Nebraska.


So people from Grand Island, Kearney, and Hastings wouldn't come to an Omaha amusement park because they feel Omaha is distant from Nebraska? Yeah right. They'd be as happy as we would be with a park. Also I can't think of too many people past Lincoln who would come to a hockey game in Omaha because it's the Nebraska Knights.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect people from KC to come up to any new Omaha park. It would be new and people from all over the region would try it out. Plus it would get other people to the city who might not have come otherwise.
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Thu May 31, 2007 12:55 am

Stargazer wrote:
Western Iowa, Northwestern Missouri, Northeastern Kansas, and Southern South Dakota in the Omaha market for probably about 2 to 2.5 million people, at least.


Another 800,000+ from these areas?  I don't think so.  Let's face it... outside of Sioux City and Sioux Falls... there just isn't much besides Omaha/Lincoln.  Des Moines also benefits from a much more well traveled north/south interstate in I-35.  We get very little off of I-29.

Again, I'm not suggesting we can't support a comparable amusement park... but I do think Des Moines is better situated to support theirs.. with an apparently smaller population.

...in my opinion of course.

Don't underestimate the 'state loyalty' either.  Des Moines has the 'Iowa Cubs' and 'Iowa Stars'... we have the 'Omaha Royals'.   Iowans are just more likely go visit their state capital, to take in shopping, sports, amusements.   While I realize some here like to distance the city from being associated with the rest of the state... I think we need to do a better part of making the rest of the state feel like part of Omaha. Who knows but what the Knights/Royals could have been picking up a still larger audience if we had pursued a larger audience with something so seemingly trivial as naming the teams to include all of Nebraska.


I disagree.  

I stand by my regional population estimate.  And if you want to talk about "state loyalty," then we've already got a built in draw of 1.8 million people before factoring in the bordering states/regions.

And since you brought up the Omaha vs. Nebraska thing, I don't think Omaha has to be inclusive of Nebraska at all.  That's the point.  Chicago is DIFFERENT from Illinois.  St. Louis is DIFFERENT from Missouri.  Minneapolis is DIFFERENT from Minnesota.  Why should Omaha be some sort of exception?

I'm certainly not trying to deny that Omaha is in Nebraska.  That would be futile and stupid.  The clothes don't make the man, if you will.  I Love Nebraska, but "let's face it," Omaha isn't Nebraska.  It's Omaha.
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Postby nebport5 » Thu May 31, 2007 1:20 am

nebugeater wrote:
nebport5 wrote:If this park was big enough and regionally unique it could be a draw from Des Moines as well.  After all, many people in Omaha still make the trek to Adventureland.


But ask yourself this.  If Omaha had an equal to Adventureland would the Omaha crowd still drive to DesMoines?





hence the "regionally unique" part of my comment

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Postby Brad » Thu May 31, 2007 7:18 am

It doesn't matter what Omaha is or where Omaha is.  If you build a Kick A$$ Amusement Park, people will drive from miles and miles around to go to it.  How many people in DesMoins drive to KC, a lot of them, why, because WoF is Way better than Adventure land.
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Postby joeglow » Thu May 31, 2007 8:41 am

cdub wrote:I have no idea who Steve Minard is but maybe he can pull it off  :)


-I have trouble trusting this guy to do anything.  He just strikes me as the real life Lyle Lanley.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Thu May 31, 2007 10:51 am

Brad wrote:It doesn't matter what Omaha is or where Omaha is.  If you build a Kick A$$ Amusement Park, people will drive from miles and miles around to go to it.  How many people in DesMoins drive to KC, a lot of them, why, because WoF is Way better than Adventure land.


Exactly.
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Postby Ingersoll1978 » Thu May 31, 2007 4:57 pm

Don't forget Valleyfair! in Shakopee.  I'd much rather spend the extra hour to drive to Minneapolis than KC...there is so much more to see and do there.

http://www.valleyfair.com

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Postby pseudoprometheus » Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:25 am

Hm, this thread reminds me of Peony Park, although I don't remember ever having been there when they were open.  A quick Google search dug up this eighties booklet:

http://www.themeparkbrochures.net/198x/pp198x.html

At its 'height', how did it compare to present-day Funplex?  Does anyone remember why they closed?

(Also, is that white area in the pamphlet really where the borders of Omaha and Council Bluffs were?  If so, I have to say we've grown a bit.  ;) )
... wait, what?

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Postby cdub » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:16 am

I was only at Peony Park once when I was 8 or 9 but it seemed larger then Funplex...  Could be that everything seemed larger though!

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Postby agibson95 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:48 pm

It was much bigger and it had a midway and ballroom. Anyone else at the MSG concert when we lost power and they did an acoustic set?

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Postby ModestMouse » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:45 pm

if its as good as valleyfair, it will be extremely popular with the WoF crowd, etc etc.

I've been to WoF and Valleyfair and Valleyfair KILLS it.[/left]

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Postby wineomaha » Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:35 pm

I don't know if this is true or not but I was told a couple of years ago that Omaha is the largest city in the US that doesn't have an amusement park.

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Postby Mr.Nuke » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:06 pm

ModestMouse wrote:if its as good as valleyfair, it will be extremely popular with the WoF crowd, etc etc.

I've been to WoF and Valleyfair and Valleyfair KILLS it.[/left]

The two are very similar, owned by the same company (Cedar Fair) and add similar rides. Of the two I prefer WOF, but both dwarf in comparison to Cedar Point the flagship park in the chain. As for Wild Escape or Port Nebraska, whatever you want to call it... I lost all faith in that happening years ago.

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Postby cdub » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:29 am

We also bought a lot of black and white TVs in the 50s...  I don't think that really tells us much.

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Postby icejammer » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:32 am

And, on the topic of old amusement parks, one of the largest around at the time was at Lake Manawa from the early 20th century up until the Great Depression.  Unfortunately, none of the past parks mentioned ever stuck around as long as a Worlds of Fun or Adventureland has (at least as an amusement park).
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Postby Coyote » Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:56 pm

cdub wrote:I was only at Peony Park once when I was 8 or 9 but it seemed larger then Funplex...  Could be that everything seemed larger though!


Peony Park was 26 acres. I don't know how large the Fun Plex is. Menard wanted to build a park along Abbot Drive that would have been 80 acres.
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Postby Brad » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:07 am

Coyote wrote:Peony Park was 26 acres. I don't know how large the Fun Plex is. Menard wanted to build a park along Abbot Drive that would have been 80 acres.


Its around 15 acres.
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Postby Coyote » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:48 am

[font=Georgia]Park Permits Back On Track[/font]

Permits that would make the Wild Escape theme park a reality at The Highlands are back on track following a meeting Tuesday in the Wheeling office of U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.  At the meeting, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh office promised to begin mandatory advertising for public comment on the permits “within the next week,” said Ohio County Commissioner Randy Wharton. If all goes well, he said the permits could be issued within the next 30 days.

“We have been telling everybody all along that the hold up was the permit process,” Wharton said. “Hopefully, we can move forward with it. We began the permit process a year ago, and our question to the Corps was, ‘How long does it take?’ It has taken longer than it should have, and the corps agrees with that.” It was in June 2006 that developer Steve Minard announced plans to build the Wild Escape theme park at The Highlands. He anticipates investing $200 million in the project, which he said has been delayed because of the lack of permits from the Corps.

Minard has said he is currently developing five Wild Escape sites throughout the United States. These are located in Ohio County; Omaha, Neb., and three other sites he has yet to announce. He also has said he is having rides for the parks manufactured not just domestically, but also in Germany, England, Italy and Argentina.
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