We’re going to try something new and do something that I would like to call Way-To-Go Wednesday. Each week, what we’ll do is showcase and discuss a positive story that has happened over the past week in the regional amusement industry. To start it off, I think this week goes to Dutch Wonderland for their announcement for Exploration Island.
There have been some rumors on this project for quite sometime and they pretty much started when the park’s Turnpike ride closed halfway through the season last year combined with the Botanical Garden. Talk has ranged from a Dinosaurs Alive walk-through (which is partly what it really is) to a Gravity Group wooden coaster.
Announced on Monday, Exploration Island will be a walk-through attraction where guests will be able to see lifelike dinosaurs in a themed environment, drive around the island on a new Turnpike layout and take the Gondola Cruise with new sights.
I believe that unlike Cedar Fair’s Dinosaurs Alive, an attraction like this has a better fit in an amusement park that is more family centered. While Dorney Park may have Planet Snoopy, Dutch Wonderland caters to a more specific age demographic of children and families with children. Dorney’s demographic is more for families with pre-teens and teenagers given the numerous roller coasters and thrill rides, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a place for kids.
With the Turnpike moving over to the island, that leaves a big “what if?” for its former location. Given the spot’s size, it has potential to be a pretty decent size of land for expansion stretching from where Old 99 used to be, to the Potato Patch, to Kite Flight and towards the Railroad station (not counting the temporary show tent in that area). It is sure to be something to watch for in the next season or two.
Dutch Wonderland’s 2013 park map modified to show the Former Turnpike area space and where Exploration Island will be located.