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Where Should the USA's Next Theme Park be Built


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I am all set to graduate from college in about 44 days. All that stands in my way is a 20-page paper on Public Transportation in Cleveland a project on "any topic" for my GIS Class. GIS (Geographic Informational Systems) is a map mapping software used in Urban Planning, Geography, the Government, Media, etc. I chose to gather statistics and data in order to provide my imaginary client with information on where would be the best place to construct a new theme park.

 

At the onset of my project I laid out the following guidelines:

1) The project site must be within 120 miles of at least 2 million residents

2) It must be within 10 miles of a US Interstate

3) It may not be within: 120 miles of a Major Park; 60 miles of a Moderate-Sized Park; or 30 miles of a Small Park

4) Preference will be given to whichever site possesses to largest market possible

 

With that I began to compile data to create maps. I am about 75% finished with the project and decided it might be fun to post my findings on TPR

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This is what the US looks like to the Census Bureau - without any water

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This is again the US with the MSA Borders drawn on

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Here we have added water files

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Here we have used the water files to "Clip" the US Map to look "normal"

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Here are the largest Metro Areas in the US

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I had to "un-project" the map in order to plot the locations of all of the parks. I used Google Earth to obtain their XY Coordinates

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Here are the parks in relation to the largest metro areas

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I used a 2003 Park Attendance List to gain these stats and "guestimated" the rest

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The Top 30 Largest Parks were buffered out 120 miles and any Metro areas fully within those buffers were eliminated

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Here are the mid-sized parks with 60-Mile Buffers. This time I only eliminated the city if the park was completely within it

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These are the smallest parks and again I only eliminated cities that the parks were physically in

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The "open" portions on Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and San Bernardino are either mountainous or barren, Phoenix/Tucson may be worth looking into

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I eliminated Miami & Jacksonville due to the huge pull of Orlando and Raleigh-Durham is just off the edge of two Major Park Buffers and a Medium one as well; Austin/Houston and Memphis/Nashville might work

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Only a tiny slice of Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, & Chicago are "uncovered" so they are out and Providence is on the edge of multiple Mid-Sized Parks- so nothing new here

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So here are my three target areas to study further

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Here I have downloaded the Census Tracts and found the populations within each of the Study Areas- We can already see that the Study Area in Phoenix/Tucson has less then 2 million people

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Lets look at Memphis- its Study Area is wider than 240 Miles so we need to find a point that will maximize the population within a 120 mile Buffer (240 mi diameter)

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The original point we choose did not pass the Interstate Buffer; however the new point is still within 120 miles of 2 million. Lets look at Austin/Houston...coming soon!

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I just want to say what a nice flashback this is!!! I was a geography minor in college and did a project very similar to this one in my maps and graphs class only with releasing an airborne agent capable of doing the most damage (it was just post 9/11 and a group project!)

 

Have fun! I loved that software and everything you could do with it. Seriously almost changed my major to GIS because of that class!

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I'm doing a strategic plan/analysis with Cedar Fair as my company for my Strategic Management class (still a year away from graduating but only 3-4 classes left). I'm thinking about using the Phoenix area as the place in which CF could add another park.

 

If anyone has any suggestions...

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=57303

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First off, congratulations on your pending graduation!

 

I, too have had experience working with GIS software, so this is something that greatly interests me. Especially, when applied to one of my favorite hobbies! All of your criteria seems to be well thought out and I can't argue with any of your results so far.

 

The only thing that really stood out here was that you didn't consider Six Flags Fiesta Texas a major park. What was your criteria in choosing that?

 

Looking forward to seeing the final product!

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^I used an Amusement Park Business listing from 2003 as it was the only listing that had more than just the Top 20 parks listed. For the "Major" Parks I simply picked the Top 30 off the list (by attendance). Fiesta Texas ranked 34th. For a nationwide project I need to keep the number of categories low to keep the maps from becoming completely unreadable. Its also sort of hard to rank by attendance as you have to look at something like the Stratosphere Tower in Vegas - they have 3 or 4 rides and are considered a "park;" however despite their size their attendance is "high" especially when compared to another tiny park with fewer than 10 rides.

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^I used an Amusement Park Business listing from 2003 as it was the only listing that had more than just the Top 20 parks listed. For the "Major" Parks I simply picked the Top 30 off the list (by attendance). Fiesta Texas ranked 34th. For a nationwide project I need to keep the number of categories low to keep the maps from becoming completely unreadable. Its also sort of hard to rank by attendance as you have to look at something like the Stratosphere Tower in Vegas - they have 3 or 4 rides and are considered a "park;" however despite their size their attendance is "high" especially when compared to another tiny park with fewer than 10 rides.

 

Sounds fair enough.

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Here is more of my project. We left off looking at the Nashville/Memphis Region. We will now look at our other Finalist Market:

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Here I combined a few steps. I found a location within 10 Miles of the Interstate which is about halfway between the two Metro areas - I then found the population that was within a 120-Mile Buffer AND in the Study Area

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This area also fits the criteria- In the opening section of the Project it was announced that in the case of a tie the larger population would win. I zoomed into the county where the Focus Point was placed and determined the Population per Census Tract in that County

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Finding parcel files for other locations can be very difficult- in their absence I looked at the Population Density (per square mile). The low density near the Focus Point would indicate lots of open space in this area.

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^Anymore the term "Valued Farmland" is meaningless. As Urban Sprawl continues outward, farmland is being snatched up and developed constantly. This particular county is the only county between the Austin MSA and the Houston MSA along that particular Interstate and if Urban Sprawl continues at its present rate I would see this county getting developed within the next 10 - 20 years anyways. I am not done with my project either. I am currently evaluating ortho photos and topography maps to further evaluate the county (and yes there are vast tracks of openness in this particular area). Also look at how many parks are in the middle of farmlands - Michigan Adventure and Darien Lake come to mind immediately.

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^Just wanted to point it out. For all I know this is the only corridor in Texas where cows are able to be graze on the proper feed to make Kobe Style beef. I'm from NYC, I don't know nothing about farming.

Edited by larrygator
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Too bad Tucson is too damn hot in the summer to bring a theme park here. I think people might melt and be stuck to the seats on rides. That Decades Theme Park sure was a bust once the recession kicked in. But after seeing all those charts I was in shock that it said Arizona has 2 theme parks. What's the other "major" one besides Castles 'N Coasters?

 

Jimmy "Tucson needs a theme park" Bo

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Oh, this is exciting, I was like Elisa, I was a Geography minor and enjoyed GIS. What program are you using? ARC GIS? I'm still getting ARC user magazine just because I registered my program. I have respect for you, you had to do a whole lot of research, and having experience, it may not seem like much, but it take a long time to get all that data in. I hope you enjoy doing all this, it's always fun.

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Too bad Tucson is too damn hot in the summer to bring a theme park here. I think people might melt and be stuck to the seats on rides. That Decades Theme Park sure was a bust once the recession kicked in. But after seeing all those charts I was in shock that it said Arizona has 2 theme parks. What's the other "major" one besides Castles 'N Coasters?

 

Jimmy "Tucson needs a theme park" Bo

 

The other one is classified as a VERY small park and I got it from one of your posts...Schnepf Farms.

 

I did my best to include tiny family parks; however, once I got about 25% into the project I realized I missed Memphis Kiddieland, right down the street from me! Ooops!

 

As far as Memphis goes- I was going to talk about the factors which led to the parks closing which used to be in Memphis, Nashville, and Houston- in general terms.

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  • 3 weeks later...

While I was searching around the Internet for pictures for my powerpoint presentation I found the two pictures below. Anyone have any idea what this ride is/was? All the caption said was that they were from East Germany. I will have the final update of my park selection real soon.

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Looks like a coaster version of EPCOT's Horizons...RIP

2111123426_abandonedamusementpark4.jpg.f1448cc869e67a983eb80c1b4f5788cb.jpg

What is this?

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