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Dania Beach Hurricane Declares Bankruptcy


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http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/110630/story4.shtml

 

After Dania Beach's iconic wooden rollercoaster, Hurricane, ground to a halt last April, county commissioners are discussing plans that may have the coaster roaring back to life as a part of the entertainment district at Zoo Miami.

 

At the last meeting of the commission's Recreation & Cultural Affairs Committee, Commissioner Dennis C. Moss' resolution directing the mayor's office to explore the feasibility of relocating the coaster within the Zoo Miami property unanimously passed.

 

The zoo is owned and operated by Miami-Dade's Park and Recreation Department.

 

A roller coaster at a zoo may seem out of place, but Zoo Miami Director Eric Stevens says it meshes well with the county's plan to use the property as an entertainment district, not just a zoo. "We're looking at property outside the zoo itself for the theme park," Mr. Moss said. "We've had that area categorized as an entertainment district."

 

The Hurricane is a 100-foot-tall, 3,200-foot-long coaster that reaches speeds of 50 miles per hour, according to Rollercoaster Database, a thrill-rides reference website. The coaster operated for 11 years at the family entertainment center Boomers! Greater Ft. Lauderdale under a separate owner before shutting down during the recession.

 

Mr. Moss sees the entertainment district as a business opportunity for a private investor looking to build Miami's version of Universal Studios. "For us to be such a global city, and not have a major themed attraction, I think that we're missing out on an opportunity," he said. To pave the way for this type of investment, he said, the county is acquiring more acreage and has conducted traffic and infrastructure studies for the Zoo Miami property.

 

Long-term plans for the park include "a new water park, family entertainment center, vacation hotel, resort hotel and adventure theme park as well as expansion of the Gold Coast Railroad Museum," according to Zoo Miami brochures. This kind of development could create thousands of jobs, Mr. Moss said. "In the meantime, if we can get a rollercoaster located in the zoo property, and that helps to get people out to the zoo…," he said, "then, it plays into what we're trying to do with the overall master plan."

 

The rollercoaster and other themed attractions would be built to complement the existing zoo, which has developed 327 of 740 available acres in South Dade.

 

Zoo Miami is considered the oldest and largest zoological garden in Florida and attracts about 800,000 visitors a year.

 

Both Mr. Stevens and Mr. Moss said they couldn't discuss how the coaster would be moved or who would pay for its relocation until the mayor's office looks further into the project. Miami-Dade voters were to elect a new mayor Tuesday. "In the right conditions or with the right deal, it could be very good for both parties," Mr. Stevens said.

 

Calls to the entity that owns the coaster were not returned.

 

County officials are considering several options to acquire the rollercoaster. "Part of the option may be joint ownership with the [Hurricane's] owner and shared profits…," Mr. Moss said. "Another option may be outright purchase."

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If they are going to relocate, they should move it to Busch Gardens or somewhere in Orlando. Nobody rode it when it was in Miami before, what makes them think it's going to suddenly be popular if they move it?

 

Although the other expansion plans for the Zoo area sound like it could certainly help.

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I live literally 10 min away from where the coaster sits right now and only rode it maybe once a year, once every other year or so. The past few times the coaster seemed to be in rough shape and due for some TLC. Would I drive down to the Zoo just to ride it again, maybe, but if they added the other "entertainment" things to the area I would trek down once in a while. Its a fairly nice zoo to begin with so the added fun stuff is a bonus.

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I live literally 10 min away from where the coaster sits right now and only rode it maybe once a year, once every other year or so. The past few times the coaster seemed to be in rough shape and due for some TLC. Would I drive down to the Zoo just to ride it again, maybe, but if they added the other "entertainment" things to the area I would trek down once in a while. Its a fairly nice zoo to begin with so the added fun stuff is a bonus.

 

Well as of this last year is was running great! I went in November and the ride was VERY smooth and insanely good. Then I went back in February and there was lots of new track everywhere that wasn't there in November. In addition they were rebuilding the 2nd train while we were there! They definitely took care of this ride, everyone I know that has ridden it over the last 10 years has LOVED it!

 

I really hope it's saved though...will be interesting to see how the whole zoo thing works out whether they get the coaster or not though!

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I'm really hoping this works out....not just for the Hurricane's sake, but for the zoo itself. Most folks don't realize that Miami Metro Zoo (which is now called Zoo Miami) used to be a world class zoo, and considered one of the top 5 in the country before Hurricane Andrew obliterated it. It's been a really tough road back for this place over the last 19 years, and I'm actually incredibly proud of the direction the current management is attempting to take, and the plans it has.

 

For years, the biggest things working against this place were location and South Florida politics. I'd LOVE to see them overcome both of those obstacles!

 

Need an even greater reason to visit Zoo Miami? The monorail is looking better than ever! Just zoom in and take a look at that awesome layout here or here (even though it unfortunately doesn't go through the aviary anymore)!!

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I'm really hoping this works out....not just for the Hurricane's sake, but for the zoo itself. Most folks don't realize that Miami Metro Zoo (which is now called Zoo Miami) used to be a world class zoo, and considered one of the top 5 in the country before Hurricane Andrew obliterated it. It's been a really tough road back for this place over the last 19 years, and I'm actually incredibly proud of the direction the current management is attempting to take, and the plans it has.

 

For years, the biggest things working against this place were location and South Florida politics. I'd LOVE to see them overcome both of those obstacles!

 

Need an even greater reason to visit Zoo Miami? The monorail is looking better than ever! Just zoom in and take a look at that awesome layout here or here (even though it unfortunately doesn't go through the aviary anymore)!!

 

Wow, I've seen the zoo before and that just looks awesome. And wow, there is a lot of land around there. I really really hope this happens now!

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Holy hell- That's a TPR Challenge scenario waiting to happen...

 

And 3.00 for an all-day Monorail pass? That's a bargain, even with park admission.

 

There is so much space they could use to turn the park into a Busch-Gardens scale project- with rides, shows, etc. to bring in the guests. It's the perfect storm of space, size and drive that could make this a great destination in the future.

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Miami can only have as big a park as they can support locally. It will always be a problem to draw people away from Orlando. Where would you go? It's a pretty good hike to get down there. I think they would have to build one hell of a park if they are thinking Universal scale.

 

It would be awesome if they could move the Hurricane but I don't give it much chance to happen. The DBH wasn't around long enough to have enough sentimental value to justify the cost. I think I heard Cypress Gardens had 5 million in Starliner , at least Dania Beach Hurricane is a great ride. They will build Orlando Thrill Park before this happens.

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^^ Exactly.

 

^ Your first statement is fairly accurate. Like I said, location is a big hurdle for them since it's not in the most easily accessible area. With that said, the place certainly does have potential. In my opinion, if the area is ever going to transform into a "destination," it should truly focus on a world class water park as its "entertainment anchor" first and foremost.

 

Personally, I felt the Fort Lauderdale Schlitterbahn project would have been a really nice fit at Zoo Miami, and would have given them the boost they desperately need. Moving the Hurricane is a nice step in the right direction though.

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I wonder what kind of numbers the Miami/ Lauderdale areas get annually for tourism specifically cruise departures? I know it's one of the more popular cruise ports in America and I would think that for families coming in a day early or staying a day late after the cruise to catch a flight might be interested in spending a day at a really nice waterpark/zoo/theme park type combo property. You would think the crowds that go on cruises and that would go to a theme park are a fairly similar demographic.

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The expansion to the zoo sounds like a good idea. Dania Beach Hurricane looks like a great ride and I'd love to see it go to a new home. However, as said above, Miami needs a bigger anchor to draw people before Zoo Miami can expand. A waterpark would be a decent start IMO, and if it bring in lot sof people, expansion to the zoo can compliment it.

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Looks like Teh Diana Beach Hurricane may be saved, unlike Teh Big Dipper. However, how is moving it to another fun center going to be any different from before? I guess the response is that families visiting the zoo or water park may also stop by to ride this. I do recall, though, the credit at Wild Island Fun Center in Nevada. That place, containing a bowling alley, several mini golf courses, and a small water park, could barely make a profit on its kiddie coaster (now at Dixieland). The thing only stayed open for three years, while the rest of the place continued on just fine. How in the world is a zoo supposed to keep up a large coaster like this, while one of the largest fun centers in an area can barely keep up a little coaster? I am surprised Hurricane stayed open in its original location as long as it did.

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I live literally 5 minutes from Zoo Miami,Dennis Moss the commissioner has been hyping up the zoo as becoming a true destination like Universal Studios,the problem is that these plans have been around for almost 10 years now,at least it seems that way.They planned for a waterpark and an entertainment center to come first,again the problem is that the county voted and it passed,but that vote was probably close to 5 years ago and still no waterpark,I contacted the zoo to ask about it and they said they were taking bids as who will build and run the waterpark.Then came the news Shlitterbahn would build a waterpark in Ft.Lauderdale,I believe one of these will get built but have to doubt both of them happening,and if Ft.Lauderdale already has Shlitterbahn they obviously have the lead.After the waterpark and entertainment center Moss said a hotel could come and then possibly even a full amusement park as right next to the zoo was a good amount of land for housing for the Coast Guard which is now sitting vacant.Again there's a lot of plans but nothing really happening.If they could move the Hurricane it would be awesome as it would be 5 minutes away but more importantly it may actually propel their plans into actions for the zoo.On a positive note after the zoo spent like $800,000 on their new sign outside the zoo I have seen more cars entering the zoo than in years past,I visited it last year when they added the sign and had anniversary days with $5 entrance and the zoo has gotten nicer,I still do the 4 hour drive to Busch Gardens 100 times for every one visit to ZooMiami 5 minutes away,but it wasn't all that long ago I visited Busch Gardens in the early 90's on a baseball trip and Busch Gardens wasn't much more than a nice zoo with the scorpion,python and a couple of water rides.

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Looks like Teh Diana Beach Hurricane may be saved, unlike Teh Big Dipper. However, how is moving it to another fun center going to be any different from before? I guess the response is that families visiting the zoo or water park may also stop by to ride this. I do recall, though, the credit at Wild Island Fun Center in Nevada. That place, containing a bowling alley, several mini golf courses, and a small water park, could barely make a profit on its kiddie coaster (now at Dixieland). The thing only stayed open for three years, while the rest of the place continued on just fine. How in the world is a zoo supposed to keep up a large coaster like this, while one of the largest fun centers in an area can barely keep up a little coaster? I am surprised Hurricane stayed open in its original location as long as it did.

 

If my understanding is correct, Zoo Miami already has higher attendance levels than Boomers! has had in a good while. Keep in mind that the zoo is already a thriving attraction. Also, I think that more people would venture out to ride a thrilling coaster than a kiddie coaster.

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Honestly, Dania Beach in itself if a horrible location. It's more of a locals place than a tourist destination. I'm not suprised that their attendance was so low. The only thing it had going for them is the fact that the coaster was RIGHT off the interstate in between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. I always used it as a landmark more than I rode it.

I'm so happy to hear it's being saved. What do you think the chances are of it getting new trains too?

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They dismantle it and mark each piece one by one, then pack it up and ship it. They also will make sure they take every single measurement for layout purposes if the original groundplan no longer exists. There have been several wooden coasters relocated over the years, including the Phoenix at Knoebels, which came from Texas originally and most recently the Lil Dipper at SFGAM.

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I dunno if it's just me, but this would look great at maybe Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It's already a thriving park, why not add another woodie?

 

If BGW were to get a woodie (which I doubt anytime soon) i'm sure they would get a new custom one rather than getting an old used one.

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