Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Should observation towers make a comeback?


Recommended Posts

Decades ago, it seemed like space needles and observation towers were standard set pieces for any large amusement park. By the late '90s and 2000s, I remember a lot of them started to seem dated and unpopular. When Cedar Point's came down to make room for GateKeeper, few people whimpered. Thrill rides were beginning to eclipse the previously unsurpassed heights of observation towers, and the standard rule seemed to be that if it was tall, it should also be thrilling.

 

Before RMC conversions were a thing, I also remember reading lots of enthusiast speculation that many observation towers would be getting converted into drop rides. Those rumors never came to widespread fruition. I visited lots of parks in the 2000s, and it would not be uncommon for observation rides to be closed, slow-loading, unpopular, or have dirty/opaque cabin windows, and it seemed like you could never get your disposable camera or early camera phone to cooperate to take a decent picture.

 

But now, with quality photography being so accessible, and with selfies, social sharing, and unique photo ops being so popular, it seems like a big "Duh!" for parks to have a modern observation tower; think the Eiffel Tower rides, but with a current design and clear viewing glass instead of a bird cage enclosure at the top. A gondola refresh on current towers could work, as well. It seems like tons of new observation attractions are going in throughout China and other places in Asia, but I can't recall the last American or European park that announced a major observation tower. It seems like one attraction type that could use an update and find a second wind in our picture-taking culture.

 

Any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 38
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I do agree that more Eiffel Tower style observation towers should be built, as I love spending time on top of KD's and taking photos of the park and surrounding area, and just enjoying the view. The ones that take you up for 2-ish minutes such as the one at Carowinds or California's Great America need to go, I prefer to stay up there as long as I want and not have to sit and rotate (as it's impossible to take a good photo when you're spinning). That type should be replaced by drop towers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

State Fair of Texas built a 500 foot Intamin Super Gyro Tower when they tried to turn the fairgrounds into an amusement park a few years ago so at least there was one recent installation in the U.S.

 

I'm an observation tower fan myself and I consider them icons. I always look for them as I'm driving to a park that has one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used to have a great one at Playland (PNE). A double decker with the most amazing views of the mountains.

 

I miss it.

overheadshot.jpg.76599a462cf98754763358a16df0b0e5.jpg

Retro overhead shot of the PNE & Playland, and the SPACE TOWER to the right, there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always liked observation towers, including those that provided a few moments of A/C on a hot day. And given my propensity towards wanting to photograph and document my travels, it makes sense that I would find observation towers to be worthwhile.

That said, it's IMO unlikely that they will ever be as common as they were in the last few decades, most likely because the novelty of the view provided by a high look out point has faded (unless of course the view itself is a huge draw). Ariel views are quite ubiquitous these days, especially with drone footage and all, so being able to see a park from above may not be that compelling anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely think they should, given with how the climate is only going to get hotter and hotter. Being directly in the sunlight at the top of a ferris wheel in the humid south is not very pleasant in the slightest. So if parks decide to add an observation tower, I'm all in favor if it means I'm going to have sweet, sweet A/C while taking pictures and enjoying a moment of relaxation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I am not a real observation tower enthousiast, I do enjoy them for the photo-ops they provide. I was pretty bummed when SWO decided to wrap theirs with some kind of advertisement/banner making it hard to see out, and nigh impossible to take pictures.

 

And if observation towers are going to make a comeback, I'd be overjoyed if this also meant Flying Islands (http://pulseparty.ru/files/sobitiya/26312665.jpg) would returns as well. When the pod is down, there's no ugly tower eyesore. Or at least theme the tower (but no more Eiffel towers, we have enough of those).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I felt that Magic Mountain's tower was one of the scariest rides in the park. Disappointed it's been closed the last few times I've been there. Their drop tower is a nice observation tower, but the relaxing at the top is too short.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoy the concept of observation towers, but it seems like the AC units would often have problems and they would have a lingering smell of vomit (in the ones I had ridden in the past at least).

It would be nice if they could reincorporate them as I agree they make a good family friendly ride but if they never come back I will not mind at all, I don't view it as a massive loss to amusement parks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When Cedar Point's came down to make room for GateKeeper, few people whimpered.

 

Cedar Point already has Power Tower, which feels pretty much like an observation tower, only outdoors.

 

Yeah, with have Power Tower (which is admittedly a thrill ride), Windseeker, Sky Ride and Giant Wheel that ride was incredibly redundant by the time it was removed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a good point. Ferris wheels are a lot closer to observation towers than a drop tower is. A really gigantic Ferris wheel is a draw, and can be a standalone attraction too. No problem marketing those at all. Ask someone to name a London landmark, and they're as likely to say the London Eye as they are Big Ben.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to see them make a return. My favorite observation tower is Hershey Park's Kiss Tower. It gives great views and a little spiel about other attractions in the area. However, they seem like a tough attraction to market to make gate in modern times. Also, with advent of Windseekers and Starflyers they seem less relevant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What if they did a combo tower where the drop cars go up inside the observation room and people can watch them drop. Or maybe they load at the top from the observation room and disembark at the bottom.

 

I think this is about as close as we would get...

 

57de6ce03034d_Bigtower.jpg.7e69e1cc8e6868302e5d665e73192860.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should observation towers make a comeback?

 

Selfishly, yes. Absolutely. Every park should have one and they should all be 500 feet tall, at least.

 

Realistically? I kind of doubt they're a great bang-for-the-buck investment for a theme park in 2017. I could see it happening as some sort of iconic landmark structure at a new or developing park, but it'd be hard for me to imagine an established park building a stand-alone ob tower.

 

...with a current design and clear viewing glass instead of a bird cage enclosure at the top.

 

As a photographer, ew, no. Open air is the way to go, even if (for safety reasons) it needs to be partially enclosed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/