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NEWS: City Museum Sold to Premier Parks


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It was announced today that the City Museum in St. Louis has been sold to Premier Parks.

 

https://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/city-museum-sold-to-oklahoma-based-theme-park-company/article_594d5e4c-4365-5873-a173-2691c1494156.html

 

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City Museum, the quirky downtown attraction that defies definition, has a new owner.

 

Oklahoma City-based Premier Parks LLC, which operates entertainment venues across the country and in Canada, including Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, announced Thursday it now owns and manages City Museum.

 

Museum director Rick Erwin said employees got the news Thursday morning and that the search for an owner had been going on for more than a year. City Museum had been owned since 2002 by American Milling, a grain-processing business based in Cahokia. David Jump is its president.

 

“It’s exciting news. Dave has been looking for someone who will take care of the business and grow it,” Erwin said. “He’s a grain guy. He doesn’t know marketing. He knows family fun and attractions — he’s a grandfather. But if the idea is to continue growing and keep growing, we need to make some changes.”

 

Erwin said changes will be mostly behind the scenes, and Premier Parks will be able to implement new scheduling and ticketing systems — possibly even online ticketing.

 

“We’re not technology people,” Erwin said. “We can barely work our cellphones. But we can build a hell of a slide.”

 

Everyone will keep their jobs — this time of year, the museum employs about 100 — but they will be paid by Premier Parks and will get new insurance packages.

 

Premier has a 40-year operating lease on the site and is led by Kieran Burke, a former chairman and CEO of the Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

 

Burke said he first visited City Museum about two years ago and has visited about 10 times since. He was impressed while watching families from all generations and backgrounds play and interact. He even climbed the climbers and slid down the slides himself.

 

“I used to run Six Flags,” he said. “I always had a thing — you don’t buy a roller coaster without trying it.”

 

He said he plans to honor the initial vision and experience of the museum and will not add theme park signage or “jazz it up” in a sanitized way. The museum does almost no marketing, so Premier will likely market the museum outside the area “to increase the awareness of how special this is. That’s not just good for the area, but very good for downtown.”

 

Without getting ahead of himself, he said he could see building another City Museum in another city, but not duplicating it, and that it could be well-received in Nashville, Tenn., or New York.

 

City Museum was founded in 1997 by artists Bob and Gail Cassilly in the Washington Avenue Loft District in St. Louis. It displays the work of Bob Cassilly as well as other artists among a series of slides, climbers, fish tanks, castles, animal sculptures and a giant pair of underpants. Bob Cassilly died in a bulldozer accident in 2011 while working at another playground project, Cementland, bordering St. Louis and Riverview.

 

Jump said in a statement: “I am grateful for the creative, hard work of the staff before and after Bob’s death. That group and the new operators will carry forward the magic that is City Museum.”

 

Erwin said that this means City Museum has better access to water park technology. Bob Cassilly originally wanted to put a water park on the roof, Erwin said, but didn’t think the building could sustain the weight.

 

“But now we have some resources to some very cool stuff,” he said. “I’m willing to reach out to some of the water parks.”

 

Erwin said the museum will maintain control of its social media accounts and will have a say in any other marketing ideas Premier brings to the table. “If I see a dancing bear out there with a logo, I’d throw it off the roof,” he said.

 

Erwin said Premier Parks has made it clear that it doesn’t want to change the voice and image of City Museum and that it might even add City Museum elements to its other attractions. That might mean hiring more artists at City Museum and sending them out to other Premier parks, Erwin said.

 

“You should still see City Museum as City Museum,” Erwin said. “Their statement to us is, it’s not broke. We don’t want to fix it. We don’t want to change it.”

 

Premier Parks owns Clementon Park and Splash World in Clementon, N.J.; Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park in Denver; Magic Springs Theme and Water Park in Hot Springs, Ark.; Nashville Shores Resort in Nashville, Tenn.; Ocean Breeze Water Park in Virginia Beach, Va.; Pacific Park in Santa Monica, Calif.; Rapids in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii in Oahu, Hawaii; Wet ’n’ Wild Toronto; and Wild Waves Theme and Water Park in Seattle.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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That website wouldn't let me continue because of my ad-blocker, but you can easily Google and find other news sites that confirm this.

 

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The City Museum has been sold to an Oklahoma-based theme park company.

 

Premier Parks, LLC announced Thursday they would assume operation and management of the St. Louis attraction.

 

“We are incredibly excited to add the creativity and uniqueness of City Museum to our portfolio of entertainment facilities. We love the vision of founders Bob and Gail Cassilly. The ability to operate a must-see attraction in the vibrant downtown of St. Louis is a welcome opportunity. We plan to keep the same staff and vision for the museum while infusing some of our resources so that City Museum will continue to grow and expand. ” Premier Parks leader Kieran Burke said.

 

The City Museum was opened in 1997 by the Cassillys. In 2017, more than 800,000 people reportedly visited the downtown location.

 

“I am grateful for the creative, hard work of the staff before and after Bob’s death. That group and the new operators will carry forward the magic that is City Museum,” said Dave Jump, the CEO of City Museum.

 

Premier Parks, LLC currently has 10 theme and water parks throughout North America, including Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii, Ocean Breeze Water Park in Virginia Beach and Magic Springs Theme and Water Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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Not sure how I feel about this. I haven't been to enough current Premier Parks to know how well they run their properties, but I worry that corporatization of the City Museum will take away some of the charm.

 

Thoughts?

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I'm so thankful I made it there last year because I too have a bad feeling about this.

 

I remember thinking it was very affordable considering it's location in downtown St. Louis. Just a hunch, but I am guessing it may not cost $14 anymore. But the bigger thing is if and when Premier's legal team gets invovled.

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I want to be optimistic because they're saying all the right things in the article, but I've seen that kind of story play out the wrong way too many times.

 

I've made some great memories on my two trips there with TPR, and I sure hope it will keep its awesomeness intact whenever I inevitably return.

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I remember when City Museum was in its infancy and it had very little to offer. It was mostly a few sculptures and a climbing structure or two. People love it, but oddly no one I know, including myself, ever visits. I'm about thirty minutes away and I haven't been in ten years. No desire to go back anytime soon, but it seems like people from out of town love it.

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For those that don't keep score, Premier Parks owns a bunch of smaller regional water parks in North America, as well as Wild Waves, Elitch Gardens, and Magic Springs. They also own Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier.

 

One would think that there had to have been some clauses in the agreement to keep the character of the City Museum intact. Also, the continued success and "one of a kind appeal" of Pacific Park, another small regional attraction that's important to the local community that it resides within, makes me think that Premier Parks won't completely ruin the City Museum. We'll see, of course.

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For those that don't keep score, Premier Parks owns a bunch of smaller regional water parks in North America, as well as Wild Waves, Elitch Gardens, and Magic Springs. They also own Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier.

 

One would think that there had to have been some clauses in the agreement to keep the character of the City Museum intact. Also, the continued success and "one of a kind appeal" of Pacific Park, another small regional attraction that's important to the local community that it resides within, makes me think that Premier Parks won't completely ruin the City Museum. We'll see, of course.

 

I'm not really sure Pacific Parks success is due to anything other than the fact the Santa Monica Pier is a famous landmark. The most significant thing the park has done since it opened was replace the ferris wheel.

 

Now if they put a kick ass roller coaster in the space currently occupied by the trapeze school....

 

Heck, It's probably more famous now as a Pokemon Go hotspot than for the amusement park...

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I'm not really sure Pacific Parks success is due to anything other than the fact the Santa Monica Pier is a famous landmark. The most significant thing the park has done since it opened was replace the ferris wheel.

I guess the point I was trying to make about Pacific Park was that being operated by Premier Parks hasn't seemed to ruin it. People still love going there. It still has that appeal.

 

Granted, it's a slightly different situation in terms of ownership, I guess Premier Parks now fully owns the City Museum. Call me an optimist but I feel like less changes will happen on the front and and more will happen behind the scenes. The Post-Dispatch article said that Premier Parks also wants to leverage the talents of the City Museum artists for some stuff at the other parks.

 

I know that, generally, indie park acquisitions = bad, but I'm willing to play the skeptical optimist role on this one.

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I guess the point I was trying to make about Pacific Park was that being operated by Premier Parks hasn't seemed to ruin it. People still love going there. It still has that appeal.

There was never anything remotely risky about Pacific Park. That was place always "played it safe" as it's basically a small Morgan coaster with an assortment of off-the-shelf Zamperla-like kiddie rides. The park could practically run itself as far as the attractions go and the safety of those rides.

 

City Museum is a totally different type of animal.

 

We always said that City Museum only existed because corporate America and lawyers hadn't discovered it yet...

 

...and now they have.

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We always said that City Museum only existed because corporate America and lawyers hadn't discovered it yet...

 

...and now they have.

 

I might need to sneak over there before anything changes and check it out.... if its not too late...

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The best we can hope for is that nothing changes. There's no chance this improves it at all, and a pretty good chance it loses what made it special.

We always said that City Museum only existed because corporate America and lawyers hadn't discovered it yet...

 

...and now they have.

Exactly how I see it too. Part of what I love about the City Museum is the inherent risk. I think both times I have been there I came away with injuries that could be considered concerning to lawyers, but was just "lol, City Museum".

 

Dammit, where else can I go to get slide burns that cover my entire hip? (I do have photo evidence but don't think I should post)

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From what they have listed on their website, the big one is the age restriction. Anyone under 16 years of age has to be accompanied by someone 18+, and they verify this with an ID check. As part of their policies, adults "are responsible for [their children's] conduct and well being". Then there are various minimum / maximum height and age restrictions for certain slides and ball pits.

 

See for yourself: https://www.citymuseum.org/visit/policies-and-restrictions/

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Kind of on the fence about this. Cool to see it have a 'big' owner but as Robb has said, having a corporation own it, could kill this place off.

 

I feel like this place is something that you dont need to market, but just let word of mouth do the marketing. I was taught that word of mouth is the best marketing for business. I told everyone in my family about city museum after the tpr trip in 2017.

 

From what they have listed on their website, the big one is the age restriction. Anyone under 16 years of age has to be accompanied by someone 18+, and they verify this with an ID check. As part of their policies, adults "are responsible for [their children's] conduct and well being". Then there are various minimum / maximum height and age restrictions for certain slides and ball pits.

 

See for yourself: https://www.citymuseum.org/visit/policies-and-restrictions/

 

This is completely necessary though. When this is one of the slides there, you need those restrictions. received_128119304385188.thumb.jpeg.512014be83518ddaa6a577b91291da31.jpeg

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^ That's not even the craziest slide if you ask me. There was this freaky one with a near vertical drop and an airtime hump going into what looked like a boiler room. I remember that one had a 48" height requirement and for good reason.

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I guess the point I was trying to make about Pacific Park was that being operated by Premier Parks hasn't seemed to ruin it. People still love going there. It still has that appeal.

There was never anything remotely risky about Pacific Park. That was place always "played it safe" as it's basically a small Morgan coaster with an assortment of off-the-shelf Zamperla-like kiddie rides. The park could practically run itself as far as the attractions go and the safety of those rides.

 

City Museum is a totally different type of animal.

 

We always said that City Museum only existed because corporate America and lawyers hadn't discovered it yet...

 

...and now they have.

 

That's what I was getting at. I'm bummed that I never made it to City Museum before this ownership change, because I highly highly doubt there won't be changes coming. I'm sure whatever the safety department at Premier Parks is called is going to have a field day there...

 

Also seems like this sale is the result of one of the founders estate and the other founder going through a legal battle over the profits.

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^ That's not even the craziest slide if you ask me. There was this freaky one with a near vertical drop and an airtime hump going into what looked like a boiler room. I remember that one had a 48" height requirement and for good reason.

 

I dont think this is the same slide as you are talking about, but i know this one had a little airtime hump towards the bottom of the slide. [twitter]

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