IAAPA Breaks Attendance Record
The editors of Adventure Park Insider visited the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) show, held Nov. 13-17 in Orlando, Fla. This year’s event set an attendance record, welcoming 39,000 to the conference and trade show representing the $39.5 billion global attractions industry.
IAAPA is always a lively gathering for everyone involved.
We ran into several industry colleagues who were there, either looking for the next trend or product to enhance the guest experience at their operation, or exhibiting to the thousands of buyers roaming the halls. It seemed to us that there were a few less aerial adventure park builders exhibiting this year than there have been in years’ past. Those who were there reported being happy with the traffic and had a busy schedule of buyer meetings.
Arival: The In-Destination Event
The inaugural Arival Event, Oct. 11-13 at The Linq Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, brought together providers and sellers of half-day and full-day in-destination attractions, activities, tours, and experiences—generally known as the tours and activities sector of the travel industry. Tours and activities comprise the third-largest sector of the travel industry, behind only air and hotels, totaling $150 billion globally. More than 550 people involved with the tours and activities industry attended Arival—a testament to the demand for an event such as this.
“We created Arival to establish tours and activities as the major sector of the global tours, travel and hospitality travel industry that it deserves to be,” said Arival managing director Bruce Rosard. “The focus is on education, business development, and creating a community where the industry comes together in an environment where everyone has something to learn from everyone else.”
A variety of sessions and workshops during the event offered relevant education for providers, and business development opportunities with global distributors including Viator, Expedia, GetYourGuide and leaders from throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Adventure park operators in attendance, along with other tour and activity providers, could make connections with these distributors to help drive new bookings, both locally and globally.
Arival is the only event of its kind in the world. Organizers anticipate hosting more than 1,000 attendees at next year’s event in Las Vegas in mid-October. Adventure Park Insider is an Arival media partner. We will keep operators up to date on the event and its potential to expand visitation.
Big Zips Planned for Vegas Strip
In spring of 2018, construction will begin on Fly LINQ, a new zip line attraction that will send riders flying over The LINQ Promenade, a bustling area on the Las Vegas Strip filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Plans for Fly LINQ call for 10 side-by-side, 1,080-foot-long zip lines. Caesars Entertainment Corporation, owner of The LINQ Promenade, is investing approximately $20 million into the project. Skyline won the contract to manufacture and install the physical ride and equipment.
Guests are expected to begin their ride experience by taking an elevator from the Vortex at The LINQ Hotel & Casino to the top of the 122-foot-tall launch tower. On the launch deck, guests will be fitted with gear and can choose to zip superman-style or seated.
To help maximize throughput, plans call for an automated, inductively charged gear-retrieval system that will return harnesses and trolleys from the landing platform back to the launch tower. Fly LINQ will also feature a custom, attraction-type control system that monitors safety and operational functions. To boost revenue, the attraction is expected to have a photo system so guests can opt to purchase photos of their experience—either individually or as a group—dressed in full flight gear and in mid-air. (For the latest on photo systems, see “A Snapshot of Photo Systems,” p. 58.).
Fly LINQ is being developed in conjunction with Xventure LV, LLC, which specializes in high-capacity adventure rides situated in prime urban locations. Xventure will lead the development and operations of Fly LINQ. Themed Development Management (TDM) is on board as project manager.
Ropes Courses Inc. Acquires Amaze’n Mazes
Michigan-based Ropes Courses, Inc. (RCI) acquired Colorado-based Amaze‘n Mazes from founder Greg Gallavan in mid November. The purchase price was not disclosed. Gallavan will continue as a consultant to RCI and provide operational guidance on design, construction, and themes.
“The staff at Ropes Courses, Inc. has known and worked with Greg for a number of years. Our Sky Trail ropes courses are a perfect match with his human mazes because both attractions can be combined into a single footprint for two tiers of dynamic challenge and fun,” explained Jon Weston, vice president of sales and marketing for RCI. “This acquisition allows us to tap into Greg’s expertise in maze design as well as his network of contacts and venues around the U.S. and the world,” he added.
The Amaze‘n Mazes name will remain.
“This is a top-notch company that can take Amaze‘n Mazes to the next level and bring our unique combination of a human maze topped by a Sky Trail high ropes course to a wider audience,” said Gallavan. “I’m excited to see where we can take this collaboration in the next few years.”
Quarry Park Adventures Breaks Ground in Rocklin, Calif.
What was once an idle granite quarry in downtown Rocklin, Calif., just 25 miles east of Sacramento, has been developed by the city of Rocklin into Quarry Park, which will soon be home to an adventure complex called Quarry Park Adventures. The project broke ground in September, with several attractions and amenities being built around and within the quarry.
Bonsai Design received the design and build contract for the many elements of the park, which includes three, 700-foot-long parallel zip lines, a three-level aerial adventure course, a giant swing, via ferrata, and a kids’ zone complete with mini zip lines and a low ropes course.
The zip lines originate from the 2,000-square-foot deck that’s connected to the 12,000-square-foot amenities building, which will house a variety of food and beverage options, ticket counters, and more. The zip lines will plunge riders into the pit of the quarry and terminate near the adventure course. The via ferrata will wind its way across the 100-foot-high quarry walls. And the “king swing,” built on the rim of the quarry, will swing out 120 feet into the quarry, with the arc peaking at more than 100 feet off the ground.
The entire Quarry Park Adventures project is expected to cost approximately $5 million. The city of Rocklin is funding the project with a loan that will be paid back by the operators. Quarry Park Adventures has a 40-year operating license with the city.
There is no cost for guests to enter Quarry Park itself, only the usual fees to purchase tickets for the various adventure activities. The city estimates that annual visitation could be as high as 130,000 guests.