Friday, April 29, 2011

Theme park safety for the family, according to Heloise

A few tips on staying safe at the theme park were just published in the long running household advice column, Hints from Heloise. They include:

"* Take a digital photo of everyone before you enter the park so you will have one if needed...."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Updates on Freestyle Music Park

The shuttered Freestyle Music Park (originally Hard Rock Park) appears to be sitting dormant for another season as a new operator has not materialized to take over operation of the park. The longer the park remains vacant the less viable it becomes, as rides become deteriorated past the point of salvage and interest in the park wanes.

Local reporter Joel Allen ( checks in on the status of the park here:

To learn more about the park's former identity, check out this archived InPark article on the Nights in White Satin dark ride, which was re-themed when the park was changed into Freestyle Music park.

Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium adds “Meduse da vicino” (Jellyfish up close)

Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium inaugurates season 2011 with a brand new addition: the brand new multisensorial interactive room JELLYFISH UP CLOSE, dedicated to one of the most fascinating species present in nature. Column shaped tanks host different types of jellyfish hailing from every corner of the world enhanced by colorful lighting. The exhibit shares with visitors little-known facts about these extraordinary marine creatures, often known only for their stinging power and not for their incredible complexity.

Jelly Blubber (Catostylus mosaicus) live in coastal waters, in particular at the mouth of rivers, of the Indian Ocean and of the Western Pacific Ocean, between Pakistan and Australia. They assume different colours depending on the seaweed living inside their bodies.
Guests of Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium will be able to admire them in the blue and white varieties.

The Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) is completely transparent; its gonads positioned on the top of its umbrella reproduce the shape of a four-leaf clover. It lives along the English coasts, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Oceans while its measures range between 4 and 35 cm.

The Spotted Jelly (Mastigias papua) originates in the South Pacific Ocean. It is characterised by a transparent umbrella inside which seaweed with blue shades live; an unusual covering of curious white bubbles completes the charm of this marvellous specimen. It lives off small plankton and it can reach 60 cm of diameter.

The Japanese Sea Nettle (Chrysaora melanaster). It is equipped with thin and very long tentacles moving sinuously; it comes from the open waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and it can be up to 60 cm long.

Visitors to Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium may discover the most beautiful creatures populating the fresh and sea waters of the planet. With over 37 completely themed tanks, over 5 thousand specimens to be admired up close and an underwater tunnel which gives the feeling of traveling through the ocean, Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium is an experience suitable for both adults and children. Exhibits are supported with videos about the marine world, discovering all its secrets but also supporting the safeguarding campaigns in favour of oceans or particular endangered species.

The Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium brand is part of MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS, leading name in family entertainment. Merlin owns 70 attractions, 6 hotels and 2 holiday villages in 16 countries and across four continents. . The following structures are part of the Merlin Entertainments group: GARDALAND WATERPARK, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland Park, Gardaland Hotel, Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium, Gardaland Waterpark, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Heide Park and Earth Explorer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Acclaimed documentary "Rebirth" acquired by Oscilloscope Labs and Showtime - August 2011 release set

Oscilloscope Laboratories and Showtime Networks Inc. announced today their acquisition of the widely lauded Sundance Film Festival 2011 documentary, REBIRTH, directed by Jim Whitaker. The result of a filmmaking journey into living history, the story of REBIRTH follows the transformation of five people, over the course of 10 years, whose lives were forever altered on September 11, 2001 - and simultaneously tracks, via unprecedented multi-camera time lapse photography, the evolution of the space where the Twin Towers once rose
over lower Manhattan.

Oscilloscope will release REBIRTH in theatres in August 2011. SHOWTIME will broadcast REBIRTH on the 10th anniversary of the events of September 11th.

The film as well as other original programming created by the REBIRTH team will eventually be housed at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum located at Ground Zero. All proceeds from REBIRTH will go to the Project Rebirth Center to develop and provide new multi-media tools to aid the therapists, academics, first responders and others working
with people dealing with grief.

The project’s founding sponsor is the Aon Foundation. The principal sponsors of the project are OppenheimerFunds and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

“We are proud and honored to be associated with this film from my old friend Jim Whitaker who has emerged as an amazing filmmaker,” said David Nevins, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. “His skillful telling of the personal journeys of a remarkable group of
people touched by the tragic events of September 11 makes for an extremely powerful and moving film.”

"It's inspiring for all of us to be able to work with a film that has a unique perspective of how time and healing are connected. Jim and the team have captured something distinctive within the historical context of the events of September 11, yet its emotional truths are completely
universal,” said Oscilloscope Laboratories’ David Fenkel.

“I am delighted and grateful to both David Nevins of SHOWTIME and David Fenkel of Oscilloscope and their teams for acquiring REBIRTH. It is especially gratifying to everyone who has worked so hard on the film for so many years that REBIRTH, which offers a very hopeful message, will be released theatrically and televised around the 10th anniversary of September 11th,” stated REBIRTH director and producer Whitaker.

“All of us involved in REBIRTH are thrilled to be partnering with Showtime and Oscilloscope for the distribution of the film. Both companies have shown tremendous passion for the project, and their commitment to its optimistic message of healing and recovery will ensure that the film receives the best possible distribution,” said REBIRTH producer David Solomon.

Forged through the generous support of hundreds who helped shepherd the epic, ten-year production, REBIRTH is directed by Jim Whitaker and produced by David Solomon and Whitaker, with Danielle Beverly serving as field producer. The director of photography is Tom Lappin and the editors are Kevin Filippini and Brad Fuller. The film's original score is composed by Academy Award® winner Philip Glass.

Whitaker began his career as a documentary filmmaker to raise money for nonprofit organizations. He previously wrote and directed LOADED, an award-winning public service announcement against drinking and driving, in memory of a Georgetown University classmate. Whitaker had been President of Motion Pictures at Imagine Entertainment where he worked
on such notable films as 8 MILE, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, AMERICAN GANGSTER and CHANGELING, among many others. He is currently the Chairman and Producer of Whitaker Entertainment at Walt Disney Studios and a producer of the upcoming THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN from director Peter Hedges.

WME Global’s Liesl Copland and Graham Taylor brokered the sales on behalf of the filmmakers. Foreign sales for REBIRTH are being handled by Shine International.

About Oscilloscope Laboratories
Oscilloscope Laboratories is a film production and theatrical distribution entity launched in 2008 by Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys. Yauch modeled the company after the indie record labels he grew up around, selecting and marketing films with the same artistic integrity with which they were made. The company, which is an extension of Yauch’s recording studio of the same name, has an in-house DVD distribution and production arm.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birket Engineering, Inc. Welcomes Richard Cox

Richard Cox joins Birket Engineering from Imatech Systems where he designed, programmed, assembled, installed, and supported show, audio, & industrial control systems for clients in the US and around the world. Birket first worked with Richard in Singapore, and recently was supported by Richard on contract projects in Florida. Richard's client list includes many Disney, Sea World, and Universal contacts familiar to Birket. Welcome Richard!

At Holiday World theme park, Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler to Help Raise Funds for Diabetes Research

SANTA CLAUS, Indiana, USA -- The sixth annual “Holiday World Walk to Cure Diabetes” will be a homecoming of sorts, as Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns to his hometown of Santa Claus to serve as the walk's grand marshal.

Cutler, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 21, will join in the walk’s opening ceremonies on Saturday, May 14, and will lead an anticipated 2,000 walkers through Holiday World Theme Park.

Cutler and the walkers will also honor the late Will Koch, who was Holiday World’s president until his diabetes-related death at age 48 last June, by presenting a special award to Koch’s family.

Over the past five years, the “Holiday World Walk to Cure Diabetes” has raised nearly $1.5 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) through the donation of tickets to walkers who’ve raised funds for the organization. This year’s goal is to raise an additional $376,000 for JDRF. Visit the website for more information and to sign up for the walk.

The newly engaged Cutler will be accompanied by fiancée Kristin Cavallari throughout the day, which will also include an evening event at Santa’s Lodge to raise money for the
Jay Cutler Foundation.

Holiday World will open its 65th season on May 7 with the debut of Rudolph’s Round-Up, a new children’s ride; Splashin’ Safari will open May 13 with the premiere of Safari Sam’s SplashLand. For more information about the parks, visit or call 1-877-Go-Family.

$5M renovation kicks off at Children's Museum of Tacoma
Message from the new Children’s Museum of Tacoma:

"On April 25, 2011 at 10 a.m. at the new Museum site, 1501 Pacific Avenue, a community Construction Kick-Off was hosted by Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Representative Laurie Jinkins, and Board Chairman Dave Edwards as construction kicks-off for the new Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

"The new Children's Museum of Tacoma will open to the public January 14, 2012. Admission will be free.

"This 8,000 square foot interactive play space will undergo a $5 million renovation, as well as installation of new exhibitions, over the course of the next nine months.

"A year ago, the museum signed a contract to lease 8,700 square feet on the first floor of the United Way building at 1501 Pacific Avenue and launched a capital campaign. The new space will be the whole first floor of the United Way building. The building has lots of great features to incorporate into playful explorations, creative journeys, and lots of hands-on fun! It’s 50% larger than our current site. It has lots of windows for natural light and space for outdoor activity. Plus, it's close to other museums, parking, and the light rail.

"Thanks to a gift from the KeyBank Foundation, “Pay As You Will” admission has been underwritten for the first five years of operation in the new building. One year from now admission will no longer be a barrier to enjoying the power of play in the museum.

"Early childhood development research suggests that the greatest return on investment comes from providing services to children in their first five years of life. With 34 percent of Pierce County’s families in the low- to moderate incomes ranges, museum visits and programs might not be affordable for all. Thank you KeyBank for investing early!

"Looking forward to playing together in the new museum next January."

Noah's Ark Waterpark essay contest winner will receive lifetime park passes - entry deadline May 1

Wisconsin Dells, WI (PRWEB) April 21, 2011 - Would a thrill-seeker prefer being catapulted up and over the steep and winding vertical drops of a coaster-style water ride OR being released from 10 stories high, plummeting at nearly 40 mph into a looping waterslide? Noah’s Ark Waterpark is asking those who dare to pick their poison in 2011. Votes will be tallied and one lucky participant will receive two, lifetime season passes to America’s largest Waterpark at the end of the 2011 summer season.

The two rides are “Black Anaconda,” a giant serpent-like water coaster over one-quarter of a mile in length, and “Scorpion’s Tail,” a launch rocket that plummets into a freefall down an enclosed chute at a top speed of nearly 40 mph into a looping waterslide. Beloved by many and feared by countless others, these titans of terror are uniquely qualified to earn the title of America’s most thrilling water ride. Black Anaconda is the nation’s longest water coaster. Scorpion’s Tail is North America’s first and tallest looping waterslide.

The contest begins on Tuesday, April 12, when Noah’s Ark initiates a search to find two “Chief Thrill Riders” who will hit the campaign trail and stump for their candidates. Those who seek the title of chief thrill rider must submit an essay in support of their ride of choice with details of how they would rally the votes for either Black Anaconda or Scorpion’s Tail. Essays can be submitted on the park’s Facebook page through Sunday, May 1. Five finalists for each ride will be determined and people will be able to vote for their favorite thrill rider on Facebook. The two essay winners will be announced on Monday, May 23, and each will receive two Noah’s Ark season passes for the summer 2011.

Noah’s Ark will work with the campaign managers to help them fulfill their campaign promises. Voting for either Black Anaconda or Scorpion's Tail will take place throughout the summer on Noah’s Ark’s website and at the park. On Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5, America’s most thrilling water ride will be revealed and one winner will receive two, lifetime season passes to Noah’s Ark.

About Noah’s Ark
Situated on 70 acres in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells, Noah’s Ark is continually evolving, offering the greatest variety of water rides in the nation. It now boasts 49 waterslides, two giant wave pools, two “endless rivers,” four children’s water play areas, bumper boats, 18-hole miniature golf, and three high-capacity group amusement attractions: “Flash Flood,” “Curse of the Crypt” and the new “Pirates”4-D Movie Theater.” The park is open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. 

National Study Reveals Insights About the Millennial Generation

St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) -- The results of a national survey released by PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of leisure, entertainment, and cultural destinations, reveal Millennial motivations and behaviors that have significant implications for travel and tourism. 

The nationwide survey, called “Meet the Millennials,” commissioned in association with Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts and conducted by Jerry Henry & Associates, shows important differences between the Millennial sample group and attractions visitors aged 30 and over. Specific findings are outlined in the report along with supporting data.

“Millennials are a powerful segment of today’s travelers, and their preferences and habits will help shape the future of travel preferences going forward,” states Kevin Kelly, President, Delaware North Parks & Resorts. 

According to the study, nearly six in ten Millennials (58%) say they travel for leisure with friends; nearly 20 points higher than older generations. Relationships are vital to Millennials, and they are highly influenced by others who help to select places to visit and things to do. Through social media, they tell stories to one another, make recommendations and assessments often in the form of real-time descriptions of their experiences. 

With their technology acumen, Millennials make quick decisions. They plan trips in far less time (75 days) than older generations (93 days). They are adept at accessing information online, where they can search for a deal, read the reviews, book it and go. Implications for destinations are twofold: insure messages are easy to follow, timely and relevant; and innovate in the creation of appealing experiences with memorable moments that will be quickly shared.

This most highly educated and diverse generation has a real appetite for learning. Seventy-eight percent of this group says they prefer to learn something new when they travel. Fully seven in ten Millennials say they expect special places to offer immersive experiences. They look for places that are fun and entertaining (78%), and interactive and hands-on (68%).

Millennials are also good citizens. Over 77% of respondents say they believe it is essential to connect to causes that are important to them, a trait more important to them than older generations.

“Millennials are not your traditional guests,” explains Mike Konzen, Principal, PGAV Destinations. “They do not take leisure trips ‘just because,’ but are looking for something that resonates with their need to make a difference.”

To read the full report, visit

About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. The firm uniquely combines award-winning storytelling and creativity with business strategy to create some of the world’s most important cultural, natural, and entertainment destinations. PGAV’s staff develops growth-oriented master plans and translates these plans into innovative new destination products. Now in its fifth decade, the firm has authored hundreds of highly successful projects in places such as SeaWorld, the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Niagara Falls, Busch Gardens, the Georgia Aquarium, Kennedy Space Center, and the Hoover Dam. 

Wall Street Leaders Form Advisory Board to Guide Museum of American Finance

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, announced today the formation of an advisory board of leaders in the world of American finance. The board will underscore the historical importance of the nation’s financial industry and its role in the emerging global economy and will provide counsel on the future direction of the Museum. 

John Whitehead, former Deputy Secretary of State and co-chair of Goldman Sachs, will co-chair the group with William Donaldson, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Stock Exchange and investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ). 

“We are grateful for the involvement of these leaders, all of whom have been part of the modern history of the world of finance,” said Whitehead, a long-time advocate of the Museum.

While the advisory board remains in formation, other financial leaders who have accepted membership include Jack Bogle, Parker Gilbert, Bill Gross, William Harrison, Henry Kaufman, Henry Kravis, Duncan Niederauer, Peter Peterson, Charles Schwab, Walter Shipley, George Soros, Daniel Tully and Paul Volcker. 

“The core mission of preserving, exhibiting and teaching about all aspects of the nation’s financial history is particularly important at this time of economic and market uncertainty,” said Donaldson. 

About the Museum of American Finance

The Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only public museum dedicated to finance, entrepreneurship and the open market system. With its extensive collection of financial documents and objects, its seminars and educational programming, its publication and oral history program, the Museum portrays the breadth and richness of American financial history, achievement and practices. The Museum is located at 48 Wall Street, on the corner of William Street, and is open Tues–Sat, 10 am – 4 pm. For more information, visit or connect with the Museum on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This Summer, Adler Planetarium Unveils the Technically Advanced, Immersive, Grainger Sky Theater

(PRNewsFoto/Adler Planetarium)
Visitors take off on a Deep Space Adventure for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience

CHICAGO, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, July 8, the Adler Planetarium will reveal a new, immersive space experience like no other in the world! Deep Space Adventure takes visitors aboard the observation deck of a futuristic starship where they will be surrounded by the larger-than-life phenomena of our dynamic Universe.

The centerpiece of Deep Space Adventure is the Grainger Sky Theater, which offers audiences a highly immersive, technologically enhanced theater experience. Visitors become space adventurers and set off on a journey to discover our Universe in a way never done before. The theater was specifically designed with leading-edge technologies that enable visitors to explore space as if they were there.

The Grainger Sky Theater will project the largest single seamless digital image in the world with an ultra high definition screen resolution of more than 8k x 8k pixels. This surpasses the cinematic standard of 2k x 4k pixels for a high level of realism.

Vivid images of planets, stars, galaxies and other celestial objects are shown in the highest resolution and quality possible to evoke the feeling of being in deep space. The on-screen imagery will expand beyond the traditional 180-degree dome and surround the visitor. Special lighting effects in the floor complete the 360-degree experience.

"Deep Space Adventure is a revolutionary way to explore the Universe," said Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., PhD, president of the Adler Planetarium. "Using the most advanced technology available in our completely transformed Grainger Sky Theater, and partnering with leading scientists, engineers and designers, we have created a thrilling adventure to inspire visitors to explore our Universe. Whether you are a novice or veteran space explorer, the Adler's goal is to stimulate your curiosity and motivate further discovery. We invite you to be the first explorers to join us on this maiden voyage to deep space."

Related: Martin Howe of Global Immersion, which provided theater systems and creative technical services, talks at length about the project in an interview with IPM (includes photo gallery).

Begin Your Deep Space Adventure!

Clark Family Welcome Gallery
Visitors begin their Deep Space Adventure in the Clark Family Welcome Gallery. Multimedia interactive exhibits feature greetings from some of today's prominent space explorers who have personal ties to Chicago. They will prepare museum visitors to explore space by encouraging them to ask intriguing questions and to build exploration skills. The out-of-this-world gallery features futuristic architecture, colorful lights and video presentations, creating a dynamic and constantly changing environment.

The Grainger Sky Theater

The adventure continues as visitors are drawn through a space portal to the new Grainger Sky Theater. Fashioned as the observation deck of a starship, the theater invites visitors to come aboard for the ultimate journey into deep space. Prepare for lift off as your adventure continues in the Grainger Sky Theater's premier show The Searcher. Featuring scientific simulations from the most powerful supercomputers, and observations from the most advanced telescopes in existence, breathtaking visualizations capture the audience's attention and bring you up close to the action. Watch as a star is torn apart by a black hole; witness the collision of two massive galaxies; view the formation of the large-scale structure of the Universe; and encounter a dramatic supernova explosion.

"The theater technology and computational power used to store and access celestial images differentiates Deep Space Adventure from anything out there," said Doug Roberts, PhD, Adler associate vice president for digital technology and project director for the new Grainger Sky Theater. "Using 20 separate projectors - powered by 45 computers - to create one seamless image is unprecedented. With the ability to create and present scientific data using images that are as good as the human eye can perceive, Adler visitors can explore deep space as if they were there."


Once they return to Earth, visitors continue their exploration in the Adler's exhibit galleries and other theaters. Building on information introduced in the show, visitors can discover more about the Universe and the science behind the mesmerizing simulations featured in Deep Space Adventure.

Science Content and Visualization Partners

The production of Deep Space Adventure was a collaborative effort between the Adler Planetarium and the world's leading scientists and visualizers. This unique partnership created an experience heretofore unavailable to the public. Some of the science, simulation and visualization partners include: the University of California Santa Cruz; the Advanced Visualization Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at NASA Ames Research Center; New Mexico State University; and the Astrophysics Institute Potsdam.


The Adler Planetarium gratefully acknowledges The Grainger Foundation for its leadership in transforming the historic Sky Theater. Additional major support has been contributed by: the Donald C. Clark Family, Illinois Tool Works Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Polk Bros. Foundation and Public Museum Capital Grants Program – Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources, Illinois State Museum.

Support for technology in the Grainger Sky Theater was provided by IBM and CDW.

About the Adler

The Adler Planetarium - America's First Planetarium - was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people - particularly women and minorities - to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers. Learn more at

Grammy Museum plans new $10M location in Cleveland, Mississippi
Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, announced at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Economic Council that the museum's first branch outside California will be built in Cleveland, Miss.

Read the story in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Schréder Lighting US introduces FOCAL Luminaires for Public Spaces

Elk Grove Village, Illinois--- Offering a versatile multipurpose outdoor luminaire that integrates a compact design with superlative photometric performance, Schréder Lighting US introduces FOCAL for a variety of outdoor public spaces.

Schréder's Focal is a truly multipurpose luminaire with a compact design that provides a wide choice of reflectors, lamps and accessories. Individual lens accessories can be overlaid and an innovative device allows Focal’s lamp position and beam to be easily adjusted on-site while the fixture is in operation. Delivering a very high level of photometric performance,

FOCAL can be deployed with a variety of poles for a broad range of applications:
• Parks
• Playgrounds
• Athletic Fields
• College and corporate campuses
• Shopping centers
• Landscape and pathways
• Building Facades and Entrances
• School Grounds K-12
• Outdoor Staircases

The fixture is rated IP66, an international standard stating that the fixture will be free of any ingress of water and dust and dirt particles, for optimal performance.

The body of the Focal floodlight is crafted of die cast-aluminum, with partially screen-printed glass sealed onto it. A die cast-aluminum bracket enables the required inclination on site and its lockability with two hexagonal screws, integrated into the design of the bracket.

Four refracting lenses make it possible to obtain beams with an oblong or a square design. The refracting lenses frame can be adjusted to 360 degrees.

Accessories include Colored lenses (red, blue, orange, green or amber); Refracting lenses; Louvers; Wireguard; Glare shield; and a Light Channel.

Arkansas State University & the City of Dyess plan Johnny Cash Boyhood Museum
Officials at Arkansas State University announced the first Johnny Cash Music Festival concert, to be held Thursday, August 4, 7:30 p.m., at ASU’s Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro.

The media event featured members of the Cash family. Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, and Tommy Cash officially announcing the creation of the festival and the talent lineup for this inaugural concert. The Cash family is working with Arkansas State University to develop an annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, with proceeds each year going to restoration of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the establishment of a museum. The university recently acquired the original Cash homeplace in Dyess and plans to restore the structure. The university also plans the establishment of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Museum in the New Deal Era Administration Building at Dyess.

The Cash family is committed to ongoing involvement in this project to ensure that the festival remains vibrant and that the Johnny Cash legacy is preserved in Dyess. Ray and Carrie Cash and their children, including 3-year-old J. R. (later known as Johnny Cash), were among five colonist families recruited from Cleveland County, Arkansas, to the historic Dyess Colony. 

Johnny Cash lived in Dyess until he graduated from high school in 1950. His music is greatly influenced by his experiences in Dyess, including such songs as “Pickin’ Time” and “Five Feet High and Rising.” The Cash home is one of the few houses remaining in the former agricultural resettlement colony. 

As Dr. Ruth Hawkins, director, Arkansas Heritage Sites and Arkansas Delta Byways, emphasized, “The Johnny Cash Music Festival will not be just a concert, but an opportunity to preserve the legacy of an internationally recognized legend. We are proud that Johnny Cash is from Arkansas and that growing up here had an impact on his music. It is time that we pay permanent tribute to his memory, and we are especially grateful to the Cash family for their involvement and support in this endeavor.” 
Key partners working with Arkansas State University on this first festival include Bill Carter of Gaither Television Productions, Jan Eric Volz of Northern Sierra Entertainment Services, Joey Pruett of Glen Sain Motors, the Cash family, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Suddenlink, and the City of Dyess. 

The City of Dyess reports: "We have purchased the Dyess Colony Administration Building!  All proceeds from concerts and fund raising will be used to complete the renovation of the building to make the Johnny Cash Memorial.   After that is finished, we are planning to restore the town circle as close as possible, to its original state.  This includes restoring the old movie theater, and renaming it the Johnny Cash Movie theatre, making it as original and old fashioned as possible, based on the original plans and the memories of our senior residents from the time of Johnny Cash's childhood."  

Grand Opening Celebration for Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

Lake Geneva, WI-Lake Geneva Canopy Tours will celebrate its official grand opening on May 6th. The event welcomes Lake Geneva’s newest attraction that invites guests on a one of a kind Zipline Eco-Adventure and Canopy Tour. The festivities will be held on the grounds of the adventure park, located on County Road H in the Town of Geneva, about one mile north of downtown Lake Geneva. Highlighting the day will be a rope cutting ceremony at the top of the forty-five foot launch tower at noon. Refreshments, games, and contests will take place throughout the day, with chances to win tour packages and merchandise. In honor of their Grand Opening, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours is offering $56 Full Canopy Tours by reservation and $15 Racing Zips all day long. Canopy tour staff will be on site to answer questions about Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, its mission and opportunities.

"We're excited to bring the eco-adventure industry to Southeastern Wisconsin,” remarks Mike Goril, General Manager. "We have been looking forward to this day for a long time."

Guests are invited to discover Lake Geneva Canopy Tour’s mile long zipline course with 8 ziplines in the canopy of the forest, eighteen tree top platforms, five Skybridges, three spiral staircases and a 1,200 ft Dual Racing Zipline. Lake Geneva Canopy Tours is situated on 100 acres of pristine Wisconsin landscape and designed to appeal to the nature lover, thrill seeker and families alike. The staff of professionally trained Guides look to always enthuse, amuse and educate.

Centrally located between Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours is “your skyway to adventure.” Groups are welcome. Participants must be at least seven years of age and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds. Online reservations are recommended for the full canopy tour but not required. No reservations are needed for the Dual Racing Zipline, subject to availability. The course is open seven days a week, year round. For additional information call 262-248-9271 or visit the Web site at

Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach Opens Jaw-some Exhibit, "Sharks - Perfect Predators"

Myrtle Beach, SC- The innovative, educational and fascinating new exhibit at Ripley's Aquarium is definitely a "Jaw-some" exhibit. 
Featuring over a dozen species of sharks along with over 30 hands-on interactive displays, the exhibit will truly leave any visitor with a better understanding of these great creatures.

"Sharks" takes visitors beyond the superstitions surrounding sharks and shark attacks - exploring their daily struggle to survive. The show, created specifically for Ripley's Aquarium, is free with paid admission and will be on display throughout 2011.

"Our Sharks - Perfect Predators exhibit provides guests with an opportunity to appreciate these magnificent predators. For millions of years sharks have ruled the seas. Live animals - both great and small, video and interactives, will fascinate and educate," said Peter MacIntyre, General Manager of Ripley's Aquarium.

During a walkthrough of this amazing exposition visitors will be able to:

Guess what unusual manmade objects have been found in a shark's stomach.

Have an up close view of shark skin.

Experience "shark vision."

Witness the force of a shark bite!

See why sharks have endured for millions of years.

The aquarium is located off of 29th Ave N. at Broadway at the Beach and is open 365 days a year. For information call 800-734-8888 or see us on the web

Jeff Hensley's proposed Bon Temps theme park in Louisiana

concept art: Steve Perry

"So, what's Coming?
  • A 170-acre Theme Park with over 30 exciting Rides, Stunt Shows, and Entertainment.  Not to mention incredible food.
  • An awesome Mall area featuring some of the best restaurants, family entertainment, and Night Clubs in Louisiana.  It will include a state-of-the-art Movie Theater, an incredible new laser tag type game, and Family style mini Bowling Alley. 
  • a 600+ room Hotel Resort.
  • A brand new RV Park.
  • A Championship Golf Course
  • and a Convention Center
"Where is the park going to be? 
Currently we have a few different spots where we want to put the park.  All I can say is, we will build in Houma, and we will make an extreme effort to build the park away from residential areas.
"When will you open the Park? 
We are way too early to set an opening date.  There are still way too many factors and variables that can make this project take a little while longer than we want.
"Why build in Houma? 
Again, we've done our homework here.  Houma is one of the fastest growing cities in Louisiana.  This makes it a prime location to put the park.
"Why not rebuild Jazzland? 
Jazzland, we believe was not the best location for a Theme Park.  Theme Parks seem to do a lot better in middle-class areas.  In addition, Jazzland's confusing get-off-this-freeway, -get-on-this-freeway location, made it too confusing for most.
"Are you just going to be buying-up the old Jazzland rides? 
No way!  We will be purchasing new rides and shows from the top companies in their professions.  We look to have 4 different roller coasters, a planetarium, an entire western town, a pirate village, as well as a state-of-the-art 3,000 - 4,000 seat amphitheater. We've done our best to make sure we are not duplicating any ride from any local amusement park or traveling carnival. 
"Will the Theme Park shut down during the winter? 
Nope.  We plan on opening the park for Family fun year-round!"
A May 15 update and analysis from click here.

Innovative Products, Expert-led Education Sessions, and Professional Networking Events Highlight AAE 2011 in Singapore, June 21 – 24

Resorts World Sentosa
Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) 2011, the largest attractions industry trade show and conference in the Asia-Pacific region, takes place at Resorts World Convention Centre at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, June 21-24, 2011.Produced annually by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), AAE 2011 will feature more than 200 companies exhibiting innovative products and services on a 4,000 square-meter trade show floor. The event will also include four days of informative education seminars and a daylong IAAPA Safety Institute. In addition, event participants will experience exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of Singapore’s finest attractions as well as multiple opportunities to network and connect with other industry professionals from across Asia and around the world.
“The excitement is building because Asian Attractions Expo is shaping up to be another record-breaking show,” said Chip Cleary, president and CEO of IAAPA. “This year attendees will experience more innovative products and services, great industry leader presentations, and unique networking opportunities as well as a brand-new resort to explore.”

Show Floor to Showcase Products and Services to Increase Business
The trade show floor at AAE 2011 provides a concentrated buying opportunity for owners, operators, and managers of theme parks, waterparks, family entertainment centers, museums, science centers, zoos, aquariums, casinos, and resorts in the Asian region. Exhibiting companies will display products in more than 100 categories, including amusement and theme park rides; architectural and design services; coin-operated games, skill games, redemption prizes; and many more. While on the show floor, attraction professionals will conduct face-to-face meetings, establish new partnerships, and purchase products and services that will grow their businesses in the future. Attendees can extend their conversations and continue to network in the IAAPA Business Lounge. In addition, for the first time an AAE 2011 mobile application is available and will allow attendees access to an exhibitor list and the trade show floor plan from their handheld smartphone. 
Safety, Leadership, and Operations Fill Education Program
AAE 2011 offers education session to promote best practices, new ideas, and industry trends related to the key issues at the core of any successful operation. 

IAAPA Safety Institute
Tues., June 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The institute will provide an overview of ASTM Standards and provide an overview of the new Singapore comprehensive framework for regulations on safety operations in the amusement industry. In addition, executives from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will describe their comprehensive safety approach and outline key considerations from design to the daily oversight of an attraction. The institute is included with AAE 2011 registration. 

Further program details about AAE 2011 available from IAAPA. 

AAE 2012 will be held in Singapore, June 5-8, 2012.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tourists Turn to Las Vegas For More Than Just Gambling

A new visitor survey has revealed that older travellers are booking holidays to Las Vegas, and that they are doing much more than just gambling, say Beat the Brochure.

ROMFORD, England, /PRNewswire/ -- The results of a new visitor survey in Las Vegas have revealed some surprising results about the people that visit the city, and what they get up to whilst they're on holiday there. The Visitor Profile Study, which questioned 3,600 people, was undertaken by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, has discovered that the average age of a holidaymaker on the Las Vegas strip is much older than previously thought, say Beat the Brochure.

Daniel Ox of Beat The Brochure says: "The Visitor Profile Study has revealed that the average age of a visitor in Las Vegas is 49, more than half of all tourists have a college degree, have a household income of $40,000 and that nearly 80% of visitors are married. While this may not sound too surprising, what's really interesting about this survey is that while the number of tourists to Vegas grew by 1% in February to nearly 2.9 million people, which is 1% more than the same time last year.  However, the same survey has also shown that the number of tourists gambling in the city fell by 7%, which shows that more people are opting to do other activities whilst they're on holiday in Vegas."

According to the research by the LVCVA, while some visitors spent 4.5 days on holiday in Las Vegas and visited six casinos, more tourists were able to spend more time away from the casinos, with the attendance at paid attractions rising 20%, which was up from 16% in 2009, with the average spend on food and drink rose from $250 to $257, and the average amount spent on shopping increased from $103 to $123.

Ox continues: "Vegas is known around the world as the place to go for gambling, drinking and partying, but the figures supplied by the LVCVA show that more people on holiday in Las Vegas are choosing to shun the casinos and instead to focus on the many other attractions and activities that are available in Vegas, which shows that there is much more to this unique city than just gambling."  

About Beat The Brochure:
Beat The Brochure is part of the award winning Como Street Travel Group with offices based in Central London, Essex and Blackpool and Florida, now boasting a team of almost 100 experienced travel consultants.

SeaWorld Debuts New Killer Whale Show “One Ocean”

National Launch on Earth Day

Orlando, Fla. USA (April 22, 2011) /PRNewswire/ — This Earth Day SeaWorld Orlando celebrates the world we share with the debut of the all-new killer whale show, “One Ocean.” The presentation of these extraordinary animals connects guests to the sea with a new level of energy and excitement, all while educating and inspiring guests to make a difference in this world. 
“One Ocean” opens at SeaWorld Orlando today (April 22), SeaWorld San Diego on Memorial Day weekend and SeaWorld San Antonio on June 10. The show replaces the popular “Believe,” a killer whale show that enjoyed a five-year run in all three SeaWorld parks. 

“One Ocean” features SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales as ambassadors of the sea, and the ocean as the center of our natural world. At the core of the show is the inspiring and educational message that both animals and humans are part of one world, with one ocean, and its future is in our hands to cherish and protect.

“One Ocean” brings to life SeaWorld’s mission in the most powerful way yet,” said Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “This show is what guests love about our parks: thrilling entertainment that educates and inspires you to celebrate, connect and care for the world we share.”

Shamu Stadium, with its 3-story set, panoramic LED screens and hundreds of surround-sound speakers, now features special effects that envelop guests in the show experience, including soaring fountains, stunning underwater imagery, and an original musical score. 

At 80 feet long and 30 feet tall, the SeaWorld Orlando set takes the form of an immense killer whale fluke. It incorporates the colors of the ocean’s spectrum – from cobalt blue, to aquamarine and even royal purple – while its center reflects the vivid yellows and oranges of a sunrise over the sea. Dozens of hand-crafted, translucent animal figures adorn the towering set. 

Thirty-five programmable fountains, arcing up to 50 feet across the pool, ring Shamu Stadium and are synchronized to the musical score. Not only do the fountains provide dramatic effect during the show, they also serve as enrichment for the whales during playtimes throughout the day.

An original symphonic score is amplified through hundreds of speakers, giving Shamu Stadium a surround-sound experience. The musical score features three original songs intended to evoke a global stewardship message: “One Song,” “Side by Side” and “We’re One.” 

But the whales are the true stars of the show. “One Ocean” features spectacular whale behaviors, including thrilling high-energy leaps and multiple whales performing simultaneously. The whales interact in new ways with trainers, the audience, one another, and even the set itself. In one segment, the whales play amid the giant fountains. 

Together, trainers, producers, designers and educators have collaborated on new ways to connect with SeaWorld guests and show how closely the human and animal worlds are connected. The message of caring and respect for the world we share is woven throughout the show, encouraging guests to make a difference through their own everyday actions.

For information and photos visit:

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), operates 10 parks across the U.S. including SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg. The 10 parks play host to 23 million guests each year and employ 20,000 people nationwide.

Six Flags Over Texas Opens the NEW Texas Giant

Super Hybrid Coaster "Breaks Industry Records"
Arlington, TX, USA /PRNewswire/ — Six Flags Over Texas, celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2011, announced the official launch of the most anticipated ride of the year— the NEW Texas Giant. This super hybrid coaster is all new from the ground up boasting what is said to be the steepest drop of any wooden coaster in the world at 79 degrees; three bank turns at more than 90 degrees and a state-of-the-art steel track that zips riders through an unforgettable, white knuckled 1½ minutes of breathtaking twists and turns from start to finish.

“This is the best ride we’ve ever built… bar none,” said Steve Martindale, Six Flags Over Texas Park President. “We’ve taken the best attribute of a wooden coaster: plenty of air time; and the best of steel: smoothness combined with speed, and created a truly remarkable roller coaster experience. As we like to say in Texas, this ain’t your Daddy’s ride.”

The NEW Texas Giant is Texas through and through. 17-foot-longhorns welcome guests to the ride’s area. Three new trains pay homage to the Lone Star State and the popular 1961 Cadillac Deville; each train has a custom-made “cattle horn” and custom-designed saddle seats. There’s even an oil derrick nestled right in the belly of this wooden beast.

“In true Texas style, we’ve gone BIG!” added Martindale. “From the first breathtaking drop, to the multiple hills and turns with gravity-defying air time, guests will want to saddle up again and again.”

The beloved Texas Giant is back—Bigger, Better and Badder than ever. It opens to the public on Friday, April 22. Go to for more information. ###

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Six Flags Over Texas, the company’s flagship location, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2011.

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