Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood to Open New Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian

Warner Bros. Presents Gift to Smithsonian; New Theater Will Feature Digital 3-D Technology 
Washington, DC, USA -- At a ceremony on February 1, 2012, marking the opening of the new Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian will present Clint Eastwood with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in honor of Eastwood’s contribution to the American experience through film. The medal recognizes Eastwood’s six decades of captivating national and international audiences through his work as an award-winning actor and director.

To accompany the opening of the new Warner Bros. Theater, a new display of objects will be on view showcasing the unique brand of Hollywood storytelling and accessibility that has helped to define American culture to global audiences. The inaugural display includes costumes worn by Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and Eastwood along with Harry Potter’s robe. Visitors will also see objects representing Warner Bros. studio history such as Jack Warner’s silver telephone and Bugs Bunny animation drawings.

Thanks to a $5 million donation from Warner Bros. Entertainment, the existing 46-year-old 270-seat Carmichael Auditorium has been transformed into a film theater with the installation of new technology, including digital 3-D projection. The theater will also has equipment to showcase films still in their original 35-mm reel format. The Warner Bros. Theater will be used for lectures, symposia, concerts and other programs and events as well.

In recognition of the gift, the Smithsonian renamed Carmichael Auditorium the Warner Bros. Theater. Leonard Carmichael, the seventh Secretary of the Smithsonian, will be recognized with a plaque in the theater’s lobby and in a small display about the history of the museum. The display case is located at the National Mall entrance and will highlight the role of Carmichael and Frank Taylor—founding director of the museum.

“For more than a century, American movies have provided a strong and enduring national cultural connection that crosses generations,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “It continues to shape how we perceive ourselves and how people around the world understand our country. American film deserves a special home at our museum and the Warner Bros. partnership expands our capacity to tell this unique story and allow museum visitors to explore the legacy of American cinema.”

“Warner Bros. has a rich legacy of entertaining audiences for almost 90 years and truly realizes the importance and value of that history,” said Barry M. Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. “This partnership with the Smithsonian, whose very name is the gold standard for the preservation and presentation of all things with historical significance, is a great step reminding people that movies and television shows are an important part of our shared culture. The Warner Bros. Theater will be a state-of-the-art venue for highlighting filmed entertainment and programs that are important to people.”

The story of film in the United States follows an industry that began as novelty entertainment and grew to be a global enterprise.

The Warner Bros. gift complements the museum’s existing entertainment and photo-history collections that include costumes, props and scripts from film and television as well as cameras, projectors and editing equipment. The museum’s collections include an 1890s motion-picture rotary lens; props from 1920s silent films; drawings from the first Mickey Mouse animated film, Steamboat Willie, made in 1928; one of the Technicolor motion-picture cameras used in 1939 to film The Wizard of Oz; and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in that movie.

When the theater opens, audiences will be able to experience how these objects were actually used in performance, and curators will provide commentary on the objects and films to further communicate their historical and cultural legacy.

Film series already scheduled for the Warner Bros. Theater include:

Humphrey Bogart

This festival begins on February 3 with a tribute to Humphrey Bogart and a screening of “Casablanca,” which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The film will be introduced by Stephen Bogart, the son of Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The Feb. 3 screening will be a special event ticketed through the Smithsonian Associates. Additional films that weekend include “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “The Big Sleep.” There will be an accompanying display highlighting costumes and artifacts related to these classic films and the history of Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood

This series, running from June 22 to June 24, will highlight several major Eastwood films, including Academy Award®-winning “Unforgiven,” “Pale Rider,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and the documentary, “The Eastwood Factor.”

Sound in Early Film

The birth of motion picture sound will be the focus of the third festival, to be held July 13 to 15, with “Singin’ In The Rain” (celebrating its 60th anniversary), “The Jazz Singer,” “The Broadway Melody” and “Don Juan.”

Civil War Sesquicentennial

To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, the final series of 2012 will open on October 19 with “Gone With The Wind,” followed by “Glory,” “Gettysburg” and “Gods & Generals.” Series continues through October 21.

Most screenings are free of charge to the public.

The Warner Bros. gift also will enable the museum to establish a reserve fund that will provide for maintenance and general upgrades to the theater.

Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of TimeWarner, creates, produces and distributes films, television programs, animated features, comic books and other creative content. Warner Bros. is based in Burbank, Calif. This donation marks the entertainment division’s first major gift to the Smithsonian. The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, check http://americanhistory.si.edu.

TREND: Fountain Shows

by Joe Kleiman, IPM Online News Editor

Here's what we're following at IPM News:

Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, FL, USA will unveil Universal's Cinematic Spectacular, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures, this Spring.  According to the theme park, "Universal's Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories is narrated by award-winning actor and recent Golden Globe - Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Morgan Freeman.  The brand-new nighttime show will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures' most iconic films - all on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounded by colorful fountains and pyrotechnics." 

Universal's Cinematic Spectacular is being produced by Universal Creative.


May 31 marks the 60th anniversary of this theme park in Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands and it'll be celebrating the day by premiering its new show Aquanura.  The show, on the park's Vonderplas lake, will feature giant frog sculptures along with lighting and fire effects in the evening choreographed to a symphonic score.  Additional fountain shows themed to music will play during the day.  Efteling states that Aquanura will be the largest fountain show in Europe and third largest in the world.

Aquanura is being developed by WET Design (Fountains of Bellagio, Dubai Fountain)


Disneyland Paris
Copyright Disney
The Disneyland Paris theme park in Marne-la-Vallée, France, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a number of new events and attractions, including Disney Dreams!  This new show combines pyrotechnics, fire effects, and lighting with new fountains and projection water screens placed in front of the park's iconic Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.  In addition, digital projection will be used on the Château itself with texture mapped animation. 

Disney Dreams! is being produced by Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment under the leadership of Steve Davison (Wishes!, World of Color)


Be Media Installs 4K Projection System at Desert IMAX Theater

Los Angeles, CA, USA (January 31, 2012) /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Be Media and Cinema Group announce the convergence of traditional IMAX and state-of-the-art 4K digital projection from the same theater booth window in the new and improved Desert IMAX Theater of Cathedral City, California. The project is one of the first digital 4K projection systems in the giant screen format (15/70). 

David Sayah, Be Media’s vice president, describes the project: “We were given the task to convert the community’s treasured landmark to digital while also maintaining the current IMAX systems in a way that would utilize the entire 70-foot by 52-foot screen, be as bright and beautiful in both 2D and 3D, and be easily controlled and maintained by any member of the theater’s staff. It was the perfect undertaking for Be Media and we are extremely proud of the results.”

The theater has been engineered to display sources of untraditional auxiliary content such as video game consoles and laptops all controlled via touch panel. In addition, to enable both IMAX and digital content to be available at any given time, Be Media customized a special platform, cooling system, and control interface. The 4K projection system is comprised of Doremi Lab servers, Christie 4K projection, and an XPAND 3D active system.

BE MEDIA is headquartered in Los Angeles, California and was founded in 1998 as a total technology design-build firm for state-of-the-art institutional, entertainment and hospitality venues. For the giant-screen community, Be Media provides total turn-key design, engineering, installation and service of projection booth, theater, and pre-show technologies. The company’s reputation, having completed over 350 projects in eight countries and three continents, is one of professionalism and exacting standards regarding the provision of advanced and scalable technologies, white-glove service and installation, and simple touchscreen controls. Learn more at http://bemedia.com.

CINEMA GROUP, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, partnered with Be Media during this project. Cinema Group is a large format theatre management and film consulting company with more than 20 years of experience in IMAX theatre operations and large format film production. Learn more about Cinema Group at http://cinemagroup.net.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Six Flags Great America Tops Off 2012 Coaster X-Flight

Gurnee, IL, USA (January 30, 2012) -- Construction is underway for the Six Flags Great America's newest addition, X Flight, a ground-breaking wing coaster scheduled to open May 2012. Crews have just completed adding the highest point to the coaster’s track, the top of the 12-story drop. 

X Flight will take riders on a flight that defies gravity, with no track above or below them. Riders sit in pairs, suspended on either side of the track with their feet dangling, as they begin their climb up a 12-story plunge launching them into speeds of 55mph through 3,000 feet of intense drops and five inversions, including a barrel roll and zero-g roll. One of the most adrenaline-pumping moments on the ride is an extreme fly-through where the coaster speeds straight toward a structure, before making a last-minute vertical flip to fit through a keyhole cut-out.

X Flight is designed by acclaimed Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, who also designed Six Flags Great America favorites: Raging Bull, SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight and BATMAN: The Ride. The wing coaster will make its home in the County Fair section of the park. Construction began this past Fall. X Flight is scheduled to open Spring of 2012.

Six Flags Great America is located between Chicago and Milwaukee and offers fun for the entire family with 14 heart-pounding roller coasters, a free 20-acre water park, spectacular shows, a nighttime illuminated parade and three children’s themed areas.  www.sixflags.com

Goddard Group-Designed Galaxy World Macau Awarded "World's Best Casino and Integrated Resort"

Los Angeles, CA, USA and Hong Kong (January 30, 2012) -- Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited’s “Galaxy World Macau” mega resort has been named the winner of the 2012 “World’s Best Casino / Integrated Resort of the Year” Award, presented during the prestigious International Gaming Awards ceremonies in London this week. Gary Goddard and his company, Hollywood, CA-based The Goddard Group, currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary Year, provided the concept, master planning, schematic design, and show design of the massive $1.9 billion Galaxy World Macau, which opened to the public in Macau, China, in May 2011.

This is the first year in which the International Gaming Awards has presented a gaming “Oscar” in the category of “World’s Best Casino / Integrated Resort of the Year,” and the shortlist for that award was comprised of the most high profile integrated resort properties from around the world. The International Gaming Award is the fourth major award that the Galaxy Macau has won since its opening—the destination also won the “Best Integrated Resort” Award at the Top Travel Awards event which was held in Beijing in December 2011.

“I am incredibly proud of our role as the designer charged with creating the concept, master plan and schematic design for this incredible destination,” Goddard said. “In just a few short months, the Galaxy World Macau venue has become a world class mega resort visited by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, and now has also become the winner of several major industry awards. We ensured The Galaxy was not a copy of something from Las Vegas or elsewhere, but an original ‘Must See’ experience that stands alone and apart.”

Adds Goddard, “Working closely with Dr. Che-woo Lui (Chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group) and Francis Lui (CEO of Galaxy Entertainment Group), our goal for the Galaxy World Macau was to create an Asian- inspired fantasy world of exotic beauty and timeless wonders. It was to be appealing, first and foremost, to the Asian guests who come to Macau from all areas of Southeast Asia. Secondly, for the western tourists who come to Macau, we wanted a very special resort casino that could only be seen in Macau and that speaks to an Asian experience. I think we have achieved our goal with this spectacular and elegant design – a true tropical paradise built upon a mythical world steeped in Asian spirit.”

Dr. Che-woo Lui, Chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG), said, “We are delighted to receive such encouraging global recognition for our achievements and success in delivering our vision. GEG‘s objective has always been to build a unique identity, and develop our casinos and resorts to a world class standard. These awards not only recognize this vision, but are also a great endorsement of our management team‘s endeavor and the passion of our devoted staff to succeed. We are proud to have created a globally recognized standard, and we have defined a new category in the industry, especially in the Asia Pacific region. We are also delighted that GEG is helping Macau diversify into an international tourism and leisure destination.”


The 550,000 square meter Galaxy Macau opened on May 15th, 2011 and offers a number of game-changing features and amenities which help make The Galaxy Macau the most complete holiday destination in Macau:

  • The most luxurious accommodation, from three of the world’s leading hotel brands: the ultra exclusive Banyan Tree Macau which offers 250 suites; the 500-room Hotel Okura Macau and the five-star Galaxy Hotel which offers 1,500 rooms.
  • The 52,000 square meter Grand Resort Deck, where the 4,000 square meter Skytop Wave Pool with 350 tonnes of white sand create a 150-metre long shoreline, with waves reaching as high as 1.5 meters.
  • 10 luxurious Floating Villas and Private Cabanas alongside the Banyan Tree Pool at the Grand Resort Deck.
  • The renowned award-winning Banyan Tree Spa offers World-Class relaxation with myriad Asian health and beauty treatments and therapies.
  • The Tropical and Japanese Gardens which are two of the endless leisure facilities for the whole family.
  • More than 50 predominantly Asian food and beverage outlets which are tailored to the needs of different customers.
  • The world’s first Macallan Whisky Bar, replicating the unique hospitality of the Scottish Highlands, with heavy oak-wood paneling and classical furniture harking back to centuries long past, and a selection of over 350 whiskies.
  • A number of unique features to give its guests the finest possible experience from the moment of entering Galaxy Macau, including The Fortune Diamond that is located in the main lobby – a mammoth three-meter gem that rises before your very eyes from behind a waterfall; The Wishing Crystals which is a marvel of interaction and numerous gems rise from the entrance lobby to offer words of blessings; and The Galaxy Laserama which is one of the largest laser shows in the world, with eight showings a night and a different spectacle every time.
  • A wide range of entertainment facilities including Macau‘s first modern 3D Cineplex.


The International Gaming Awards (IGA) is the Oscars of the gaming community which held its fifth extravagant awards ceremony in London this week. IGA offers a unique opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with architects of change. The prestigious awards event unites industry professionals from all around the world. It focuses on highlighting the achievements of online and land-based professionals across various sectors of gaming. The Judging panel consists of leading international industry professionals, specialized journalists, analysts, investors and consultants. Using their industry knowledge and professionalism within gaming, they judged entries in 18 categories. For more details, please visit http://gaming-awards.com.

Currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary, The Goddard Group, launched by Gary Goddard in 2002 in Los Angeles, has grown to become one of the most successful independent entertainment design firms working in the industry today, having designed and opened over a dozen currently-operating attractions and destinations all over the globe. If you’ve ever been to New York’s Times Square, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Sydney, Cape Town, Jakarta, Hollywood, Shanghai or the Philippines, chances are you’ve personally experienced one of the themed entertainment attractions, hotels, resorts, aquariums, retail outlets or visitor centers designed and produced by Gary Goddard and The Goddard Group.
While best known for theme parks, attractions, resorts and casinos, Goddard and The Goddard Group specialize in a broad range of mediums, having also designed museums, and retail malls, as well as having produced Broadway shows and creating outstanding 3D/ 4D attractions. www.garygoddard.com

MultiTouch Introduces 42" LCD Touch Displays

MultiTouch Cell Wall, Space Center Houston
Amsterdam, Holland (January 30, 2012) /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- MultiTouch, Ltd., developer of the world’s first modular multitouch LCD screen for large-scale displays, today announced that it has expanded its MultiTaction® line of interactive displays with two new 42” displays, offering commercial systems integrators a smaller unit with superior design elements and the rich features associated with MultiTaction technology. The MultiTaction Cell 42” MT420W7 is the industry’s first embedded Windows™ 7 multitouch display for its size, featuring the Intel® Core™ i7 processor. The companion MT420S offers a stackable product that can be designed for large wall, table, or asymmetric display configurations.

MultiTouch now offers its MultiTaction products in 42” and 55” sizes, building on the promise of the company’s patented technology, which provides superior imaging, resolution, and scalable frameless design for manufacturers, developers, and integrators. The new 42” MultiTaction Cell is geared towards demanding retail, museum and corporate installations where a smaller screen size is required.

The new products deliver MultiTaction’s key benefits, including:

  • ultrafast 200 frames per second touch tracking, which offers industry-leading responsiveness
  • Computer Vision Through Screen optical imaging-based touch technology designed for operation in wide range of environments and in changing light conditions.
  • Interaction with real life objects through optical marker recognition
  • MultiTaction’s unique stacking capabilities, which enable customers to flexibly move from single-display installations to large multi-user interactive surfaces
  • multi-OS support, providing the widest range of development and integration options in the industry
  • a comfortable touch response with a cool surface temperature
The MT420 series products demonstrate the benefits of the MultiTaction architecture, which allows any size LCD display to offer full multitouch capabilities. The products offer MultiTouch’s characteristic full-hand tracking – rather than finger tracking - for the ultimate touch response in multi-user applications.

The products are available now for orders directly from MultiTouch or through MultiTouch resellers around the world. 

“The MultiTouch product line expansion offers us an even wider palette of technical options for our customers, with the robust features that are a hallmark of the MultiTouch Cells all present and correct,” said Steve Blyth, Managing Director of Engage Production Ltd. “Customers want to be fully engaged in experiences, and the MultiTouch range offers us extensive creative options for our design choices.”

The MultiTouch 42” products are the third release using MultiTouch’s MultiTaction® platform, which was released in 2011, and includes the second in the line of Embedded products optimized for single-display installations. MultiTaction builds on MultiTouch’s patented optical imaging technology Computer Vision Through Screen for multitouch displays and provides the world’s most advanced set of touch, gesture and object recognition capabilities. The new MultiTaction® products are Full HD displays that can accommodate unlimited numbers of touch points and an unlimited number of concurrent users with full hand recognition.

“Our relationship with MultiTouch extends back several years, and we have seen the multi-user multitouch industry grow up with us. The new 42” products will be yet another welcome addition to what is already a strong product offering,” said Hauke Helmer, CEO of Interactive Scape, a leading German multi-touch system integrator. “The creative design elements can be enhanced with a smaller MultiTaction® display, and we see more possibilities for bringing multitouch experiences to our customers.”

The combination of the advanced interaction features and ultra-fast 200 fps tracking enable the most engaging interactive user experiences to be developed and deployed. Full networking capabilities allow for cloud applications, social network integration as well as remote management and monitoring.

Customers have asked for a smaller unit, and we have now responded with what is surely the most powerful multitouch display in the midsize segment of the market,” said Petri Martikainen, CEO of MultiTouch Ltd. “Systems integrators can now address display design projects with an even fuller line of MultiTaction products, with a growing feature set. MultiTaction features enable creative developers to go where no touch display has gone before.”

MultiTouch will demonstrate the MT420W7 and MT420S at its ISE 2012 stand #11K37 themed “World of MultiTaction” in the RAI Amsterdam, from Tuesday, January 31st through Thursday, February 3. The MultiTaction demonstrations will include both the Windows 7 product as well as the prototype Windows 8 Developer Preview installation. The MT420W7 and MT420S include an upgrade path to Windows 8 with the touch-optimized Metro user interface, which will be commercially available later in 2012.

Both products include support for the industry’s widest range of development tools, including the MultiTouch Cornerstone software development kit (SDK), Microsoft® Surface 2 SDK, and all TUIO-compatible tools. An external computer with Windows, Linux or Mac can also be used to connect multiple Cells into ever-larger installations.

The MT420W7 is the second embedded interactive display to use the 2nd generation of Intel Core family of processors, which enable faster response to multiple touches.

MultiTaction units are designed for interaction with real-life objects – whether retail products, 2D barcodes, or game pieces, for example – and can be stacked to any size or shape using tens of units. The product’s frameless thin bezel design enables MultiTaction to be embedded in custom-designed furniture. The smooth edge-to-edge front glass on the display unit is a first for any multitouch display.

MultiTouch is a leading developer of interactive display systems, based on proprietary software and hardware designs. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with U.S. offices in Santa Clara, California and New York City. Its systems are currently in use in more than 40 countries around the globe. For more information, please visit www.multitouch.fi.

Bank of America's "Museums on Us" Program Announces 2012 Additions

Charlotte, NC, USA (January 30, 2012) /BUSINESS WIRE/--Bank of America today announces the 2012 Museums on Us® roster featuring many of the most renowned arts, culture and educational institutions across the United States, from Miami, Fla., to Anchorage, Alaska. Museums on Us offers Bank of America and Merrill Lynch debit and credit cardholders free admission to more than 150 of the nation’s most exciting cultural venues across 91 cities on the first full weekend of every month. 

“We invest in the arts because we believe fostering cultural understanding and respect enables local economies and communities to thrive,” said Rena DeSisto, Bank of America global arts and culture executive. “Our Museums on Us program is a distinctive advantage of doing business with us, and we are proud to share the benefit of this program with our customers across the United States.”

Bank of America partners with an array of institutions including museums, science centers, botanical gardens and aquariums. New institutional partners include Brooklyn Children’s Museum in N.Y., Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Ill., Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul, Minn., and Laguna Art Museum in Orange County, Calif. (full list below). Notable institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, N.Y., Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Calif., The Art Institute of Chicago in Ill., and the Houston Zoo in Texas continue to participate in the program.

2012 Museum Roster Additions:
Adler Planetarium – Chicago, Ill.
Allentown Art Museum – Allentown, Pa.
American Textile History Museum – Lowell, Mass.
Anchorage Museum – Anchorage, Alaska
Brooklyn Children’s Museum – Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bruce Museum – Greenwich, Conn.
Carnegie Museum of Art – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix – Phoenix, Ariz.
Discovery Museum Science & Space Center – Sacramento, Calif.
Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art – Scranton, Pa.
Grand Rapids Art Museum – Grand Rapids, Mich.
Historic Fort Snelling – St. Paul, Minn.
James J. Hill House – St. Paul, Minn.
Laguna Art Museum – Orange County, Calif.
Mill City Museum – Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota History Center – St. Paul, Minn.
New York Historical Society – New York, N.Y.
Newport Art Museum – Providence, R.I.
Rubin Museum of Art – New York, N.Y.
Taubman Museum of Art – Roanoke, Va.
The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History – Albuquerque, N.M.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Amherst, Mass.
The San Diego Museum of Art – San Diego, Calif.
Whitney Museum of Art – New York, N.Y.

"The New York Historical Society is excited to be joining the ranks of Museums on Us. Bank of America recognizes the cultural importance of organizations such as ours and knows that offering free admission to its customers will help bring to life the issues, trends, events and personalities that make American history matter," said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the newly renovated New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

Museum visitors must present a photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card to be eligible. One free general admission is limited to the cardholder at the participating institution, excluding fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows (not to be combined with other offers). For more information about Museums on Us and to view a full list of institutions, visit http://museums.bankofamerica.com.

Aquatic Development Group (ADG) Brings Indoor Surfing to Vermont Ski Resort

Cohoes, NY, USA /PRWEB/ -- ADG is proud to announce completion of the Jay Peak Pump House, a state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot indoor waterpark located at the Jay Peak Resort, in Jay, VT. Not only is this the first indoor waterpark in Vermont history, Jay Peak is also only one of four ski resorts in the country offering a true full service year-around waterpark attraction to their guests.

Jay Peak, long known by snow enthusiasts, worked with Aquatic Development Group to extend their experience 365 days of the year, well beyond what infamous Northeastern weather so many times effects. The addition of a modern indoor waterpark clearly answered that call for year-round enjoyment.

ADG was responsible for the construction of the park’s water features. The Pump House captures the local essence of Jay Peak. The Pump House offers high-end rental cabanas, cozy indoor and outdoor whirlpools and spas,  the “Double Barrel” two boarder FlowRider surf simulator and the “La Chute”, the only indoor 60 foot, looping, free fall body slide.

ADG, the manufacturer of the FlowRider, was proud to include this attraction at Pump House, giving guests yet another boarding thrill and the claim that they have Surfed Vermont. Pumping over 57,000 gallons at 500 gallons per minute using sheet-wave technology to generate the perfect wave, the double FlowRider is a hit among the board savvy-crowd returning from shredding the slopes.

Additional waterpark attractions include a themed multi-level play structure with a tipping water bucket feature, two tube slides, one body slide, a lagoon with water basketball & rock climbing wall lagoons, various water spray and “themed snow making” features - all cleverly crafted amongst rugged rockscapes and weathered wood timbers. Encompassing the entire Pump House expanse is “Adventure River”, the longest indoor river in the country, which utilizes ADG’s WaveTek® wave generation technology to keep the fun flowing.

"It's like lighting your hair on fire with excitement," said the resort's Director of Communications, J.J. Toland. “We are already experiencing a 120% increase in our lodging business for available units, rooms and condos.” These new guests will be fully entertained during their stay regardless of the precipitation. “We take great care in matching waterpark features and capabilities with both the company identity and guest interests”, says ADG President, Ken Ellis. “Jay Peak is a culture and we wanted to be sure waterpark guests feel just as excited by the water as they are the snow.”

Completion of the Jay Peak Pump House marks yet another on-time, on-budget project for ADG, known for its ability to design and construct waterparks across the country.


Headquartered in Cohoes, NY and serving customers around the world, Aquatic Development Group, Inc. is a leading designer and builder of world-renowned aquatic theme parks through its project services division. The equipment systems division is focused on manufacturing the associated components for aquatic theme park construction as well as a broad range of commercial pool components, distributed under some of the most respected names in the aquatics industry, including Wavetek, FlowRider, Whitten, Texlon, AFW Movable Floors, and Alpine Products™.

Whether supplying a particular component for an aquatics related project or by providing complete design services, construction management and equipment supply; Aquatic Development Group can provide and manage every aspect of a waterpark project and provide systems for practically any aquatics facility or commercial pool. For more information, call toll-free, 800. 458.9283 , visit http://www.aquaticgroup.com or to view the Jay Peak/ ADG project, visit our YouTube Channel.


Jay Peak is 385 acres and 2,153 vertical feet of glades, bumps, groomers, and parks. Eight lifts, including Vermont’s only aerial tramway, access 76 trails, 4 terrain parks for all abilities - and on average, 376” of natural snow every season. Jay Peak is well known for its glades and extreme chutes but there’s more to the mountain than just expert terrain – like The Zone, Jay Peak’s learning area, which includes 4 lifts that access 11 trails and introductory glades. 

The New Jay Peak Pump House Indoor Waterpark is a place for well-earned leisure. A place where you can surf, climb or sit out a rough day. A place where the movement of the water does more than keep you entertained. It actually moves you. Dive in.

New Cruden Location is Purpose-Built

Amsterdam, Netherlands – The global headquarters of Cruden B.V. has moved into brand new, purpose-built premises in Amsterdam to cope with increased orders from customers in the professional motorsport, automotive, attractions and training markets. The facility, just 15 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and two minutes from the Amsterdam Ring Road (A10), is where the company will manufacture all of its Hexatech and Hexathrill 6-DOF simulators, simulator components and develop a pipeline of new products such as ground-breaking ‘multiple guest interactivity’ rides for the attractions industry. The building also houses Cruden’s in-house Content & Design Studio which builds Cruden simulator operating software and professional image generation for the simulated environment.

Says Maarten van Donselaar, Cruden CEO: “With great access to Schiphol airport and the city centre, the new facility enables us not only to grow the business but to provide a more suitable setting for hosting increasing numbers of potential customers who come to experience and specify our simulators and take advantage of our consultancy services.”

Cruden sales have increased significantly in the past two years as the market for technologically advanced simulators and sophisticated car and track modelling capability has increased. The company supplies race teams in Formula One, sports cars, GP2, GP3 and DTM as well as research institutes and universities such as the University of Hertfordshire which is using the simulator to help develop the race car engineers of the future. In 2010 it delivered 10 simulators to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and in 2011, Vortex Racing, a simulator centre in Canada purchased eight simulators. Cruden is working with several automotive OEMs on vehicle engineering simulation projects.


Cruden is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of professional, interactive, motion-based racing simulators. The company develops the most high tech, realistic and accurate professional equipment for the top levels of international motorsport, including Formula One, as well as vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. The same package is then made available to the global attractions market and to private individuals to create a motorsport experience which simply does not compare with ‘games’ machines on the market. Cruden’s heritage is in the development of professional simulators for the aerospace, marine and automotive industries. Originating from Fokker Aircraft Company, the company was FCS Racing Simulation before becoming Cruden in 2006. www.cruden.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Comcast and Subsidiaries Pledge $2.7 Million Partnership With Museum of Broadcast Communications

Chicago, IL, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/ --Comcast Corporation, NBC News and NBC 5 Chicago announced an enhanced commitment to the new 62,000-square-foot Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, pledging more than $2.7 million worth of in-kind and financial support to its completion and promotion. The Museum of Broadcast Communications, expected to open later this year, will inform and entertain its visitors about the rich history of the television and radio industries through its archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online resources.

Under the partnership with the museum, Comcast will donate up to $500,000 of 30-second advertising spots every year for five years to air on Comcast cable systems to help advertise and promote the museum. To assist the museum in fulfilling its mission of telling the story of the history of television, NBC News and NBC 5 will make available select historic artifacts to the facility that can be displayed as part of temporary or permanent exhibits and donate video clips to museum archives to enhance its collection. In addition, NBC News had previously committed $200,000 to the museum to help complete construction of the exhibits and presentation areas.

Other components of the new partnership include:
  • Naming the museum’s principle presentation area the Comcast NBCUniversal Center. The Comcast NBCUniversal Center will be a venue for industry pioneers, visiting personalities, authors, journalists and scholars to present on the media and its future. Public presentations in the Comcast NBCUniversal Center may be recorded and shared On Demand and via video streaming;
  • Producing an introductory 8-10 minute video presentation for the Comcast NBCUniversal Center that will explore radio and television’s historic role in American life and its evolving impact on society worldwide;
  • Creating a 30-minute documentary on the early days of television for local airing on NBC 5 Chicago;
  • Holding at least two public programs a year featuring NBC News and NBC 5 talent; and
  • Hosting at least one annual Career Assembly for inner city Chicago Public School students featuring NBC 5 journalists or executives.

The new museum, located in downtown Chicago at State and Kinzie Streets and one of just three broadcast museums in the United States, will offer five times as much space as the previous location in the Chicago Cultural Center, which closed in 2003 so the staff could focus on the new facility. With the additional space, the museum will be able to serve a wide range of audiences, expand its collections and increase exhibit and programming space. On site features include over 15,000 square feet devoted to the exhibition of television and radio history; state-of-the-art television and radio studios for hands-on experiences; and a media-equipped education center for group orientation and teaching.

“Comcast is excited to play a significant role in launching and promoting the Museum of Broadcast Communications,” said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. “This major addition to Chicago promises to educate visitors about the birth and the evolution of electronic media, and we look forward to being a part of that.”

“NBC News is proud to be associated with the new Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago,” said NBC News President Steve Capus. “This important institution will tell the story of American radio and television, and the important place of news in that story, to generations of scholars and visitors.”

“Chicago’s rich history makes it a fitting home for the Museum of Broadcast Communications,” said Larry Wert, President and General Manager of NBC 5 Chicago. “The donations made by Comcast and NBC will contribute toward creating a facility as well-developed as the history it showcases and help ensure the public is aware of all the museum has to offer.”

“We are grateful to have Comcast, NBC News, and NBC 5 Chicago – institutions that have contributed so much to the history of television – show so much support for our new facility,” said Bruce DuMont, Founder, President and CEO of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. “We are excited to open our doors and share the experience with visitors.”

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and communications companies. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable Communications and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable Communications is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is an Illinois non-profit corporation and manages two subsidiaries, Museum.tv and the National Radio Hall of Fame (NRHOF) and its website radiohof.org. The MBC’s mission is to collect, preserve and present historic and contemporary and television content as well as educate, inform and entertain the public through its archives, public programs, screening, exhibits, publications and online access to its resources. The MBC is also the author of the Encyclopedia of Advertising, Encyclopedia of Television, the Encyclopedia of Radio and the book, “Chicago Television.” For more information, please visit http://www.Museum.TV.

Intel Technologies Bring New Experiences to Retail

New York, NY, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/--Intel Corporation is working with retailers to apply technology in new and innovative ways. The company announced that it is collaborating with HSN, Kraft Foods and Macy’s to pilot a series of new retail solutions designed to deliver more relevant and entertaining experiences to shoppers.

By using Intel-based technologies, retailers are able to integrate the information-rich experience of online shopping with the advantages of physical locations. Built on 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors these solutions allow retailers to create visually stunning experiences that engage shoppers, deliver customized content and help them make better-informed purchases. For retailers, these solutions are easy to manage, cost-effective and can result in increased satisfaction, higher sales and fewer returns.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly mobile, connected and inundated with information,” said Michelle Tinsley, general manager of Intel’s Personal Solutions Division. “As a result, retailers are searching for new ways to deliver more personalized brand interactions that effectively reach their target audience. Intel is working with these industry leaders to drive the transformation of shopping through high-tech retail solutions that will change how brands engage and connect with shoppers.” 


In an effort to expand its reach and interaction with shoppers beyond TV and the Internet, Intel collaborated with HSN to develop a massive interactive touchwall. The solution allows HSN the opportunity to engage with consumers at various food and wine events throughout 2012 by offering a virtual cooking class with world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. This initiative encapsulates all of HSN’s recent digital advancements – mobile, gaming and social – into a fun shopping experience that can be offered virtually anywhere.

As digital signage quickly becomes a new method for marketers, it is imperative that the industry be able to provide measurable results to advertisers while delivering more relevant content to consumers. Retailers that integrate Intel Audience Impression Metric Suite (Intel® AIM Suite) into solutions are able to quickly change featured content to meet the demographic of the consumer, providing a more personalized shopping experience. Intel AIM Suite also anonymously collects valuable shopper data so retailers can more accurately measure campaign success. 


Using Intel AIM Suite, Kraft Foods and Intel developed the DIJI-TASTE Sampling Experience, an interactive solution that distributes product samples based on audience metrics to target a specific demographic. The first deployment of the DIJI-TASTE Sampling Experience anonymously detects the age bracket of the user and offers a complimentary sample of TEMPTATIONS by JELL-O desserts to adults who approach the station. The JELL-O DIJI-TASTE experience is currently deployed at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and South Street Seaport in New York.

Macy’s is also testing the Beauty Spot at four of its stores in an effort to assist shoppers in finding and evaluating cosmetics and fragrances. Shoppers can use the stations to get detailed information about beauty products, as well as download useful information to their mobile devices about cosmetic trends, new products and seasonal promotions.

These pilot solutions build on a number of other efforts in which Intel has worked closely with leading brands over the last year to roll out innovative solutions. Intel has also collaborated with adidas*, the LEGO Group* and Petrobras* to bring engaging consumer experiences worldwide.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. www.intel.com

Intel, the Intel logo and Intel Core are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Museum of Science Boston Receives $5 Million Grant for Hall of Human Life

Boston, MA, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/ --With a $5 million grant that was awarded January 25, 2012 by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), the Museum of Science, Boston can begin construction of a timely new exhibit, the Hall of Human Life (HHL), starting this summer. Envisioned as one of the Museum's largest and most far-reaching exhibits, the Hall of Human Life, opening in July 2013, aims to revolutionize how people understand their own biology and manage their health. Designed to evolve with the accelerating breakthroughs in biology and biotechnology, this 10,000-square-foot exhibit will spark visitors’ curiosity about innovations in the life sciences, address their concerns about health care, and help them develop the thinking skills needed to make informed choices.

The Life Sciences Center funding, financial support awarded through the organization’s Capital Project Matching Grant Program, provides the resources necessary for the project to move forward. The Museum of Science more than matched the grant by raising more than $11 million in supplemental funding. The Hall of Human Life will result in strong operating revenue, as well as growth in the Museum’s audience, membership, and donor base, and is expected to create up to 20 new jobs at the Museum.

“This project will create jobs, advance knowledge of human biology, and inspire young people to pursue careers in the life sciences, key to positioning Massachusetts as a world leader in the life sciences,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

One of the oldest and largest science museums in the United States, the Museum of Science, Boston, is uniquely positioned in an epicenter of biomedical research, clinical care, and biotechnology to serve as a public forum for learning about health and human biology. With approximately 1.5 million annual visitors, the Museum’s Hall of Human Life will touch the lives of its diverse audiences, including underrepresented communities, teachers and school groups, families, and life science professionals.

The idea for this exhibit emerged in 2004, and intensive work began in 2008. Since then, the Museum exhibit team has focused on design planning, concept/content development, and prototyping exhibits. The Hall of Human Life will reside in a renovated 15,000-square-foot-space in the Green Wing on the Museum's second floor. It will be the single largest permanent exhibit created by the Museum since the 1990s. Content for this ever-changing exhibit will draw on the region's extensive life sciences research community in academia, healthcare, and business, while leveraging new advances in digital media, technology, and personal interaction to redefine the visitor experience.

Visitors will enter the Hall of Human Life through a huge, semi-transparent membrane. By wearing a wristband featuring a unique (and anonymous) barcode, visitors will be able to record and contribute their own experiences directly to a Museum database. Museum-goers will measure their responses to five dynamic environments related to food, physical forces, living organisms, social experience, and time. The Hall of Human Life will also feature a Provocative Questions area, where visitors will discuss public policy questions about socio-scientific issues to develop critical thinking skills, and a Living Laboratory, where scientists conducting research in human biology will invite visitors to become subjects and learn about their studies. The Exploration Hub will sit at the heart of the exhibit, where Museum educators, health and biology students, and retired researchers will address visitors' questions and assist in experiments and dissections.

"The Museum of Science has a long history of innovative life sciences exhibits and programs and plays a valuable role in the Massachusetts' life sciences ecosystem," said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., president & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "The Hall of Human Life will be a world-class resource that reflects our world-class life sciences cluster. It will inspire future scientists and engineers, educate the public, and train and develop the next generation of talented life sciences workers for which Massachusetts is globally recognized. No museum is better positioned to engage the public in the spirit of innovation than the Museum of Science."

"This generous grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will enable us to jumpstart our construction plans and to move forward with the development of this world-class exhibit on the science and technology of human life,” said Ioannis Miaoulis, president and director, Museum of Science. "We are in the midst of a revolution in health care. No topic touches people as deeply as this one. We all wonder about the possibilities for health and longevity that new medical technologies offer. Drawing on the strengths of our region's research and medical community, the Hall of Human Life will help the public explore these advances in genetics and biotechnology, and inspire the next generation of life sciences researchers and professionals."

The Hall of Human Life is part of the Museum's first comprehensive capital campaign, transforming over half of the Museum's 130,000-square-feet of gallery space. With this $5 million grant, the Museum has raised more than $182 million -- and is well on its way to meeting its $250 million campaign goal by 2015. The campaign supports exhibits, programs, and facility improvements that explore the duality of our natural and human-made worlds. The Museum's Blue and Green Wings will be transformed into the Designed and Natural Worlds, respectively, to tell one unified story by focusing on their extraordinary connections, sustainability, and interdependencies.

One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. The Museum's "Science Is an Activity" exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Its National Center for Technological Literacy®'s engineering curricula have reached 35,500 teachers and close to 3 million students nationwide. The Museum has also been recognized by Boston and Cambridge for its energy and sustainability efforts; named an Employer of Choice by Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts disability employment initiative; is Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England Readers' Choice" for Cultural Attraction in Science; and is El Planeta's Best Tourist Attraction for the Massachusetts Latino population. For more information, visit http://www.mos.org.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a ten-year, $1 billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The Center’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties between sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.

Universal's King Kong 360 3D Receiving Special Award From International 3D Society

Los Angeles, CA, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- In a departure from traditional awards, the International 3D Society has announced that it will bestow a special award to Universal Studios Hollywood for King Kong 360 3D at its annual Awards Program February 1, in Beverly Hills, CA.

“This is one of the more unique 3D efforts we have seen come before our judging committee. But the ‘King Kong 360 3D’ attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood is a brilliant use of sophisticated 3D storytelling and technology. Under the creative direction of Peter Jackson, the Society felt that this achievement deserved recognition with an award,” said Jim Chabin, President of the International 3D Society.

More than 20 awards will be bestowed at the Society’s black-tie awards dinner February 1st at the Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles. Golden Globe® winner Martin Scorsese will be recognized with the Society’s Harold Lloyd Award for filmmaking, and Sony Corporation of America will be presented with the Sir Charles Wheatstone Award for education. The Society’s Lumiere™ Statuettes will be presented for 3D motion pictures, television, advertising and video games. Entries were received from Asia, Europe and North America.

The International 3D Society is a community of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the art and sciences of stereoscopic 3D technologies and content through education, hands-on demonstration and celebration. For more information please visit www.international3dsociety.com.

International 3D Society sponsors include Signature Sponsors Panasonic and Korea Telecom, as well as Founding Sponsors: Dolby, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), IMAX, MasterImage 3D, PIXAR, Sony Corporation of America, The Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and XPAND 3D.

National Children's Museum Set to Open Nine Months Early Through Transitional Space

Courtesy National Harbor
Washington, DC, USA /PRNewswire/ -- The National Children's Museum (NCM) has announced that it will begin meeting the demand of children and families in Prince George's County, the State of Maryland, the National Capital region, and the nation, nine months earlier than originally anticipated through A Place for Being Me, a transitional space at National Harbor.

"We could not be more excited about this opportunity to bring our unique programming and expertise to local communities and the nation as soon as possible," said Kathy Dwyer Southern, President and CEO of NCM. "A Place for Being Me will use an innovative combination of indoor and outdoor spaces to open 75,000 square feet of entertaining and educational experiences in the spring of 2013." This transitional space is the next stage in the creation of the National Children's Museum and will offer programs comparable in scope and excellence to the fully completed, Pelli-designed National Children's Museum.

A Place for Being Me is another important step in the development of NCM and is in direct response to market demand. "We are thrilled the National Children's Museum has committed to opening ahead of schedule," said Milt Peterson, Principal of the Peterson Companies. "The overwhelming public response to the NCM Launch Zone has clearly proven there is an immediate need and desire for a children's museum in the National Capital Region, and we look forward to NCM serving as an anchor of the family-friendly National Harbor development." Over the past year NCM has served over 300,000 kids and families through its Launch Zone in National Harbor, and community outreach activities including its Museum Without Walls programs in Prince George's County, the region, and the nation.

"We have been supportive of the National Children's Museum since they began planning to build the Museum in the State of Maryland," said Anthony Brown, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. "This is an exciting step in the development of this national institution." With the continued support of Prince George's County, the State of Maryland and the private funding community, NCM will be able to serve more than 480,000 visitors annually at the National Harbor site in Prince George's County prior to the Pelli-designed Museum's grand opening.

All of NCM's major themes will be expressed in A Place for Being Me. A rich indoor experience will cover play, civic engagement, the environment, the arts, health and well being, and global citizenship. A creative outdoor space will provide a wide range of active outdoor play activities supporting the Museum's goals of creating healthy, fit, and informed children. Elements include a toddler zone; "challenge mountain" adventure; water play zone; fantasy garden; and a variety of other activities where children can explore, create, and discover the wonders of the natural world. "Millions of children experience the joy of learning through active outdoor play at their local children's museum. Children growing up in the nation's capital deserve nothing less. NCM's vibrant destination will inspire a whole new generation of kids to be active and to care about nature," said Janet Rice Elman, Executive Director of the Association of Children's Museums.

Opening this new space will create 200 construction jobs followed by up to 65 permanent Museum staff positions. Opening A Place for Being Me will also provide additional resources and help stimulate NCM's fundraising for the new Museum.


Founded in 1974 as the Capital Children's Museum, and designated by Congress in 2003 as a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution serving children and families, the National Children's Museum is poised to become Greater Washington's premier family attraction and the only national museum dedicated entirely to children and their families and caregivers. NCM seeks to be a world-class cultural and educational center dedicated to engaging children and empowering them to make a difference. The mission of NCM is to inspire children to care about and improve the world.  www.ncm.museum

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Detroit Science Center Could Face Liquidation

Detroit Free Press reports on the latest developments with the Detroit Science Center:

"Though political lobbying could buy the Science Center some time, the current post-crash financial environment makes it harder for once-troubled banks to offer relief to their clients, even a nonprofit cultural and educational institution like the Science Center.

"John Miller, former acting president of the Science Center, said liquidation could begin in 30-45 days.

"'Imagine saws and blowtorches coming in there and disassembling exhibits and selling them for nickels on the dollar in order for the bank to recover some of its debt,' said Miller, who resigned from his voluntary Science Center post and left the board in early January because of other commitments."


Track Complete for Busch Gardens Williamsburg's 2012 Coaster - Verbolten

Williamsburg, VA, USA (January 26, 2012) – Busch Gardens reached a major milestone Jan. 17 when a team of engineers and contractors bolted the final piece of Verbolten’s 2,835 feet of steel track into place. When it’s complete, Verbolten will take riders on an adrenaline-filled adventure through two high-speed electromagnetic launches, stunning sensory effects and a dizzying array of twists and turns for an out-of-this-world coaster experience.

“Work on Verbolten is progressing on schedule,” said Larry Giles, Busch Gardens’ vice president of engineering. “Completing the track is a major achievement. We still have a lot of work to do on the ride’s theme elements and special effects, but we anticipate the ride will be ready for a late spring opening.”

Construction on Verbolten began last summer. Crews worked day and night to prepare the grounds for Busch Gardens’ newest thrill attraction. Like the park’s other coasters, Verbolten uses the park’s natural hills and valleys to create a one-of-a-kind guest experience. The team poured concrete support structures and began installing the track last fall. They also constructed a special effects enclosure that conceals much of the coaster’s theme elements.

“The designers are creating an immersive environment that transports riders to the Black Forest,” Giles said. “The creative team behind Verbolten is now packing the building with special effects and surprise elements that will complete the illusion for riders.”

Artists have nearly completed the many theme elements that drive Verbolten’s ride narrative. The ride’s back story features a German couple who run a scenic driving tour business. As riders leave the station house, they quickly realize their scenic drive through the countryside has veered out of control. As they speed into the pitch-black enclosure, zoned areas take them on a journey through the forbidden Black Forest. Sound and lighting effects, graphic elements and the track itself disorient riders as they zoom through the inky darkness.

“Verbolten is not a typical roller coaster. It will be a completely immersive experience. Riders will be part of the story from the time they walk through the queue until they see their expressions on the photo and video monitors at the end of the ride.” Giles said.

The station house is nearly complete and the theme elements are being installed. Designers are scooping up authentic steamer trunks, old televisions, cabinets and other props to add a realistic feel to the ride.

Verbolten will feature five themed coaster trains that can each carry up to 16 passengers. The vehicles are modeled after a classic European roadster, and each train has its own personality. The first car has arrived at the park, and the remaining vehicles are being delivered over the next several weeks. The cars have built-in video cameras that will record passengers as they enjoy Verbolten. On-ride photos and videos of their experience will be made available at the end of the ride.

“We are really excited about the unique design elements incorporated in the coaster cars, and we look forward to unveiling them soon,” Giles said.

Verbolten is expected to open in late spring. It anchors the park’s newly rejuvenated Oktoberfest village, and joins Mäch Tower℠ as the park’s newest thrill attractions. Busch Gardens opens March 24 for the 2012 season. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kennedy Space Center Unveils PGAV Destinations' Design for Atlantis Exhibit, opening 2013

St. Louis, MO, USA -- PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of entertainment and cultural destinations, is pleased to announce the ground breaking for its premier project at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida – the future home for space shuttle Atlantis.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Inc. and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center broke ground on the future home of the space shuttle Atlantis to be located at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In April 2011, NASA announced its selection of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to permanently display the space shuttle. Atlantis, one of three orbiters in the space shuttle fleet, flew a last scheduled space shuttle mission before being retired in 2011.

"We are honored to design the future home for Atlantis,” states Mike Konzen, Principal PGAV Destinations. “We anticipate that thousands of people who worked on the Space Shuttle Program as well as millions of visitors from around the world will enjoy being so close to this national treasure.”

The $100 million, 65,000 square-foot Atlantis exhibit will be the marquee feature of the Visitor Complex’s 10-year master plan, completed by PGAV Destinations on behalf of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995.The exhibit will provide guests an extraordinary and unique opportunity to view Atlantis up close and “in flight.” Guests will learn how the spacecraft worked in space as well as the story of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program, through a number of hands on, interactive and immersive mediums.

The exterior of the Atlantis exhibit will be comprised of two sweeping architectural elements, or “wings” representing the space shuttle’s launch and return. The outer layer of the building will be cloaked in iridescent hues of orange and gold, representing the fiery-glow of reentry. The taller, internal wing of the building will be covered in a shimmering tile pattern in varying tones of gray, designed to represent the tiled underside of the orbiter.

At the entrance to the exhibit, guests will be greeted by a full-size, upright, replica external tank and two solid rocket boosters. On the opposite side of the tank and booster assembly, a silhouette of the orbiter is attached to illustrate its exact size and placement. A 184-foot-tall space shuttle stack will give visitors a true sense of the massive size and awesome power used to thrust the space shuttle into low-earth orbit. Atlantis will be shown with payload bay doors open and the Canadarm extended. In the distance, a sliver of sunrise is revealed as the orbiter emerges from the far side of its 90-minute orbit around the earth.

“This is an incredible day for our nation’s space program,” stated Bill Moore, Chief Operating Officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, at the groundbreaking ceremony with a host of dignitaries, including space and tourism industry representatives, and astronauts.

“Today marks the start of a new era in which this magnificent ship, Atlantis, which has traveled to space and back an astounding 33 times, will remain docked in her home port, displayed in all her glory with a new mission to uphold — to inspire a new generation of space explorers who will take us to even greater heights. We are extremely proud and excited to break ground today on what will be the crown jewel of our 10-year master plan for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.”

The grand opening of the showcase facility is slated for summer 2013. Constructed by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Orlando, the six-story exhibit will be located in the Shuttle Plaza adjacent to the existing Shuttle Launch Experience.


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, heritage, and natural destinations. PGAV 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, The Gettysburg Battlefield, the Georgia Aquarium, Kennedy Space Center, and Busch Gardens. http://www.pgavdestinations.com

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company's portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Tenaya Lodge and Apple Tree Inn; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Gideon Putnam Resort; and three recently acquired hotels in West Yellowstone. To learn more about Delaware North Companies' expertise in the hospitality industry, visit http://www.experiencednc.com  

Admission includes the Kennedy Space Center Tour, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted and all exhibits. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia.  For more information, visit http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com

Rare Opportunity to View Two Shuttles  
Electrosonic Updates Apollo/Saturn V Firing Room Theater  
PGAV Destinations Completes Major Attraction Projects in 2011

Global Immersion Transforms Fleet's IMAX Dome Into Fulldome Digital Cinema

Courtesy Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
San Diego, CA, USA -- The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center has announced that final preparations are underway following installation of a new, state-of-the-art, giant dome screen digital GSX™ system from Global Immersion. The GSX system will augment the existing IMAX® projector in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theater with one of the most comprehensive and powerful fulldome experiences available today. The system will open to the public on Wednesday, February 1.

At the heart of GSX is a combination of technologies called ImageFusion™ which combine the power and resolution of four of the latest Sony® 4K resolution cinema grade projectors to offer audiences an entirely digital, truly immersive and pixel-perfect giant screen experience. The Heikoff Dome Theater (76-feet in diameter) provides a 168° (vertical) by 360° (horizontal) field-of-view immersive experience which envelops the audience in the 314 seats in the house.

The GSX system at the Fleet uses four powerful Sony® SRX-T420 digital cinema projectors, adapted by Global Immersion to project a single-displayed image onto the specialized surface of the hemispherical, curved dome screen. Each projector offers 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution that, when combined as the GSX system, converts a total of 84,000 lumens and over 32 million pixels into a full screen image to offer audiences a stunning immersive visual experience.

Each of the four digital cinema projectors is the size of a small refrigerator and produces a significant amount of heat and noise. Combined as one GSX system in the heart of the Heikoff Dome Theater, the projectors are specially mounted inside an insulated steel enclosure, fitted within the existing instrument floor space near Dome center. This enclosure, supported by a custom engineered precision projector mounting solution, has been designed by Global Immersion as part of the GSX system to precisely monitor and maintain the temperature of 20 °C/ 68 °F and provide acoustic insulation.

Also housed inside the projector system is a proprietary combination of GSX components each required to seamlessly integrate the system and deliver the best possible performance. The ImageFusion™ for GSX features a range of hardware and software technologies including custom lenses, image processing and optimization tools, geometric laser alignment systems and performance monitoring and diagnostics. A total of eight high performance servers power the GSX system, which delivers lucid, high resolution and superior quality digital video.

The new fulldome digital GSX system is an indicator of the evolution of giant screen cinemas and the need to provide improved content to audiences. The Fleet is delighted that their state-of-the-art system will set a new quality benchmark for digital dome video, with the flexibility to present a wide range of media and show experiences. Innovative planetarium shows from all over the world and other high-definition multimedia productions will enable Fleet visitors to enjoy incredibly bright, colorful and high contrast images on the Fleet’s iconic 76-foot tilted dome NanoSeam™ screen.

Conventional dome theaters, with their application-specific, hemispherical shape, have mainly been used throughout the world to teach astronomy. The Fleet continues to offer informative and educational sky-based experiences, but now has the flexibility to extend programming to a wider range of formats and subject matters. GSX is designed as an ‘open’ format with the emerging DIGSS / Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications in mind; allowing the widest possible programming, including live streamed events and musical experiences.

Digital experiences in the Heikoff Dome Theater will set the stage for an inclusive visitor experience, expanding upon hands-on exhibit content found in the galleries. Creative visualizations can take audiences on a tour of the universe, or probe inside a human cell. The new digital system in the Heikoff Dome Theatre will offer the power and flexibility to reflect and expand on content and concepts found on the exhibit floor and galleries. The Fleet also looks forward to partnering with local scientists, musicians and artists in innovative projects. The installation of the GSX system will advance the non-profit organization’s mission to inspire lifelong learning by furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology.

The $5 million project, led by Fleet Science Center executive director Dr. Jeffrey Kirsch, has been under development for more than five years; installation of the new seamless Dome screen marked Phase 1 of the project, along with the sound system and the interior refurbishment. Supporting the efforts of the Fleet Science Center, a dedicated team of volunteer expert technical advisors - including Tei Iki, William Bleha, Robert Hardacker, Jack Schmidt and Dave Eccles - carried out a comprehensive search for the highest quality immersive theater system suppliers and established the overall specifications for the system.

The installation of the digital dome signals the completion of the Fleet’s five-year capital campaign, “Creating Possibility, Inspiring Tomorrow.”

Looking forward, the Fleet has plans to introduce a digital production studio that will develop educational content in cooperation with multiple institutions, including the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD’s CALIT2, and others. Shows produced will use scientific data collected and interpreted from partner institutions to take the public on astonishing immersive journeys from inside the theater into a human stem cell, an atomic nucleus or virtually any environment imaginable. Moreover, local scientists, students and artists will be invited to use the Fleet Science Center’s digital projection technology to present data and other visualizations on the giant tilted-dome screen.

Dr Jeffrey W. Kirsch, Ph. D., Executive Director, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center commented “We are delighted to have worked so closely with our technical experts and with Global Immersion on premiering the new digital fulldome GSX system in the Heikoff Dome Theater. It will launch a new era for the Fleet, not only enhancing our planetarium capabilities but expanding the possibilities for sustainable institutional programming that could include evening programming with cultural content of various kinds. We will be the first Giant Dome Theater in the country to share a digital planetarium with an IMAX Dome theater. In a sense it is reminiscent of our beginnings in 1973 when we introduced the world to a tilted dome (analog) planetarium system and IMAX in a shared venue (the original Space Theater).”

Martin Howe: Chief Executive, Global Immersion “Working in close collaboration with the Fleet, Global Immersion has developed GSX specifically to meet and exceed the high standards and performance demands that exist among the world’s giant screen theater network. This project has provided us with a fantastic and highly knowledgeable customer to work and consult with; ultimately ensuring the new GSX™ Digital Giant Screen Theater range would exceed expectations and offer giant screen theatres a digital system which fully realizes the demands of such a theater in the modern age. It is hugely exciting for us to have the Fleet as the premiere venue for the showcasing of our new giant screen solution, GSX.”

Alan Caskey: Director for the Americas, Global Immersion “We are delighted to be working with the team at the Fleet on such a unique, energized and ambitious project. This visionary digital giant screen theater follows months of design, innovation and planning – we are very excited by the prospects of a continued partnership with the Fleet, and ultimately the public premiere of the new GSX experience.”


With exhibits to touch, IMAX films to experience and planetarium shows to watch, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (“the Fleet”) offers an educational, entertaining experience for visitors of all ages. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd, the Fleet is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology.  www.rhfleet.org