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AstroWorld

Batmant The Escape
Dungeon Drop
Excalibur (removed)
Greezed Lightnin
Mayan Mindbender
Serial Thriller
Serpent
Texas Cyclone
Texas Tornado (removed)
Ultra Twister
Viper
XLR-8

AstroWorld History

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AstroWorld

A Six Flags Theme Park

Astroworld
Public Relations Department
9001 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas 77054
713/794-3295

The following history of Astroworld was current as of 1993

Astroworld Evolution

SUMMARY: AstroWorld, whose name was inspired by the nationís space program, opened under the ownership of Judge Roy Hofheinz in 1968. In the beginning, AstroWorld encompassed 57 acres. Many rides have remained, some have been re-themed and many have been added.

Following is a year-by-year look at AstroWorld's evolution:

1968 The Hofheinz family opens Houston's first major theme park with eight themed areas: American, Western Junction, Plaza de Fiesta, Children's World, European Village, Alpine Valley, Modville and Oriental Corner.

1968 Major Attractions: Alpine Sleigh Ride, the Skyrama, Lost World Adventure, Mill Pond, Crystal Palace, Spinout, Barnyard Petting Zoo, 610 Limited Train, Shooting Gallery and Le Taxi.

610-LIMITED RAILROAD--In continuous operation since AstroWorld opened, this 10-minute ride features a mile long track that travels around the park.

ALPINE SLEIGH RIDE--Provided a glimpse of the abominable snowman on the 65-foot man-made peaks of der Hofheinzberg, the only "mountain" in Southeast Texas. The mountain remains and is now the Batcave TM in European Village.

SKYRAMA--Remains a landmark at AstroWorld. This 340-foot gold tower, one of the tallest amusement rides in the world, has a two level, donut-shaped cabin that revolves twice on each trip to the top. The gold color was repainted to white and today is called the AstroNeedle.

ASTROWAY--The cable-car terminals were located in the oriental and European Village sections, 1080 feet apart. It remains in operation today.

ASTROWHEEL--Double Ferris wheel. This "first of its kind" ride was located in Modville. It remained in the park until 1979. The site eventually became the location for AstroWorld's Looping Starship.

BARNYARD PETTING ZOO--Located in Children' s World, this special zoo delighted children of all ages featuring a variety of barnyard animals. Children's World eventually became XLR-8 Plaza.

CRYSTAL PALACE--Revues and special attractions were booked f or this premier showplace. Today it is the Texas Cow Palace and still features country western entertainment.

LE TAXI--Modeled after turn-of-the-century French taxis, this ride was originally in Alpine Valley. The taxis were eventually moved to Modville and the track became part of what is known as Enchanted Kingdom today. The taxis are still in operation today and called the Antique Taxis, which are now located in the European Village section of the park.

LOST WORLD ADVENTURE--An air-conditioned riverboat ride. It traveled through a jungle containing nine animated scenes and effects. It lasted until 1985 when it was remodeled into the Wetlands, a wildlife exhibit using the same riverboats. Today it is the site of the new Tidal Wave.

MILL POND--A water bumper car ride utilizing four cars. It was removed in 1975 and was replaced by the Gunslinger yo-yo ride.

RUB-A-DUB--Floating tubs carried opening day visitors along a 400 foot trough of water through a nursery rhyme Storybook in Children's World. Today, its location is used for the Season Pass Processing Booth.

SHOOTING GALLERY--Another "first" in the industry. This attraction featured an electronic shooting gallery complete with cowboys, bartenders and saloon girls. It is still in operation today.

SPINOUT--Sporty race cars that could be driven around a race track in Modville. The cars were later replaced by Le Taxis.

WAGON WHEEL--This Trabant is a spinning ride shaped like a huge wheel from a Conestoga wagon. Astroworld guests ride right on the rim of the wheel spinning in one direction while rising on a rotating side, adding to the excitement. It is still in operation.

ALPINE CAROUSEL--The carousel was built in 1895 by Dentzel, and has been in continued operation since 1902. In 1968 it was brought to AstroWorld and has been a favorite with guests, young and old. It is still in operation today.

THE HAPPENING-A scrambler ride with three sets of arms traveling in opposite directions at breathtaking speeds. The Happening was renamed the orbitor in 1972. In 1976 it was moved to the Oriental section of the park and named the Rick-shaws, in 1989 it was moved to Nottingham Village and is currently operating in the park with the name JoustaBout.

BLACK DRAGON--An octopus ride with 8 arms, carrying 2 cars each that spin as the arms rotate and move up and down at the same time. The Black Dragon was one of the original rides at AstroWorld and remained in the park until 1977.

The years to come:

1969 The Bamboo Shoot, a 15001 log flume ride featuring a 30foot waterfall, is introduced at the same time, The Serpent, makes its debut. This mini-steel roller coaster, shaped like an oriental dragon, twists and turns for 722 feet. Both are still in operation today.

1970 Fun Island themed area opened. Attractions included a Wacky Shack and a Swamp Buggy Ride.

1971 The Mod Shop opened in Modville. Orbitor ride is enclosed in domed structure and the Seal Pond is added to Children's World.

1972 Excitement ran high when Country Fair opened. This seven-acre area, costing approximately $1.5 million, recalled a turn-of-the-century country fair. The Dexter Frebish Electric Roller Ride, a mine train with a single, 80-foot lift hill and a 60-foot drop, was the center attraction. It is now known as Excalibur in Nottingham Village. A mirrored Carousel, originally used at a 1907 Pennsylvania county fair, was refurbished for the new area. The Nickelodeon and Horseless Carriage Pavilion, which was Hofheinzl antique museum, featured antique music boxes and mechanical instruments. Marvel McFay, AstroWorld's official mascot, makes his debut.

1974 The year for entertainment. The Marvel McFay Theatre opened and featured Marvel McFay and other costumed characters. "Dancing Waters" and "Fantasy on Fire" shows were added to the Lagoon Theatre and a concert stage was constructed at the base of the AstroNeedle.

1975 The park takes on a new look as Six Flags Corporation assumes ownership in May.

1976 AstroWorld now has 11 themes as Coney Island, a 7-acre addition, debuts. This area featured a 1200-seat, air structured theatre, which later became the Showcase Theatre, and one of the world's top-rated roller coasters, the Texas Cyclone.

1977 The emphasis was once again on entertainment as Aquarena Theatre replaced the Maypole ride, and featured the "Dolphin Revue." A total of 9 live shows were available compared to one in 1975. The mirrored carousel is removed and the Modville area is renamed International Plaza.

1978 Greezed Lightnin', a ride which combined instant acceleration with backward motion, debuted to delight thrill seekers.

1979 The lagoon Grandstand, an outdoor theatre debuted with a Water Ski Show that featured exciting stunt skiers. Today, the U.S. High Diving Team performs olympic-style diving. AstroWheel is removed from International Plaza.

1980 The Big Red Barn, a unique picnic facility, debuted behind Greezed Lightnin'. Thunder River, the world's first man-made river rapids ride was carved into the land. The ten-acre creation offers whitewater "Texas style" with free-floating boats along a wildland setting.

1981 Country Fair is remodeled into Nottingham Village, a fantasy world with a touch of olde England. A castle facade is built at the entrance to Dexter Frebish roller coaster and renamed Excalibur. Warp 10 added to International Plaza. The air-structured theatre became a permanent structure and is today's Showcase Theatre.

1982 Crystal Palace introduced the "The Great Texas Longhorn Revue." Showcase Theatre debuted with "Here's Hollywood," a "Vegas-style" musical extravaganza.

1983 SkyScreamer, a ten-story free fall ride was added in Plaza de Fiesta. Another major expansion occurred in 1983 with the debut of WaterWorld, a separately ticketed park. Located adjacent AstroWorld, this 15-acre water park features water slides, swings, and aquatic activities for all ages.

1984 XLR-8, a unique suspended roller coaster opened. Enchanted Kingdom, a 2-acre recreational activity center opened for kids and their parents.

1985 Lost World Adventure remodeled to The Wetlands, Videocity and games building added. Southern Star Amphitheater opened and Bugs Bunny and Friends made their home in Enchanted Kingdom. The Shanghai Chinese Acrobatic Troupe made their first United States appearance in the Showcase Theatre.

1986 Looping Starship, a unique ship that carries guests through several 360-degree looping orbits, replaced Warp 10. The Chonqing Chinese Acrobats made their first United States visit. "Fright Nights," Houston's largest Halloween party, is created for families and teens. The "Bugs Bunny Wonder Circus," a special participatory show just for kids,, debuted in Enchanted Kingdom.

1987 U.S. High Diving Team replaced the Ski show, Laser/Fireworks Show added, Warp 10 is brought back as Warp 2000, Showcase Theatre debuted "A Midsummer Night's Scream," a haunting 30-minute illusion show and the world's largest hanging basket debuted next to the Looping Starship. The Texas Cyclone celebrated its 10th anniversary with new state-of-the-art trains.

1988 Tidal Wave, the wettest water ride in the Southwest, replaces the Wetlands. For the first time in its 20 year history, AstroWorld will be open during November and December for its new, Holiday In The Park. ASTROWORLD CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF FAMILY FUN!

1989 After a challenging construction feat, the Viper, a venomous steel loop coaster, was added to the Oriental section of the park. For the first time ever an American audience was entertained by the famous Pyatnitsky Folk Art Ensemble Soviet Georgian Drummers and Georgian Sabre Dancers as part of the show "Stars of the U.S.S.R."

1990 The revolutionary roller coaster Ultra Twister highlighted Alpine Valley with its high-tech design. The only ride of its kind in America, Ultra Twister gives a new twist to the word exhilarating! That Wascal Wabbit Bugs Bunny turned 50 with a summer long birthday bash.

1991 For one year only, the Condor nestled in Coney Island sends guests 112-feet in the air, seated in a bird-shaped car, and sent on a spinning adventure. The world famous Sid and Marty Krofft present Blast! the most elaborate puppet show in America.

1992 One of the world's tallest water raft rides, Adventure Rivers of Texas, splashes onto the scene at AstroWorld. Fast-moving enclosed water chutes, each of which bears the name of a different Texas river, offers the exhilaration of river rafting. The Caped Crusader lights up the sky with a fireworks and special effects extravaganza, Batman Nights Fireworks Spectacular. Sid and Marty Krofft's Blast! returns for another explosive year.

NEW FOR 1993: AstroWorld unveils BATMAN THE ESCAPE, the largest and most complex attraction ever created in the 25-year history of the park. BATMAN THE ESCAPE is a completely themed fantasy adventure,  which takes Guests through the Batcave , Arctic Park and Gotham City Cold Storage TM , before embarking on a stand-up ride of a lifetime. In honor of the park's 25th anniversary, we are offering a festival of entertainment with four different shows: "The Dennis the Menace Screen Test," a participatory live show; "The Incredible Acrobats of China" return with an all-new production; "Legends in Concert," a hip, bee-bop rock and roll revue; and a 25th anniversary musical salute.

1994     ????

1995     Mayan Mindbender added

1996     Looney Toons Land added (Kids area)

1997     Dungeon Drop

1998     Taz's Texas Tornado (now Texas Tornado) added, Skyscreamer removed.

1999    Serial Thriller added, go-karts added, Excalibur removed, Anti-rollbacks added to Texas Tornado allowing 4 train operation, 1 car removed from the Batman trains, 3rd Batman train added, Batcave closed.

2000    Observation tower removed.

2001    Texas Tornado opens with new harnesses for a couple hours and then is closed the remainder of the season.  Headrests are removed rom the Texas Cyclone!

2002    Thunder River gets a rehab, Texas Tornado is removed

 

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