Alabama Splash Adventure
Alabama Splash Adventure (previously known as VisionLand, Alabama Adventure and Splash Adventure) is a water park and amusement park, located off Interstate 20/59 in Bessemer, Alabama, just west of Birmingham and east of Tuscaloosa. It is owned by Koch Family Parks, which consists of members of the family who formerly had minority ownership in Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.
|Location||Bessemer, Alabama, U.S.|
|Owner||Koch Family Parks|
|Opened||May 23, 1998|
|Previous names||VisionLand – 1998 to 2005
Alabama Adventure – 2006 to 2011Splash Adventure – 2012 to 2013
|Operating season||May through September|
|Area||89 acres (0.36 km2)|
(formerly 200 acres (0.81 km2))
Originally known as VisionLand, the park was built largely as a result of efforts by Fairfield mayor Larry Langford. Eleven cities came together to form the West Jefferson Amusement and Public Park Authority and with help from the Alabama Legislature, the group borrowed $60 million to build the park. Construction began in March 1997, and the park opened for business on May 23, 1998. The park opened with four major areas, including Celebration City Theme Park, Steel Waters Water Park, a children's area called Marvel City, and a shopping/dining area known as Main Street.
In 1999, the park expanded, adding Wilde River Gorge, a river rapids attraction. Dino Domain, a dinosaur-themed walk through exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs, was built in the woods behind Main Street but closed after the season.
In 2001, Wild River Gorge reopened with minor adjustments along with Stratosfear Screamer, an S&S Power twin tower attraction.
The park filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2002, and only operated Steel Waters. Themeparks LLC, an amusement park company, known for their success with Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky, was interested in Visionland and made a bid for the park, but the price for the park ended up being too high. The park was then purchased by Southland Entertainment Group for $5.25 million, a loss of approximately $26 million in public funds.
In 2003, Visionland (uncapitalizing the "L") reopened with Magic Adventure Theme Park, Splash Beach Water Park, Marvel City, and Celebration Street. Magic Adventure received a scrambler attraction called Wild Scrambler and Splash Beach received a wave pool named Kahuna Waves and a nine-story-tall free fall slide called Acapulco Drop. Starting that season park guests had the option to buy tickets to either the amusement park or the water park or a combo ticket to both parks.
Splash Beach received a new water attraction called Splashdown!, a toilet bowl-style ride in 2004.
In 2005, Magic Adventure opened the first new roller coaster since the park's opening named Zoomerang, a Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster relocated from Sydney, Australia. The park also re-opened one of the former attractions named Cahaba Falls, a log flume attraction. It was later known as Woodchuck Run. The park held naming contests for both attractions on its website. The theme park was visited by approximately 345,000 people, making the park Alabama's second-most popular tourist destination according to the Bureau of Tourism and Travel and trailing only the Birmingham Zoo.
Southland announced in 2006, the rebranding of the park under the Alabama Adventure name, along with major expansion plans, including a hotel with an indoor water park, an RV park, and other amenities. Magic Adventure was renamed Magic City USA to reflect the new theming strategy. The park also announced plans for a summer concert series, featuring popular musical acts and artists. The number of visitors to Alabama Adventure rose to more than 388,000. It was the winner of Alabama's "2007 Attraction of the Year."
In 2007, the park added two new attractions, including Vertigo, one of the original attractions of VisionLand, which had been removed in 2003, and Salamander Bay, a re-themed children's play area at Splash Beach formerly known as Quarry Bay. The summer concert series returned to the park and became an annual event.
Southland Entertainment sold the park to Adrenaline Family Entertainment, a group of former executives of Six Flags in 2008. Southland concentrated on developing the remaining acreage that it owns adjacent to the park, with plans for hotels, an RV park, and other amenities.
In 2009, the park announced the first major expansion since 2005, and the first to Splash Beach since 2004. The expansion included a new attraction from WhiteWater West called "UpSurge!", a 216-foot flume slide with a vertical half pipe ending in a 25,000-gallon splash pool. The park also combined both parks into one ticket price.
The park began promoting a casting call for new "indoor theatrical entertainment" called "Beat Street" that premiered in the brand new Star Theater in 2010. The park also relaunched its website, branding the park as Alabama Adventure Water and Theme Park.
Buzzsaw Falls, a SkyTrans Manufacturing Shoot the Chutes ride was added in 2011, but only lasted for one summer. It was located between the parks Celebration Street and Stratos Fear Screamer tower ride. This ride was purchased by Schlitterbahn in Corpus Christi, Texas where it was renamed "Padre Plunge".
Adrenaline Family Entertainment sold the park on January 5, 2012, to General Attractions LLC, a company created by the former owners of the park who previously sold the park in 2008. It was announced on April 5, 2012 that the amusement park section would be closed, leaving only water rides. The park was renamed Splash Adventure for its 2012 opening season. Also for 2012, three new attractions were added to the water park. One of their new attractions was called the "Mist-ical Maze" where in this attraction you go through a maze that has trigger water chutes and many other surprises. The second new attraction was a wipeout designed ride from WhiteWater West called "Wipeout Adventure Course" and the third new attraction was a zip-line that goes around the waterpark. There was a "Dive-In Movie" at Kahuna Waves every Friday night from Memorial Day weekend to the end of July.
In March 2014, Koch Family Parks, founded by former Holiday World & Splashin' Safari CEO Dan Koch and his sister Natalie, purchased the park. New additions to the park included five new kids rides consisting of a new kids roller coaster, a train, two boat rides, mini helicopters and a laser maze.
In 2015 Rampage, the park's signature wooden roller coaster, reopened after a complete restoration.
In 2018, the park added new attractions including a rocking tugboat, scrambler, a fast-spinning ride, a yo-yo swing ride, a miniature children's train ride, and a watery slide complex. This amusement park introduced a weekend autumn festival in October of that same year. A year later, this park introduced three more new rides which were a very tall water slide, a pirate ride, and rotating water slide.
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- In 1999, when the park was called Visionland, five people were injured when a raft overturned.
- In 2001, a boat filled with park employees overturned when the employees rocked the boat. No one was injured.
- In August 2009, a family of three and one other park visitor were injured when the ride's boat capsized. Witnesses said that the family's boat hit an empty boat and was overturned. The family was underwater for approximately 20 seconds.
- In June 2011, a fight broke out between several youths and spread throughout the park. One guest described it as a "borderline riot." The Bessemer Police were called to the park and no more guests were allowed into the park. It was blamed on a "$10 before 10AM" promotion the park ran.
- In June 2018, a ten-year-old boy hit his head while floating along the Warrior River. Lifeguards came to his aid and the boy was subsequently sent to Children's Hospital.
|Castaway Island||1998||A multi-level water play area for children with slides, geysers, and other water features.|
|Scrambler||2018||A traditional Eli Bridge scrambler. This spinning ride is across from Rockin' Tug.|
|Yo-Yo||2018||A Chance Rides Yo-yo swing ride. Its location is next to Rockin' Tug near the Rampage roller coaster.|
|Drop Zone||2016||Zamperla thirty foot drop tower ride.|
|Splash Kahuna Waves||2003||An 800,000 gallon wave pool with 4 ft (1.2 m) waves. Formerly had a real sand beach but now is concrete.|
|Mist-ical Maze||2012||A booby-trapped labyrinth with trigger water chutes.|
|Neptune's Plunge (formerly Mineshaft)||1998||Four enclosed tube slides.|
|Salamander Bay (formerly Quarry Bay)||1998||A water play area for smaller children. Re-themed, including new slides and other features, in 2007.|
|Teacups||2016||Zamperla super-sized ride with six rotating teapots.|
|Splash Island||2018||Proslide kids area with five mini water slides.|
|Tilt-A-Whirl||2018||A fast-spinning ride. It is across from Yo-Yo.|
|UpSurge!||2009||A 216-foot flume that takes riders up and down a vertical half pipe and end in a 25,000-gallon pool of water.|
|Warrior River||1998||A relaxing "lazy river" style ride.|
|Wipeout Adventure Course||2012||A water-filled obstacle course.|
|Centi-Speed||2014||Fajume Wacky Worm style roller coaster. Its previous location was at Gillians Wonderland Pier.|
|Little Bumpers||2014||Electric Kiddie Bumper Boats.|
|Rockin' Tug||2018||A whimsical tug boat ride that features rocking and spinning motions. Its location is next to Yo-Yo near the Rampage roller coaster.|
|Little Harbor||2014||Classic Allen Herschell boat ride dating to 1949.|
|Splash Express||2014||Zamperla Rio Grande Train Ride.|
|Jump Around||2014||Zamperla Jump Around with frog themed cars.|
|Royal Express||2018||A gentle train ride that goes off the rails.|
|Crank and Roll||2014||Alter Enterprises individual hand crank cars reintroduced in their original location of this park.|
|"The Vault" laser maze challenge||2014||Music, sound and lighting effects come to life, immersing you in the adrenaline-packed experience.|
|Rampage||1998/2015||A Custom Coasters International wooden coaster. Re-opened in 2015 after a 3-year absence.|
|Galleon||2019||A swinging pirate ship purchased from Bowcraft Amusement Park.|
|Free-Fall||2018||An aquatic speeding drop slide|
|Twister||2019||A rotating aquatic drop slide|
|Name||Year Opened||Year Closed||Type||Description|
|Typhoon||1998||1999||A polyp style ride.||Replaced by two upcharge attractions in 1999. The Scrambler opened in this location in 2003.|
|Loc-O-Motion||1998||2003||A children's hand truck style ride.||The Convoy was relocated to this spot in 2005, however in 2014, Loc-O-Motion was introduced in this location as Crank and Roll.|
|Patriot||2003||2006||A Round Up style ride.||Replaced the Voyager. For the 2007 season Patriot was removed and the Voyager was re-installed and renamed the Vertigo.|
|Rockwall/Venturer||1999||2000||Two up-charge attractions.||Rockwall was a portable rockwall guests could climb and Venturer was a small motion simulator. Replaced Typhoon. The Scrambler opened in this location in 2003.|
|StratosFear Screamer||2001||2011||S&S Power FreeFall||It featured Launch (what is now "StratosFear Screamer") and Re-Entry (A Turbo Drop). When Southland purchased Visionland they kept the Space Shot side, which was removed after the 2011 season and relocated to Six Flags Darien Lake, and S&S regained ownership of the Turbo Drop.|
|Barnstormer||1998||2011||Zamperla Mini Jet|
|Marvel City Speedway||1998||2011||Zamperla Speedway|
|Adventure Express||1998||2011||Zamperla Rio Grande Train|
|Ballon Wheel||1998||2011||Zamperla Midi Wheel|
|Motorcross||1998||2011||Hampton Motorcycle Jump|
|Convoy||1998||2011||Sartori Convoy Trucks||Moved to former Loc-O-Motion location in 2005|
|Bump-A-Round||1998||2011||Bertazzon Kiddie Bumper Cars|
|Buzzsaw Falls||2011||2011||SkyTrans Manufacturing Shoot the Chute||Sold to Schlitterbahn. Opened in May 2017 as "Padre Plunge" at Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi. This ride was heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey three months later. It demolished in March 2020.|
|Woodchuck Run (formerly Cahaba Falls)||1998||2011||Arrow Dynamics log flume||The log boats from this ride were sold to various Six Flags Theme Parks as extra log boats for other passengers of particular log flume rides. Operated from 1998–2011;In storage 2003-2004|
|Wild River Gorge||1999||2011||FAB river rapids ride||Operated briefly in 1999; Reopened in 2001|
|Giant Wheel||1998||2011||Mondial Ferris wheel|
|Hurricane||1998||2011||Bertazzon Musik Express||Moved to Sylvan Beach Amusement Park where it operates as Himalaya.|
|Scrambler||2003||2011||Eli Bridge Scrambler||Reopened in 2018.|
|Vertigo||1998||2011||Huss Enterprise||Operated from 1998–2011; In storage 2003-2006|
|Mind Spinner||1998||2011||Fabarii Crazy Dance|
|Fender Bender||1998||2011||Bertazzon Bumper Cars|
|Tidal Wave||1998||2011||Zierer Wave Swinger|
|Pirate Ship||1998||2011||Huss Pirate Ship|
|Midway Carousel||1998||2011||Chance Rides Carousel|
|Helicopter Heroes||2014||2015||Zamperla Mini Enterprise ride featuring helicopter styled vehicles.|
|Marvel Mania||1998||2011||An E&F Miler Industries steel family roller coaster||Relocated to Elitch Gardens in 2013 and currently operates as Blazin' Buckaroo.|
|Zoomerang||2005||2011||A Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster||Relocated from the defunct Wonderland in Sydney, Australia. Removed in 2013 and sold to Wonderla in India where it currently operates as Recoil.|
|Zipline||2012||2013||Zipline||Portable zip line. Removed and sold prior to the 2014 season.|
- Swaitek, Jeff (March 24, 2014). "Ex-exec of Holiday World buys Splash Adventure in Alabama". IndyStar. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
- "Alabama Adventure named Attraction of the Year". Alabama Tourism Department. 2007-10-19. Archived from the original on 2008-11-24.
- "Alabama Adventure Amusement Park Acquired by Adrenaline Family Entertainment, Inc". May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Crawford, Cindy F. (2008-05-15). "Alabama Adventure sold to Oklahoma company". Birmingham Business Journal.
- "Huge Waterpark Expansion Planned For Alabama Adventure". Alabama Adventure. 2008-05-15. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02.
- "Buzzsaw Falls Set to Debut Alabama Adventure". Attractions Management. 2010-11-30.
- "Alabama Adventure sold to company created by former owner". The Birmingham News. 2012-01-06.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2018-10-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Four slightly injured after Alabama Adventure ride capsizes". The Birmingham News. 2009-08-05.
- Ramirez, Chris (May 9, 2017). "Padre Plunge log ride makes a splash at Schlitterbahn". Corpus Christi: Caller Times. Retrieved September 3, 2018.