For this edition of What If…

You’ve been hired to design a theme park and your specific role is to provide the theming concept for the park. You can create something completely new and original or work with an exciting brand and base it on a well-known movie, TV show, video game, etc.

Here’s what I’d do:

Asian-themed Amusement Park

I’m a long-time fan of the Busch Gardens park. I love how well they incorporate the African (Busch Gardens Tampa) and European (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) cultures, architecture, shows, and food into those parks. The theming is done so well that visiting these parks is about the best “out of country” experience you’ll get without leaving the United States.

For my idea, I’d create a similar park, but focus on Asia. Like the Busch parks, I’d have a number of areas themed after different countries in that part of World. Asia is a massive and diverse part of our planet, so there’d be plenty of areas to be inspired by. It’d actually be tough to pick 5 to 7 countries to focus on, but I’ll give it a shot:

  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • China
  • Korea
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Russia

Of course, each area would have architecture, shows, and rides that correspond with those countries. In the way that the Busch parks brings the culture of the countries to America in their existing parks, I’d look for this Asian-themed park to do the same. You can get a sense of what could be possible by looking at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Samurai Summit area. It’s the probably the best Asian-themed amusement park area I’ve encountered. Six Flags also has had a few Asian-themed rides like the flying coaster Tatsu and the Ninjas: Ninja at Six Flags Over Georgia, Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis, and at Magic Mountain.Ninja - Six Flags St Louis - The Ninja - Roller Coaster

Bonus: Lastly, if I had to pick a city to for the new park, I’d build it in the Houston, Texas area. It’s the 4th largest city in the country and somehow doesn’t have a major theme park. I remain befuddled by that fact.

Side-Note: Houston’s Defunct Asian-Themed Busch Gardens Asia

Long-time theme park geeks may recall that there was once an Asian-themed Busch Gardens amusement park in Houston, Texas. It was short-lived and only open from 1971 to 1973. It closed from lower than expected attendance. Reminds me of the 2 year run that Hard Rock Park/Freestyle Music Park had in Myrtle Beach. As far as I can tell, Houston’s Busch Gardens didn’t have any major roller coasters.

Learn more about Busch Gardens Houston at the Houston Past Blog and The Houston Chronicle.

What’s Your Take?
What theme would you give a theme park if you could choose? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Photo Credit: Featured Image – Roller Coaster Philosophy via Creative Commons

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

3 Responses

  1. John

    It seems Houston has had a lot of different entities try to build a new theme park there. I love the idea of an Asian-themed park with lots of different cultures. For my park, I’d like to see sort of a retro thing (a theme with me, I know) a la Knoebels, perhaps recreating a long gone one like Riverview Park in Chicago.

  2. Matt McIrvin

    You can also get a hint of what good theming along these lines would be like by looking at the China and Japan areas in Disney’s Epcot (no rides, but a lot of superb theming, some food and retail), and the sort of Northern India/Nepal-themed “Asia” area at Animal Kingdom (which has both rides and zoo exhibits). That was what came to mind as the closest existing equivalent.

    Given personal choice of theming I’d probably go nuts with science-fiction and space imagery, which is of course a common theme already.

  3. The Borgified Corpse

    Given the limitless anywhere and anywhen of the premise, I think “Doctor Who” would be a great theme for an amusement park.

    I also have this sudden urge to ride a log flume dark ride set inside an Aztec pyramid.


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