4 U.S. cities that need a major theme park

Darien Lake - Buffalo, NY - Theme Parks in U.S. CitiesA glance at a map of the United States makes my theme park-addicted mind flag the states and cities with theme parks. To me, the states without theme parks look like big holes in the map. I figured I’d list the cities that I feel could use a major theme park. I’m going to preface this list by admitting that I have a completely outsider’s view of these cities. I’m going mainly on the population, so feel free to inform me of any local issues or reasons why theme parks aren’t there. And by theme park, I mean a 100-acre or more amusement park with roller coasters, thrill rides, and the typical attractions people associate with these parks.

A theme park developer once told me during an interview that the U.S. market is already pretty saturated and that it was unlikely that we would see new large theme parks. I’m no theme park businessman, but I find that a little hard to believe. Here are the cities that I feel need a theme park.

4 – Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville was recently the center of what looks to be at worst a hoax, and at best a well-meaning, but unlikely new project. Last month a developer unveiled plans for a $750 million theme park in nearby Spring Hill, TN. Since the announcement a number of questions have arisen around the developers background. There are about 1.2 million people in the Nashville metro area and around 600,000 in the city itself. There are two great smaller parks, Holiday World and Dollywood, that are about 3 hours away, but I’d still like to see Nashville with its own major theme park.3 – Phoenix, Arizona
AZ Central recently recounted the proposed Phoenix area theme parks and attractions that for one reason or another haven’t made it off the ground. They included an indoor ski park, Decades Theme Park, and the Mesa Waveyard. Aside from the climate, AZ Central goes on to point out the competition area attractions would have. A theme park would have to compete with a little attraction known as the Grand Canyon and the area’s other natural points of interest. The latest proposed project is an indoor theme park that would include a ski area and a water park. With 1.4 million in the city and 4 million in the metro area, the city definitely has the population to support a major theme park.

2 – New Orleans, Louisianna
After Hurricane Katrina flooded Six Flags New Orleans in 2005, the park remained abandoned for years. There were a few plans to re-open the park, but they fell through. Even as recent as last summer, the park looked like it was left in such dissaray (see video) that you’d think an apocalyptic event had happened. Something that removed the patrons and workers, but left the rides to rot and merchandise to lay out in the streets. New Orleans has over a million people and no competing major parks that are relatively close. The new park should probably be placed further away from the coastline or lake, but New Orleans seems like a city where a theme park could thrive.

1 – Houston, Texas
With a population of 2.1 million people and a warm climate, I can’t imagine why there isn’t a major theme park in Houston. Since the city lost Six Flags AstroWorld back in 2005, theme park fans have had to trek to San Antonio or Dallas to visit a large theme park. An eco theme park, called EarthQuest Adventures has been planned for the Houston area for a few years now. According to news from last summer, the new park is slated to open in 2013 in New Caney, Texas about 25 miles north of Houston. However, I couldn’t find an official opening date on the park’s website.

What city would you say needs a theme park? Do you know a reason why one of these cities shouldn’t get a theme park?

Photo Credit: Intamin10