Venice Plans Theme Park on Toxic Waste Dump Site

Flickr/Dr. Savage

An amusement park built on the site of a toxic dump might not sound all that appealing right now, but an Italian company is hoping it will eventually become a draw card for tourists visiting Venice. The theme park is planned for an abandoned island in the city which was once home to an incinerator but may soon house roller coasters and a giant Ferris wheel, among other attractions.

The project has angered the city’s residents who are frustrated that the amusement park-like many things in Venice-caters to visitors but doesn’t do anything to enhance life for the locals. One conservationist said that the city is “always hostage to tourism.”The company behind the project, however, insists the amusement park will benefit the city. Not only will the toxic island be cleaned up ahead of construction, but the venture also will lead to the creation of at least 500 jobs. They say the project will create a better cultural experience for tourists, as a large portion of the amusement park will be dedicated to installations that depict the city’s history and the ecology of the Venetian lagoon system. The rides and attractions, they say, are necessary to pay for the cultural displays.

Celebrites as Tourist Attractions: Jackie Chan, Britney Spears, and More

Celebrity tourist attractions - star maps
Flickr, Donna Grayson

Millions of tourists visit Los Angeles every year in hopes of spotting a celebrity, but rarely see anything more than gated homes and unemployed actors in character costumes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some enterprising celebrities are finding ways to become tourist attractions in their own right, with live performances and theme parks for fans to see their favorites (or at least their stuff) live in person.

-Britney Spears just announced a two-year residency at Las Vegas‘ Planet Hollywood starting in December. Over 1,000 fans gathered in the Nevada desert for her helicopter arrival and performance on GMA. Tickets for the pop star’s first 16 shows this winter go on sale tomorrow.

-Action star Jackie Chan is opening his collection of historic sandalwood houses to the public in Beijing with a new theme park. The proposed park will show different cultural experiences with no admission, with some ticketed attractions to help maintain the antique buildings.

-Film and TV actors on Broadway have become de rigueur in recent years, a way to prove their serious talent and break away from roles they’ve become famous for. This season, you can catch Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Patrick Stewart on stage in New York City.

-Fans of Michael Jackson have been hoping that his Neverland Ranch in California might be turned into a park or pilgrimage spot like Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but part of the property was sold off in 2008 and has since fallen into disrepair. Hearing that his children would like to buy it back, Lady Gaga was rumored to offer to help with costs or open it to the public.

Can’t Afford Trip To Antarctica? Maybe A Simulated Experience Will Do

trip to antarctica
Sam Howzit/ Flickr

The idea of a trip to Antarctica is a bucket list item that few travelers have checked off. Tourism numbers are rising as Antarctica welcomes more visitors, but the cost to get there can be prohibitive. Now, Cruise ships head south to visit Antarctica more than ever before. But a luxury cruise ship is surely not a cheap ride. Still, a new theme park attraction might just have the fix needed or at least count as research for the eventual expedition.

SeaWorld Orlando’s largest-ever project, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin takes guests on a simulated voyage to Antarctica, complete with a colony of over 200 penguins in their natural habitat. Getting an authentic feel for Antarctica, guests will experience life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin. Via new state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies, visitors get a unique, personal adventure that is said to be different for everyone.

“When our little hero penguin learns to waddle and slide, we’ll feel what it’s like as the car moves and reacts to the storyline,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s creative director, in a TravelPulse article.Like a slow roller coaster, the ride rocks along gently through a re-creation of Antarctica, making a case for environmental education along the way and ending in an icy penguin habitat.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/23/3413794/seaworld-introduces-antarctica.html#storylink=c
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/23/3413794/seaworld-introduces-antarctica.html#storylink=cpy

“When he takes his first swim or barely escapes danger, our guests will feel as if they’re right there with him. On this adventure, we learn that we’re a lot like penguins. We’ll find we need each other and our families to survive,” added Morrow.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is the coldest theme park attraction in the world with the temperature set to the low 30 degrees to maintain the penguin’s natural habitat. The area is so big that it is considered a “realm” rather than a single attraction. It also includes a gift shop and a restaurant – two venues travelers are not likely to find on an actual visit to Antarctica.

Check this video for more on Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.


Space Shuttle Home Nears Completion In Florida

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle Atlantis has a new home in Florida that is nearing completion. As the latest Space Coast attraction, the new $100-million home of the historic spacecraft will launch June 29 at Kennedy Space Center. Far more than a place to store the used orbiter, the new facility will offer visitors unprecedented access to what was once highly classified hardware, uniquely displayed.

This unique experience delivers extraordinary access to Space Shuttle Atlantis, positioned as if it were in space as only astronauts have seen it before. Suspended 30 feet above ground and rotated at slightly less than a 45-degree angle, Atlantis will have her payload bay doors open and robotic arm (Canadarm) extended. Visitors will be able to view the orbiter from below or via a raised surrounding platform.

With 33 missions in space to the credit of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the exterior has been left as-is for visitors to see the wear on its protective external tiles. Over 60 supporting and interactive exhibits plus high-tech simulators tell the story of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program and the amazing engineering that transformed the way humans explore space. Prominently featured is the shuttle program’s role in building the International Space Station as well as the launch and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope.While the newest attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex, Atlantis is just one feature to be enjoyed by visitors. The Shuttle Launch Experience simulates what it is like to blast off into space. The Rocket Garden features Redstone, Atlas and Titan rockets that first put NASA astronauts in space, alongside Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules. The Astronaut Training Experience brings visitors realistic astronaut training.

Other exhibits trace the history of America’s space program from its beginning and get into the future of space exploration. Far from a relic of another time and a different NASA focus, the Atlantis exhibit promises to complete an experience that fans of space travel may have only dreamed of until now.

Better yet, the Kennedy Space Center website has a rich array of interactive content including a “countdown until the next launch” timer and an Ask An Astronaut feature that invites visitors to pose questions to those who have actually been there and done that.

About the only part of the space shuttle program that visitors won’t see is an actual launch, but we have one of those for you here in this video:




[Image credit - Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex]

Amusement Park Planned For City In Pakistan Where Bin Laden Was Killed

pakistanIn an effort to bring more tourist dollars to Abbottabad, the city in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has instituted a plan to build an amusement park.

Syed Aqil Shah, the provincial minister for tourism and sports, said:

“This project has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden … we are working to promote tourism and amusement facilities in the whole province and this project is one of those facilities.”

The project is rumored to cost about $30 million and will take eight years to develop, will feature a parrot house, heritage center and boating lake, according to the Telegraph.

The actual home site where Bin Laden was killed by American forces in 2011 has been torn down, and the park will be built in the city itself, not on the place of Bin Laden’s death.

[Image Credit: AFP/File, Sajjad Qayyum]

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