Skyscraper as theme park: Architect re-imagines thrill rides on a vertical scale

Can you imagine a theme park in the middle of Manhattan? Finding the capital to acquire the land and raise the buildings on it to create the necessary open space would be nearly impossible.

But what if that theme park could be built vertically, as a theme park skyscraper?

Skyscraper theme parkThat’s the idea behind architect Ju-Hyun Kim’s vertical theme park prototypes. Kim says in order to be eco-friendly and save the world from more sprawl, the theme parks of tomorrow need to be built in the middle of cities:

Instead of sprawling parks with giant footprints, stack the park into a skyscraper. The altitude will only add to the speed and excitement of rides, and the view of the surrounding dense urban environment will be incredible. There’ll be so much more to see from the top of the carousel and roller coaster on the perimeter. Best of all, it will be easily reached by public transportation, and the environmental impact will be minimal. Now is the time to build the joyful destination for families’ perfect day out at the center of cities.

Kim’s vertical theme park would be broken into five sections:

  • Vertigo World, which would include a carousel and observation deck at the top of the theme park skyscraper
  • Fast Land, including a flume ride and a rollercoaster
  • 360 World, with a Ferris Wheel and sky promenade
  • Abyss City, a bungee jumping platform
  • Elsewhere Universe, a geodesic dome with a gravity-free zone

Though very different from Kim’s vision, theme-park pioneer Walt Disney also considered building a vertical theme park in a city’s downtown. Fifty years ago, Disney was planning a River Front Square on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis. The five-story indoor attraction’s plans are said to have included a walk-through pirate ship, audio-animatronic exhibits and a haunted house.

But the St. Louis plans for a metropolitan Disney theme park were scrapped, and the second Disney theme park — the Magic Kingdom — was built outdoors, horizontally, on part of a sprawling 40-square-mile swampy area now known as Walt Disney World.

You can see all the prototypes from Kim’s vertical theme park proposal at ArchDaily.

London Eye replica proposed for downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta could become home to a 45-story Ferris wheel ride called the “Atlanta Eye.”

The Eye would be a replica of London’s iconic wheel which sits on the south bank of the River Thames between the Hungerford and Westminster bridges.

WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports that an Atlanta law firm is spearheading the project, and that the group met with representatives from Atlanta’s business community this week.

Merlin Entertainment, the owner of the London Eye, is said to be looking at real estate around downtown Atlanta. The Atlanta Eye would be situated near Centennial Park and the Georgia Aquarium.

The Atlanta Eye project is rumored to have a $200 million price tag.

London’s Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, was built in 1999. A 30-minute ride on the wheel, which Merlin calls a “flight,” costs about $29 U.S.

Merlin has expanded the London Eye attraction to include a “4D” movie experience, river cruises and an ice skating rink.

[Image credit: Flickr user David Prior]

Photo of the day (8.5.10)

This photo by narinnr from Kagoshima, Japan (the Naples of the East, says Wikipedia) captures a Ferris wheel built atop a shopping center next to the train station. How fun is that? Imagine if you could kill time between trains at Penn Station riding high above New York?! I’m partial to the Gravitron when choosing an amusement ride, although spinning around against centrifugal force is probably not so fun before a long train ride.

Even more interesting are the statues in front of the Ferris wheel, part of the Satuma students’ monument, dedicated to 19 Japanese students smuggled into Britain in 1865 to learn Western technology. Imagine being the first in your country to study abroad and being responsible for the start of the industrial revolution. Kinda makes a semester abroad in Prague drinking as much beer as humanly possible seem a little weak.

Do you have a photo that will inspire many Google and Wikipedia searches? Or maybe an interesting monument or an unusually-located amusement ride in your travels? Upload it to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

Recreate your favorite Ferris Bueller moment with Explore Chicago and Foursquare

Long before I ever considered moving to Chicago, I knew the city was amazing – and I owe that all to Ferris Bueller. This classic 80’s movie showed off some of the best the city has to offer, and is one of my all time favorites.

The folks at Explore Chicago already created a Foursquare badge for people who visit five of the locations from the movie, but if merely visiting them isn’t enough, how about being flown to the Windy City for a chance to actually recreate your favorite scene?

The prize package includes two airline tickets, a hotel stay and museum passes. To enter, you’ll need to head on over to the Foursquare Facebook page and tell everyone which scene from the movie you’d like to recreate. Hurry up though, you only have till Friday June 4. Me? I’d love to drive down Lake Shore Drive in a 1961 Ferrari GT California.

And while you are at it – don’t forget to follow Gadling on Facebook and Foursquare!

(Photo from Flickr/ChicagoGeek)

Photo of the Day (9.20.09)


Gadling first wrote about the secret pleasures of New York City’s Coney Island back in May. Brooklyn’s very own quirky seaside amusement area boasts a vintage rollercoaster, beach access and the annual Mermaid Parade. Coney Island is also a particularly “atmospheric” place, as Flickr user cmvoelkel captured in today’s shot. The park’s famous Wonder Wheel strikes an eerie silhouette against the fading pinks and purples of the setting sun. The shapes and textures of the fence and barbed wire add further visual intrigue.

Want your photo considered for Gadling’s Photo of the Day? Upload your best shots here.