Six Flags Over Texas

Last updated
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas (logo), circa 2019.png
SFOT Main Park Entrance.JPG
The park's main entrance in 2011
Location Arlington, Texas, U.S.
Coordinates 32°45′20.52″N97°4′12.80″W / 32.7557000°N 97.0702222°W / 32.7557000; -97.0702222 Coordinates: 32°45′20.52″N97°4′12.80″W / 32.7557000°N 97.0702222°W / 32.7557000; -97.0702222
StatusOperating
OpenedAugust 5, 1961;61 years ago (1961-08-05)
OwnerTexas Flags, Ltd. [1] (51%)
Operated by Six Flags
SloganThe Thrill Capital of Texas
Operating seasonYear-round
Area212 acres (0.331 sq mi) (0.86 km²)
Attractions
Total45
Roller coasters13
Water rides3
Website Official website

Six Flags Over Texas is a 212-acre (86 ha) amusement park, in Arlington, Texas, east of Fort Worth and west of Dallas. It is the first amusement park in the Six Flags chain, and features themed areas and attractions. The park opened on August 5, 1961, after a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr. [2]

Contents

The park is managed by the Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which owns a 54% interest of the Texas Limited Partnership that owns the park. Six Flags Over Texas Fund, Ltd, a private-equity and asset-management firm, headed by Dallas businessman Jack Knox, bought the park in 1969. Over the years, the various companies that managed the park exercised options to purchase interest in the fund. Six Flags Entertainment has an option to purchase the remaining 46% in 2028. [3] [4] [5] In 1991, Time Warner Entertainment began managing park operations. In 1998, Time Warner sold its interests in the Six Flags parks to Premier Parks, of Oklahoma City, which later changed its name to Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.

History

The original logo for Six Flags Over Texas Six Flags over Texas Original Logo.jpg
The original logo for Six Flags Over Texas

After a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, shortly after its opening, a wealthy real estate developer, Angus G. Wynne, Jr., concluded that his home state, Texas, should have a similar park. [6] Planning for such a place began in 1959, under the leadership of Wynne and the Great Southwest Corporation, along with the backing of various New York City investors. Construction of the park began in August 1960. [7]

The name "Six Flags Over Texas" refers to the flags of the six nations that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. [8] Wynne originally intended to name the park "Texas Under Six Flags". Various legends have attributed the name change to his wife, Joann; to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, of which his wife may have been a member; and to his entertainment director, Charles Meeker, who is said to have stated "Texas isn't 'under' anything." [9] The original park was divided into six themed areas for each of the six entities that had ruled Texas. Other themed areas have since been added.

Six Flags Over Texas opened its gates from July 29 to August 4, 1961, to several local corporations that Wynne had invited as part of a "soft-test opening". The park held its grand-opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 5, 1961. Dignitaries included the mayors of Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, and Irving. [9] Park attendance reached 8,374. Admission cost $2.75 (equivalent to $25in 2021) for adults and $2.25 (equivalent to $20in 2021) for children; parking cost 50 cents (equivalent to $5in 2021); hamburgers, 35 cents (equivalent to $3in 2021); soft drinks, 10 cents (equivalent to $1in 2021). [10] On opening day, guests could visit the six original themed sections: Mexico, Spain, France, The Confederacy, Texas, and Modern (representing the United States). According to the 1961 Park Map [11] there were 46 "major attractions". The park's first season, lasting 45 days and ending on November 25, 1961, was a success, with over 550,000 visitors.

The 1960s were a decade of growth for Six Flags Over Texas. The park added numerous attractions, including two new sections: Boomtown, named after the boomtowns that sprang up rather quickly during Texas' oil boom era and the "Tower Section", named after the Oil Derrick observation tower built in 1969. [12] [13] The park also witnessed the birth of two classic theme park attractions: El Aserradero in 1963 and the Runaway Mine Train roller coaster in 1966. Attendance reached close to 2 million visitors a year by the end of the decade. For 1974, Six Flags Over Texas announced attendance had reached 2,184,000. [14]

For the 50th anniversary (2011), Six Flags Over Texas introduced the first I-Box roller coaster track with a transformation of Texas Giant. The reception from the conversion led the manufacturer to bring the new technology all over the world. [15] During this time, Six Flags (the company) began the company-wide process of removing licensed theming across its theme parks from attractions that the park had built in previous years. For example, Six Flags Over Texas had to rename and retheme Tony Hawk's Big Spin to Pandemonium. [16] [17]

In 2020, the park began, for the first time in its history, operating at a year-round schedule. [18] Before 2020, Six Flags Over Texas ran seasons from March to the end of that specific year. Within three months into the longer season (March 13, 2020), Six Flags suspended all operations across all of its properties due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. [19] During the time of closure, the park donated food and supplies to local charities. [20] The park reopened to members and season pass holders on June 19 and to the general public on June 22. [21] [22]

Attractions

The entrance of Six Flags over Texas welcomes visitors while the Oil Derrick observation tower looms in the background. Six Flags over Texas (Entrance).JPG
The entrance of Six Flags over Texas welcomes visitors while the Oil Derrick observation tower looms in the background.

First-of-their-kind features or attractions

Records

Awards

Events

Six Flags Over Texas hosts a number of events for different holidays all throughout the operating season that often draws thousands of visitors to the park.

Controversy

The Confederacy was one of the original themed areas and it showcased Civil War re-enactments and displayed the Confederate Battle Flag. In the 1990s it was rethemed to "Old South" and all Confederate Battle Flags were removed. The land drew little attention as there were no high-profile rides in that area. [27] However, the Confederate "stars and bars" remained one of the six flags that was flown at the park entrance. [27] In August 2017, in response to the controversial Unite the Right rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, the park replaced its six flags (which had included the first Confederate flag, a Republic of Texas flag, a 19th-century Spanish flag, an 18th-century French flag, a 19th-century United States flag, and a 19th-century Mexican flag) with six American flags. A representative of the park told KXAS-TV, "We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags." [28] [29]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amusement park</span> Park with rides and attractions

An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme, often featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs and carnivals, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation. They are more elaborate than city parks and playgrounds, usually providing attractions that cater to a variety of age groups. While amusement parks often contain themed areas, theme parks place a heavier focus with more intricately-designed themes that revolve around a particular subject or group of subjects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags</span> American entertainment company based in Arlington, Texas

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, formerly Six Flags Theme Park, Inc., is an American amusement park corporation, headquartered in Arlington, Texas. It has properties in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Six Flags owns the most theme parks and waterparks combined of any amusement-park company and has the seventh highest attendance in the world. The company operates 27 properties throughout North America, including theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and a family entertainment center. In 2019, Six Flags properties hosted 32.8 million guests.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Great Adventure</span> Theme park in Jackson, New Jersey

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags AstroWorld</span> Defunct theme park in Houston, Texas, U.S.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Darien Lake</span> Amusement park

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Over Georgia</span> Theme park in Austell, Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia is a 290-acre (1.2 km2) theme park located in Mableton, Georgia. Opened in 1967, it is the second park in the Six Flags chain following the original Six Flags Over Texas, which opened in 1961.

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Six Flags Fiesta Texas, formerly known simply as Fiesta Texas, is a theme park located in Northwest San Antonio. It opened on March 14, 1992, in the La Cantera master-planned development and district as the first business in that development. Spanning 200 acres (81 ha), the park was originally built to become a destination musical show park with its focus on the musical culture of the state of Texas. The park was purchased by Time Warner in 1995, and branded as a Six Flags park for the 1996 season.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Magic Mountain</span> Theme park in Valencia, California

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iron Rattler</span> Steel roller coaster in San Antonio

Iron Rattler is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. Originally opening as a wooden coaster called Rattler in 1992, it was converted to steel and renamed Iron Rattler in 2013. Designed by Alan Schilke and built by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), the ride features a zero-g-roll inversion, which was a first among hybrid coasters made of wood and steel.

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References

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