|Six Flags Discovery Kingdom|
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, formerly Six Flags Marine World, Marine World, The New Marine World Theme Park, and Marine World Africa USA, is an animal theme park located in Vallejo, California. Marine World originally opened in 1968 in Redwood, CA, but after the 1985 season, the Redwood location closed and the park was moved to its current location in. In 1996 Premier Parks purchased the park and started adding amusement rides. Prior to this there were no amusement rides at Marine World.
Not much occurred during the early years of Marine World, but in the mid-1970's, Marine World merged with a failing land animal park called Africa USA to become Marine World Africa USA. For the next few years, more animals started to call Marine World their home until the mid-1980's.
In 1985, the land the park was situated on grew in value. The taxes eventually became a burden on the park and in 1986, Marine World Africa USA moved from its old home in Redwood, California to its new and current home just fifty-five miles north, to an exansive 160-acre plot of land in Vallejo, California. The park was operated by the non-profit Marine World Organization for the next ten years until debt became a burden for the organization. The debt was then defaulted to the park's current owners, the city of Vallejo, California, in 1996.
The next chapter in the park's history started off when the city got ownership of the park. The city hired Premier Parks, a growing theme park chain in the late-1990's, to manage the park in late 1996. Premier began to shift the focus on Marine World, focusing on more thrill rides than animal attractions, notably due to lackluster attendance. In 1997, the park got its first amusement rides hoping to boost attendance. The first addition was a new kids play area called Popeye's Seaport (now Looney Toons Seaport), which sports pint-sized attractions and a playground featuring foam ball guns. The second addition was the Dinosphere Theater, a movie theater that has shown various 3D films over the years.
Thrilling Additions: Boomerang and Kong signaled the park's changing trend into a traditional amusement park.Bigger and badder thrills came in 1998 as the park's first roller coasters were built. The first roller coaster was Boomerang: Coast to Coaster, a standard model Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster. The ride inverts riders six times, three times while going forwards forwards and three times on its return trip—this time going backwards. The second roller coaster was Kong. Kong was a Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster (SLC) relocated from the defunct Opryland USA theme park in Nashville, Tennessee. Some thrilling flat rides were also added to the park as well. Hammerhead Shark, a Zamperla Hawk flat ride and VooDoo, a Huss TopSpin. Two water rides were also added to the park, Monsoon Falls, an Intamin Shoot-the-Chutes and White Water Safari, an Intamin river rapids ride.
The park is Flagged: Marine World was one of several parks to get the Six Flags prefix added to their name in 1999.In 1999, Marine World ended up getting the Six Flags prefix after Premier purchased the Six Flags chain from Time Warner in 1998. The park became Six Flags Marine World and millions was spent on upgrading the park to become a full-fledged amusement park and zoo combination. The biggest addition for the 1999 season was Roar, a twisted wooden roller coaster made by Great Coasters International. Roar takes riders up heights of ninety-five feet and speeds of fifty miles per hour, as it ricochets through numerous banked turns and hills. The ride is also notable for being the first roller coaster to use Millennium Flyer trains.
Also in 1999, the park received a plethora of flat rides. Tasmanian Devil, a HUSS Frisbee and Scat-A-Bout, a Scrambler flat ride. The younger crowd was not forgotten either in 1999. Popeye's Seaport ended up getting re-themed into Looney Toons Seaport and the park's first junior roller coaster opened, Roadrunner Express, a Zamperla family coaster.
The new millennium rolled around and Six Flags Marine World rolled up two new thrilling roller coasters for the park. The first roller coaster was Cobra, a family roller coaster made by Zierer that takes riders through a twisted double figure-eight course. But the mighty Cobra was no match for the mythical beast that dominates the park skyline. In 2000, Medusa was added as the west coast's first floorless roller coaster. Designed and manufactured by Bolliger and Mabillard of Switzerland, Medusa takes riders through a looping, twisting course at heights of 150 feet and speeds over sixty-five miles per hour. Medusa also has a one of a kind element known as a "Sea-Serpent", a twisted element reminiscent of a Cobra Roll.
Another big thrill came to the park in 2001. The area's first Impulse roller coaster was added—V2: Vertical Velocity. Designed by Intamin AG of Switzerland, V2 boasted a layout and theme similar to the one found at Six Flags Great America. Riders are launched with the help of LIM motors to speeds of over seventy miles per hour into two vertical spikes (one of them twisted) that towered at a height of 186 feet. However, the city was not pleased with this addition. The reason? Because the towers violated the park's height limit of 150 feet. In 2002, V2 was temporarily closed and redesigned with a brand new forward spike that contains a unique element found on these coasters, the Heartline Roll, on the newly designed front spike. Also added in 2001 was an upcharge Skycoaster.
Seriously Twisted: Zonga was a short lived thrill at the park. It experienced constant downtime and was eventually removed in 2005.In 2003, the park opened up a classic thrill relocated from the defunct Astroworld amusement park in Houston, Texas. A ride that can only be described as seriously twisted, Zonga! Swahilian for "coil", Zonga was designed by Anton Schwarzkopf as a quadruple-looping roller coaster that once toured the German fair circuit before being purchased by Six Flags in 1995 and moved to Texas. Before arriving at Six Flags Marine World, Zonga was modified to reduce G-forces on the vertical loops. Unfortunately, Zonga was short lived at the park. In 2004, the ride experienced constant downtime and eventually in 2005, the ride was given SBNO (Standing But Not Operating) status. After that, Six Flags decided to remove Zonga in 2005 and eventually shipped off in pieces back to Germany in 2006.
In late 2005, Premier Parks sold off the Six Flags chain to Red Zone and began to run under the reigns of Mark Shapiro. The main addition for 2006 was the brand new children's play area, Tava's Jungleland, featuring nine new attractions that were family oriented. Mark Shapiro, the new owner of Six Flags, decided to focus on family-friendly rides and parks instead of the thrills. Shapiro saw great potential in the park and in 2007, he was going to drastically change the park into what he envisions as "Clean, safe, and fun."
New Discoveries: The park was renamed for the 2007 season as the park was upgraded, cleaned up, and reorganized.On January 17, 2007, the biggest change in the park's history was announced. Six Flags Marine World was renamed into Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The new name was to reflect on the park itself and to reorganize the park into three distinct sections, Land, Sea, and Sky. Land focuses on land animals, Sea focuses on marine animals, and Sky focuses on thrill rides. Millions was also spent on signage and upgrades as well. The DinoSphere 3D theater was upgraded to a 4D theater and a brand new family-themed area, Thomas Town, themed after beloved train Thomas the Tank Engine. Also, on June 5, 2007, Six Flags considered purchasing the park from the city of Vallejo.
On May 23, 2008, the park opened Tony Hawk's Big Spin (renamed Pandemonium in 2010). This coaster was built on the former spot of Zonga. It was a spinning coaster, a type of coaster where the cars spin while going through the track.
Present Roller Coasters (8)Edit
|Boomerang Coast to Coaster||Vekoma||Shuttle||March 27, 1998||Open|
|Rocky Mountain Construction||Sit-Down||2016||Under Construction|
|Medusa||Bolliger & Mabillard||Floorless||March 18, 2000||Open|
|Superman Ultimate Flight||Premier Rides||Launched||June 22, 2012||Open|
|V2: Vertical Velocity||Intamin AG||Inverted||2001||Open|
Past Roller Coasters (3)Edit
|Zonga||Schwarzkopf||Sit-Down||2003||2006||Isla San Marcos Parque Temático|
|Pandemonium||Gerstlauer||Spinning||2008||2012||Six Flags México|
|Roar||Great Coasters International||Wooden||May 14, 1999||2015||No|