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Captain Jack ­aviation themed entertainment experience planned for Belgium

The Captain Jack crew at IAAPA Expo Europe (from left to right): Elke Vandersypen, Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh, Jack Schoepen, Dirk Daems, Myriam Schoepen and Erik Jacquemyn.

Jack Schoepen, the son of Bobbejaanland founder Bobbejaan Schoepen, is planning to build a new multi-purpose entertainment project in Belgium. And this time he’s taking the world of aviation as his inspiration.

Since leaving Bobbejaanland theme park after its sale to Parques Reunidos more than a decade ago, Schoepen has pursued a number of projects in a consultancy capacity. From an early age, he has had an interest in planes, so the concept for Captain Jack seemed like a perfect fit. The project will be the first theme park based on an airport.

Described as “a total aviation experience,” the venture has experiences to suit all ages. “You can climb, fly, play, relax or even swim on top of the roof,” we are told. “Furthermore you can learn and investigate things, enjoy dance, music or theatre performances, hold meetings or spend the night in a jumbo jet.”

Elements of the proposed attraction do already exist elsewhere. Schoepen acknowledges the advice given to him by the Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany. Japan’s Chubu airport has an attraction called Flight of Dreams. A Boeing 747 was sunk recently in preparation for the construction of an underwater theme park by Dive Bahrain. In the Netherlands, another Boeing jumbo jet will be used as the platform for a 5D aviation experience in Amsterdam. Since 2009, visitors to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport in Sweden have had the opportunity to stay the night in a retired plane that functions as the Jumbo Hotel.

Aero Park entertainment centre

Captain Jack will offer a wide range of experiences on offer and will cater to a number of different market segments.

At the heart of the project is an indoor entertainment centre called Aero Park. Mascots dressed as pilots, airline stewards, firemen, technicians and air-traffic controllers guide guests through the park. Promised attractions include flying fire extinguishers, a zeppelin, hot air balloon, flight simulators and a climbable control tower. In addition, there will be interactive displays charting the evolution of aviation and giving scientific/technical information.

Schoepen has an option to buy two Boeing 747s. One will be used as a hotel and the other fitted out with ‘Jumbobizz’ meeting rooms. Other promised experiences at Captain Jack include:

  • Sky Climb.
  • Sky Fly (indoor skydiving).
  • Sky Tower (45m-tall educational centre, bar/cafe).
  • Sky Rail, a monorail linking the entire site and its various facilities with local public transport.
  • 1,000 place car park, with space for 200 bikes.
  • Bobbejaan Hall of Fame.

The latter will double as an exhibition about Jack Schoepen‘s late parents, Bobbejaan and Josée Schoepen, and also a multi-purpose performance space.

Funding for the project will be provided primarily by the Schoepen family. To help realise it, Captain Jack has assembled a team of experts with over 200 years’ experience between them, ranging from amusement park operations to communication, marketing and sales. Together they officially launched the concept at this week’s IAAPA Expo Europe in Paris, where a model of the proposed attraction was exhibited.

Captain Jack jumbos

Project schedule and franchise plans for Captain Jack

The exact location or opening date for the project has yet to be made public. However, a major city in the Flanders region had already been designated. The projected annual attendance is 300,000.

Once it has got the first site up and running, the Captain Jack crew hopes to franchise the concept to investors around the world, with the Middle East being viewed as a particularly suitable location. Jack Schoepen will discuss his plans in more detail in an exclusive interview coming soon on Blooloop.

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Owen Ralph

Owen Ralph

As a Lead Features Writer for blooloop, Owen brings with him two decades of experience covering the amusement and attractions industry for trade publications, including World’s Fair, Coinslot International, Kirmes & Park Revue and Park World, where he spent 15 years as Editor. He is currently a member of the IAAPA EMEA Education Subcommittee.

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