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Amusement Parks: California’s Great America – a Potted History

California’s Great America is an amusement park located in Santa Clara, northern California.

The amusement park is one of four major amusement parks around the San Francisco Bay area but the only one that has a water park contaned within it. The amusement park was opened in 1976 and, having been built by the hotel and restaurant chain Marriott Corporation, the amusement park’s original name was Marriott’s Great America and though it did turn a profit, Marriott decided that the amusement park was not lucrative enough and it was sold to the Caz Development Company in 1983 who subsequently hired King’s Entertainment Company to manage the amusement park.

It wasn’t until 1992, however, that things really started to take off for the amusement park when Paramount Pictures bought King’s Entertainment in an effort to join other major entertainment companies in becoming an amusement park owner. Viacom, who are the parent company of both MTV and Nickelodeon, then bought Paramount in 1994 which then allowed them to introduce Nickelodeon merchandise into the amusement park. 

A further takeover took place in 2006, when the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, the amusement park’s present day owners, acquired it and, with that, they also acquired the option to capitalise on both Paramount and Nickelodeon branding opportunities. The amusement park was renamed California’s Great America in 2007.

There are over 10 amazing thrill rides at the park. Survivor, based on the TV series, takes riders on a journey past 40 foot torches amidst a tropical landscape accompanied by the sounds of jungle drums and tribal music. The latest thrill seeking ride at the amusement park is Firefall. Introduced in 2008, it takes you to a height of 60 feet and then spins and twists you 360 degrees through fire and water effects.

Boomerang Bay is the dedicated water park built into the amusement park and as well as a 150, 000 gallon heated lagoon, there are also plenty of other thrill seeking and relaxing water rides, including Down Under Thunder and Jackaroo Landing.

Kidzville is an area at the amusement park dedicated to younger children. There are 18 rides and attractions in this busy ‘town’ designed just for kids and parents to enjoy together. 

Within Nickelodeon Central at the amusement park, some of Nickelodeon’s best loved TV characters come to life to interact with visitors, including the likes of SpongeBob Squarepants and the Rugrats.

The amusement park also has a number of varied catering establishments.

See also:
Amusement Parks: Legoland California – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Sonoma Traintown – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Six Flags Magic Mountain – a Potted History

Amusement Parks: Universal Studios Hollywood – a Potted History

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