Alabama, nearby states offer thrills for the adventurouscomment (0)
June 1, 2006
By Jeremy Dale Henderson
Kids love roller coasters. They love log rides and bumper cars and tilt-a-whirls. And parents love their kids.
After the opening of Alabama Adventure (then VisionLand) in 1998, many central Alabama parents could no longer cite the distance of Six Flags or Disney World as a reason to keep their thrill-hungry children away from the midway.
Located in Bessemer, Alabama Adventure was a vision for a new dimension of Alabama tourism. The amusement park floundered financially in its infancy, but was bought out of bankruptcy in 2003 by Alabama-based Southland Entertainment Group. Since then, the park has continued to grow, and Southland recently unveiled plans for major expansions and park improvements, including the recent name change from VisionLand to Alabama Adventure: The New Name For Fun.
Alabama Adventure contains two parks — Splash Beach Water Park, which features the Kahuna Waves Wave Pool, and Magic Adventure Theme Park, renamed Magic City, USA. Magic City, USA, houses the triple-loop Zoomerang and the Rampage — one of the top 10 roller coasters in the world, according to Bob Morgan, Alabama Adventure marketing director.
Alabama Baptists will take center stage June 10 for Alabama Adventure’s fourth annual Christian Music Day, co-sponsored by Birmingham Christian radio station WDJC and Chick-Fil-A.
The band Ohio Avenue from Dora — who won a contemporary Christian artist talent search sponsored by the park — will start the day off. Lead singer and guitarist Derek Williams and lead guitarist Casey Mitchell attend Crossroads Community Church, Birmingham, in Birmingham Baptist Association. “It’s a little overwhelming, but we feel very fortunate and blessed,” Williams said.
Williams and Mitchell, along with bassist Zach Dreher and drummer Chad DeFoor will use part of their winnings to record a CD, due to come out within the next year.
The day will close with performances by ZOE Girl, Josh Bates, Superchick and Charity Von at the Magic Adventure amphitheatre.
The park will also hold Friday night concerts during June and July, featuring nationally known artists such as Bo Bice, Lifehouse and Blake Shelton. For information visit www.AlabamaAdventure.com or call 205-481-4750.
Point Mallard – Decatur
Situated in the pine woods along the banks of the Tennessee River in Decatur, Point Mallard is mostly known as a water park. Entertaining Alabamians for more than 30 years, it has the singular distinction of showcasing America’s first wave pool. It also boasts an 18-hole golf course, a 25-acre campground and an Olympic pool, a duck pond and a water slide offering 1,100 feet of action.
The park also is home to the Ice complex, which houses an indoor skating rink. While the Ice complex and campground are open year-round, the water park opens in late May and stays open until September. For information visit www.pointmallardpark.com or call 256-351-7777.
Dollywood – Tennessee
Disney World has Mickey but Dollywood has Dolly. Though tracing its history back to the1960s, it wasn’t until country music star Dolly Parton signed on as figurehead in 1986 that Dollywood became the force to be reckoned with that it is today.
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge, the park operates through every season except winter. It is home to a wide range of festivals, craft shows and family rides and attractions. For information visit www.dollywood.com or call 865-428-9488.
Six Flags – Georgia
Amusing folks across the South since the 1960s, the Georgian branch of the Six Flags chain of parks now operates as a cluster of parks outside Atlanta including Six Flags Over Georgia, White Water and Six Flags American Adventures, which is designed for families with children under the age of 12.
White Water is the South’s largest water theme park and was voted one of the 10 best water parks in the country by The Travel Channel. It features one of the tallest freefall slides in the world and several family rides.
Six Flags Over Georgia is built around pure adrenaline, housing several breakneck roller coasters including the Great American Scream Machine. For information visit www.sixflags.com or call 770-948-9290.