Sunday, January 6, 2013

From The Vault: VisionLand 2001

VisionLand, located in Bessemer Alabama, first opened as a project headed by several local municipalities in 1998.  It had some problems from the start, not generating the amount of business that many expected.  The park almost completed a deal with Cedar Fair in 1999 to operate the property, though it fell through in the 11th hour.

The park was eventually sold to new owners and some moderate expansion followed.  The name of the park was changed to Alabama Adventure in time, separating the water from amusement park under separate admission tickets.  That must have really shown how popular the water park was over the rides, as after the park changed hands again in 2011 it was announced that the rides would be closed and only the water park operations would continue.

But back in 2001 when these scan are from, the park was touting some new attractions it had built.  The Wild River Gorge river rapids ride first opened in 1999 but underwent some modifications and was reopened in 2001, being advertised like it was a new experience.

The park's general brochure for the season also shows off all that was offered.  Some press materials that I also have list some of the park's biggest attractions:

Wild River Gorge:  The new river rapids ride with special effects such as geysers, whirlpools, waterfalls, and more for a splashing good time.

Rampage: The largest, fastest, scariest wooden roller coaster in Alabama.  Rampage brings you to the top of the 120 foot slope drop, before propelling you at top speeds of 56 miles per hour through its bends, drops, and turns.

Sky Wheel: A 106 foot high ferris wheel that provides a panoramic view of the park.

Marvel Mania: A miniature steel roller coaster designed especially for kids with parents in mind.

Also in 2001 the park added a pair of S&S Power tower rides.  One side blasted riders up to the top, while the other was a Turbo Drop, slowly lifting them to the apex them blasting them downward.  The rides were said to be leased from S&S, and when the park had a tough time eventually the company removed the Turbo Drop from the premises.  The Space Shot remained, however - but is currently being rebuilt at Darien Lake in New York.

I never got to take a ride on Rampage, the park's large wooden coaster designed by Custom Coasters.  With the ride park closed for good, it seems as though that door just may have shut forever.  The latest owners seem dedicated to making the water park work, and even added a couple small attractions this past Summer.  It seems the time for rides at VisionLand, err, Alabama Adventure, has come to an end.