Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Miracle Strip Amusement Park 2003 (?)

This week's news of Miracle Strip Amusement Park being partially reincarnated at a new location inspired me to dig up the one lone Miracle Strip brochure I own. (With any luck, that underperforming sector of my collection will be fruitful and multiply in coming years!) While I'm not 100% sure on the year, there's no question that this was one of the last brochures published before the park closed its gates--seemingly for good--at the end of the 2004 season.

As suggested by the logo (not to mention the big bold text), the original Miracle Strip complex was half amusement park and half water park. Interestingly, when former park owner Billy Lark sold the land to a developer in 2004, the deal only included the land on which Miracle Strip Amusement Park sat. Shipwreck Island Waterpark is still very much alive and well today.

This spread provides two significant clues regarding the date of this brochure. The first is the emphasis placed on the O2 Tower, an S&S Space Shot/Turbo Drop combo tower which made its debut in 2002. Given that the park's logo is clearly emblazoned upon the ride in this photo, I think we can safely assume that it's not a stock image, and consequently, that this brochure came out no earlier than 2003. But the bigger clue is the "40 years of fun" proclamation. Miracle Strip Amusement Park opened in 1963, so if we are to take those words literally, simply add 40 years to that date and you'll come up with...2003! [My mind may be overrun by Christmas lists right now, but amazingly I can still do simple math.]

Many of the rides which operated at the original Miracle Strip have since been relocated to other parks. The O2 Tower, for instance, now operates at Dixie Landin'. Of course, some rides were not as fortunate. I'm sure you all know the tale of the Starliner, a John Allen classic woodie which was relocated to Cypress Gardens (hooray!) but then fell back into SBNO status (boo hoo!) when the current owners decided to put the kibosh on the "amusement" side of that park. The Log Flume is another example. It was originally slated to reopen at Wild Adventures, but those plans never came to fruition.

In terms of what the future holds, I'm not sure the early news reports have given us enough information to hazard a guess. While some rides still remain on site at Miracle Strip's original location (which never was developed into the promised condo complex), little has been revealed about their condition or suitability for the new Pier Park location. It would be great if they could move or recreate some of the unique ride buildings found at the old Miracle Strip, such as Dante's Inferno and the Abominable Snowman, but I won't hold my breath on that just yet. Regardless, it's still comforting to know that the spirit of this park will live on.