Six Flags Over Texas

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Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas logo.png
SFOT Main Park Entrance.JPG
The park's main entrance in 2011
SloganThe Thrill Capital of Texas
LocationArlington, Texas, U.S.
Coordinates32°45′20.52″N 97°4′12.80″W / 32.7557000°N 97.0702222°W / 32.7557000; -97.0702222Coordinates: 32°45′20.52″N 97°4′12.80″W / 32.7557000°N 97.0702222°W / 32.7557000; -97.0702222
OwnerTexas Flags, Ltd.[1] (51%)
Operated bySix Flags
OpenedAugust 5, 1961; 58 years ago
Operating seasonYear-round
Area212 acres (0.331 sq mi) (0.86 km²)
Attractions
Total45
Roller coasters13
Water rides3
WebsiteOfficial website
StatusOperating

Six Flags Over Texas is a 212-acre (86 ha) theme park located in Arlington, Texas, east of Fort Worth and west of Dallas. It is the first amusement park in the Six Flags chain. The park opened on August 5, 1961, following just a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr.[2]

The park is managed by the Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which also owns 53.1% interest of the Texas Limited Partnership that owns the park. A similar arrangement exists with the partnership that owns Six Flags Over Georgia.[3] Six Flags Over Texas Fund, Ltd, a private-equity and asset management firm headed by Dallas businessman Jack Knox, purchased the park in 1969. Over the years the various companies that managed the park, exercised options to purchase interest in the fund. Six Flags Entertainment has an option to purchase the remaining 46.9% in 2028.[3][4][5] Starting in 1991, the park was managed by Time Warner Entertainment. In 1998, Time Warner sold its interests in the Six Flags parks to Premier Parks of Oklahoma City, which later changed its name to Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.

History[edit]

The original logo for Six Flags over Texas

Following a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, shortly after its opening, wealthy real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr. decided that his home state of Texas should have a local park for entertainment.[6] Planning for such a place began in 1959, under the leadership of Wynne and the Great Southwest Corporation, along with the backing of various New York City investors. Construction on the park began in August 1960.[7]

The name "Six Flags Over Texas" refers to the flags of the six different nations that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.[8] Wynne originally intended to name the park "Texas Under Six Flags." Various legends have attributed the name change to his wife Joann; a group called "The Daughters of The Texas Republic" — of which his wife may, or may not, have been a member; or his entertainment director, Charles Meeker, stating that, "Texas isn’t 'under' anything."[9] The original park was divided into six separate themed areas for each of the six governing entities that have ruled over Texas. Although additional themed areas have been added, the original six can still be found within the park.

Six Flags Over Texas opened its gates from July 29 to August 4, 1961, to several local corporations that Wynne had invited as part of a "soft-test opening." The park held its grand opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 5, 1961. Dignitaries included the mayors of Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Irving.[9] Park attendance reached 8,374. Admission was $2.75 (equivalent to $24 in 2019) for adults and $2.25 (equivalent to $19 in 2019) for children; parking was 50 cents (equivalent to $4 in 2019); hamburgers were 35 cents (equivalent to $3 in 2019), and soft drinks were 10 cents (equivalent to $1 in 2019).[10] On opening day, guests could visit the six original themed sections: Mexico, Spain, France, The Confederacy, Texas and Modern (representing the USA). According to the 1961 Park Map[11] there were 46 "major attractions" listed. The park's first season, lasting only 45 days and ending on November 25, 1961, was a success with over 550,000 visitors.

The 1960s were a decade of growth for Six Flags Over Texas. The park added numerous attractions, including two new sections: Boomtown, named after the boomtowns that sprang up rather quickly during Texas' oil boom era and the "Tower Section", named after the Oil Derrick observation tower built in 1969.[12][13] The park also witnessed the birth of two classic theme park attractions: El Aserradero in 1963 and the Runaway Mine Train roller coaster in 1966. Attendance reached close to 2 million visitors a year by the end of the decade.

For the 50th anniversary (2011), Six Flags Over Texas introduced the first I-Box roller coaster track with a transformation of Texas Giant. The reception from the conversion, led the manufacture to bring the new technology all over the world.[14] During this time, Six Flags (the company) began the process of removing licensed theming company wide across its theme parks from attractions that the park had built in previous years. Six Flags Over Texas had to rename and retheme Tony Hawks Big Spin to Pandemonium.[15][16]

In 2020, the park begin (for the first time in its history), operating at a year-round schedule.[17] Before 2020, Six Flags Over Texas ran seasons from March to the end of that specific year. Within three months into the longer season (March 13, 2020), Six Flags suspended all operations across all their properties due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.[18] During the time of closure, the park has donated food and supplies to a local charities.[19] On June 4, Six Flags announced the park would reopen on June 19 to members and season pass holders, and to the general public on June 22.[20][21]

Attractions[edit]

The entrance of Six Flags over Texas welcomes visitors while the Oil Derrick observation tower looms in the background.

Firsts and ones of a kind[edit]

  • First Six Flags Theme Park. This is the original Six Flags Theme Park, opened on August 5, 1961
  • First Pay one Price (POP) admission[22]
  • First theme park to feature Broadway-style shows (1961)[22]
  • First Intamin Ride, the Jet Set [9]
  • First Log FlumeEl Aserradero (1963)
  • First Mine Train Roller Coaster – The Runaway Mine Train (1966)
  • First relaunch of the modern-day parachute ride - Texas Chute Out (1976) Removed in 2012.[23]
  • First Freefall Ride - Texas Cliffhanger (later renamed G-Force and then Wildcatter) (1982). Removed in 2007.[24]
  • First RMC I-Box hybrid coaster - New Texas Giant (2011)

Records[edit]

Awards[edit]

Events[edit]

Six Flags Over Texas hosts a number of events for different holidays all throughout the operating season that often draws thousands of visitors to the park.

  • Fright Fest – Originally only one night in October called 'Fright Night', Fright Fest is the annual Halloween festival at Six Flags Over Texas. Fright Fest takes place throughout the month of October and features several specialized additions to the park. Haunted houses, decorated pathways, patrolling ghouls and spooky music all contribute to the park's transformation into a giant 'scream' park.
  • Holiday in the Park – A tradition started in 1985, Holiday in the Park is now one of the park's most popular seasonal events as the park's season winds down towards the end of November and throughout December. Hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights are strung around the park buildings and rides. An authentic snow hill is available for visitors to sled down. Festive holiday shows, arts and crafts, and delicious seasonal food also bring the holidays to Six Flags Over Texas.

Controversy[edit]

Six different flags that have flown over Texas

The Confederacy section was a name of a theme area until the mid-1990's, which showcased Confederate Battle Flags and a Civil War re-enactment. The area was rethemed to "Old South" and all Confederate Battle Flags were removed. The land drew little attention as there wasn't any high-profile rides in the themed land.[25] Yet the flag continued to wave at the park entrance.[25] In August 2017, in response to the controversial Unite the Right rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, the park replaced its six flags (which had included the first Confederate flag, a Republic of Texas flag, a 19th century Spanish flag, a 18th century French flag, a 19th century United States flag, and a 19th century Mexican flag) with six American flags. A representative of the park told KXAS-TV, "We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags."[26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sixflags.com". Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  2. ^ "The first Six Flags opens in Texas". history.com. Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "2015 Six Flags Entertainment Corporation Annual Report" (PDF). SixFlags.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "Success, Accidentally". Arlington Today. July 30, 2016. Archived from the original on February 12, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas Fund Ltd". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Wayback Wednesday: Six Flags over Texas opens its gates". oklahoman.com. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  7. ^ "Flags Fly For New Six Flags Book". patch.com. November 10, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  8. ^ Victoria W. Wolcott (16 August 2012). Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle Over Segregated Recreation in America. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-8122-0759-9. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Seifert, Jeffrey (2011). "Six Flags Over Five Decades". RollerCoaster! Magazine. 32 (3): 4–23. ISSN 0896-7261.
  10. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "1961 Park Map" Archived 2012-03-01 at the Wayback Machine, rcreride.com.
  12. ^ Baker, Evelyn (2018). Historic Tales of Arlington, Texas. The History Press. p. 75. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  13. ^ Larry, Luck. "THE SIX FLAGS OIL DERRICK CELEBRATES ITS 50TH BIRTHDAY". mix931fm.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  14. ^ "Texas Giant Opening April 22". Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  15. ^ MacDonald, Brady (November 25, 2010). "Six Flags amusement parks prepare for thematic makeovers". LA Times. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  16. ^ "Themed Areas: Six Flags Fiesta Texas". Sixflags.com. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas Changing To Year-Round Weekend & Holiday Operation". August 29, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Fiesta Texas suspend operations through the end of March". March 13, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  19. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas Donates Food To Arlington Charity". April 20, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "Opening dates announced for Six Flags over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, Hawaiian Falls". June 4, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  21. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor to reopen June 22 with new safety protocols". June 4, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Seifert, Jeffrey; Slade, Gary (2011). "Six Flags Over Texas Celebrates 50th Anniversary". Amusement Today. 15 (5): 1B–23B.
  23. ^ "Guide to Six Flags Over Texas". Archived from the original on 2013-12-22. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  24. ^ Ahles, Andrea (September 24, 2007). "Six Flags to add Tony Hawk rollercoaster". Star-Telegram.com. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Six Flags Over Texas started distancing from the Confederate battle flag decades ago". August 18, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  26. ^ Morris, David Z. (August 18, 2017). "Six Flags Pulls Down Confederate Flags". Fortune. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  27. ^ "Six Flags Over Texas removes Confederate flag, reversing earlier decision | Fox News". FoxNews.com. August 18, 2017. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.

External links[edit]