If Florida is the theme park capital of the country, why doesn’t it have a Six Flags amusement park? Short answer: It did, once upon a time.
When visitors think of Florida theme parks, the obvious names usually come first: Disney World (with its Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom parks); Universal Orlando (with its Universal, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay parks); and even Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Legoland Florida.
How Six Flags Started in Florida
Six Flags got started in the theme park business in 1957, shortly after the opening of Disneyland in California. Today it operates more than two dozen parks throughout North America. Some of the Six Flags are more traditional theme parks while others are water parks. That’s where Florida comes in.
Beginning in 1983, a 65-acre lot in Hollywood, Fla., was the home to Six Flags Atlantis. Originally conceived as “Atlantis the Water Kingdom,” it switched ownership to Six Flags before construction was complete. The park included many of the traditional amenities of water parks of the day, including a wave pool, water ski shows, and slides.
According to an “unofficial memorial page” dedicated to the park, Six Flags Atlantis struggled to find a fan base – a challenge as so many world-class beaches were a short drive away. Plus, the region’s unpredictable stormy weather kept guests away. The ownership changed hands again in hopes of turning things around.
A Storm Ends the Fun for Six Flags
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew pummeled South Florida and the water park closed for good. Efforts to relocate the park to other areas in Florida failed as well.
These days, Six Flags fans living in Florida have to drive north to Georgia to find the nearest park. Water parks, once thought impractical in Florida’s weather, popped up and prospered thanks to the seasoned pros at Disney, Universal and Busch Gardens – all of whom still operate water parks to this day.
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