Three Birmingham Attractions Rank Tops Toursism in Alabama

3333464_GFebruary 27, 2014–If you are looking for a “wild” experience or perhaps looking to sink into science and explore, or venture back in time to learn about efforts to make the world a better place; than three attractions in Birmingham will satisfy your local wanderlust!

The Alabama Tourism Department has released their list of top ten attractions in Alabama. The Birmingham Zoo ranked number two , the McWane Science Center ranked fifth and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute ranked tenth.

The rankings were based on the number of people who visited in 2013.
The Huntsville U.S. Space and Rocket Center earned the top spot with more than 580,000 visitors.

You can view the complete list of rankings below in the Alabama Tourism Department’s official Top Ten Attractions.

U.S. Space & Rocket Center is Alabama’s Number One Tourism Attraction

Montgomery, Ala – More than 580,000 people visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville last year, ranking it number one among state attractions that charge admission, followed by the Birmingham Zoo at second with 574,176 and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at third with 530,678, state tourism officials say.

Five of the state’s Top Ten attractions charging admission showed an increase in attendance over previous years, spokesman Brian Jones said. Attendance figures were collected by the Alabama Tourism Department from local tourism organizations.

The USS Alabama Battleship Park in Mobile placed fourth with 371,229 visitors and the McWane Science Center was fifth with 316,918.

Point Mallard Park was sixth with 246,093. The Montgomery Zoo ranked seventh with 244,178 and the Huntsville Botanical Garden was eighth with 225,000. EarlyWorks Museums in Huntsville was ninth with 189,500. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was tenth with 177,055.

The Alabama Tourism Department also released the Top Ten attendance figures for other categories. Beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast were the number one natural destination in the state, attracting 5.5 million visitors last year. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens attracted 350,000 visitors to make it the most attended free attraction. Almost 800,000 people celebrated Mobile’s Mardi Gras making it the most attended event. Bryant-Denny Stadium was the number one sports destination with 710,538 fans attending University of Alabama home football games.

By Deborah Fitts

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Update on Delayed Ark Park Coming Thursday

bildeFebruary 27, 2014–
Answers in Genesis will give an update Thursday night on the organization’s plans to build a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park in Northern Kentucky.

The 800-acre park, planned by the organization which built the Creation Museum in Boone County, was originally scheduled to be finished this year, however construction has not begun on the land off Interstate 75 in Grant County.

Answers in Genesis officials said in December that construction could start this spring on the project with an estimated total cost of $150 million.

The 7 p.m. announcement will include updates on what has “been accomplished in the design of the Ark Encounter themed attraction, the preparation of the land, and on the effort to raise bond funding to build a full-size Ark in Northern Kentucky. Future of the Ark project to be revealed,” according a notice on the group’s website.

Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham will make announcement which will be streamed live on the website.

The park is supposed to feature a life-size Noah’s Ark built by Amish craftsmen, a walled city, a zoo featuring Noah’s animals, a Ten Plagues Ride, a Tower of Babel, a first-century village, an aviary and a children’s area.

The ark is expected to be largest wood-frame structure in the U.S.

AIG has raised $14.4 million in private donations, according to its website. The group is hoping to raise $24.5 million. The organization is selling lifetime boarding passes for $2,000 each. In addition to the donations, the city of Williamstown planned to issue $62 million in bonds.

The city, which has already granted the project a 75 percent break in property taxes over 30 years, wouldn’t have to repay the bonds, according to the bond-offering documents obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader. The so-called “junk bonds” are not rated, which makes them speculative.

The taxable bonds are backed by future revenues from the project, which organizers believe will attract more than 1 million visitors in the first year.

If the park can’t produce enough revenue, the people who buy the bonds will lose their money, but it shouldn’t have any lasting effect on Williamstown.

In addition to the bonds, the state has promised up to $43 million in tourism tax credits for the project.

The state also agreed to an $11 million interchange upgrade at the Ky. 36 Williamstown exit off I-75; about $200,000 has been spent on design so far, according to Transportation Department officials

The park is expected to bring as many as 400 jobs to Grant County.

By Deborah Fitts

Dixie Stampede Thunders Into 2014 Season With All-New Special Effects, Return of Fan Favorites

DS_456x345_5February 27, 2014–Pigeon Forge, Tn.
Dixie Stampede, known as “The Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies,” has enhanced its 2014 show with state-of-the-art audio and video technology, reimagined performance segments and the return of a few fan-favorite competitions.

“The Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies”
The show’s opening features a rousing new overture highlighted by newly added video projections. The floor of the 30,000-square-foot arena is filled with moving images of stampeding horses so lifelike, the thundering hooves rattle the guests’ tables. Several of Dixie Stampede’s show segments have been re-envisioned to include the new video technology, and the most breathtaking use comes during the show’s patriotic conclusion. Set to the moving Color Me America!, written and performed by Dolly Parton, the entire arena floor is filled with the image of an American flag blowing in the breeze as a dozen horses and riders proudly present our nation’s colors in a display of perfectly choreographed pageantry.

“When I wrote Color Me America!, I never dreamed the song would be brought to life quite like this,” said Parton. “When that giant American flag fills the arena, you just swell with pride. Between the finale and a few other surprises we’ve worked into the show, I just know families will be talking about Dixie Stampede all the way home!”

Now in its 27th season, Dixie Stampede dazzles guests with a cast of talented performers and a team of skilled riders who lead the show’s 32 magnificent horses through barrel races and other various tricks, all in the name of Dixie Stampede’s friendly rivalry and competition between the North and South sides of the arena. The 2014 show marks the return of two fan-favorite segments: miniature horse races and the bucket brigade competition, a wet and wild test of teamwork and coordination which is just one of several events that calls audience members to step up and bring home a victory for their team.

Dinner, the other star of the show, includes Dixie Stampede’s signature four-course meal consisting of Dixie Stampede’s original creamy vegetable soup, a homemade biscuit, a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, Dixie Stampede’s own speciality dessert and unlimited beverages. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.

Guests are invited to start their fun-filled evening in the Dixie Belle Saloon with the side-splitting comedy and hard-driving bluegrass and country music of Dixie Stampede’s house band one hour prior to showtime. Shows are performed daily; showtimes and reservations available by calling 1-800-356-1676 or visiting http://www.dixiestampede.com.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction operates in Pigeon Forge, and Branson, Mo. Pirates Voyage, another Dolly Parton Company, opened in 2011 and operates in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

By Deborah Fitts

Legoland Florida Builds on Hit Movie With New Event

legomovie_600February 27, 2014–Legoland Florida is capitalizing on the success of The Lego Movie by hosting a Lego Movie Weekend event starting March 8.

The event should bring more tourists to the Winter Haven theme park to take part in special activities that include meeting film characters Emmet and Wyldstyle; helping build Lego models that would be included Miniland USA’s New York City; taking photos with Lego Batman, and more.

Admission to the event is included in the regular park ticket price.

Special events like these help draw more visitors to the theme park, which can provide business for the companies nearby.

The information for the event hasn’t been posted on the theme park’s website yet, but Legoland Florida held a similar event in early February to celebrate the opening of the movie.

By Deborah Fitts

Kentucky Kingdom Gates to Open Soon!

155372_172674322766748_6761112_nFebruary 27, 2014–
Louisville, KY.
The way you and your family spend your summer this year could soon change. With 20 new rides and attractions,News got a peak at the progress that’s being made at Kentucky Kingdom just months away from the big opening.

“We’re getting ready to set the foundation of a new ride,” said John Mulcahy of Kentucky Kingdom.155313_172672579433589_2977337_n

One if the new rides is going to be called FearFall. Soon, you will be able to tower 129 feet over the park – and drop.

The park that’s been siting empty for years, is finally coming back to life. Crews have been landscaping, painting and putting the park back together again. If you’ve been to the park in years past, there is a bit of nostalgia for you.24833347_BG3

“The added benefit to be able to say ‘I did this when I was a little boy or little girl,'” said Mulcahy.

Some things will look familiar, like King Louie’s playground. Several original rides are part of the attraction but they are completely made over and improved. You can also enjoy something new with your children like the jump around.

“What you have is a motion of up and down hipaty hopity,” said Mulcahy.

For years we’ve seen the drab giant wheel. Now, it stands out in bright orange and yellow.

“It’s become a Louisville landmark when you drive in and fly in,” said Mulcahy.

You’ll be completely blown away by Hurricane Bay and the Hurricane Beach Club.

“That’s the start of the foundation of deep water dive,” said Mulcahy. “Deep water dive is America’s tallest body side.”

The size of the water park is more than doubling. Crews are making way for a new Family Wave Lagoon. A new water ride called Plummet Summit will also be in the park. It’s a guarantee the revamped park will be different than the old one.

What’s been talked about for years is finally happening.

“There will be a lot of new surprises tucked away, some not so tucked away,” said Mulcahy.

So far, Kentucky Kingdom has sold more than 15,000 season passes at $59.95, that price will jump up to around $100 at its opening which is still slated for May 24.

By Deborah Fitts

Get a Sneak Peek at Wild Adventures

WALogoWA-2014-217-Commercial-Sneak-Peek-Eblast-Feb-24February 27, 2014–
Harlem Globetrotters Special Offer***

Harlem Globetrotters
Save 25% on tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters in a city near you!*
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Click on the game link below and use the code WILD to get 25% off.Harlem Globetrotters – Shirley

*Jacksonville, FL – Feb. 28

*Tallahassee, FL – March 11

*Columbus, GA – March 12

*Savannah, GA – March 13

*Augusta, GA – March 14

*Offer valid on select price levels; not valid on CS or VIP seating. Limit 6 tickets per purchase. Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets. Ends 24 hours prior to game day.

To learn more about the Harlem Globetrotters and to stay in touch, Flash Foods Facebook Pagethem on Facebook.

By Deborah Fitts

Oscar Sweepstakes

2014-02-13-AcademyAwardPromotion_simplified-2_01February 27, 2014–
Prize Details
Four (4) Grand Prize winners will receive four (4) VIP tickets to the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center of their choice and a souvenir gift package at no charge to the winner. Total prize value is approximately $220.
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Locations
Hollywood, CA — Includes four (4) tickets to Hollywood Wax Museum, Guinness World Records Museum Ripley’s Believe It Or Not valued at $119.96 + gift package valued at $100
Branson, MO — Includes four (4) tickets to Hollywood Wax Museum, Castle of Chaos, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors and Shoot for the Stars Mini-Golf valued at $133.70 + gift package valued at $87.
Pigeon Forge, TN — Includes four (4) tickets to Hollywood Wax Museum, Castle of Chaos and Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors valued at $121.01 + gift package valued at $100.
Myrtle Beach, SC — Includes four (4) tickets to Hollywood Wax Museum, Outbreak-Dread the Undead, and Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors valued at $115.89 + gift package valued at $104.

Prize Eligibility
Only persons residing in United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter. Persons are eligible for one entry.

Sweepstakes Starts
Friday, February 7 at 8 am (PDT)

Sweepstakes Ends
Sunday, March 02, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (PST)

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Hollywood Wax Museum and not to Facebook. Participants must read and agree to the Terms & Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy before entering or participating in this promotion.

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By Deborah Fitts