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BLOG: Cedar Point's Dinosaurs Alive! may face evolutionary pressures

Tom Sherer • May 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Cedar Point’s new attraction, Dinosaurs Alive!, is showing some teeth in its early existence.

“We’ve been thrilled by the reactions we’ve seen in people of all ages, especially children, as they step back in time on Adventure Island,” said Cedar Point spokeswoman Annie Zelm. “They seem to be amazed by the sheer size of (the dinosaurs) and the fact that there are so many varieties. … They really get a sense for how these dinosaurs behaved and what it might have been like to live among them millions of years ago.”

As I mentioned in my last blog, I thought Dinosaurs Alive! was well worth the $5 fee, at least to do once. It’s something to see and experience.

But that also got me thinking, mainly because I majored in marketing as an undergraduate and spend a lot of time at amusement parks.

The big problem that seems apparent — above and beyond the public relations of some people being unhappy about paying extra — is the question of will people return to the attraction? It’s not like Millennium Force or Top Thrill Dragster in that most people probably will do it again and again and again. (I’ll ride Millennium Force until they kick me out of the park at night, but I wouldn’t do the same with Dinosaurs Alive!.)

So, unless someone is a dinosaur junkie, I would think most people won’t make too many — if any — return visits to the attraction.

Perhaps this is a prime reason it’s a good idea to charge the extra fee: To make back some money quickly — get while the gettin’ is good — before the well dries up somewhat.

To a certain degree, there has to be some level of diminishing returns on the attraction during the next several years. Similarly, the same people typically don’t go to the same museum over and over, unless the museum uses traveling exhibits that change from time to time to lure repeat customers.

This all just leads to speculation — only a few days into its public existence — about what evolutionary pressures Dinosaurs Alive! could face.

There will come a time when Cedar Point needs to spice things up a bit.

Too bad lawyers and insurance costs would make it all but impossible to allow guests to ride the dinosaurs or to have a safari in which the dinosaurs hunt the humans. I can see my headline announcing the changes to the attraction now: “T. wrecks guests.”

But I’d also settle for adding electrified handrails to give it more of a “Jurassic Park” paddock feel while also encouraging guests to stay off the park’s handrails.

Then we’d be in business!

At that point, though, it’d really belong in Challenge Park, not the main park.

As is the case with many attractions, if left unchanged, interest probably will cool after a few years. It will be interesting to see how the life cycle of Dinosaurs Alive! unfolds.

Today, it’s worth the time and money. But in 10 years, will it still be walking the park? Or will it be extinct?

Tom Sherer is an award-winning graphic designer with the Sandusky Register and a Cedar Point enthusiast who visited the park 53 times in 2011. He chronicles his adventures in coasterland here at "Belaboring the Point."

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