After watching bobsledders, ski jumpers and snowboarders, spectators at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be able to take a thrill ride of their own at a theme park next to the Olympic village.
The $300-million Sochi Adventure Park is to open in late 2013, just ahead of the Games, and continue as a year-round theme park after the Olympics end in February. Organizers envision re-purposing the sporting venues, theme park, hotels, apartments and retail shops into a resort destination after the Olympics.
By 2020, the size of the park is 54 hectares, the park will include 13 Olympic venues in the disused recreation.
Sochi isn’t the typical Winter Olympics host city. Temperatures in the subtropical palm-tree-lined resort city on the Black Sea rarely dip below 40 degrees. Olympic alpine events will be in Krasnaya Polyana, a mountain ski area about 25 miles from Sochi.
Sochi Adventure Park will debut with 35 rides and attractions themed to Russian folklore, sagas, legends and history. The park is modeled after a Disneyland-style village with five themed lands: Gate of Fire (tribute to past Olympics), Enchanted Forest (Russian fairy tales), Fortress of Warriors (Russian literary heroes) and Science Fiction City (Space fantasy).
At its debut, one of the star features for families visiting Adventure Park will no doubt be the Enchanted Forest. A storybook world with a carousel, labyrinth, fantasy playground and puppetry, this area of the park also boasts traditional flying swings and spinning teacup rides. The family-appropriate trackless interactive ride “Journey Into Darkness” and thematic roller coaster “Blue Fire” will also reside in the Enchanted Forest, as will themed characters from the other Adventure Park attractions.
In the City of Science and Fiction, visitors can get their thrills from a giant gravity roller coaster or play games against an intelligent robot. A cat-and-mouse-style family roller coaster will also be housed here. The Gate of Fire segment of the park will have more interactive games, as well as a free-fall ride and a flight simulator showing the expansive sights of Russia.
Throughout the entire park there will be many theater and music experiences for visitors, including a music and laser light show on the lake in the Gate of Fire area, a “5D cinema” in the City of Science and Fiction, and productions in the 600-seat Royal Theater in Enchanted Forest. In the Fortress of Warriors park area, two more large theaters are planned – an amphitheater and a 1,200 seat circus arena.
Its complement the pedestrian street with shopping malls and restaurants, a fiery alley with dozens of torches, an artificial lake with dancing fountains and light show, the hotel complex with 350 rooms, a children’s playground, with a fair market place and selling products of local manufacturers, craft series and the best tasting room Kuban wines.
The park will feature three roller coasters:
A 3,500-foot-long Mack launch coaster with a loop, inline twist and horseshoe roll similar to Blue Fire at Europa Park in Germany.
A 191-foot-tall Vekoma inverted boomerang shuttle coaster with a cobra roll and loop similar to the Deja Vu coasters once found at several Six Flags parks in the U.S.
A 1,200-foot-long Mack wild mouse kiddie coaster similar to the Dark Knight coasters found at several Six Flags parks.
The marquee attractions will include the Journey Into the Darkness trackless dark ride, the Flight Over Russia flying theater (similar to Disney’s Soarin’ rides), and a pair of Sci-Fi simulators.
The centerpiece of the park will be a combo drop and launch tower by S&S Worldwide that will be topped by a cauldron of fire.
Entertainment will include a puppet show, falconry exhibition, circus and a Bellagio-style nightly water spectacular with laser and fire effects.
The rest of the park will be filled out with a collection of carnival rides that include a Music Express caterpillar ride, flying swing carousel, spinning teacups, merry-go-round, kiddie train and a Kamikaze-style twin-armed pendulum ride called Double Hammer.
Adventure Park clearly pays homage to the Disneyland model, which is a great approach for celebrating beloved Russian folk tales. It’s a model that works for both families and amusement park-enthusiasts alike, and there will never be a more appropriate time to honor Russian history than at the park’s debut at the Winter Olympics.
By Brady MacDonald, Los-Angeles Times