Some ideas are best left in the past. Others, I come back to them and think: you know what, this holds up. In the latter group I place Land of Liberty, the amusement park. I’m not Elon Musk, and so I don’t have the billion dollars of startup that this would take. I also don’t know any Elon Musks. But I’m not even sure this is really an action item; it might make more sense as a background in a movie or just a TV episode. I’m just going to leave this idea right here, for future reference (and copyright).
This amusement park would be built as a “scale model” of the 48 contiguous states, scaled so that a bird’s-eye view of the park would look like the familiar shape, you know, this
and would be about the size of Disneyland or equivalent amusement parks. The trick is getting the right type and amount of rides, placed in their appropriate geographical locations. I haven’t yet decided what to do with Alaska, Hawaii, or for that matter Alabama. Rough-draft list of attractions (subject to change with or without notice):
SEATTLE SWING: Swing chair ride based upon the famous Space Needle. Should see Pike Place Market, Seattle Superdome, etc.
CABLE CAR CRUNCH: Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like a cable car, then “ride” the more famous sights of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, and Alcatraz.
L.A. FREEWAY (roller coaster): Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like a sports car, and “ride” around Los Angeles at something like breakneck speed, cutting off other drivers, sailing through red lights. With requisite visions of Hollywood sign, Mann’s Chinese Theater, Santa Monica pier sign, etc.
SAN DIEGO PETTING ZOO: Optional, but we may need something for the little kids around here.
MINI-VEGAS MINI-STRIP: At risk of/enjoying being a simulacrum of a simulacrum of a simulacrum, the idea would be to turn a simple street into a Potemkin village of facades that resemble each of the big casinos (e.g. Bellagio, Aria, Luxor, Caesar’s Palace), and make each of those facades somehow casino-esque: slot machines, betting tables, even pinball. These would be kid-friendly, perhaps with park tokens.
COLORADO RIVER RUN: Raft should be round, with rubber bottom (like Disney’s Grizzly River Run/Kali River Rapids rides). Starting in “Colorado,” sailing past Mesa Verde and Four Corners, and spending second half in simulation model of Grand Canyon. Finish near Hoover Dam, mini-Vegas.
CARLS-KID CAVERNS: Fun caves for kids, with superficial resemblance to the real life reference.
LONE STAR STAGECOACH: Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like a stagecoach, and “ride” around old and new Texas, e.g. cattle drives, the Alamo, downtown Dallas and Houston.
BAYOU BIG SPIN: Somewhat audaciously, this would be four or five Ferris wheels stacked next to each other, and next to a riverboat model, to look like a jumbo-sized “Mark Twain”-like riverboat. Nearby visions of Bourbon Street, jazz greats.
OLD FAITHFUL FREE FALL: Pretty much what it sounds like, though done in the newer style where the car of passengers goes up and down the “geyser” a few times. Queue should have visions of Yellowstone, pools of lava.
KID RUSHMORE: Mount Rushmore tricked out to be diaphanous (you can see through it) and made into a kids paradise, with slides off Presidents’ noses, a bouncy castle in one head, a plastic ball pit in another head, foam-er versions of former Presidents (get it?) in another head, like that.
COUNTRY FAIR: Somewhere around Iowa/Missouri, the traditional country fair: series of booths featuring cotton candy, hot dogs, popcorn, “3 for a dollar” games, et cetera. Booths should showcase nearby states that may not otherwise be represented all that well (e.g. Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota). Part of this would be…
ST. LOUIS ARCH SPIN: Standard “round-up” ride where 30-40 persons stand on a large circle which, in this case, climbs up, spinning, into a model of the St. Louis Arch.
KENTUCKY CAROUSEL: Tricked out to look like the Kentucky Derby.
INDY 500 KIDWAY: Kids get to ride in cars that look like the famous race cars, somewhat like Disney’s Autopia, though centered around one NASCAR-like track.
CHICAGO’S THE LOOP (roller coaster): Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like a Chicago subway, and “ride” around Chicago, incuding at least one loop-de-loop, to justify the name (to people who don’t know that “The Loop” is Chicago’s subway).
DETROIT CLASSIC CARS: Low-key ride where kids/parents ride around in cars designed as simulations of classic Cadillacs, Thunderbirds, etc.
GREAT LAKES GREAT LOGS: The standard/required log ride, in this case making a big deal out of falling out of Niagara Falls (simulated, of course).
BOSTON BUMPERS: The bumper car attraction, though updated with at least triple the usual amount of bumper cars, and including many Boston street names/monuments on conspicuous display.
THE NEW YORKER (roller coaster): Should be the most elaborate, intense roller coaster at the park. Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like a New York subway, and “ride” around New York (not so unlike the ride at New York New York in real Vegas, but better), with notable integration of the Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center/Times Square, etc. Perhaps one portion gets “wooden” and rickety (as a fake) as we enter, then leave, Coney Island.
A PHILADELPHIA FOUNDING: This would be something new: you sit in an audience and it takes you through several rooms, a bit like the old America Sings, but in this case holograms of our founding fathers walk around you and argue and get things done. Starts with the Declaration of Independence, then the Articles of Confederation, then the Constitution, then Hamilton/Jefferson/Washington fight over Assumption, then the Whiskey Rebellion, then the rise of parties/election of 1800. At exit, people can pose with/ring the cracked Liberty Bell.
WASHINGTON WHIPLASH (roller coaster): Board a standard-sized attraction car (holding 6-8 people) tricked out to look like the Lincoln Memorial; start by ascending the Washington Monument and do a Free Fall from it, which catches you at the last moment and lets you “ride” around the White House, Congress, other notables.
CAPE CANAVERAL VOYAGE: This would be done something like Star Tours/Spider-Man (Universal Studios), with an audience in a “movie” that’s almost a flight simulator. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 liftoff, and we can see Florida behind us, and then a ride through space, and then something goes wrong, requiring an “emergency” re-entry and landing in Florida again.