From time to time, the staff of Theme Park Adventure wish to speak their minds about various topics regarding the themed entertainment industry. More often than not, it will be Rick West, who founded TPA in 1994. Rick serves as a Creative Director/Show Writer for the themed entertainment industry and never is shy when it comes to sharing his opinions. Here, other TPA staff members may also share their perspectives with you…

Bahooka Drama Continues: WHERE is Rufus?

bahooka22Talk about a whale of a tale! In March of 2013, Bahooka, one of Southern California’s oldest and most beloved kooky tiki restaurant/bar establishments closed its doors for business, sending sentimental shockwaves throughout the fan community across the U.S. and beyond. While the details of what transpired between family members remain vague, there is one certainty – those left with control over Bahooka simply didn’t want it anymore, and so, the property was sold.

Shortly after the sale, word came that a new owner would be renovating Bahooka as a Chinese Restaurant, which prompted tiki fans far and wide to ask exactly what would happen to the establishment’s most famous resident – Rufus, a huge, carrot-eating, nearly 40 year-old Pacu that had became a celebrity over a period of decades at the location.

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Santa’s Village in Skyforest to Reopen?

sv32In 1955, a theme park opened in Southern California where families could go and spend a fun-filled day together riding unique attractions, eating delicious baked goods and food, and loading up on whimsical souvenirs including a photo with the big guy himself! We’re not talking Disneyland however – we’re talking about Santa’s Village, in Skyforest, California!

For decades, so many SoCal residents grew up visiting that magical place in the San Bernardino National Forest – and since the park’s closure in 1998, so many of us have looked back on Santa’s Village with utmost fondness and growing nostalgia.

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A Call For Enrichment and Education Within the Themed Entertainment Industry

Themed Entertainment Show Writer / Creative Director Rick West

Show Writer / Creative Director Rick West

I have written about the themed entertainment industry, attractions of all kinds, and the men and women behind them for more than 20 years. I have seen a lot in the past two decades, from the opening of Luxor in Las Vegas with its groundbreaking Doug Trumbull attraction trilogy to the modernization of the San Diego Zoo with high tech habitats such as Hippo Beach and Polar Bear Plunge. I’ve watched Six Flags Magic Mountain build and open some of the biggest scream machines on Earth, and have been around to cover both the original opening day and re-dedication of Disney California Adventure.

Throughout my travels, I have been fortunate enough to interview some incredibly influential individuals for Theme Park Adventure, from Marion Knott to Marty Sklar. Always awed by their accomplishments and life stories, the history of the theme park industry has always been near and dear to my heart; often times, more exciting and engaging than the present. Not because the now isn’t exciting – it is, and it is my own profession – but hearing about how the pioneers did things from scratch with a vision and elbow grease… those stories and events capture my heart, and truly shaped the industry we all love and cherish today.

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Terminator 2:3D at Universal Studios Hollywood

The first time I saw T2:3D – Battle Across Time was not in Los Angeles, but rather, in Florida at Universal Studios there. The impact and impression it left on me was deep, and as a theme park fan, it was one of those plateau moments when your jaw hits the floor and you know that you’ve just witnessed a true step forward in “E” Ticket experiences.

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