View Full Version : Miami Metro Zoo Proposed Amusment Park

Johnny Upsidedown
11-20-2005, 12:26 PM
Here is an article in the Miami Harold about possible expansion of the Metro Zoo to include roller coasters and rides. Article is here http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/13218689.htm
And the article below

`This could be our Universal Studios'

A plan to develop the land surrounding Miami Metrozoo into an entertainment venue could be approved this year. Undeveloped land near Miami Metrozoo would become an Orlando-style entertainment mecca under plans that Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation officials have submitted to the county's planning and zoning department. A county-owned parking lot at the zoo site would be redeveloped into a $75
million destination featuring a water park, vacation hotel, Main Street with shops and restaurants and a new transportation museum.

''This could be our Universal Studios,'' said Miami-Dade Commission Vice
Chairman Dennis Moss, whose district includes Metrozoo. The attractions -- which Moss said could be in place as early as 2010 --
would be paid for by developers, who would lease the land from the county and help offset zoo operating costs, parks officials said. The proposal, dubbed the ''Metrozoo Entertainment Area,'' coincides with a
$360 million makeover at the zoo, which plans to add more themed exhibits over the next 20 years.

No date has been set for the application to go before the Miami-Dade
Commission for final approval, though parks officials hope public hearings are held by next spring. If approved, the 121-acre entertainment venue would forever change the landscape of South Dade. Zoo and parks officials say it would provide long-term benefits to the local economy and job market.

''There were years and years of discussions of how to make this happen,'' said Metrozoo Director Eric Stephens. ``We are very much in favor of it.'' Planners optimistically estimate that the new attractions could increase annual zoo attendance from the current 500,000 to about 2.5 million. They would bring in at least $890,000 in revenue to the county, Asher said.

Visitors to the new development would be able to dine at an upscale
restaurant, window-shop along Main Street and perhaps even hang upside down on a roller coaster. The zoo expansion plans include an $8.5 million family entertainment center with a miniature golf course, go-kart racing, arcade and skating rink. Within walking distance would be a $22 million water park featuring a wave pool, lazy river and slides.

For history buffs, the $18 million redesigned Gold Coast Railroad and
Transportation Museum would highlight the influence of trains, planes, boats and blimps on South Florida. Also proposed: a moderately-priced vacation hotel that would cost about $26 million to build.

Another aspect of the proposal is a $200 million adventure theme park with roller coasters and a $60 million resort hotel on an additional 260 acres. Those elements are on hold, though, until Metrozoo acquires the land from the U.S. Coast Guard. Negotiations are under way, parks officials said. Asher, of the parks department, said changes are needed to make the 24-year-old zoo more appealing to visitors. 'The idea was not only to make the zoo a bigger and better place but to provide other essential attractions people want to go to,'' he said. The market would be locals as well as tourists, he said -- and tourism officials say the revamped zoo would be a welcome addition.

''Miami is emerging as a family travel destination,'' said William Talbert,
president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. ``The more attractions, the better.'' Maybe not better in every way, say some South Dade residents, who worry they would be the ones to suffer growing pains from a Metrozoo expansion.

''The traffic issues are going to be a nightmare,'' said Ory Dawes,
president of the Country Walk Master Homeowners Association -- particularly on already congested thoroughfares such as Southwest 152nd Street and the Florida Turnpike. Still, Dawes, a Country Walk resident for 14 years, isn't opposed to the project. She said it would be a great place for children and adults. County officials, who have hosted several community meetings with South Dade residents to discuss the zoo plans, say they are studying how to improve roadways to address the traffic concerns.

One possibility, Commissioner Moss said, would be to create an exit off the Turnpike to funnel vehicles directly in and out of the zoo site. Whatever the resolution, Moss said, ``We're not going to go into this
situation where we create a burden on the community.''

Officials hope the new attractions would lure additional visitors to
Metrozoo, which is getting a major makeover, including the $13.5 million
Wings of Asia aviary and the $35 million Tropical America exhibit featuring animals of the rainforest. The zoo redesign is being funded by the general obligation bond program approved by Miami-Dade voters in 2004, by the Safe Neighborhood Parks bond and by private donations.
Plans to develop the land near the zoo have been in the works for many years. After Hurricane Andrew flattened South Dade in 1992, Moss searched for ways to revitalize the struggling area. He decided a theme park would be the perfect way to boost the local economy while also providing jobs. At one point, Homestead Air Reserve Base was considered the prime spot for the attraction, but that idea didn't pan out, Moss said. In 2000, the county hired The Portico Group, a Seattle-based zoo planning and design firm, to draw up a plan to redesign the zoo. A study done at the same time determined that an entertainment area near the zoo would be a good idea.

Moss is proud to see the project finally coming to life.
''You can go to South Beach and hang out and party all night and you can go to Aventura and shop, but you can't find a place in Miami-Dade County where you can find an amusement park,'' he said. ``This will be a magnet that will draw visitors from the county and all over.''

11-20-2005, 06:04 PM
This sounds pretty cool. I hope this pulls through. I go to Hollywood, Florida once or twice a year to see friends, and I can't always make the 4 hour trip to Orlando to hit a theme park. The Dania Beach Hurricane is close by, but thats just one coaster, in a go cart park.

11-20-2005, 06:27 PM
I have heard this for a billion times over the past two years I have been actively posting at coaster forums.

I'm waiting for some concept art or construction pics. Other than that, I think it will never happen...

12-10-2006, 05:38 PM
So does that 260 acres for the theme park & hotel include the parking lot? I am hoping that there is a main parking lot on the current property like at WDW with tram service to the main gate of the park. 260 acres is decent size if you don't need to use up 50-60 acres for parking. They need room for a HUGE RECORD BREAKING out & back type EXTREME airtime machine!! I don't want to see them making the mistake of filling up the park with boring loopers until they run out of space for the type of coaster I want to see and making the park landlocked! I just hope they put in either an El Toro, Voyage or a Nitro type design. Not exact clone but rides that offer LOTS of STRONG airtime with zero dead hills and an extremely steep first drop. I think a year round park needs a #1 ride and it hasn't happen yet!! All the #1 rides has been located in seasonal parks. I think its time for a year round world class airtime machine! And I hope the park comes to fruition!!