January 10, 2001
Oklahoma City, OK -- Six Flags, Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement with Busch Entertainment Corp. to purchase its SeaWorld park in Aurora, Ohio. The 232-acre marine-themed park will combine with Six Flags' recently branded, 520-acre Six Flags Ohio theme park, Six Flags campgrounds and hotel properties to create one of the largest entertainment destinations in the Midwest. Six Flags, Inc. acquired SeaWorld park in Ohio for $110 million in cash.
"Acquisition of SeaWorld in Ohio is a great fit for us," Kieran E. Burke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Six Flags, stated. "Located immediately adjacent to our Six Flags Ohio theme park, this park will significantly enhance our entertainment package in the Midwest -- creating a mega entertainment value under the Six Flags umbrella." Six Flags has extensive experience working with marine mammals, fish, birds and aquatic animals through its existing parks with zoological attractions: Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, CA and Six Flags Great Adventure/Wild Safari in New Jersey.
Six Flags, then Premier Parks, purchased Geauga Lake in 1995 as part of the Funtime Parks. The transformation of the park into Six Flags Ohio followed an infusion of capital that included construction of six world-class roller coasters over the past three years, an expansive family water park and a high-quality children's area featuring those lovable Looney Tunes characters. SeaWorld has been a popular tourist attraction in Ohio since 1970 with seven live shows and more than 20 predominately water-themed attractions. Both properties feature a diverse slate of shows and attractions that appeal to the entire family.
"The rebranding of Geauga Lake to Six Flags Ohio in 2000 generated record breaking attendance for Six Flags," Burke said. "The power of Six Flags' special brand of thrills coupled with SeaWorld's shows equals an entertainment value that simply can't be beat. Merging the two parks in Ohio provides an unbelievable opportunity for synergies and increased growth in attendance and revenue categories for Six Flags."
Six Flags Ohio announced this week the addition of its 10th thrill coaster, X-Flight. X-Flight defies the laws of gravity by allowing riders to fly 115 feet in the air without an airplane. This monster thrill coaster features 180-degree inversions, eight exhilarating loops, spins and spiral twists over 3,340 feet of steel track. Capital plans for the new Six Flags destination in Ohio, including both park properties, are under discussion and will be announced at a later date.