Billed as a night-time theme park, the Celebration City theme park in Branson was a raging success right up until the end. Together with its sister park, Silver Dollar City, the park celebrated American life and various elements of the geography of the United States. Attractions included a miniature Route 66, a boardwalk from the 1920's, and a small town America from the 1900's.
The theme park opened in 2003 on the site of a former park known as Mutton Hollow. It had been purchased by the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation and completely redesigned and redecorated. The park featured several rides, including a log flume opened in 2008, as well as a water, fire and laser show that ran nightly.
The typical season for the park was May to October. Unfortunately, like many other parts of the country, Branson has felt the effects of the economic downturn. Lower visitor levels had left many attractions with unmet financial obligations. Celebration City found itself struggling to pay the bills as the 2008 tourist season progressed.
After much deliberation and speculation in the local press, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation made an announcement. The park would finish the 2008 season but would not be reopening for the 2009 season. The recent upgrades and additions such as the log flume ride had put the park into an unprofitable position.
It is not known what will happen to the Celebration City theme park location. With the recently refurbished attractions still in good working order, it could make an attractive item on the auction block. The Herschend Family may also decide to simply let the park sit out a year while the market recovers and tourist traffic goes back up to former levels. Either way, the night-time entertainment of the park will be sorely missed in Branson.
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