New Theme Park Sets Opening
The new AstroWorld sets an opening date: Houston's next theme park to blast off in 2015
Officials with the hotly-anticipated Grand Texas Theme Park unveiled fresh details of their upcoming 630-acre entertainment district, capturing the imaginations of those longing for a worthy successor to the long-shuttered Six Flags AstroWorld.
Located along Highway 59 just north of the New Caney exit, the amusement park is expected to open by summer 2015 with seven theme areas devoted to Lone Star history and culture. The Montgomery County Police Reporter blog notes that the project will feature several roller coasters, including one slated to be one of the 10 largest wooden roller coasters in the nation.
Grand Texas' Monty Galland assured the East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce that the theme park is only a single component of a larger plan that involves 450,000 square feet for retail and dining, multiple hotels, an RV area and a 6,000-seat stadium designed for minor league baseball games.
"Instead of big swaths of concrete, you will see water slides that wind around the towering oak trees."
Also on the drawing boards is an elaborate water park that will tap into the region's natural landscape, surely a nod to EarthQuest, the ecologically-minded amusement park planned for a plot of land a mile south of Grand Texas.
"Big Rivers Water Park is a 40-acre site where we will integrate the natural surroundings that is already there. Instead of big swaths of concrete, you will see water slides that wind around the towering oak trees and the lazy river will meander through the forest setting that is already there," Galland explained during the meeting. Along with two hotels, the water park will open several months before the theme park.
The Police Reporter says additional nature-themed amusements — a wakeboard lake, equestrian trails and zip lines — are planned throughout the entertainment district as well as an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and hockey games.
To see Grand Texas to fruition, theme park owners have assembled a team of industry heavy-hitters that includes former AstroWorld general manager Chuck Hendrix and one-time Six Flags Magic Mountain director Bob Logan. Bob Runyon, who designed Woodlands Market Street, serves as chief architect of the project while designer Bruce Robinson (formerly of Angry Birds Theme Park and Dollywood) will oversee all theme concepts.
By 2020, officials anticipate 4.5 million annual visitors to the theme park district, which will bring roughly 2,000 new jobs to the area. As many as 1,600 construction workers are expected to be used during the building process, which begins in January.