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Carwardine Parks is an amusement parks & leisure property company headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, U.S., and founded in 1980 by it's CEO Christopher R. Carwardine. It is currently a subsidiary of Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Wágner, it had been owned by The Mills Corporation from 1998 to 2007 when it was sold to Grupo Wágner as Mills became apart of Simon Property Group.

Carwardine, aside from building it's own parks such as Carwardine Colony and The World of Redwall, has been known for buying & turning around struggling theme parks. Christopher's 2016 biography reflects this, titled "Resurrecting America's Theme Parks" and featuring anecdotes and other stories regarding the company's projects and acquisitions.

History

The first park, Carwardine Colony, was planned in the mid-to-late-1970s by regional real estate mogul Christopher R. Carwardine after he bought a disused landfill known locally as the "Trash Heap from Hell". During the oil crisis, Christopher decided to add the focus of a large theme park that wasn't far away from the beaches of Virginia.

After the success of the first park, the company was founded in August of 1980.

In 1995, Jeffery Katzenberg, after being fired from Disney, was made Chairman and President to reinvigorate the company. He was resigned in 2002 due to a reorganization in the company.

During the Mills Corporation's ownership of Carwardine Parks, they added in some parks some non-anchor stores that were normally found inside malls to some of the parks. They also made the PBS Kids Neighborhood brand the kids area of most Carwardine Parks in the United States.

Mobile cameras on rides without a permit from the Carwardine Video Program were banned in 2000, as CVP members (among them: Theme Park Review, TUBERIDES, CoasterForce, Coaster Studios, Koaster Kids, etc.) have to follow a strict set of rules (1. You must have a wrist attachment. 2. Waterproof cameras required for waterpark use. 3. Camera glasses are allowed. 4. Spy cameras are banned. 5. You must pay $10 a year for the Video Program), however, in 2011 the ban was relaxed for people with mobile phones on select attractions (Train rides, Coasters that are below 100ft and don't go upside down, and all floored Enterprises/Rangers (The floorless variants still ban phones, due to a lack of a cage).

Licenses In The Parks

Current

  • The Andy Griffith Show & Mayberry R.F.D. (since 1993)
  • Angelina Ballerina (since 2003)
  • Animorphs (since 1998)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (since 2000; bought the licenses from Premier Parks, since Six Flags won't use the license)
  • Barney & Friends (since 2003; license shared with Universal Parks & Resorts)
  • Blazing Dragons (since 1997)
  • Care Bears (since 1987)
  • Devo (since 2005)
  • Dragon Tales (since 2003)
  • Doctor Who (since 2006)
  • Eckhart (since 2003)
  • El Chavo (since 2016)
  • Franklin (since 2000)
  • Garfield (since 1997; license shared with Silverwood Theme Park)
  • The Get Along Gang (since 1987)
  • Goosebumps (since 1996)
  • Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (since 1993)
  • Guardians of Ga'Hoole (since 2013)
  • Hi-5 (since 2003)
  • Homestar Runner (since 2017)
  • Inspector Gadget (since 1986)
  • LazyTown (since 2004)
  • Little Bear (since 2000)
  • Li'l Abner (since 1994) (Current at Dogpatch USA; Semi-Current at all other parks)
  • Matlock (since 1993)
  • Mega Man (since 1995)
  • Minecraft (since 2012; Licenses bought from Notch himself back in September 2011)
  • Mole Miner (since 2003)
  • Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend (since 1999)
  • NFL (since 2017; US parks only)
  • Nickelodeon properties (since 2002; license shared with Triple Five Group, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, Universal Parks & Resorts, Sunway Group, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach)
  • Nintendo (since 1990; licenses now halved by both Carwardine and Universal, meaning that they both have licenses to Nintendo, but can't have the same attractions)
  • Pee-wee Herman (since 2011)
  • Power Rangers (1995-2002; since 2013)
  • The Raccoons (since 2001; license shared with Six Flags for Six Flags Winnipeg)
  • The Red Green Show (since 2000)
  • Redwall (since 2000; license shared with the following companies: Renald-Zanni Entertainment & The Redwall Abbey Company Ltd. for live shows and character appearances at independent parks such as York's Wild Kingdom and Arnolds Park Amusement Park; Six Flags for Six Flags El Kadsre, Six Flags Taiwan, and Six Flags Bahamas; and the owners of Charlesburg Lake Park)
  • Richard Scarry (since 1990)
  • ROBLOX (since 2017)
  • Transformers (since 1986; license shared with Universal Parks & Resorts; Carwardine is mostly restricted to using elements from G1 due to Universal using elements from the movies)
  • The Rock-afire Explosion (since 1990)
  • Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat (since 2003)
  • Sailor Moon (since 2018)
  • The Secret of NIMH (since 1995)
  • Shining Time Station/Thomas and Friends (1994-2007 in all parks, since 2019 in some parks; license shared with Kennywood Entertainment Company and Edaville Family Theme Park)
  • Silverwing (since 2003)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (since 1995)
  • Team Fortress 2 (since 2012)
  • The Three Stooges (since 1992)
  • Toad Patrol (since 2003)
  • VeggieTales (since 1998)
  • Warrior Cats (since 2009; license shared with Renald-Zanni Entertainment for live shows and character appearances at independent parks such as York's Wild Kingdom and Arnolds Park Amusement Park)
  • Watership Down (since 2000)
  • Wings of Fire (since 2018)
  • The Wiggles (since 2013)

Semi-Current

These licenses don't have their own lands or attractions anymore, but the characters still wander around the park, appear in parades, have stage shows, and have meet & greet areas.

  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (since 1995)
  • Anatole (since 2000)
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs (1997-2002; since 2013)
  • Heathcliff & The Catillac Cats (since 1986)
  • McDonald's/McDonaldland (since 1989, mostly just the main characters of the franchise, but Mac Tonight did appear as an animatronic in Mayberry USA until a 2002 renovation that made the restaurant more "hometown", Freestyle Adventure City has a Mac Tonight animatronic in their McDonald's, which is a hand me down from a McDonald's in Atlanta licensed out to the Carwardine family)
  • Mortal Kombat (since 1996)
  • Noddy (since 1998)
  • Simsala Grimm (since 2004)
  • Strawberry Shortcake (since 1987)
  • Wunderkind Little Amadeus (since 2009)

Former

  • American Eagle Outfitters (2006-2011; AEO operated stores in some parks before closing the in park American Eagle and 77 Kids stores due to the stores being under performing and that resulted in American Eagle Outfitters terminating their licensing agreement with Carwardine)
  • DreamWorks (1995-2007; lost the rights due to Grupo Wagner buying out the parks)
  • LEGO (1995-2005; gradually toned down their usage of the license following Legoland California's opening before losing the licensing rights after Merlin Entertainments bought the Legoland chain)
  • Marvel Comics (1993-1998; lost the licensing rights to Universal Studios in 1998)
  • Masked Rider (1995-2002)
  • Neale Godfrey's Money Town (1996-1999)
  • PBS Kids (1999-2007; lost the licensing rights due to various disagreements)
  • Sesame Street (1989-2007; license shared with Anheuser-Busch; lost the licensing rights along with those for PBS Kids due to various disagreements)
  • The Simpsons (1990-2007; licenses lost to Universal Studios)
  • Tony Hawk (2000-2006; lost the licensing rights to Six Flags)
  • Toys "R" Us (2001-2017; lost the licensing right due to the store chain's bankruptcy, TRU Kids and Carwardine Parks may come back together if they both survive the coronavirus with at least $10 a share)
  • VR Troopers (1995-2002)

Canceled

Properties

Current theme parks

CarwardineUS

"You Can't Go on Any Horizontal Highway Without Crossing A Carwardine Park"

Name Location Year Opened Year Acquired Notes CWID
Action Park & New Jersey's Backyard Vernon Township, New Jersey, U.S. 1978 2016 Purchase price $17M. Purchased from the Mulvihil Family.
Akron Acres Akron, Ohio, U.S. 1924 1990 Often bundled together with Geauga Lake. Purchase Price $6M. AA10
Alabama's Backyard Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. 1995 2002 Purchase price $20M.
Alaska Frontier Park Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. 1995 - New-build indoor theme park. Formerly known as "Marvel Frontier Park" [1995-1998]. FP19
Albuquerque Adventure City Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. 1998 - New-build theme park. AA22
Andy Griffith's Mayberry U.S.A. Warren County, North Carolina, U.S. 1993 - New-build theme park MU15
Arizona's Backyard Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. 1995 2000 Bought from TechEruo, formerly TechEruo's Blazing Acres. Purchased for $10M.
AstroWorld Houston, Texas, U.S. 1968 2006 Purchase price $20M.
Billings' Wild Kingdom Billings, Montana, U.S. 1940 1982 Purchase price $4M. WK4
Brilliance Port Beaufort, North Carolina, U.S. 1972 1999 Purchase price $15M. BP25
Boblo Island Amusement Park Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada 1898 1993 Purchase price $14M. BI16
Boston Funplex Boston, Masachusetts, U.S. 1999 2011 Purchase price $13M.
Indoor theme park similar to the annual I-X Indoor Amusement Park event in Ohio.
Canada's Adventure City Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 1964 1985 Purchase price approx. $8M. AA5
Canada's Opryland Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada 1985 1996 Purchase price $5M CO20
Capital Adventure Acres Washington, D.C., U.S. 1999 - New-build theme park
Carwardine Colony Newport News, Virginia, U.S. 1980 - New-build theme park. Flagship park of the chain. CC1
Carwardine's Adventure Acres Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. 1988 - New-build theme park. First park in the chain to use the "Adventure Acres" moniker. Often credited as being America's first indoor amusement park. AA8
Celebration City Branson, Missouri, U.S. 2003 2010 Purchase price $2M.
Centerpoint Park Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 1969 1993 Described as "Niagara Falls' Coney Island" and as a New York counterpart to Boblo Island. Often bundled together with Darien Lake. Purchase price $1M. CP17
Cherokee Park Qualla Boundary, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S. 2003 - New-build theme park. Co-owned with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Chippewa Lake Park Chippewa Lake, Ohio, U.S. 1878 1982 First park purchased by Carwardine. Purchase price $900,000, only park bought by the company that costed less than a million dollars to buy. CL5
Colorado Canyon Evergreen, Colorado, U.S. 1999 - New-build theme park. Replacement for the original Colorado Canyon.
Darien Lake Darien Center, New York, U.S. 1981 2007 Purchased as part of a package deal with Six Flags.
Disney-Carwardine Studios Minneapolis Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. 1991 - New-build theme park. Owned in part with Disney. DC14
Dogpatch USA Marble Falls, Arkansas, U.S. 1968 2019 Carwardine had previously leased the park from and operated it on behalf of Ford Carr (1994-2005), Pruett Nance (2005-2014), and Bud Pelsor (2014-2019) before buying it outright in 2019. Purchase price $6M.
Durango Park El Paso, Texas, U.S. 2015 - New-build theme park
Dylan Park & Redwall Abbey Burlington, New Jersey, U.S. 1918 1993 Purchase price $20M. DP18
Entertainment Park Down Under Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1986 - New-build theme park, formerly known as Adventure City Down Under until 2012 when a dispute from Grupo Wagner made the park change name. EP7
Freestyle Adventure Acres Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S. 2008 2010 Purchase price $17M.
Screamin' Safari Angola, Indiana, U.S. 1956 2009 Purchase Price $4M. Formerly known as Fun Spot Amusement Park & Zoo.
Geauga Lake Geauga County, Ohio, U.S. 1887 2007 Purchase price $15M.
Great Escape Queensbury, New York, U.S. 1954 2007 Purchased as part of a package deal with Six Flags.
Hawaii Luna Park Wahiawa, Hawaii, U.S. 1950 1989 Purchase price $17M. LP9
Henlopen Playland Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S. 1925 1998 Purchase price $19M. HP23
Holy Land Park Roswell, Georgia, U.S. 2008 - New-build theme park.
Only religious-themed park owned by Carwardine.
Joyland Amusement Park Wichita, Kansas, U.S. 1949 2007 Purchase price $17M.
Kid's World Long Branch, New Jersey, U.S. 1990 - New-build theme park. Replacement of the original Kid's World, but is located mostly on the replacement pier to allow space for Pier Village KW11
La Cité Incroyable Saint-Alban, Quebec, Canada 1979 2001 Purchase price $16M.
Louisiana Jazzland New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. 2000 (original)
2018 (reopening)
2015 Purchase price $1M. Technically "bought" for $10M, but TechEruo's sponsorship made TechEruo pay $9M of the cost.
Maple Leaf Playland Surrey, British Columbia, Canada 1985 2001 Purchase price $11M.
Mount Amazement Great Barrington, Massachusetts, U.S. 2003 - New-build theme park
New Mexico's Backyard Roswell, New Mexico, U.S. 2003 - New-build theme park
New Roseland Park Canandaigua, New York U.S. 2000 - New-build theme park
Omaha Luna Park Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. 1916 1998 Purchase price $20M. LP24
Opryland Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. 2003 - New-build theme park. Not to be confused with the original park
Parque Aventura de México Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico 1999 - New-build theme park.
Phelworth Mining Site USA Sturbridge, Massachusetts, U.S. 2005 - New-build theme park
Rose Island Charlestown, Indiana, U.S. 1981 - New-build theme park, situated on the site of the original Rose Island on Fourteen Mile Creek. The site is currenly leased from Clark County and is part of Charlestown State Park. RI2
Rose Park Thomasville, Georgia, U.S. 1927 1983 Purchase price approx. $20M. RP4
Saudi Springs 1984 2003 Purchase price $2M.
Stoogeland Theem Park Nashua, New Hampshire, U.S. 1992 - New-build theme park. ST15
Tijuana's Adventure Acres - Ciudad de Aventura Tijuana Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico 1997 - New-build theme park. TA21
Utah's Backyard Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. 2013 - New-build theme park.
Warriors Woods Rome, Georgia, U.S. 2017 - New-build theme park.
The World of Watership Down Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. 2005 - New-build theme park.
Whalom Park Lunenburg, Massachusetts, U.S. 1893 2001 Purchase price $8M.
Williams Grove Amusement Park Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 1850 2007 Purchase Price $7M.
The World of Redwall Austin, Texas, U.S. 2004 - New-build theme park.
World of Redwall Europe Liverpool, England, U.K. 2015 - New-build theme park.
First Carwardine park in the United Kingdom.
Zábava Park Nitra, Slovakia 1959 1990 Purchased for US$5M from the Czechoslovakian government. ZP12

Current Water Parks

Does not include water parks located in amusement parks

Name Location Year Opened Year Acquired Notes
Alaska Springs Indoor Waterpark Anchorage, Alaska 2005 - New-build waterpark. Near Alaska Frontier Park.
Blazing Springs Flagstaff, Arizona 1996 2000 Bought from TechEruo in 2000, formerly TechEruo's Blazing Springs
Stoogeland Nitwit Springs Nashua, New Hampshire 2008 - New-build water park. Located on the same property as Stoogeland Theem Park.

Current Fairs

Current Venues

Current other properties

Upcoming Parks

Former Cruise Ships

The cruise line was discontinued in 2020 due to Coronavirus concerns, all of the roller coasters are sitting in the abandoned parking lot behind The World of Watership Down and will be auctioned off April 5th, 2020. Carwardine has expressed interest in restarting cruise line operations once the pandemic has passed, though with entirely new ships called "neo *greek letter*" (ex. Carwardine neoAlpha), as the majority of the old ships (except for Alpha, Kappa, Omega, Iota, and Zeta - which are being stored awaiting further decisions by Carwardine) are currently up for sale.

Former theme parks

Former other properties

Restaurant franchises in the parks

Most of the parks have one of these restaurant franchises. The soft drink brand who's products are served depends on the park (most Carwardine Parks serve Pepsi, others serve Coca-Cola: this is because Carwardine's soda contract is with Pepsi, however some of their acquired parks still serve Coca-Cola and run under their contract)

  • Burger King (at Geauga Lake and Screamin' Safari)
    • NOTE: Due to exclusivity rights, the Burger King at Geauga Lake is the only known location to serve Pepsi products instead of Coca-Cola. The standard Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is substituted with a Pepsi Spire, and the only drink from other locations that is kept is ICEE.
  • Carvel Ice Cream (at Carwardine Colony and AstroWorld)
  • Chick-Fil-A (at Whalom Park and Alabama's Backyard)
  • Cinnabon (at most locations)
  • Dairy Queen & Orange Julius (at most locations)
    • Dairy Queen Grill & Chill (at some locations)
  • Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins (at some locations)
  • Insomnia Cookies (at some locations)
  • Krispy Kreme (at some locations)
  • KFC (at some locations)
  • Lee's Sandwiches (at AstroWorld and The World of Redwall)
  • McDonald's (at some locations)
    • NOTE: Due to exclusivity rights, the McDonald's branches at Carwardine Colony, Freestyle Adventure City, Andy Griffith's Mayberry U.S.A. and Omaha Luna Park are among the few to serve Pepsi products instead of Coca-Cola, the others being in airports and formerly at the Mall of America.
  • Nestlé Toll House Café (at some locations)
  • Pizza Hut Express (at most locations)
  • Popeye's (at Louisiana Jazzland)
  • Pollo Campero (at Andy Griffith's Mayberry U.S.A. and Omaha Luna Park)
  • Roy Rogers (at Chippewa Lake Park, Boston Funplex, and Darien Lake)
  • Taco Bell (at some locations)
    • Taco Bell Express (at some locations)
  • Tim Hortons (at some locations)
  • Subway (all locations)
  • Starbucks (at Carwardine Colony, Capital Adventure City, Rose Park, and Geauga Lake)

Passports

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