After watching bobsledders, ski jumpers and snowboarders, spectators at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be able to take a thrill ride of their own at a theme park next to the Olympic village.
The $300-million Sochi Adventure Park is to open in late 2013, just ahead of the Games, and continue as a year-round theme park after the Olympics end in February. Organizers envision repurposing the sporting venues, theme park, hotels, apartments and retail shops into a resort destination after the Olympics.
Sochi isn't the typical Winter Olympics host city. Temperatures in the subtropical palm-tree-lined resort city on the Black Sea rarely dip below 40 degrees. Olympic alpine events will be in Krasnaya Polyana, a mountain ski area about 25 miles from Sochi.
Sochi Adventure Park will debut with 35 rides and attractions themed to Russian folklore, sagas, legends and history. The park will be divided into four themed lands: Gate of Fire (tribute to past Olympics), Enchanted Forest (Russian fairy tales), Fortress of Warriors (Russian literary heroes) and Science Fiction City (Space fantasy).
The park will feature three roller coasters:
> A 3,500-foot-long Mack launch coaster with a loop, inline twist and horseshoe roll similar to Blue Fire at Europa Park in Germany.
> A 191-foot-tall Vekoma inverted boomerang shuttle coaster with a cobra roll and loop similar to the Deja Vu coasters once found at several Six Flags parks in the U.S.
> A 1,200-foot-long Mack wild mouse kiddie coaster similar to the Dark Knight coasters found at several Six Flags parks.
The marquee attractions will include the Journey Into the Darkness trackless dark ride, the Flight Over Russia flying theater (similar to Disney's Soarin' rides), a pair of Sci-Fi simulators and a 5D special effects theater.
The centerpiece of the park will be a combo drop and launch tower by S&S; Worldwide that will be topped by a cauldron of fire.
Entertainment will include a puppet show, falconry exhibition, circus and a Bellagio-style nightly water spectacular with laser and fire effects.
The rest of the park will be filled out with a collection of carnival rides that include a Music Express caterpillar ride, flying swing carousel, spinning teacups, merry-go-round, kiddie train and a Kamikaze-style twin-armed pendulum ride called Double Hammer.
Related theme park stories and photo galleries:
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SeaWorld San Diego: Aquatica