Located just off of Interstate 77 in Charlotte, North Carolina lies the 407-acre Carowinds amusement park. Part of the park can be found in North Carolina, and another part can be found near Fort Mill, South Carolina. Its administrative headquarters, however, are in Charlotte, hence the park’s official address. On March 31, 1973, the park opened to the public at a price tag of $70 million. It has been in the works for four years, with Charlotte industrialist Earl Patterson Hall at the helm. Carowinds is owned and run by Cedar Fair, and entry to the park includes access to Carolina Harbor, a water park that spans 27 acres. SCarowinds, the Halloween festival, and WinterFest, the winter event, are both held at the park.
The initial concept for Carowinds, which was launched in October 1969, was for a massive resort that would feature not only a theme park but also hotels, a shopping mall, a golf course, and an NFL stadium. The park’s name, a portmanteau of the two states’ names in honor of the breezes that blow between them, was inspired by the Carolinas’ rich cultural heritage. In May of 1970, construction began on what was expected to open in April of the following year. The park opened in March 1973 under the control of the Carowinds Corporation, a group of local investors led by Hall who had experienced many building delays owing to weather. Plans for the resort were put on hold when the first season’s attendance of almost 1.2 million guests was reduced due to the 1973 oil crisis. In early 1975, Carowinds Corporation merged with Taft Broadcasting because to declining attendance and growing debt.
In 1993, the park adopted its current name, Paramount’s Carowinds. The park now features films and series from Paramount Pictures, such as Days of Thunder. The walkway from the park’s main entrance to its central hub is where the Paramount Walk of Fame may be found. In 1994, the Hurler roller coaster was installed as the centerpiece of Wayne’s World, a three-acre themed area that recreated the Hollywood set made famous by the Paramount film of the same name.
The Power Station, a three-story climbing structure, and the Kids’ Studio, an outdoor amphitheater for children’s shows, were both part of Animation Station’s interactive experience for kids, which debuted in 1995. The skycoaster ride Skycoaster debuted in Wayne’s World on June 30 of that year. In the same general region, the Drop Zone: Stunt Tower was constructed in 1996. With over one and a half million visitors, the park is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations in the Carolinas. In 1997, for the park’s silver anniversary, RipTide Reef was transformed into WaterWorks at a cost of $7.5 million, doubling its size to 12 acres. ZOOM ZONE premieres in 1998 on Animation Station. The expansion adds 3.5 acres of land and three new rides (Taxi Jam, Chopper Chase, and Road Rally). The 1999 addition of Top Gun: The Jet Coaster, at a cost of $10.5 million, was the largest investment in the park’s history.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Water Destruction Masters