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Earth Quest Adventure

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All right everyone,

Here's the info. that I gathered from yesterday evening's (12/9) EarthQuest Institute fundraiser event:

Phase I of the project seems to be ALL of the entertainment portion of the overall development... that is, we may actually be seeing EarthQuest Adventures theme park, EarthWalk retail/entertainment district, EarthQuest Institute non-profit museum, Green Gadget Garage family entertainment center, and Cretaceous Cove water park being built first. The theme park and Institute, however, as the biggest drawing points, will be constructed first.

Phase II of the project is all of the retail/office development along the 59 corridor.

Phase III of the project is all of the residential component on the far east side of the overall site.

EarthQuest Adventures

The theme park is currently divided into 6 sections, each branded with its own small icon. As of today, in Dec. '08, we'll see the following areas clockwise around the park:

Gateway (Entry area into park - signature attraction is a "nighttime spectacular" with fountains, lasers, etc...)

Land (Signature attraction is a big-time roller coaster, the one shown shooting up and out the volcano in the renderings. Also, a family/childrens' show called "Rocks Rock" will be located on the small island near the volcano coaster, which was highlighted briefly in the presentation.)

Life (Signature attractions are initial animal displays, a "birds of prey" show, and botanical gardens.)

Sky (Signature attraction is a big-time roller coaster called "F-5 Storm Chasers," appeared to be an inverted coaster which will have a launched lift, maybe like the Hulk coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure)

Water (Signature attraction - a family roller coaster currently called Glacier Mountain Bobsleds. An "Ice Caves Maze" was mentioned, likely a high-quality mirror maze experience)

Pangea (signature attraction - a family thrill ride - a submarine-type voyage into watery depths uncovered during the construction of the park - w/ sea monsters attacking, etc.)

For the time being, I have to head outta my house and get to work. I'll write more later about the park, the Institute, the models on display, and my conversations with Chris Brown of Contour Entertainment, as well as "Dino" Don Lessem himself!

Later -

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Thanks for all the information. Sounds great! I still can't help to be skeptical, but the details are appreciated. :)

All right everyone,

Pangea (signature attraction - a family thrill ride - a submarine-type voyage into watery depths uncovered during the construction of the park - w/ sea monsters attacking, etc.)

That sounds scary. I was always afraid of the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" ride at Disney World.

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All right everyone,

Here's the info. that I gathered from yesterday evening's (12/9) EarthQuest Institute fundraiser event:

Phase I of the project seems to be ALL of the entertainment portion of the overall development... that is, we may actually be seeing EarthQuest Adventures theme park, EarthWalk retail/entertainment district, EarthQuest Institute non-profit museum, Green Gadget Garage family entertainment center, and Cretaceous Cove water park being built first. The theme park and Institute, however, as the biggest drawing points, will be constructed first.

Phase II of the project is all of the retail/office development along the 59 corridor.

Phase III of the project is all of the residential component on the far east side of the overall site.

EarthQuest Adventures

The theme park is currently divided into 6 sections, each branded with its own small icon. As of today, in Dec. '08, we'll see the following areas clockwise around the park:

Gateway (Entry area into park - signature attraction is a "nighttime spectacular" with fountains, lasers, etc...)

Land (Signature attraction is a big-time roller coaster, the one shown shooting up and out the volcano in the renderings. Also, a family/childrens' show called "Rocks Rock" will be located on the small island near the volcano coaster, which was highlighted briefly in the presentation.)

Life (Signature attractions are initial animal displays, a "birds of prey" show, and botanical gardens.)

Sky (Signature attraction is a big-time roller coaster called "F-5 Storm Chasers," appeared to be an inverted coaster which will have a launched lift, maybe like the Hulk coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure)

Water (Signature attraction - a family roller coaster currently called Glacier Mountain Bobsleds. An "Ice Caves Maze" was mentioned, likely a high-quality mirror maze experience)

Pangea (signature attraction - a family thrill ride - a submarine-type voyage into watery depths uncovered during the construction of the park - w/ sea monsters attacking, etc.)

For the time being, I have to head outta my house and get to work. I'll write more later about the park, the Institute, the models on display, and my conversations with Chris Brown of Contour Entertainment, as well as "Dino" Don Lessem himself!

Later -

Well done. Thanks for the report.

Did you take any photos of the models? Can you post them? Did anyone in the know talk about a timeline or financial backing? This is such a huge project. It would be so good for Houston but I'm getting a little nervous because I think they were supposed to break ground this year and they haven't (or have they?)

Any more info you can share would be most appreciated.

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Well done. Thanks for the report.

Did you take any photos of the models? Can you post them? Did anyone in the know talk about a timeline or financial backing? This is such a huge project. It would be so good for Houston but I'm getting a little nervous because I think they were supposed to break ground this year and they haven't (or have they?)

Any more info you can share would be most appreciated.

Hey Peep - no problem... I have a TON more to report, and will try to do so concurrently with questions back from you guys here on the Forum... Here's the next batch of info. in response to your questions above:

I didn't get any definitive word on the actual, current status/amount of funds raised thus far, but Chris Brown (again, of Contour Entertainment) noted they're waiting for ALL of the funds to be in-hand before mobilizing at all, so the park does not fail, even mid-construction. I'm very disappointed to report that the 12-18 month timeframe on event the START of construction seems to be the real, current news. Groundbreaking might be very earliest in 3rd quarter of next year, but sounding more likely 4th quarter, maybe the beginning of 2011. I'd say earliest opening of the theme park might now be summer season of 2013, in lieu of Holiday season 2012.

But the overall team appears to be treading very conservatively, carefully, thoughtfully... I asked Chris about what happened to Myrtle Beach's Hard Rock Park, and he didn't give too many details (it was published earlier that Marlin Atlantis, the developer of EarthQuest, here, obviously, was at one time interested in buying up Hard Rock Park from the initial Owner and developer, but the deal fell through). I think the big failure of HRP was the poor studies on expected attendance, and thus revenue, etc. His ultimate point seemed to be that EarthQuest would not have the same happen to it... The Houston area site selected was scrutinized through several feasibility studies, as we may all know by now.

So I think all of us as future patrons just need to continue to play the waiting game. All signs continued to point to 'Go' on Tuesday night (there were even one or two business owners I overheard as being interested in tenant spaces along EarthWalk...). I was encouraged by all of what I was hearing.

Back to the models on display: unfortunately, no photos were allowed of either the overall Phase 1 model or the larger EarthQuest model... The renderings to which we do have access all online are much more representative of the current plans, I believe...

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Did anyone else recieve the Earthquest Institute's first newsletter ( Newsletter Link )? It has soon nice tidbits of information. From the ideas stated, it seems like they're on the right track.

Also, I'm not sure if this is a new rendering or not. Too bad it's kinda small

e1263264251.jpg

Edited by lockmat

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Can somebody that has a subscription please post this?!?

Thank you!

Ask and you shall receive.

http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2010/01/04/story6.html?page=1

The article is now available to everyone - even us cheapskates. It sounds like the EarthQuest Institute Fundraiser was a big hit. They raised over 3 times as much money as they were anticipating. People want this thing to happen.

Edited by Coaster

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Ask and you shall receive.

http://houston.bizjo...ry6.html?page=1

The article is now available to everyone - even us cheapskates. It sounds like the EarthQuest Institute Fundraiser was a big hit. They raised over 3 times as much money as they were anticipating. People want this thing to happen.

Thank you!!! I really hope this comes to fruition - and it will be great to see the shovels come out later this year!

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Here is a new interesting PDF showing the layout of the resort.

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic636732.files/EQC%20Deck%20-%20Harvard%20Course.pdf

Awesome! But where are the roller coasters? Thats what I really miss about Astroworld the roller coasters. Other than that, it looks like one of the best theme-parks Ive seen.

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Here's something that someone who attended the EarthQuest Institute fundraiser wrote on the www.sixflagshouston.com forum. Here's a link to the forum, just scroll down the page. The poster gives great descriptions of the roller coasters and other cool sounding attractions.

http://www.sixflagshouston.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=33005&sid=d545cfdb1810fc55600a5256b8e05d8f#33005

Hey all - This is nearly a bigger deal than the Disneyland Resort actually (size wise)...

I attended the first EarthQuest Institute fundraiser on December 8 '09 up at the East Montgomery County Improvement District, and was able to speak directly with Don Lessem and Chris Brown (the latter of Contour Entertainment, and an ex-Disney Imagineer). Both gentlemen were very friendly, certainly brilliant, and accommodating of questions -

Here's what I know, or what I learned from the fundraiser:

Phase I of the project will be Entertainment half, or west half of the overall site - west of 59N up there in New Caney.

The non-profit EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventures theme park (may end up being called 'Global EarthQuest Adventures,' but that sounds like an evil corporation, so I hope the name is ultimately the former) will be the first two ventures to be constructed.

EarthQuest Institute

It appears the Institute (dinosaur and green-technology museum) is well into Design Development, if not likely already in Construction Documents phase, in order to meet groundbreaking sometime much later this year.

If you contact EMCID and donate to EarthQuest Institute, they're already taking donors' names for bricks/plaques to be on display in the entry plaza, or on the wall in the entry lobby, what have you... You can pledge in annual installments, even, so ask about options and pledge levels to be a "Friend of the Institute."

At the time of the fundraiser late last year, donors meeting the various pledge levels will actually receive combinations of opening day passes to EarthQuest Institute, VIP passes to the 'Celebrity Opening Gala' for the Institute, even tickets to EarthQuest Adventures park on Opening Day (this last item @ 'Platinum Friend' level only), or another day during the first 'season.'

Per the monthly newsletters now being sent out, we should be able to learn a lot more about the Institute's projects as they're launched this year.

EarthQuest Adventures

The EarthQuest Adventures theme park was well-presented at the fundraiser:

As of December of last year, the park has six sections, clockwise around the park as follows. Each section appears to have an icon developed to represent it, like contemporary versions of the original Future World attractions at Epcot. What's ultimately built could absolutely deviate from what is noted here.

Gateway

Entrance to the park, w/ park services and all the standard park entry-type retail and such. A water/laser/projection show will be the feature attraction in this area (similar to, but likely a much less sophisticated version of the forthcoming "World of Color" show to open at Disney's California Adventure this spring).

Land

Headliner attractions mentioned for this area were a launched roller coaster that would shoot out of the top of a volcano, and a show for families called "Rocks Rock," with talking stalagtites and stalagmites (sp?).

Life

Primary attractions mentioned for this area were botanical gardens and initial animal exhibits (Phase I of II) like a bird show.

Sky

Headliner attraction mentioned for this area was another launched coaster, and the rendering in the presentation showed an inverted coaster train about to rocket out of the station and up an angled lift... The physical model on display at the fundraiser showed this coaster to be something of the caliber of the Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure. I've put two and two together, and we may be seeing Bolliger and Mabillard's first launched inverted coaster to be built here in the Houston area. The name mentioned for this coaster was 'F-5 Storm Chasers.' I hope this changes, since 'F-5 Twin Twisters' is the name of the double-helix waterslides at Schlitterbahn Galveston.

Water

Headliner rides in this apparently glacier-outpost-themed area are the circular whitewater rafting ride (mentioned in the January EarthQuest newsletter), and a bobsled coaster called Glacier Mountain Bobsleds. An 'ice caves mirror maze' was actually mentioned as well, and I'll look forward to that as a potentially interesting walk-through attraction.

Pangea

This much more dinosaur/fantasy-style themed area has a family thrill ride headliner attraction which will be a submarine ride. Apparently mythical dinosaur-style monsters will attack the submarines, etc... Kind of vague, but certainly an interesting premise... The story behind the area is that some kind of sinkhole was discovered during the construction of the park, which opened up to this other world......

Anyway...all that noted: To top all if this off, linked here, find the best, most comprehensive document on the overall EarthQuest Development I've been able to find. The highest-resolution aerial, painted rendering I've seen yet is included here:

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic636732.files/EQC%20Deck%20-%20Harvard%20Course.pdf

Final notes: At the fundraiser, I asked Chris Brown "If you could compare EarthQuest Adventures park with any other here in the States, which would it be?" (You know...quality-wise...) His answer: "Busch Gardens Tampa." I'll take that...

Groundbreaking is still supposed to happen sometime later this year (3rd or 4th quarter) - Chris did say they will not even break ground until they have ALL the financing (to prevent another Hard Rock Park-style fiasco), and I believe as of this month, based on various articles I've read online, they may have well over half the funding thus far. Outlook was VERY good as of December.

Edited by Coaster
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Here's something that someone who attended the EarthQuest Institute fundraiser wrote on the www.sixflagshouston.com forum. Here's a link to the forum, just scroll down the page. The poster gives great descriptions of the roller coasters and other cool sounding attractions.

http://www.sixflagshouston.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=33005&sid=d545cfdb1810fc55600a5256b8e05d8f#33005

Hey all - This is nearly a bigger deal than the Disneyland Resort actually (size wise)...

I attended the first EarthQuest Institute fundraiser on December 8 '09 up at the East Montgomery County Improvement District, and was able to speak directly with Don Lessem and Chris Brown (the latter of Contour Entertainment, and an ex-Disney Imagineer). Both gentlemen were very friendly, certainly brilliant, and accommodating of questions -

Here's what I know, or what I learned from the fundraiser:

Phase I of the project will be Entertainment half, or west half of the overall site - west of 59N up there in New Caney.

The non-profit EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventures theme park (may end up being called 'Global EarthQuest Adventures,' but that sounds like an evil corporation, so I hope the name is ultimately the former) will be the first two ventures to be constructed.

EarthQuest Institute

It appears the Institute (dinosaur and green-technology museum) is well into Design Development, if not likely already in Construction Documents phase, in order to meet groundbreaking sometime much later this year.

If you contact EMCID and donate to EarthQuest Institute, they're already taking donors' names for bricks/plaques to be on display in the entry plaza, or on the wall in the entry lobby, what have you... You can pledge in annual installments, even, so ask about options and pledge levels to be a "Friend of the Institute."

At the time of the fundraiser late last year, donors meeting the various pledge levels will actually receive combinations of opening day passes to EarthQuest Institute, VIP passes to the 'Celebrity Opening Gala' for the Institute, even tickets to EarthQuest Adventures park on Opening Day (this last item @ 'Platinum Friend' level only), or another day during the first 'season.'

Per the monthly newsletters now being sent out, we should be able to learn a lot more about the Institute's projects as they're launched this year.

EarthQuest Adventures

The EarthQuest Adventures theme park was well-presented at the fundraiser:

As of December of last year, the park has six sections, clockwise around the park as follows. Each section appears to have an icon developed to represent it, like contemporary versions of the original Future World attractions at Epcot. What's ultimately built could absolutely deviate from what is noted here.

Gateway

Entrance to the park, w/ park services and all the standard park entry-type retail and such. A water/laser/projection show will be the feature attraction in this area (similar to, but likely a much less sophisticated version of the forthcoming "World of Color" show to open at Disney's California Adventure this spring).

Land

Headliner attractions mentioned for this area were a launched roller coaster that would shoot out of the top of a volcano, and a show for families called "Rocks Rock," with talking stalagtites and stalagmites (sp?).

Life

Primary attractions mentioned for this area were botanical gardens and initial animal exhibits (Phase I of II) like a bird show.

Sky

Headliner attraction mentioned for this area was another launched coaster, and the rendering in the presentation showed an inverted coaster train about to rocket out of the station and up an angled lift... The physical model on display at the fundraiser showed this coaster to be something of the caliber of the Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure. I've put two and two together, and we may be seeing Bolliger and Mabillard's first launched inverted coaster to be built here in the Houston area. The name mentioned for this coaster was 'F-5 Storm Chasers.' I hope this changes, since 'F-5 Twin Twisters' is the name of the double-helix waterslides at Schlitterbahn Galveston.

Water

Headliner rides in this apparently glacier-outpost-themed area are the circular whitewater rafting ride (mentioned in the January EarthQuest newsletter), and a bobsled coaster called Glacier Mountain Bobsleds. An 'ice caves mirror maze' was actually mentioned as well, and I'll look forward to that as a potentially interesting walk-through attraction.

Pangea

This much more dinosaur/fantasy-style themed area has a family thrill ride headliner attraction which will be a submarine ride. Apparently mythical dinosaur-style monsters will attack the submarines, etc... Kind of vague, but certainly an interesting premise... The story behind the area is that some kind of sinkhole was discovered during the construction of the park, which opened up to this other world......

Anyway...all that noted: To top all if this off, linked here, find the best, most comprehensive document on the overall EarthQuest Development I've been able to find. The highest-resolution aerial, painted rendering I've seen yet is included here:

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic636732.files/EQC%20Deck%20-%20Harvard%20Course.pdf

Final notes: At the fundraiser, I asked Chris Brown "If you could compare EarthQuest Adventures park with any other here in the States, which would it be?" (You know...quality-wise...) His answer: "Busch Gardens Tampa." I'll take that...

Groundbreaking is still supposed to happen sometime later this year (3rd or 4th quarter) - Chris did say they will not even break ground until they have ALL the financing (to prevent another Hard Rock Park-style fiasco), and I believe as of this month, based on various articles I've read online, they may have well over half the funding thus far. Outlook was VERY good as of December.

Nice nice nice!

I LOL'd at the thought of talking stalactites and stalagmites.

But everything else sounds great.

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Nice nice nice!

I LOL'd at the thought of talking stalactites and stalagmites.

But everything else sounds great.

Heh, heh... I posted the above summary at sixflagshouston.com, and did intend to actually copy it over here to the HAIF, so "Thanks, 'Coaster!'" for doing it for me!... Yeah, it's going to be a pretty interesting, varied park... I'm pleased it's going to open with at least a few big coasters and some unique thrill rides...

The "Rocks Rock" thing should be pretty popular with families... looked like it might end up being a cave version of Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room or something...

Anyway, as of today, no new news, but in another few days or so I hope we'll be seeing the next monthly EarthQuest Institute newsletter. Hopefully there will be some good progress reflected in this month's update...

Take care everyone -

Edited by txtiger
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I'm glad you're cool with me posting your terrific and insightful post from sixflagshouston, txtiger. I knew that there would be people here who would be very interested and excited reading your report from the fundraiser and seeing the new pdf that you found.

Thank you for all your efforts in keeping us informed about EQ whether it be at this forum or at SFH.

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As I was reading all the updates, all of this sounded like a scam operation.

But, that's just my cynicism. This looks cool, although I wish this was more "theme park-ish", doesn't look like that many trill rides and attractions, still should be great if this does end up happening. With that said, I'm holding my breath on this project.

Edited by citizen4rmptown

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It looks pretty theme-parkish to me. If the park is built like the model and they build everything that they have already listed, EarthQuest will have more than enough attractions. I count about 6 roller coasters. That is a respectable amount of coasters for a brand new park built from scratch.

If the park ends up looking anything like the renderings, model and descriptions - you will not be disappointed.

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It looks pretty theme-parkish to me. If the park is built like the model and they build everything that they have already listed, EarthQuest will have more than enough attractions. I count about 6 roller coasters. That is a respectable amount of coasters for a brand new park built from scratch.

If the park ends up looking anything like the renderings, model and descriptions - you will not be disappointed.

Yeah, its a start. They have to add more rides in the future or they will end up like Astroworld.

Edited by citykid09

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Yeah, its a start. They have to add more rides in the future or they will end up like Astroworld.

At least there should be plenty of land for future expansion. That was one of the things that killed AstroWorld - there was no real room to expand without the extra added expense of removing something to make room for it. This park will be NOTHING like AstroWorld. It looks to be in a completely different (light years better) class of theme park/resort. It will be much bigger than AstroWorld was and have a much nicer atmosphere due to its heavily wooded location.

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Yeah, its a start. They have to add more rides in the future or they will end up like Astroworld.

True, I forgot that most theme parks add new rides every other year or so to keep it fresh.

Now, I wonder how much admission will cost?

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Indian Nation? Interesting that they'd be asking them. Hopefully the guvment gave them a big stimulus to spend on this ;P

"We've looked at a lot of Texas-centric and Houston-centric investors," he said. "We have a deep dialog with the Indian Nation and have been traveling through Europe as well."

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It looks pretty theme-parkish to me. If the park is built like the model and they build everything that they have already listed, EarthQuest will have more than enough attractions. I count about 6 roller coasters. That is a respectable amount of coasters for a brand new park built from scratch.

If the park ends up looking anything like the renderings, model and descriptions - you will not be disappointed.

It really is a good amount of roller coasters. For comparison's sake, Six Flags Over Texas has 13 and Fiesta Texas has 8. EarthQuest is definitely looking like a great theme park, with room to expand for more coasters.

Yeah, its a start. They have to add more rides in the future or they will end up like Astroworld.

This isn't true. Astroworld was a tiny landlocked "theme" park in the middle of America's fourth largest city. EarthQuest is on the outskirts and has a bunch of room to expand. Not to mention it's very family oriented. Astroworld started out that way, but it didn't last, since it was in the middle of the city. Plus, Astroworld added PLENTY of rides. Astroworld was a roller-coaster enthusiasts paradise for a while (I'd say until 2002 or so, after they tore down Texas Tornado).

Edited by Trae

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This isn't true. Astroworld was a tiny landlocked "theme" park in the middle of America's fourth largest city. EarthQuest is on the outskirts and has a bunch of room to expand. Not to mention it's very family oriented. Astroworld started out that way, but it didn't last, since it was in the middle of the city. Plus, Astroworld added PLENTY of rides. Astroworld was a roller-coaster enthusiasts paradise for a while (I'd say until 2002 or so, after they tore down Texas Tornado).

The point I was trying to make is that Astroworld stopped adding and changing things up and overall just stopped fixing the park up. I remember the Batman ride they had had the theme of a junk yard, well they used real junk and it was trashy looking and the tunnel spelled like piss. I believe the park could have worked on the amount of land they had, but it would take a little more engineering to add more rides in such a small space.

You have to keep changing things up or otherwise they will get boring.

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Looks like there is finally some real content on the EarthQuest test website. Although there are currently a lot of non-working links, there are some new renderings. I think I see a flying Pterodactyl suspended roller coaster ride in the Pangea Section. How fun.

I really love what I am seeing here. EarthQuest looks to be a VERY unique resort/theme park. Most theme parks use cultural elements as the basis of theming. But here, it's all about the Earth. This is a very fresh idea in the theme park industry. I think the educational aspects and exhibits will really appeal to adults. Houstonians will be very lucky if this park actually gets built. Not only does the Houston area desperately need a theme park, but this looks to be a very special one.

http://www.earthquestadventures.com/test/

Edited by Coaster

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Thanks Coaster! I always love me some good EarthQuest news!

The resort looks sweet. Also, I wonder if the Earth Walk is supposed to be like CityWalk?

Edited by lockmat

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Now that is looking VERY nice. World-class theme park coming to Houston...soon.

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Also, I wonder if the Earth Walk is supposed to be like CityWalk?

I think it is, go here http://www.earthquestadventures.com/ and flip over until you get to the Earthwalk picture.

and then look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:City_walk_2007.jpg

It looks like the same concept to me.

This is probably the coolest theme park I have ever seen! It takes you into the past, the present and the future. I hope it blows all of the theme parks in Florida and California out of the water! Hopefully it will be a huge draw to the Houston area (although I hate long lines). And Maybe it will bring in competition to the area. I know it will probably cause the Kemah boardwalk to add more rides, etc. I wonder if Tillman Fertitta has ever thought about building a true theme park in Houston? And I wonder if the owners of the park will eventually try to sell the park to Universal, Disney, or Busch Gardens (hopefully not Sixflags)?

Edited by citykid09

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Yup... the official website has been completely updated with comprehensive information:

www.earthquestadventures.com

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A lot more info and rendering in the site. This sounds pretty unique, its pretty much all over the place , though. And I don't really know what a "reseach institution" has to do with the theme park. But, the theme park itself is great.

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I love this 'Luge' style ride that is in the 'Water' section of the website. It looks like a lot of fun.

water2.jpg

Edited by Coaster

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I love this 'Luge' style ride that is in the 'Water' section of the website. It looks like a lot of fun.

Oh, wow...nice!

The other day when the website was posted, none of the links were working.

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Here's my general summary of what was discussed, what went down at the 6/2 Fundraiser:

(This is a post I've revised from my original post on www.sixflagshouston.com, and I will also post this on www.houstondinopark.com )

There was about an hour of socializing/networking from 6pm-7pm, then about an hour's worth of presentations. Don Lessem spoke first, and introduced Dr. Matt Gardner (of EarthQuest Institute). Dr. Gardner then relayed to Chris Brown (of Contour Entertainment). Dr. Gardner then spoke in greater depth on EarthQuest Institute and its initiatives (the reason for the event, of course) once Chris was finished with his presentation on the theme park. Don Holbrook, Marlin Atlantis' (the developer's) representative on this project, then spoke and gave the great and reasonable pitch which solicited donations. Everyone made themselves available for questions after the presentation was over.

No new information was presented on the EarthQuest Adventures theme park - nothing that wasn't covered at last December's fundraising event, and nothing that's not currently reviewed on the EarthQuest Adventures website. A few new renderings for the 'Land' and 'Sky' areas of the park were on display, but general conceptual design remains the same as what we've all seen. All other renderings on display were those already available on the EQ website.

The EarthQuest Institute, as a complete endeavour, is extremely ambitious and exciting, and a few new outreach programs/efforts were reviewed last night:

Mobile EarthQuest: A sharply-outfitted minivan (or even fleet of minivans) with professional staff which can bring the EarthQuest Institute experience to public parks (Discovery Green, maybe), public schools, the rodeo, sports events, etc. This will be primarily an educational experience, but will serve nicely as a marketing tool for "EarthQuest the destination."

MyVision: An educational program geared toward younger school children, which allows them to learn about video camera operation. This program will essentially help them create their own video diaries. "How they see the world...," etc. This effort is apparently being created in conjunction with some Hollywood professionals, and YouTube may play some voluntary or involuntary role in the posting of kids' video diaries...

Other programs or engagements have also begun being discussed, like engaging local colleges and universities in developing and even publically-presenting Green-Business strategies... Anyway... interesting stuff.

Regarding personal conversations I had with Chris Brown (again, of Contour Entertainment) - One item on which I'm pleased to report is that original music will be commissioned for the EarthQuest Resort, likely by industry-known composers with whom Chris certainly has long-established relationships. Very great to hear.

(Chris, if you're reading this, thanks very much for putting up with me - You'll see me at most, if not all of the EQI Fundraising events... While I absolutely am interested in questions like 'What kinds of roller coasters will be built?,' I'm dead-serious about the success of all the components of this project, and hope to not come across too nutty. Heh, heh... And hey, I've put money where my mouth is.)

Frank McCrady and Don Holbrook spoke with me briefly, and they have great expecations for other development there in East Montgomery County - for which EarthQuest will be the catalyst.

Don Holbrook stated to all the attendees yesterday evening that "We're at the 1-yard line with selecting an investor." Full ground breaking is expected by the end of this year at the latest. Putting 2 and 2 together, I'd speculate a Holiday Season 2013 grand opening of Phase I.

That's all I have to report. I'd encourage all of you to attend future fundraisers to support the Institute and its efforts, or contact EMCID directly to find out more about the various donation levels to become a "Friend of the Institute." You have the option to donate money over annual installments, of which I personally have taken advantage.

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Great Report Tiger.

I think what impresses me most about this project is that the people involved seem committed to build a quality resort that will offer some quality entertainment. Of coarse I'm sure the developers are ultimately concerned with making a profit, but it really sounds like they have no interest in building a cheap looking or cheesy road side local attraction (Six Flags Parks) or sacrificing quality to save a buck - like so many developers have done in Houston.

When I first heard about this project, I wasn't that interested in the institute side or the 'green' aspects (I only wanted some good roller coasters and a nice park)- but the more I read about it, the more I think they are really on to something here. There is a lot of 'green' technology that the general public (including myself) is not aware of but would be interested in knowing about (gadgets, exhibitions, displays, ideas, theories, ect) and I could really see the institute causing people to come to the resort from all over the country to see these kinds of exhibitions. Another 'wild west' theme park with a few roller coasters and rides would not really attract anyone further away than Houston, but a theme park and resort that is themed with 'green' technology is a really unique idea. Besides "going green" is so 'IN' these days, this resort should really be able to capitalize if they do it right.

As far-fetched as the thought of the Houston area becoming a true national tourist destination sounds, something like EarthQuest could really make it happen.

Edited by Coaster

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Great Report Tiger.

As far-fetched as the thought of the Houston area becoming a true national tourist destination sounds, something like EarthQuest could really make it happen.

Sure thing, Coaster.

A few more notes: Don Holbrook did mention EarthQuest Resort is intended to "compete directly with 'the mouse,'" from both coasts, and the expectation is that EarthQuest will draw people from the center third of the country. So it's literally expected to grow to be the Disneyland-style resort for the center of the country.

From discussions I had with Chris Brown, or overheard from him yesterday evening, a LOT of the components seem to have Phases now, which will only help Phase I get built:

The Hotel has two: The first is the tower/main building/conference center (so nicely rendered on the EarthQuest website). The second Phase seems to include 30 high-end cabins out in the woods near the hotel, as well as something like 20 highest-end treehouse "villas."

Cretaceous Cove water park has apparently been scaled down for Phase I, and will grow in future phases.

EarthQuest Institute seems like it may use two or three Phases to achieve final build-out.

The only Phasing for the theme park ever noted thus far seems to be the live-animal component of the 'Life' section of the park. I didn't note earlier that the Design Team has met with the Houston Zoo, and both the Houston Zoo and EarthQuest will have some form of partnership, which is just great! (I'd expressed concern earlier to the Design Team that the live-animal component of the 'Life' section of the theme park might draw everyone away from visiting the Houston Zoo. So I'm pleased to report that's not going to be the case, or the intent.)

Green Gadget Garage seems like it would all likely be completed as part of Phase I.

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TXTiger - good info. I have had an appointment pending to write a story on this. I plan to start with your stuff and do my interview based on that. This has my interest in many ways. I am glad to see someone willing to put up money for information. I am a pauper in that regard. I hope to bring this project to life in words.

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From discussions I had with Chris Brown, or overheard from him yesterday evening, a LOT of the components seem to have Phases now, which will only help Phase I get built:

I agree. Building in phases increases the chances of breaking ground - soon I hope.

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When I first heard about this project, I wasn't that interested in the institute side or the 'green' aspects (I only wanted some good roller coasters and a nice park)- but the more I read about it, the more I think they are really on to something here.

I think this is the best part of the park, and certainly the part that intrigues me the most. Even without the present commercial viability of "going green", the research institute could potentially become a huge force in scientific discovery, provided the revenue stream from the park is at least partially diverted to its funding. Without a doubt, an institute with as much potential as this one could do more for neighboring universities' respective earth sciences departments than millions in alumni donations. By mere proximity to the institution side of this park, the University of Houston and Sam Houston State could attract and retain much bigger talent in the fields of Paleoarchaology, Anthropology, Paleontology and Biology. It could literally transform these schools from tier two to tier one status virtually overnight (within those departments anyhow).

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited about the rides too, but I'm mostly excited by the institute. Not to mention, we'll be home of two major scientific institutes if this place is built: NASA, which uses science to look toward our future, and Earth Quest, which uses science to reveal our past.

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Wow this is going to be a great park for the city. How much bigger will this be than Astroworld?

If this is built out according to plan, Astroworld shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with it.

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If this is built out according to plan, Astroworld shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with it.

I'll say. AstroWorld was on a 104 acre plot of land. The park used about 75 acres for AstroWorld and about 10 acres for WaterWorld. The rest of the land was used for offices, storage, employee parking, ect. And there was very little room to expand.

By comparison, the entire EarthQuest project when completely built out (if ever) will cover over 1600 acres. About 500 of those acres (on the west side of Hwy 59) will be used for the actual resort. The rest (on the east side of Hwy 59) will be used for housing, shopping, hotels, ect.

I don't know how many acres the theme park itself will cover when it is first built. I would hope that it will be at least as big as AstroWorld and WaterWorld combined or larger. AstroWorld never really seemed very big compared to other theme parks. And although it certainly had it's share of disadvantages, I was and still am very sorry that it was needlessly destroyed. 5 summers in Houston with no major theme park is just dismal. But if they ever build EarthQuest, Cinco is right - Astroworld shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with it.

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I'll say. AstroWorld was on a 104 acre plot of land. The park used about 75 acres for AstroWorld and about 10 acres for WaterWorld. The rest of the land was used for offices, storage, employee parking, ect. And there was very little room to expand.

By comparison, the entire EarthQuest project when completely built out (if ever) will cover over 1600 acres. About 500 of those acres (on the west side of Hwy 59) will be used for the actual resort. The rest (on the east side of Hwy 59) will be used for housing, shopping, hotels, ect.

I don't know how many acres the theme park itself will cover when it is first built. I would hope that it will be at least as big as AstroWorld and WaterWorld combined or larger. AstroWorld never really seemed very big compared to other theme parks. And although it certainly had it's share of disadvantages, I was and still am very sorry that it was needlessly destroyed. 5 summers in Houston with no major theme park is just dismal. But if they ever build EarthQuest, Cinco is right - Astroworld shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with it.

Yeah, I would like to know the amount of park space this place will cover. I don't really count the development on the east side of 59 and not even the retail spaces that will abut the freeway.

And what else is the Resort gonna have that requires 500 acres?

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Yeah, I've been telling everyone about this who mentions that we don't have a theme park anymore and also I've been hearing from more people that they've heard of it too, so the word is getting around. Also yesterday I talked to a guy who's company made a bid to work on this project, so that's a good sign.

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I really hope this comes to fruition, but it seems like the type of thing that could be a disaster and lose a ton of money, if it ever even gets started.

2 of my concerns are:

1. The "green" theme. That can easily come across as too heavy-handed for a lot of people. Being eco-friendly is nice, but if visitors are constantly beaten over the head with it, it's gonna annoy a decent chunk of them. I mentioned this park to a couple of people yesterday (who hadn't heard of it) and told them the eco-friendly/green concept, and they both went "ugh." That's not the first thing you want people to say when they hear about your new theme park.

2. Will kids want to go there? On the outside, it looks like there is a lot of stuff that kids will enjoy, but the reason that Disney is so revered by children are the characters and the history behind them and the name. Given a choice and all thing being relatively equal, are kids going to want to go here or the place with the characters they see on TV and movie screens every day. Kids are not going to care about "green", so there has to be something other than fun rides and activities to pull them in. Branding and appeal to children is going to be perhaps the most important aspect as to whether or not this place is a success.

That said, I really hope it is huge.

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