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The Sea Dragon swings into Green Bay

Andrew Campnell, News Writer
May 8, 2013
Filed under News

Bay Beach Amusement Park hopes to make a splash with its visitors with its newest ride, The Sea Dragon.

The Sea Dragon is a part of a master expansion plan for the park first approved in 2008, said park manager Tina Westergaard. Part of the plan was to include more rides in the development, including the Sea Dragon.

Westergaard said the idea for the ride came from the staffs at Bay Beach and the Green Bay Parks Department.

“We researched the classic rides that would fit in with the nature of the park,” Westergaard said. “We wanted to create a unique, historical experience.”

The swinging boat ride will become the newest addition to the park since the Zippin Pippin rollercoaster opened to the public in 2011.

First opened in the late 19th-century, Bay Beach is the ninth-oldest continuously operating amusement park in the nation and 21st in the world. It’s also part of a small handful of municipally owned and operated amusement parks, according to Westergaard.

In 2007, the last property on the west end of the park was bought up. Westergaard said before then, the property was mainly cottages and summer homes.

“Our history, our heritage and our tradition are very important to us,” Westergaard said.

Although the Sea Dragon already arrived at the park, the next step will be refurbishing the ride and preparing it for installation before it can open.

A site plan as well as zoning and building permits for the ride’s construction will be in order before installation can commence.

Westergaard said she hopes the ride will be up and operational by the end of Bay Beach’s season. By the middle of summer, people will be able to see the progress of the ride’s construction.

Refurbishing the ride will cost about $500,000. This is added to the $175,000 the park spent to acquire the ride.

Westergaard also said part of the refurbishing as well as the cost will be for constructing a waterfall in front of the ride.

As of now, the ride is being paid for so far through park revenue and donations. These donations mainly come from their partnership with The Friends of Bay Beach Amusement Park.

Bay Beach opened for the season April 27. While The Sea Dragon has yet to be available to the public, many students are excited to visit the park this year.

Freshman education major Lindsey LaBissoniere, a fan of the Zippin Pippin, said the Sea Dragon sounds interesting, and she would definitely check it out.

LaBissoniere said the cheap ticket price is one of the things she enjoys most about the park.

Meanwhile, sophomore biology major Kristin Short said she enjoys how the park does a good job of managing its traffic.

“You don’t have to wait very long for anything and you can get on any ride,” Short said. “It’s crowded, but never too crowded.”

Short said she thinks the Sea Dragon might influence people to come back to the park after a long absence.

“I’d definitely check it out,” Short said. “It sounds a little more exciting than other rides.”

Aside from the Sea Dragon, Westergaard said there are other ideas for the park. These ideas include a larger pavilion and fishing area as well as a larger Ferris wheel. The projects remain dependent on funding.

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