(August 11, 2022)—On March 31, 1973, Carowinds officially opened to 6,000 guests amid great fanfare. The grand opening marked the culmination of years of formulation, planning and development by founder E. Pat Hall, a Charlotte businessman. Built at an estimated cost of $70 million, Carowinds was named for a combination of the surrounding Carolinas and the winds that blew across the two states. The park included original attractions such as Carolina Skytower, Snoopy’s Junction and Carolina Goldrusher - still in operation today. Five decades later, guests will experience the iconic border between North Carolina and South Carolina anew when Carowinds celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023. The 2023 operating season marks the beginning of "50 years of Carolina fun," a limited-time special event that brings plenty of new rides and attractions, exciting entertainment, enhanced food and beverage offerings, nighttime spectaculars, and other immersive experiences. Additional details regarding the anniversary activities will be available in the coming months. “I am proud to be celebrating the golden anniversary of Carowinds as well as the amazing associates who have delivered on our goal to make our guests happy,” said Manny Gonzalez, Carowinds vice president and general manager. “I look forward to the next exciting 50 years as we continue to bring happiness to our community.” At the center of the 50th anniversary celebration will be Aeronautica Landing, a tribute to the Carolinas’ spirit of invention, exploration, and aviation, where guests can immerse themselves in the history and future of flight. Construction is now under way in the Crossroads areas of the park, which will be completely renovated and renamed as Aeronautica Landing, complete with the introduction of five new themed attractions opening in 2023 as well as a retheming of an existing ride, for a total of six rides. Opening in the spring of 2023, Aeronautica Landing is the fourth rethemed area to be introduced at Carowinds since County Fair in 2017, and most recently, Blue Ridge Junction in 2019. In addition, Aeronautica Landing will boast two new and one upgraded dining venues. This includes a new restaurant featuring a craft beer bar and patio, alongside the refresh of an existing location and other new snack locations. This family-friendly area with immersive décor will feature a game zone complete with four new midway games, including an innovative acrobatic challenge, and the retheming of a classic basketball challenge. “We are constantly looking for new ways to provide immersive experiences for our guests that showcase the rich history and heritage of the Carolinas, while showcasing the rich legacy and original themes of Carowinds,” Gonzalez said. “This region played such an integral role in the history of developing and testing the tools for aviation, and we believe Aeronautica Landing will help bring that to life for our guests for years to come.”
Carowinds also announced that 2023 Gold Season Passes are now on sale for $120, the lowest price of the season, and include unlimited visits and free parking for the remainder of this year and all of 2023. Guests who purchase by August 14 will receive one Fast Lane pass that is valid select days through October 30, 2022. A Gold Season Pass includes unlimited visits for Carolina Harbor Waterpark, admission into seasonal events like Grand Carnivale, SCarowinds and WinterFest, discounts on meals and merchandise, Bring-A-Friend discount offers, and more.