California's Great America
Location: Santa Clara, CA
San Francisco, California and its surrounding areas are very well known for their great amusement parks. Whether you are on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz or buzzing around Gilroy Gardens, there is definitely a park waiting for you. One of the parks that many attend in the area is California Great America. Great America is currently owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment, but this was not always the case.
CGA opened in 1976 on the bicentennial of this great nation we call the United States of America. The park was owned and operated then by hotel and restaurant company Marriott. The company had plans to open three parks around the same time all with the same name Great America in some of the biggest cities in the country. Two weeks after CGA opened, Great America outside of Chicago opened up. Today that park is owned by Six Flags. The other park in Washingoton DC was cancelled. The company was eventually sold to Kings Entertainment in 1989.
In 1992, Paramount Communications purchased the park and began theming the park’s rides and attractions after many of the shows and ideas of the parent company. Many new attractions such as Delirium and Drop Tower as they are known today took the place of rides such as the train that had to be removed for space issues. After Viacom was merged in with CBS, the broadcasting giant wanted to part ways with the theme park side of things and put them all up for sale. Cedar Fair Entertainment acquired all of the Paramount parks and had the licensing rights to Nickelodeon and other things if they chose to stay with them. It wasn’t long that everything was changing and Cedar Fair was putting their own branding on the park.
Today the park boasts some great coasters and rides such as the B&M invert called Flight Deck and the famous Demon Arrow coaster. The park added a highly anticipated wooden coaster to the park in 2013 called Gold Striker that has really added a wonderful scenic value to the park. Overall the park boasts 8 coasters with multiple thrill rides and kiddie rides. CGA is also the only theme park in the area that has a waterpark built into the park itself. Next time you are in the San Francisco area, make sure you head over to the CGA for some fun in Silicon Valley!
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