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Hurricane Laura potentially threatens three Galveston amusement parks

As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough for the amusement industry, Hurricane Laura is currently and rapidly intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico, and could strike three Galveston-area amusement parks with heavy rain, high wind and significant storm surge.

While Kemah Boardwalk and Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier lie just outside the potential path of the growing storm, park enthusiasts can take heart that the parks are raised up on piers, sparing them from at least some of the potential storm surge.

However, Schlitterbahn Galveston isn’t as fortunate, and lies just a few feet above sea level on Galveston Island. All three parks face the threat of damaging winds, torrential rain and severe thunderstorms, complete with tornadoes.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom, park fans. Back in 2008, when Hurricane Ike struck the area, all of the parks did see moderate to significant damage. However, all three also rose up and operated once again.

It also helps that Boardwalk Bullet (a CRIMINALLY underrated woodie) at Kemah Boardwalk was significantly overbuilt (much like modern woodies in California are for earthquakes) for just such an occasion.

Boardwalk Bullet features over 3,200 feet of track, packed into less than 1 acre of land. It holds the record for the most number of track crossovers ever: 42!
Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Jim Thompson (CC 2.0)

What’s truly unfortunate about Hurricane Laura is her timing. While a glancing blow could mean just a week or two of closures, in the COVID-19 era, these parks had just begun to recover from what was otherwise a miserable attendance year.

To put it a better way, Hurricane Laura is a proverbial “cherry on top” on the world’s worst ice cream sundae that is 2020.

So, as you go about your lives this week, do keep these three smaller parks in your thoughts over the next few days. As I said in my last blog, odds are that your local park could use all help they can get right now.