If you’ve visited Six Flags Discovery Kingdom this year, odds are a group of animal-rights activists were there too, trying to pass out leaflets and dissuade you from entering the park.
Well, you won’t have to worry about them interrupting your day, at least for now.
According to the Times Herald, a Judge has ruled that the protests (if they occur) can only be done from the sidewalk of the park – not on park property, as they were being done prior to this injunction.
The activists are angry over what they claim is “mistreatment” of animals in captivity at the park. Activists have also claimed that this captivity has lead to premature deaths of animals, something the park strongly denies.
The protests were already a distraction outside the gates, when Deborah Classen and Janet Locke purchased season tickets to the park, for the sole purpose of handing out leaflets inside the park, hoping to disrupt park operations. The passes were officially revoked on April 13, according to court documents.
But, this is not the end of the saga – Six Flags’ corporate offices are still looking to get permanent injunctions against the activists, to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Now, in all fairness – I have yet to see the controversial film, “Blackfish,” which has been used as a rallying call for animal-rights activists over the past year. The film has certainly done a good job of polarizing people, however: it entrenches people who already had a strong opinion on either side of the argument. From my sources in the industry, serious questions have been raised about how it was produced, and the lack of the “other side” being presented.
I have also seen how many of the animals have been treated at this park, behind the scenes. I have never seen anything that these activists call “mistreatment.” In fact, I have only seen a caring, nurturing environment fostered by the park and it’s animal handlers. Many are deeply bonded with the animals under their care – and that relationship is clear from my interactions with them both in the past, and through the present.
No matter what your opinion or thoughts on the topic, the fact of the matter is this: You can’t do whatever you want on private property, that’s why it’s called PRIVATE property. I look forward to waving at the protesters as I happily drive into the parking lot of the park, soon.
Yesterday, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom proudly announced that Bella, a nine year old Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, gave birth to her first calf. It is not yet known if the calf is male or female – though it is surmised that it is female, the first time one has been born at Discovery Kingdom since Bella nine years ago.
As it is her first calf, Bella will be closely monitored in the first few weeks of life.
“For a first time mother with no prior experience, we are very excited that Bella is demonstrating her maternal side in a big way,” said Michael Muraco, animal care director. He added, “…the first 30 days will be critical to the young calf’s long term survival.”
“Our technology to monitor and track the calf’s progress is much more advanced than in the past, but ultimately, it is up to mother and baby,” he said.
The birth has attracted significant attention in the animal research field, as Bella may have been communicating with the calf in utero – similar to how we as humans play music for our new arrivals in the womb. Bella’s behavior could help us better understand our own development, in addition to the groundbreaking research on dolphins.
But, don’t plan to visit the park and expect to go see Bella and the newborn just yet. While the park is now open year-round, Bella and the calf will be secluded away from park guests while animal staff members care for the two during this, the most critical days of it’s life.
An announcement will be made when the calf will be able to be viewed by the public. For now, get ready for the bottlenose baby shower!
The train of Superman – Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has been modified while the park was closed this past week.
The single train of 12 passengers now includes seat belts as well as upgraded, metal side guards. Originally the ride included only plastic guards along the sides of the seats, however, they were continually broken due to guests leaning on them in order to enter the train.
According to riders on the coaster this weekend, the seatbelts have made the ride uncomfortable, with a “pinching” effect on the vertical drop.
Seatbelts seem to be the “new norm” on coasters across the country, in addition to the ubiquitous lap bar roller coaster restraint. It would appear the “dual restraint system” is here to stay – especially with the ride in litigation against parks in recent years. We shall see if it affects operations as the year goes on. (Superman’s crews are traditionally the most efficient in the park due to the single train design of the ride).
As for the side guards – these should prove to be much better and resilient than the plastic ones that debuted with the ride in mid-2012. These trains are not the easiest to get into our out of – so a more solid place to lean on will be a welcome addition!
Thanks to our site partner, CGA Insider (Billy D’Anjou) for the photos – you can visit his page at: au13watch.blogspot.com
Yes, you read that correctly – I had the honor of being featured in a BBC News video released today about roller coaster technology and the “plateau” some say we’ve reached. (I don’t think we have, by the way).
You can view the whole video by clicking here.
Or, you can copy and paste this link:
The backstory behind this interview is just as intriguing –
I had already planned to attend Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s “Ghoulish Gathering” VIP event last Friday. When the tram dropped us off at the front entrance, I noticed a OMB (One Man Band) setup, with a man struggling to cope with the sound of the many rides in the area. In hindsight, I should have gone over to offer my assistance – but I digress…
When I asked the Public Relations person at the event about the cameraman, she immediately said, “Oh, he’s with the BBC…I should introduce you to him!”
After we grabbed a bite to eat at the event, I got to talking with Richard, who quickly found out (and said), “I should interview you…”
You had to ask?
Careful to make sure I didn’t step on any known “land mines” when you do interviews like this, Richard slapped a lav mic on me, and into the sun he pointed me!
Now, it should be noted, that short of begging, I did my best to convince the segment producer to stay longer, so my Lost Parks Producer, American Coaster Enthusiasts Asst. Regional Rep AND all-around quality news source on all things coasters, Nicholas Laschkewitsch could arrive to be interviewed as well – but sadly, Richard had to leave before Nicholas could arrive. Thanks, BART Strike…
But, for now, it’s yet another milestone in my journey to be in the world of television. “Great American Thrills” has officially jumped the pond and gone international…WOW.