Six Flags Over Texas is a 212-acre (86 ha) theme park located in Arlington, Texas, east of Fort Worth and about 15 miles (24Â km) west of Dallas. It was the first Six Flags Theme Park, but because of later acquisitions it is not the oldest park of the Six Flags chain (that particular title is held by Six Flags New England). The park opened on August 5, 1961, following just a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr.
The park is managed by the Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which also owns 53.1% interest of the Texas Limited Partnership that owns the park. A similar arrangement exists with the partnership that owns Six Flags Over Georgia. Six Flags Over Texas Fund, Ltd, a private-equity, and asset management firm headed by Dallas businessman Jack Knox, purchased the park in 1969. Over the years the various companies that managed the park, exercised options to purchase interest in the fund. Six Flags Entertainment has an option to purchase the remaining 46.9% in 2028. Starting in 1991, the park was managed by Time Warner Entertainment. In 1998, Time Warner sold its interests in the Six Flags parks to Premier Parks of Oklahoma City, which later changed its name to Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.
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Initial planning and construction
Following a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, shortly after its opening, wealthy real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr. decided that his home state of Texas should have a local park for entertainment. Planning for such a place began in 1959, under the leadership of Wynne and the Great Southwest Corporation, along with the backing of various New York City investors. Construction on the park began in August 1960.
Origin of the name
The name "Six Flags Over Texas" refers to the flags of the six different nations that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Wynne originally intended to name the park "Texas Under Six Flags." Various legends have attributed the name change to his wife Joann; a group called "The Daughters of The Texas Republic" â" of which his wife may, or may not, have been a member; or his entertainment director, Charles Meeker, stating that, "Texas isnât 'under' anything." The original park was divided into six separate themed areas for each of the six governing entities that have ruled over Texas. Although additional themed areas have been added, the original six can still be found within the park.
Six Flags Over Texas opened its gates from July 29 to August 4, 1961, to several local corporations that Wynne had invited as part of a "soft-test opening." The park held its grand opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 5, 1961. Dignitaries included the mayors of Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, and Irving. Park attendance reached 8,374. Admission was $2.75 (or $23.00 in 2018) for adults and $2.25 (or $18 in 2018) for children (cf. admission prices of $62.99 and $47.99 for the 2013 season); parking was 50 cents (or $4.00 in 2018) (cf. $20.00 in 2013); hamburgers were 35 cents (or $3.00 in 2018), and soft drinks were 10 cents (or $1.00 in 2018). On opening day, guests could visit the six original themed sections: Mexico, Spain, France, The Confederacy, Texas, and Modern (representing the USA). According to the 1961 Park Map there were 46 "major attractions" listed. The park's first season, lasting only 45 days and ending on November 25, 1961, was a success with over 550,000 visitors.
The 1960s were a decade of growth for Six Flags Over Texas. The park added numerous attractions, including two new sections: Boomtown, named after the boomtowns that sprang up rather quickly during Texas' oil boom era, and the "Tower Section", named after the Oil Derrick observation tower built in 1969. The park also witnessed the birth of two classic theme park attractions: El Aserradero in 1963 and the Runaway Mine Train roller coaster in 1966. Attendance reached close to 2 million visitors a year by the end of the decade. Six Flags Over Texas was one of the locations used for filming parts of the theme song for the TV show The Banana Splits in 1968, in which fan club scenes were also live action. The series aired on NBC from September 7, 1968 to December 13, 1969. In 1969, Six Flags Over Texas was sold by Angus G. Wynne to a new limited partnership managed by Dallas investor Jack Knox.
The park's growth and expansion continued through the 1970s. It was the setting for the opening sequence in the 1971 Sid and Marty Krofft television show Lidsville, in which lead character Mark (Butch Patrick) sees a magician perform in one of the theaters, then sneaks backstage after the magic show, causes the hat to enlarge, falls through it and lands in Lidsville, "the land of living hats." The park underwent new management in 1971 with the Penn Central Railroad. The park added two new roller coasters, more rides, and a new section called "Goodtimes Square". The park also removed many of its less popular aging attractions in this decade as well. In 1975, a new mascot, Cyrus Cosmo - the inventor - was created and led many ad campaigns. By 1978, Six Flags Over Texas had had over 30 million visitors.
The 1980s were another period of change for Six Flags Over Texas. The park added three roller coasters as well as a children's section themed after Pac-Man in 1983 and later changed to Looney Tunes in 1985. Six Flags Over Texas also introduced three popular festivals in this decade. Spring Breakout, introduced in 1984, brought live bands and excitement to the park for students on Spring Break. Six Flags also introduced Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park to increase attendance and extend the season.
The 1990s was a rather rough decade in comparison from decades past. The decade started off with a bang when Six Flags Over Texas introduced the Texas Giant roller coaster. After a record year, Six Flags Over Texas went into a lull with management changes and name changes as the Looney Tunes characters began to take over starting in 1991. The Spee-lunker's Cave was restructured to feature Looney Tunes characters in place of the Spee's who had inhabited the ride since the early days of the parkâ"the park was managed by Time Warner Entertainment. In 1998, Six Flags Over Texas started it off with its addition of Mr. Freeze. When the ride opened it was one of the most technologically advanced roller coasters, with lims propelling it forward. Time Warner sold its interests in the Six Flags parks to Premier Parks of Oklahoma City, which later changed its name to Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. In the late 90s, the park experienced a period of growth by adding new coasters and rides. Six Flags Over Texas also introduced FastLane, later Flash Pass, which was similar to FastPass at Disney theme parks. Many of these new additions (including the new Gotham City section) were far from the original Six Flags Over Texas theme. By the end of the decade, Six Flags Over Texas had added ten roller coasters to its list of attractions.
During the first decade of the 21st century, Looney Tunes USA was restructured. In 2001, the park introduced its tallest, fastest, longest roller coaster, Titan. Built by Giovanola of Switzerland, it climbs 245 feet (74.7Â m) and features a top speed of 85Â mph (137Â km/h). It is the tallest, fastest, longest roller coaster in the park and in the state of Texas. In 2002, the park kicked off the Best of Texas Festival, which brought Texas history back to the park. The park has also made steps toward bringing back the past when they reopened Casa Magnetica. In 2003 Six Flags Over Texas opened the Superman Tower of Power. This was the tallest ride of its kind in the world at the time of its opening. In 2006, the park celebrated its 45th Anniversary by adding ten new attractions geared toward families. Since then, Six Flags Over Texas had placed more emphasis on families by offering a daily parade and more characters (including Scooby-Doo and the Justice League). Six Flags Over Texas also introduced Festival Latino. For 2007 and 2008, Six Flags Over Texas was home to "Cirque Dreams Coobrila", a high energy cirque-acrobatic-type show housed in the Music Mill Amphitheater. On May 17, 2008, Six Flags Over Texas introduced its first roller coaster in seven years, called Tony Hawk's Big Spin. In 2009, debuted the "Glow in the Park Parade", a nighttime parade filled with thousands of lights.
In early 2010, the Texas Giant roller coaster was closed to be renovated into a steel hybrid coaster, by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), and was reopened on April 22, 2011, as the New Texas Giant for the park's 50th anniversary. In late 2010, Six Flags began the process of removing licensed theming from attractions. They terminated several licenses including their licenses with Tony Hawk. Tony Hawk's Big Spin was renamed Pandemonium in the middle of the 2011 season. Mr. Freeze was closed briefly to feature new backwards facing trains. The newly named Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast reopened on May 12, 2012.
On August 2, 2012, Six Flags Over Texas announced the last chance to ride Flashback and Texas Chute Out was September 3, 2012. On August 30, 2012, Six Flags announced the park will be adding the world's tallest swing ride at 400-foot (122Â m) tall, called Texas SkyScreamer. Texas Skyscreamer is located in Goodtime's Square, in the place of the former Texas Chute Out. It features a Texas theme with red, white, and blue colors, along with a giant star with six other flags all on top of the tower. Texas SkyScreamer opened on May 25, 2013.
On August 29, 2013, Six Flags officially announced that they would expand their kids area into Bugs' Bunny Boomtown. The park will also add Wahoo Racer, a new water slide to the adjacent Hurricane Harbor park. In late March 2014, Six Flags Over Texas announced for a limited time in 2014 Batman: The Ride will become Batman: The Ride Backwards, as the park will reverse the trains.
On August 28, 2014, Six Flags announced Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, a dark ride themed to the Justice League for the 2015 season.
On September 3, 2015, Six Flags announced the expansion of the Gotham City section of the park for the 2016 season. The expansion will include two new rides, Catwoman Whip and The Riddler Revenge, and the renovation of Crazy Legs into Harley Quinn Spinsanity, The new rides are opening May 28, 2016. 
At the beginning of the 2016 season, Shock Wave was closed to get ready for The New Revolution. It reopened on March 10, 2016 for Season Pass Holders. It reopened to the public on March 25, 2016. On September 1, 2016, Six Flags announced The Joker, a 4D Free-Fly Coaster, which opened to the public in early summer 2017.
In August 2017, in response to the controversial Unite the Right rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, the park replaced its six flags (which had included the original Confederate flag) with six American flags. A representative of the park told KXAS-TV, "We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags."
Firsts, bests, and other records
Firsts and ones of a kind
- First Six Flags Theme Park. This is the original Six Flags Theme Park, opened on August 5, 1961
- First Pay one Price (POP) admission
- First theme park to feature Broadway-style shows (1961)
- First Intamin Ride, the Jet Set
- First Log Flume â" El Aserradero (1963)
- First Mine Train Roller Coaster â" The Runaway Mine Train (1966)
- First relaunch of the modern-day parachute ride - Texas Chute Out (1976) Removed in 2012.
- First Freefall Ride - Texas Cliffhanger (later renamed G-Force and then Wildcatter) (1982). Removed in 2007.
- Tallest Roller Coaster in Texas - Titan (245Â ft)
- Fastest Roller Coaster in Texas - Titan (85Â mph)
- Largest Land Based Oil Derrick - Oil Derrick (300Â ft)
- Tallest swing ride in the world Texas Skyscreamer (400Â ft) (2013)
- World's Best Wooden Roller Coaster of 1999 - Texas Giant
- Best New Coaster of 2011 - New Texas Giant
Six Flags Over Texas hosts several seasonal events throughout the year including:
- Spring Break Out â" Taking place in the month of March, the Spring Break Out event welcomes the warm Texas weather with plenty of outdoor attractions, events, games, and concert performances. The event usually takes place over a couple of weeks, allowing various local schoolsâ differing spring break holidays to coincide with one of the event's weeks. It has been a park tradition since 1984.
- Festival Latino - In April, Hispanic and Latino heritage is celebrated throughout the park. The park is alive with arts, crafts, performances by bands and dancers, as well as authentic cuisine including fajitas, sweet corn, churros, and tacos. The annual event started in 2006.
- Fright Fest â" Originally only one night in October called 'Fright Night', Fright Fest is the annual Halloween festival at Six Flags Over Texas. Fright Fest takes place throughout the month of October and features several specialized additions to the park. Haunted houses, decorated pathways, patrolling ghouls, and spooky music all contribute to the parkâs transformation into a giant 'scream' park.
- Holiday in the Park â" A tradition started in 1985, Holiday in the Park is now one of the parkâs most popular seasonal events as the parkâs season winds down towards the end of November and throughout December. Hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights are strung around the park buildings and rides. An authentic snow hill is available for visitors to sled down. Festive holiday shows, arts and crafts, and delicious seasonal food also bring the holidays to Six Flags Over Texas.
Areas and attractions
- Guide to Rides & Attractions
The Star Mall serves as the entry gate for Six Flags Over Texas. It was one of the original sections of the park when it opened in 1961. It is named for the large star-shaped fountain located in the section.
- Silver Star Carousel Stage â" Located between the entrance and exit stairways to the Silver Star Carousel attraction, this multi-leveled stage showcases a variety of performances throughout the regular park operating season and during private park events as well. Although the stage is relatively small in size, performances include dance spectacles during both Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park, school and private band recitals, and the daily Looney Tunes Party Rockin' Dance Party (Marchâ"September).
- Pink Things
- Flags Famous Funnel Cakes
- $10 and Under
Other guest services:
- Guest services
- Locker rental
- Six Flags Season Pass Processing Center
- Stroller rental
- The Flash Pass Reservation Center
- VIP Tours
Mexico & Spain
The Mexico & Spain area consists of two sections both of which were originally part of the park in 1961. Both sections represent a flag that has flown over the state of Texas.
- Flags Funnel Cakes
- Rancho de Pollo
- Six Flags Radio â" located across from Indian Trading Village, guests can watch as specially-hired Six Flags Radio personalitiesâ"referred to as DJsâ"broadcast park-wide from inside the park's very own radio station.
- Casa de Six Flags
- Mercado de la Plaza
The Texas section of the park was another original section when the park opened in 1961. It is named after the Republic of Texas flag that once flew over the state.
- Back Porch Stage â" This venue houses live bands during certain times of the year.
- Courthouse Stage â" This small, porch-like stage comes equipped with a splash zone for use in various period gunfighting performances during the summer.
- Crazy Horse Saloon â" The Crazy Horse Saloon has provided live entertainment for over 40 years, featuring cowboys and saloon girls. This is the oldest theater in the park.
- Lone Star Gazebo â" Directly adjacent to the Lone Star Theater entrance, this space now houses Six Flags Karaoke (March â" late September).
- Lone Star Theater â" This venue usually houses specialty shows.
- Lip Synch Challenge â" Its when two people challenge each other to lip synch. It was originally in the Goodtimes Square section.
- Coca-Cola Freestyle
- E.G. Sugarwaters
- Panda Express
- Bubba's Texas Giant Hot Dogs
- Newman's Corn Dogs
- Miss Abby's Cookies and Ice Cream Shoppe
- Indian Trading Post
- Texas Gift Shop
- The Ole' Woodcutter Shop
Old South & France
The Old South & France area consists of two sections both of which were originally part of the park in 1961. Both sections represent a flag that has flown over the state of Texas. The Old South was originally called The Confederacy and featured Civil War reenactments, including performances representing the execution of a captured Union spy.
- David Blackburn Southern Palace Theater - The largest indoor theater at Six Flags Over Texas. This venue houses all types of musical and dance shows.
- Cold Stone Creamery (formerly Ben & Jerrys)
- JB's Smokehouse Barbeque (formerly Gator McGee's Mountain Grill)
- Primo's Pizzeria
- Uncle Bub's Smokehouse
- Antique Photo Emporium
- Les De Caricatures
The USA area of the park opened with the park in 1961. It was originally named the Modern Section, but still represented the United States flag that has flown over Texas. The USA area is also home to the Bugs Bunny Boomtown sub-area.
Bugs Bunny Boomtown
Bugs Bunny Boomtown is a sub-section of the USA section of the park. It serves as the children's area of the park. It originally opened in 1983 as Pac-Man Land. With the introduction of Looney Tunes characters to the park, it was renamed to Looney Tunes Land around 1985. In 2001, the area was renamed once again when it was expanded to include new attractions. It was renamed Bugs Bunny Boomtown for 2014.
- Bill's Lemonade
- Granny's Grill
- Six Flags All-American Cafe (Formerly USA Food Court)
- ACME Rock-N-Rocket Shop (Closed at the end of 2014 to get ready for Justice League - Battle for Metropolis)
- Cartoon Clubhouse
- Looney Tunes Mall/Candy Corner
- Studio 6F (Formerly Attitudes)
Other Guest Services:
- Baby Care
- Lost Parents
The Goodtimes Square section of the park opened in 1973. Over the years, it took on a loose 1950s theme. Some of Goodtimes Square expanded to the Gotham City Section for the 2016-2017 season.
- Majestic Theater - Originally the Krofft Puppet Circus & Goodtimes Theater, this venue houses all types of musical, dance, and specialty shows.
Gotham City opened in 1999 and is themed to the DC Comics Batman universe.
- Gotham Snacks
- Johnny Rockets
The Boomtown section opened in 1963. It is based on the Texas boomtowns that sprung up in Texas during the oil boom era.
- Dry Hole Charlie's
- Dusty Dan's Waterin' Hole
- Macho Nacho (Formally Goldminer's Diner)
The Tower Section opened in 1969 and is named after the Oil Derrick tower location in the section.
- Music Mill Amphitheater - The park's large outdoor amphitheater. This venue houses concerts and other live entertainment.
- Texas Arena - This is the park's stunt show theater. In 2008, the Thursday Night Starburst Concert Series performed here.
- Cold Stone Creamery
- Lone Star Twister Pretzels
- Newman's Cafe
- Flags Funnel Cakes (Formally Red River Dogs & Fries changed during Fright Fest 2014)
- Turbo Bungy - bungee trampoline
- Helicopter Rides - helicopter tours above the park
- Astro-Lift - A Von Roll type 101 aerial ropeway across the park
- Humble's Happy Motoring Freeway Track I & II - Arrow Dynamics guide-limited auto ride
- Jet Set - individual controlled mini jets. Intamin's very first ride.
- Missile Chaser - classic scrambler that was moved to Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Petting Zoo - petting zoo
- Wildcatter (Intamin 1st-Generation Intamin Freefall) - originally called Texas Cliffhanger; opened in 1982; located in USA "Boomtown" section. The ride was imploded and demolished in October 2007.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride (motion simulator theater) - opened in 2004; located in USA section. Removed after 2007 season.
- Bumper Cars (Soli bumper cars) - opened in 1973; located in Goodtimes Square section. Closed in August 2007 for Fright Fest and remained closed after the 2007 season.
- Crazy Legs (Eyerly Aircraft Monster) - opened in 1973; closed after the 1980 season.
- Porky Pig Magic Wheel - was a typical Eli Bridge Company model Ferris wheel located in Looney Tunes USA where the current "Fair-is Wheel" is located.
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
- List of amusement parks in the Americas
- Incidents at Six Flags parks
- Jordan, Scott L. MousePlanet - This Old Park. Retrieved September 21, 2004.
- McCown, Davis. ParkTimes. Retrieved September 21, 2004.
- Rogers, Joel A. CoasterGallery.com. Retrieved September 21, 2004.
- Six Flags - Media Info. Retrieved September 21, 2004.
- Six Flags Over Texas official website
- Guide to Six Flags Over Texas - Unofficial Guide to the Park
- SFOT Source - Your Premier, Unofficial Guide to Six Flags Over Texas
- Amusement Planet
- Parktimes.com - Website focusing on the historical aspect of SFoT
- Six Flags Over Texas at the Roller Coaster DataBase