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Apr 17, 2017
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I wonder why this back section of the park has not been used for expansion. According to some sources this may be the plot of land that the long defunct Lion Country Safari traversed through, but since it's just been a wooded labyrinth of service roads. When I first looked at the park on Google Earth, I thought either this was a backstage area or was not part of the property. If Kings Dominion were to get a B&M Giga (which doesn't seem plausible given their current situation), or some out-and-back roller coaster from another manufacturer, I'd imagine it would adorn the borderline of this area, and the station would be behind Twisted Timbers and near Coconut Shores. Heck, this section of the part could be large enough to house a new themed area and complete a loop around the park with connections to Candy Apple Grove, Soak City, and I305. But in seriousness, I don't really know what this area is, why it hasn't been used for park expansion, and if it will ever be expanded into.
 

Jonesta6

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Having not been around during the safari days, I may be totally wrong, but I remember hearing that I-305 was built on part of the old land for that. Edit: assuming @mtpelepele is right, then yeah, some safari space too.

However, didn't the old railway line used to go through parts of the area? So potentially some of those service roads were either built to support the live performance or maintenance aspects of the ride or were part of the old rail path itself.

While I think it'd be cool for them to find a way to develop that direction and allow for much of the trees to remain, unless something big changes I don't see anyone holding the purse strings willing to build a new guest area back there for a long time if ever.

I imagine Taft planned some kind of expansion/green belt protection zone in a long-term master plan given their assumption at the time that the Richmond metro area's sprawl was predicted to head North and not so much to the West that actually ended up happening.
 

AIR

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Screenshot_20220129-150210_Earth.jpg

The Old Dominion Line was placed approximately, here, outlined in yellow. If you look closely in the park, you can still see the cleared trees in Soak City and Dinos Alive where the rails were. The Rail Service shop was on the major service road close to I95.

As for the safari land. I305 is built partly on safari land, and partly not. The drop and turnaround area was the lion exhibit, which also occupied some woods beyond I305. (which was then likely not woods.) The expansive network of trails behind the park are used as service roads and always have. They were originally intended to service the monorail and are now lined with tons and tons of asphalt torn up and dumped back there in honor of pavers being added all over the park. Some footers for the monorail are still plainly in sight adjacent to the trail in lots of places, as well as over by Avalanche and the amphitheater.

Also found back in those woods are several veterinarian buildings and individual enclosures for animal care. They are now used for old unusable storage. The entire splat slime playground zone thing that Paramount had by the Eiffel Tower is stored at one of the buildings back there. There are also several watch towers used during the safari days still standing in the woods. Falling apart, of course.
 

Jonesta6

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So what you're saying is, if they wanted to expand, they could theoretically clear out all the old junk then do so?
 
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View attachment 25769
I wonder why this back section of the park has not been used for expansion. According to some sources this may be the plot of land that the long defunct Lion Country Safari traversed through, but since it's just been a wooded labyrinth of service roads. When I first looked at the park on Google Earth, I thought either this was a backstage area or was not part of the property. If Kings Dominion were to get a B&M Giga (which doesn't seem plausible given their current situation), or some out-and-back roller coaster from another manufacturer, I'd imagine it would adorn the borderline of this area, and the station would be behind Twisted Timbers and near Coconut Shores. Heck, this section of the part could be large enough to house a new themed area and complete a loop around the park with connections to Candy Apple Grove, Soak City, and I305. But in seriousness, I don't really know what this area is, why it hasn't been used for park expansion, and if it will ever be expanded into.
The original safari area was as far north as to the northeast back stage area of the concert amphitheater, then west to behind the southeast corner of the former outer hanks restaurant. The monorail station sat between the former outer hanks restaurant and the old Mt. Kilimanjaro mountain structure.

Then the safari border headed due south just to the east of the old mt Kilimanjaro mountain, continuing just east of what is now the Andaconda lift hill and east of the Racer 75 turnarounds .

About 40-50 yards past the Racer 75 back curves, the safari border turned west and went almost to the small electric line rightaway you can see in the far left of the photo above.

The safari border then turned due south and paralleled the small electric line down to the junction of the major electric transmission lines. From there the safari border followed the major transmission lines northeast to the railroad tracks.

Then the safari border headed due north, paralleling the railroad tracks back to near the backstage area of the concert amphitheater.

Keep in mind that not all of that land was for the animals. The park had buffer zones along the east, west, south, and north sides of the land. The monorail storage and maintenance building was behind the amphitheater and the lost world/volcano site.

There was cold weather housing for some species that could not acclomate to cold weather. Most of those buildings were along the railroad tracks behind FOF and I-305.

In the photo you can pick out a couple houses in the lower center part of the photo. That was housing for the zoologists. Being a Wild Animal Safari you have have staff on site 24/7/365. I believe there was a vet clinic and storage areas for the animal feed as well. I am not sure how many safari structures survive today. Maybe half?

So what rides are/were in the original safari land?:
Sounthern half of Avalanche
The Lost World/Volcano
FOF
I-305
Parts of the water park south of Racer 75 (Remember the safari border went another 40-50 yards south of the Racer before turning to the west). I would say the southern third of the wave pool, west to Hurricane Heights, west to the next slide tower, onward west to the food truck court and all areas south was former safari land.
 
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b.mac

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So what you're saying is, if they wanted to expand, they could theoretically clear out all the old junk then do so?

Unfortunately the major problem with expanding out that way is how heavily KD is painted into a corner. They don't really own the property behind Twisted Timbers, and Apple Zapple, Racer 75, and the entirety of the Southern end of Soak City just pins them in to the point that if they want to do any sort of expansion it'd create a nightmare in the park logistically. Something akin to how Holiday World has water park rides on top of dry park rides and multiple entrances into the water park.

Like yeah, KD does have the land and they can use it. But logistically it's a nightmare and a half for them to do so.
 
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Gavin

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For those who don't know, here is KD's current landholdings.

kd-pars-jpg.1843


Taken from the Property Thread.
 
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I've long felt like that area should get used by KD for the park offices and maintenance to open up more space for the park.

KD has always given me a very unbalanced feel. Having Dominator and Berserker where they are is out of place, due to Planet Snoopy cutting them off from everything else that's thrills oriented. Then you go the fact that water rides were put on the park side of Racer, and then they decided to expand to the other side of it.

I'd take park ops and move them behind Coconut shores. They still would have access to all the back of house roads. This opens up a HUGE plot of land for them to use to make the front better looking and more balanced (it's one thing I really like about KI is the symmetry when you walk in). Potentially this area is 100,000 sq ft bigger than Planet Snoopy, which is a move I would consider doing.

With PS now moved you have the space to do something in creating a new theme area around Dominator.

I would take Free Stylin' and Baja Bend and put one opposite Tidal Wave Bay and Hurricane Heights. The there one can go by the old splash pad. The area south of Tidal Wave Bay (to the right as you are looking at it) can be expanded sitting and build a new lazy river. This gives future slide complex expansion. And not soon after I would do a water coaster, and not only that I would "one up" WCUSA by doing a full circuit water coaster rather than what WCUSA did.

With the old Soak City plot empty you can have another new area to build out, and without losing the I-305 theme or the BLSC theme you can have them tie into a a car/speed based area. Anaconda goes and gets replaced with the new ride entrance where the backside of the Lazy River is. Re-route the entrance to BLSC to loop around to the same area. Do some games along the lake as an entrance plaza to I-305.

There we go, KD's landlocked issues solved, that land is used without making people always hike all the way around, and my personal issue f the park being incredibly unbalanced.
 
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The park-side-of-Racer part of Soak City was always the biggest offense to me. At one point I had drawn up a big concept that would've moved Freestylin' & Baja Bend over to the other side of Racer like you said, but restoring Lake Charles in that current area instead of new attractions there. Route the Soak City in-park entrance to between Twisted Timbers & Apple Zapple, widen Theme Park Way and add an entire parking lot & separate gated Soak City entrance south of Twisted.

I'm sure none of that is feasible or realistic, but it was fun to draw up 😄
 
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The park-side-of-Racer part of Soak City was always the biggest offense to me. At one point I had drawn up a big concept that would've moved Freestylin' & Baja Bend over to the other side of Racer like you said, but restoring Lake Charles in that current area instead of new attractions there. Route the Soak City in-park entrance to between Twisted Timbers & Apple Zapple, widen Theme Park Way and add an entire parking lot & separate gated Soak City entrance south of Twisted.

I'm sure none of that is feasible or realistic, but it was fun to draw up 😄
KECO damaged the park when they drained the lake. The front part of the water park in not a nice area. It’s cramped crowded and in a hole. The back part of the water park is nice. It’s spread out, surrounded by trees and has groves of trees throughout.

A dream is that they put the entire water park behind racer and retun the lake to its glory
 

Jonesta6

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TBH, and it's hard to pinpoint, Soak City just feels too spread out in the back section. If they essentially moved the attractions from the front to the back, filling in some of the dead spaces, I think it'd be better. That, and replace the grass with something more barefoot friendly near the wave pool.
 
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The only thing I could envision, for that far southern portion of the safari property to be used for park patrons, is if KD made a 2nd outside gate for the water park.

There would be land for a scaled down parking lot. Course, to be financially feasible for for something of that scope, the water park would need to grow in size and attractions by 40%-50%. Another drawback is the railroad track that borders the whole eastern side of the park. All traffic would have to cross the railroad. I don't think KD wants the liability with potential car-train collisions. Or, the cost to build a overpass across the tracks and an enlarged-reworked-relocated intersection/interchange with route 30. It feels more like a pipe dream.

My guess is that maybe another 10-15 acres of that land is reserved for potential future waterpark expansions. Maybe some acreage held for a future coaster that goes alongside/behind/around the existing I-305 coaster. Park visitors would still access that potential future coaster station within the existing pedestrian park boundaries/paths.

I can't really see much more of that southern land used for park visitors. Like desscribed above, maybe the maintenance, food, mechandise/game warehouses could be relocated there.

They would probably keep First Aid and the park's central kitchen where they are now for quicker access to deliveries and to I-95 for emergency vehicles. I really don't see the administrative offices being relocated way back there. Management has always had quick access to the public areas of the park to check on things and be available if there was any type of incident in the park. I think 1/3 of that backstage area closest to the west side of I-Street is not going anywhere.

Now, that being said, the other 2/3's of that backstage area could be repurposed for rides and attractions in the future. Again, if the park decides to relocate the warehouses and storage land back there.
 
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