Concepts to update the train ride to provide a more engaging and entertaining experience for guests
In 2003, I was asked to assume leadership of the Attractions Department at the Indianapolis Zoo. One of my priorities at that time was to find a way to make improvements to the train ride, which basically gave a behind-the-scenes view of facilities buildings and backstage areas.
The initial proposal was to build up themed walls around the tracks to shut out the outside world and allow for a fully-themed experience to surround the riders. But this renovation encompassed more than just the train ride itself. The concept was to take the entire area of the zoo that contained the train, carousel, family roller coaster, simulator ride, a photo adventure booth and some food stands and convert them into an African-themed village that served as the “base camp” for a nearby wildlife preserve. The wildlife preserve was the walking path through the African Plains area of the zoo.
While this version of the ride was never approved, my plight to improve the train ride never ceased. Deemed too costly, future revisions abandoned the highly themed environments and African village backstory and instead focused on enhancing the “behind-the-scenes” story.
Although this version of the ride also didn’t get fully realized, elements of the concept did make their way into the revamped ride the debuted in 2005. You can view more information about that ride in the separate portfolio entry below.