Fun Tech Industries premiered a new attraction, "Kid Zoo" at the 2017 Oregon State Fair. According the owner of Fun Tech Industries, Patrick Boyle, the Oregon State Fair was a sort of a "beta test" for their newest piece and while they were pleased with the results, "Kid Zoo" has returned to the Fun Tech Industries Shop for some final tweaks.
Kid Zoo features animals playing instruments along to a customized light and music show. The idea was to create a universal theme that all children can enjoy and to make things more interactive for the kids. "When we tested it out at the Oregon State Fair we found that we had the right theme, the right graphics, and the right music," says Boyle. Fun Tech Industries worked with Ranier Amusements which plays The Oregon State Fair. According to Boyle, they did not get
involved with the operation of the ride, "we kinda dropped it off and let it go."
Boyle began designing and building rides in 1983. His first attraction was the Jungle of Fun. Fun Tech Industries sets itself apart from competitors by creating original designs and custom, special products. At one point in his career, Boyle left the industry for 7 years and then came back to refurbish old rides and build new ones. His passion for the outdoor amusement industry and ride-making is clear.
All of the attractions Boyle has made over the years need servicing and parts from time to time but 90% of the things he's built are still operating. Boyle says that he and his wife got the idea to build new and exciting back-end pieces when walking the midway at various events. Boyle found that all the back-end pieces looked the same, they were cookie-cutter pieces. "We would watch the kids walk through and listen to their comments," says Boyle. Sometimes kids would come out of dark rides with blank expressions on their faces or walk out of a funhouse looking for more entertainment. The truly disappointing part of this, according to Boyle, is that these pieces cost $400,000 or $500,000 or more. These realizations led to the founding of Fun Tech Industries and their desire to create fun, unique, back-end pieces that are affordably priced.
Kid Zoo in particularly is near and dear to Boyle and Fun Tech Industries as it has succeeded against all odds. On July 11th, 2015, Fun Tech Industries lost everything to a fire. The management team was out of town working on a new Ghost Pirate dark ride in Texas.
Boyle had the concept for Kid Zoo mapped out but it was lost to the fire. Having to start from scratch, it took Boyle about 18 months to recover the plans and before he did he certainly had some doubts. "I remember thinking 'should I move forward with this or not?' " Once he decided to continue on, Boyle found some music he liked from the 40s or 50s that he bought from Amazon. Once he had the music, he started again on the floor plan, the theme, and keeping everything affordable.
Boyle uses an Auto-CAD program to help build his attractions. He finds that using Auto-CAD makes building a lot simpler and can help control costs. It allows the builder to truly see what things will look like before working with physical material. Boyle spent at least 3 months putting Kid Zoo through Auto-CAD; then, he contracted with Chuck Wheeler and Amusement Wraps to create the graphics for Kid Zoo. Again, using computerized graphics allowed Boyle to plan and change the look of the piece as much as he wanted. Kid Zoo has an open-air design so Boyle needed to wrap the inside and the outside of the attraction.
Once the wrapping was done, Boyle began to play with layout and wattages for an LED light package until he was happy with it. "We literally got through a fire. We found a new location and some new staff and built a new attraction that has been a raging success," says Boyle. Kid Zoo costs about half as much as a normal back-end piece. Kid Zoo can also be pulled by a 1 ton pickup truck so moving costs are kept to a minimum.
Fun Tech Industries has created many different attractions over the years such as: Jungle of Fun, Kid Pirate Play Area, Ghost Pirate's Dark Ride, MTV Funhouse, Planet Rock N' Roll, ToonTown Theater, Ghost Party Fun House, Youtoob Funhouse, Splash N' Crash water bumper boats, dark rides, tracked auto rides, and big spinning tea cups for amusement parks.
Currently, Boyle is already working on a new ride that's currently being generated in Auto-CAD. He's planning to build something reminiscent of the Tilt-A-Whirl which is no longer being made. Boyle says he's coming up with something that is the same size, trailer-mounted, and that has the same kind of action as the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Fun Tech Industries will be at the IAFE convention in Las Vegas and the IISA convention in Gibsonton, FL.