Celebrating its 60th anniversary this season, Oklahoma City’s rootin’, tootin’ Frontier City theme park is a guest favorite and staple in the area, according to Alyssa Baier, promotions manager for the park.
“We started out with some very classic, simple, carnival-like rides, and a Western theme. We had Old West gunfights with staged gunfighters as entertainment. Since we began in 1958, we’ve grown to be a world-class theme park with four major roller coasters and many thrill rides.” She adds that the park tries to add a new ride every season if they are able.
Today, the park has 27 rides, Baier attests. “We’ve added four in the last four years. And with the summer weather here often around 90 degrees, in 2012 we began to add some water attractions which are a lot of fun and beneficial for guests in the heat,” she laughs.
The waterpark section of Frontier City is called Wild West Waterworks, and it’s now a prominent part of the landscape.
In 2012, guests saw the addition of a water tree house structure, water toys, and a tipping bucket. “Last year, in 2017, we really grew that area with our Gully Washer. It’s the tallest water slide structure in the state, and it really brought up the thrill factor of our Wild West Waterworks area,” Baier says. “The ride has three slides coming off the top of the tower, and they all have their own different paths, and turns and loops. You can experience all three by coming back to the ride at different times, so it’s almost like three different rides in one.”
Along with the waterpark area, in the last four years Frontier City has added several other exciting rides to its attraction list. “In 2014, we added Winged Warrior, which is a mild-thrill spinning attractions. It’s geared for families and younger children who are almost ready to get into big kids’ rides,” she explains. The following year brought the Brain Drain as an addition. “It’s a Larson Loop classic ride that you might see at a carnival, but we added it as a permanent ride for the park at over 7-stories tall,” Baier attests. “It’s a high impact ride, and a real change for our skyline as well. It’s a great lighted feature that you can see from pretty much every inch of the park, and also from the highway.”
In 2016, the park offered another spinning ride to their amusement mix with The Gunslinger. “That’s one for people who have solid stomachs – and have not consumed any corndogs before they head out on that,” she jokes. “It’s a fast spinning ride, but it’s a lot of fun.” 2017 brought the afore-mentioned Gully Washer to the water area of the park.
To market the park, Baier uses a variety of resources. “We use a mix of social media and conventional media. Today we’re going more toward social media than anything else, but we’ve had great success with radio and TV, and we use some print as well.” She reports that “We are smart with our print ads, and we try to take advantage of partnering with different tourism organizations and our Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.” She relates that the park’s use of print is down, however, while social media advertising is up.
The park draws locals and visitors alike with a reasonable price point both at the gate and online. “Our pricing at the gate is $39.99 general admission, with the cost $10-less for junior admission. For people finding more convenience purchasing online, we have a single, discounted general admission rate of $31.99. Our price difference between junior and general admission is done by height rather than age, so to keep it simple online, we offer just one low ticket price.”
Along with the rides at the park, Frontier City offers daily shows that go on throughout the park, according to Baier. “Some are true to our western heritage. We still have a Wild West Gunfighter stunt show, which is a version of the one the park started out with. It’s really a Hollywood-type stunt show that’s authentic to the Wild West. We’ve grown that show to have its own stage in the park, and we offer several showings a day.” She notes that after all these years, it is still a guest favorite.
“We also have some more contemporary shows, with high energy music, and an illusion and magic show. This year, we will have a special show celebrating our 60th anniversary, pulling in some fun country music and elements from our history,” she says. “We try to play on anything that might be going on, and keep our shows very relevant. We want to make sure our guests are experiencing shows they really want to see.”
But the biggest news is about a major new event will take place for the first time this season at the park: a Frontier Christmas. “It’s a brand new holiday event for families. We’ve been so successful with our annual Halloween season Fright Fest that we decided to take the plunge and add a Christmas event. We’ll have all our family rides going, and deck out the entire park with Christmas displays with lots of fun lighting,” Baier describes. The event will include holiday shows and specialty food items, along with visits from Santa, of course.
“We’re very excited and we’re spending a lot of time planning the event,” she reports, which will include such tasty seasonal treats from concessions as s’mores stands throughout the park. “We will also be offering many hot chocolate concoctions, with sprinkles and peppermint. Our food director is currently still scoping out some specialty entrees to include for the season.”
As to Fright Fest, now 28-years-strong, the park opens all rides into the evening, and “when the sun sets, our monsters come out to play,” Baier reveals. “We typically have one main haunted house as our standard attractions, and three to four smaller mazes set up throughout the park.” She describes the idea of the fest as allowing guests to experience the rides plus special scare zones. And of course, food has not been forgotten. “One of our main Fright Fest food items is the funnel cake. Our food director has made it to look like zombie brains by adding elements such as frosting and food coloring. Our guests love them.”
Along with these events and rides, Frontier City is also adding one new, separately-paid attraction to the park that isn’t included with park admission, but is reasonably priced at an additional $5 per person.
“It’s called the Soaring Eagle, and it is a fun twist on what a lot of people know to be a standard zip line. It has a two-person carriage that takes you 100-feet in the air and launches you forward, so you can see the park form all different angles.” Baier describes the ride as offering “the thrill of the launch and being up high as well.” It’s projected to open this summer, and the park is hoping to have it in place by Memorial Day if the weather cooperates.
With all these new additions, Frontier City sees attendance up and consistently growing for the past two years – keeping the Wild West as alive as ever.