ARLINGTON - Six Flags Over Texas. Just the mention of the theme park is enough to prompt people to giggle with delight and reminisce about the rides.
Since 1961, Six Flags Over Texas has been a destination for birthday parties, first dates, first jobs, family reunions, school outings, summer vacations, spring breaks and more. Now, the Arlington landmark is celebrating its 50th anniversary and partnering with the University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections for a magical look back.
Courtesy University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections
The public is invited to experience the free interactive exhibit, “What You Wish the World Could Be: The Early Years of Six Flags Over Texas,” Feb. 14 through May 14, 2011 at the UT Arlington University Library, 702 Planetarium Place. The exhibit's opening was delayed by winter weather conditions this month.
“We are very excited about our 50th anniversary. This year will honor the past five decades and thousands of people who built Six Flags Over Texas into the family institution it is today,” said Steve Martindale, president of Six Flags Over Texas and a graduate of UT Arlington. “We are honored that The University of Texas at Arlington, my alma mater, is highlighting our beloved theme park and helping us celebrate this golden anniversary year.”
The exhibit, which is sponsored in part by Six Flags Over Texas, will include an original Spee-Lunker in an Abraham Lincoln costume, a carousel horse from the Silver Star, personal memorabilia from former park employees, memory walls where visitors can leave their own memories and photos from the historic collections of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Arlington Citizen-Journal. While the park is a half-century old, the exhibit will primarily focus on the venue’s first 25 years.
“The Six Flags exhibit will be really fun and exciting,” said Evelyn Barker, UT Arlington information literary librarian. “It will show people how important the park has been to Arlington, the city’s growth and development.”
- Six Flags Over Texas was the result of a brainstorming session between legendary Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff, who died last month, and Great Southwest President Angus G. Wynne, Jr.
- Six Flags was originally conceived as a way to pay for the infrastructure needed to get the Great Southwest Industrial District running at full capacity.
- The $10 million park attracted over half a million visitors from all 50 states in its first season.
- Unlike other parks, Six Flags Over Texas developed a theme around Texas history.
- Each section of the park — Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, Confederacy, and USA — offered rides and attractions that complemented the locale.
Read about Six Flags Over Texas at www.sixflags.com/overTexas/index.aspx.
The exhibit, “What You Wish the World Could Be: The Early Years of Six Flags Over Texas,” is free and open to the public. Hours are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Read more at the Special Collections website.
Find a campus map online at www.uta.edu/maps/map?id=LIBR.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,000 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
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