|Location||Arlington, Texas, U.S.|
|Opened||August 5, 1961; 60 years ago|
|Owner||Texas Flags, Ltd. (51%)|
|Operated by||Six Flags|
|Slogan||The Thrill Capital of Texas|
|Area||212 acres (0.331 sq mi) (0.86 km²)|
Six Flags Over Texas is a 212-acre (86 ha) amusement park located in Arlington, Texas, east of Fort Worth and west of Dallas. It is the first amusement park in the Six Flags chain, and features themed areas and attractions. The park opened on August 5, 1961, following a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr.
The park is managed by the Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which owns a 54% interest of the Texas Limited Partnership that owns the park. Six Flags Over Texas Fund, Ltd, a private-equity and asset management firm headed by Dallas businessman Jack Knox, purchased the park in 1969. Over the years, the various companies that managed the park exercised options to purchase interest in the fund. Six Flags Entertainment has an option to purchase the remaining 46% in 2028. In 1991, Time Warner Entertainment began managing park operations. In 1998, Time Warner sold its interests in the Six Flags parks to Premier Parks of Oklahoma City, which later changed its name to Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc.
Following a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, shortly after its opening, wealthy real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr. decided that his home state of Texas should have a local park for entertainment. Planning for such a place began in 1959, under the leadership of Wynne and the Great Southwest Corporation, along with the backing of various New York City investors. Construction on the park began in August 1960.
The name "Six Flags Over Texas" refers to the flags of the six different nations that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America. Wynne originally intended to name the park "Texas Under Six Flags." Various legends have attributed the name change to his wife Joann; a group called "The Daughters of The Texas Republic" — of which his wife may, or may not, have been a member; or his entertainment director, Charles Meeker, stating that "Texas isn’t 'under' anything." The original park was divided into six separate themed areas for each of the six governing entities that have ruled over Texas. Although additional themed areas have been added, the original six can still be found within the park.
Six Flags Over Texas opened its gates from July 29 to August 4, 1961, to several local corporations that Wynne had invited as part of a "soft-test opening." The park held its grand opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 5, 1961. Dignitaries included the mayors of Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Irving. Park attendance reached 8,374. Admission was $2.75 (equivalent to $25 in 2021) for adults and $2.25 (equivalent to $20 in 2021) for children; parking was 50 cents (equivalent to $5 in 2021); hamburgers were 35 cents (equivalent to $3 in 2021), and soft drinks were 10 cents (equivalent to $1 in 2021). On opening day, guests could visit the six original themed sections: Mexico, Spain, France, The Confederacy, Texas and Modern (representing the USA). According to the 1961 Park Map there were 46 "major attractions" listed. The park's first season, lasting only 45 days and ending on November 25, 1961, was a success with over 550,000 visitors.
The 1960s were a decade of growth for Six Flags Over Texas. The park added numerous attractions, including two new sections: Boomtown, named after the boomtowns that sprang up rather quickly during Texas' oil boom era and the "Tower Section", named after the Oil Derrick observation tower built in 1969. The park also witnessed the birth of two classic theme park attractions: El Aserradero in 1963 and the Runaway Mine Train roller coaster in 1966. Attendance reached close to 2 million visitors a year by the end of the decade. For 1974, Six Flags Over Texas announced attendance had reached 2,184,000.
For the 50th anniversary (2011), Six Flags Over Texas introduced the first I-Box roller coaster track with a transformation of Texas Giant. The reception from the conversion led the manufacturer to bring the new technology all over the world. During this time, Six Flags (the company) began the company-wide process of removing licensed theming across its theme parks from attractions that the park had built in previous years. For example, Six Flags Over Texas had to rename and retheme Tony Hawk's Big Spin to Pandemonium.
In 2020, the park began, for the first time in its history, operating at a year-round schedule. Before 2020, Six Flags Over Texas ran seasons from March to the end of that specific year. Within three months into the longer season (March 13, 2020), Six Flags suspended all operations across all of its properties due to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. During the time of closure, the park donated food and supplies to a local charities. The park reopened on to members and season pass holders on June 19 and to the general public on June 22.
See also: List of Six Flags Over Texas attractions
Six Flags Over Texas hosts a number of events for different holidays all throughout the operating season that often draws thousands of visitors to the park.
The Confederacy was one of the original themed areas and it showcased Civil War re-enactments and displayed the Confederate Battle Flag. In the 1990s it was rethemed to "Old South" and all Confederate Battle Flags were removed. The land drew little attention as there were no high-profile rides in that area. However, the Confederate "stars and bars" remained one of the six flags that was flown at the park entrance. In August 2017, in response to the controversial Unite the Right rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, the park replaced its six flags (which had included the first Confederate flag, a Republic of Texas flag, a 19th-century Spanish flag, an 18th-century French flag, a 19th-century United States flag, and a 19th-century Mexican flag) with six American flags. A representative of the park told KXAS-TV, "We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags."
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