I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning with the lifestyle changes I want to make to live a more sustainable and ethical existence. I recycle, I reuse, I buy 70% of my wardrobe from charity shops, and I recently made the choice to get my milk delivered by a milkman – but I still feel there’s a lot more I can do.
Now I’ve started to apply changes at home, I’m now looking at what shops, restaurants and, of course, what theme parks and attractions are doing too. Are they ‘going green’ too?
Here are ten global attractions that are making it a priority, and are helping lead the way towards a greener and more ethically sustainable attractions industry…
#1 DISNEY EARTH MONTH
Disney Parks are very focused on their efforts to be green, and so they have an annual ‘Earth Month’ where they celebrate and educate their guests on the work that they’re doing across the estate. Core initiatives include a global fleet of vehicles that operate on renewable and alternative fuels, a 50-megawatt solar facility providing power to Walt Disney World, and Shanghai Disney Resort’s innovative Combined Cooling and Heating Plant – a facility that reuses heat and condensation from normal operations to reduce energy use.
#2 THE EDEN PROJECT
The Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, has a plethora of environmental initiatives, one of which is their ‘Wasteline Project’. The meticulously controlled management of the attraction’s waste means that they engage in 20 different waste streams.
The result is that 50% of all waste is sent for recycling, 19% of total waste is composted, 21% creates energy and 10% sent to landfill (which is the road sweepings that can’t currently be recycled.) This is one of many efforts the Eden Project is making to be as environmentally efficient as possible.
#3 GREENWOOD FAMILY PARK
Greenwood Family Park in Wales, UK, is another maverick when it comes to finding creative ways to better their environmental impact. It boasts the only people-powered rollercoaster in the world! It is also home to the very first solar-powered water ride in the UK too.
#4 UNIVERSAL PARKS
Universal Parks & Resorts is so dedicated that they have a website purely for their eco practices. Their commitment to waste management means that they recycle over 10,000 tons of material every year. The Universal Orlando Resort also collects food waste from more than 30 restaurants daily, which is placed in an onsite compactor and then sent to an anaerobic digester to generate energy. This means that you can eat those calorific theme park meals almost guilt-free!
#5 SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA
One of Six Flag’s initiatives has been to build solar panelled carports over the car parking at the Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, and a second system at Magic Mountain, near LA. This is clever as it’s creating dual efficiency out of one space, carports to shade the cars of guests, while also ‘powering’ the guest experience in the parks.
#6 BADINO ADVENTURE POOL
On a smaller scale, the nature adventure pool Lechtal in Austria is an all-natural pool, purified by only plants and natural filters- not a chemical in sight.
The pool itself is divided into two, one part for swimming, and the other is a water self-purification zone. Another highlight is that this pool isn’t only used in the warmer months, it also turns into an ice skating rink in the winter too!
#7 SIAM PARK
Siam Park in Tenerife is considered the world’s first, all green water park. It boasts it’s own desalination plant on site, which converts 1.800m³ of saltwater into 600m³ of freshwater. After the water is used in the rides, the park then recycles the water by using it to water the plants. No wonder it’s considered an ecological centre for excellence.
DéfiPlanet is a theme park in France completely devoted to climate change. It focuses on providing a fun experience for its guests, with an underlying message on the importance of sustainability and a circular economy at its heart. It’s a mythical, educational adventure, that shows guests how to better their impact on climate change with small lifestyle changes.
#9 SUNWAY LAGOON
At the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park in Malaysia, the staff are challenged to a recycling competition (in line with Earth Day) that this year saw them recycle over 1000kg of waste from around the theme park. This is a really simple but effective way of motivating team members to recycle, purely by adding an element of competition. It also shows how important it is to educate internally too.
#10 KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE
The Kennedy Space Center is exploring piezoelectric energy within one of its exhibits to show how converting mechanical stress (in this case guests stepping on floor tiles to light up an exhibit) into electrical energy creates a ‘people-powered’ pathway. This helps to educate the guests about the possibilities that come with piezoelectric energy, such as the creation of renewable, clean energy.
Although it’s unlikely we’ll make the decision to visit an attraction based on the operator’s environmental approach, it’s still comforting to know that many are choosing to pursue a greener route when it comes to running their attractions, both from an internal and external perspective. It’s something I’ll definitely be thinking about the next time I visit an attraction.
We are proud to be doing our part by being the world's first themed attraction designer awarded B Corp Certified status. Our high standards and action in making positive changes to both society and environment is something we are proud of, and continue to bring our mission into every project we work on.