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Last Ride for Vegas Hotel Amusement Park

February 18, 2001|TOM GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LAS VEGAS — The MGM Grand's struggling, 7-year-old Grand Adventures amusement park, which closed for the season last Labor Day, is no longer open for general admission and has been reinvented as a special-events center for private gatherings.

The facility, renamed the Park at MGM Grand, is available only to private groups of 50 to 7,000, shifting its focus from family amusement to Hollywood and corporate entertainment, spokeswoman Shelly Mansholt said earlier this month.

Among possible uses for it: movie premieres, concerts and TV shows.

Many of the park's rides already have been sold, and new attractions will be introduced, including rock-climbing walls and obstacle courses designed for team-building exercises, Mansholt said.

Three existing rides in the 19-acre complex will remain: a 250-foot-high swing, a roller coaster and, as if traffic congestion on the Strip weren't bad enough, a bumper car ride.

At the other end of the Strip, Circus Circus is expanding its popular, 7-year-old Adventuredome indoor theme park, adding a 19th ride in April--a dizzying thrill ride called Chaos.

Both MGM Grand and Circus Circus opened their amusement parks when Las Vegas was seriously courting family business. While MGM officials concluded the space could be put to more effective use, a Circus Circus spokesman said its Adventuredome was recently ranked 19th in theme park attendance in North America, attracting 2.9 million visitors in 2000.

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