December 31, 2017 – After operating just over a quarter century, Space World theme park welcomed guests for the last time today. Thousands of fans lined up as early as 4 a.m. to attend the final day of operations, with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display scheduled before officially closing its doors at 2 a.m. Monday. The park, known for its iconic Venus GP roller coaster that featured a full scale model of NASA’s Space Shuttle, opened on April 22, 1990 on the Nippon Steel grounds.
At its peak in 1997, the park recorded 2.16 million visitors, but that number decreased dramatically since and the Nippon sold the park to Kamiomori tourism in 2005. In 2008 Kamori tourism laid off half of the park employees and lowered ticket and season pass prices in a effort to increase attendance while lowering operation costs.
At a cost of 2 billion Yen, the park added a swimming pool and ice skating rink last year, however the park suffered intense public criticism after placing some 5000 fish in the ice of the rink. The aquarium-themed attraction was deemed as animal cruelty, although the fish were already dead when they were frozen, and the fish were removed.
Read more about the park closing in our Forum discussion.
Read more about the ice rink fiasco in our Forum discussion.