10 Proposed Theme Parks We Wish Were Built

Proposed theme parks with their beautiful renderings and exciting coaster lineups generate much excitement among amusement industry fans and locals living in the surrounding area. They bring with them the possibility of new roller coasters, attractions and tourism dollars for local economies.

Ever since the dawn of trail-blazing theme parks like Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland, the amusement industry has seen countless theme parks proposed — visions in the minds of ambitious theme park developers — that have yet to break ground. These ambitious proposed but unbuilt (not yet, at least) theme parks showcase innovation and sometimes pie-in-the-sky plans. Unfortunately, many are faced with financial challenges and other obstacles that prevent their construction, or at least slow it down.

These proposals offer a glimpse into the creativity of the theme park designers. From futuristic utopias to elaborate fantasy realms, the tales of unrealized theme parks are a captivating journey into the what-ifs of entertainment history. Below, we’ve highlighted 10 of our favorite proposed theme parks that have not yet been built.

Note that several of these theme park proposals are still active. So their inclusion on this list does not mean that they will never be built.

Orlando Thrill Park (Orlando, FL)

Proposed in late 2010, Orlando Thrill Park would have occupied 77 acres in Orlando on the north end of International Drive, not far from Universal Orlando. The park would have featured at least 15 thrill rides and coasters, including a Vekoma motorbike launch coaster, Mack launch coaster, Vekoma suspended looping coaster, Intamin ZacSpin coaster, Intamin inverted accelerator coaster and an S&S 4D coaster — among a slew of other coasters and flat rides.

Proposed Theme Parks - Orlando Thrill Park

Unfortunately, the park’s proposed location resulted in pushback from residents of nearby neighborhoods, who worried the park would generate too much noise and traffic. In 2011, the Orlando Municipal Planning Board denied a request to rezone the plot of land so that the park could be constructed.

Spirit of California (Tracy, CA)

Announced in 2012, the 175-acre theme park at the center of the proposed $1.2 billion “Spirit of California” entertainment destination would include themed areas reflecting California’s “history, culture, industry and adventure.”

Phase one of the overall Spirit of California project would feature the theme park along with a hotel and convention center. Future phases could include a sports complex, festival park, golf course, retail, shopping, dining and more.

Plans for the theme park were very detailed and identified every proposed ride in the park.

The Spirit of California website is still active and contains additional information about the proposed theme park.

Read our interview with Spirit of California developer Jim Rogers.

Grand Texas Theme Park (New Caney, TX)

In 2013. 8 years after the closure of Six Flags Astroworld. Houston residents received a glimmer of hope that the city would no longer be without a proper theme park. The 630-acre Grand Texas Sports & Entertainment district was slated to open in 2015 in New Caney, Texas, northeast of Houston.

The park was originally scheduled to open in 2015. While that never happened, the Big Rivers Waterpark and Adventures did open in 2019. However, there has been little movement since regarding the theme park.

According to a local news report in September 2023, Grand Texas developers are planning to open an indoor family entertainment center in 2025. That would be followed by the theme park, although no date has been mentioned.

Hopefully, this park will be built so that one of the largest cities in the country can finally have a large park once again.

American Heartland Theme Park (Vinita, OK)

Announced in July 2023 and scheduled to open in 2026 in Oklahoma, American Heartland is still an active proposal. Part of a 1,000-acre entertainment development, the theme park component would encompass 125 acres featuring an Americana-themed environment with a variety of entertaining rides, live shows, family attractions, waterways as well as restaurant-quality food and beverage offerings.

©2024 by Mansion Entertainment Group

The resort will be located on historic Route 66 just west of Grand Lake, Oklahoma and will “celebrate the rich cultures and hometown values America has to offer.”

©2024 by Mansion Entertainment Group

American Heartland is scheduled to be built in phases starting with a 320-acre RV park with cabins scheduled to open phase one in spring 2025. The American Heartland website includes additional information and renderings of the proposed theme park.

Pyramid Adventure (Memphis, TN)

The Pyramid Adventure theme park would have been built inside the former Pyramid Arena in Memphis, TN, which was vacated by the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team’s move to a new arena.

The 321-foot-tall pyramid-shaped building, playing on Memphis’ Egyptian namesake, would have housed the indoor theme park while the area surrounding the Pyramid would have included retail, hotel and other entertainment offerings.

After nearly 10 years, the Pyramid eventually became home to a Bass Pro Shops superstore — a use somehow even more unexpected than an indoor theme park.

Then again, a 321-foot-tall stainless steel pyramid in a medium-sized American city is also rather unexpected.

Jazzland/Nickelodeon Universe (New Orleans, LA)

Six Flags New Orleans, which opened in 2000 as Jazzland, has stood dormant ever since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region in late August of 2005. In the nearly two decades since, numerous proposals for the site have blossomed and faded — including Nickelodeon Universe. The park has even experienced a second life as a film set for a variety of Hollywood movies, including Jurassic World.

But one of the most exciting proposals would take the park back to its roots and reopen it as Jazzland. The team’s multi-phase plan would begin with a mixed-use development with a focus on retail shops and dining — that was originally for 2018.

Sadly, it seems that the Jazzland proposal is no more. In March of last year, the City of New Orleans approved an agreement between the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and Bayou Phoenix to redevelop the Jazzland site. Developer Bayou Phoenix’s website contains a site overview highlighting the locations of a proposed hotel, waterpark, retail, sports complex, studio, parking and land reserved for expansion.

For more on the Jazzland proposal, read our interview with developer Tonya Pope and her effort to rebuild the New Orleans park.

Gold Nugget Theme Park (Deadwood, SD)

Proposed in 2016, Gold Nugget Theme Park would have centered around Old West themes of miners, cowboys and pioneers and Native Americans. Its location in Deadwood, SD, was fitting given the city’s ties to the Gold Rush.

The entire destination was estimated to cost $40-80 million (in 2016 dollars) and would have included a water park, dinner theater, lodging, log cabin camp, steam train and more.

Developers hoped to break ground on the theme park in 2019. Unfortunately, the proposal was short-lived and fizzled out by the end of 2016.

Jackalope Junction (Williams, AZ)

Jackalope Junction would be the world’s first “StoryPark,” meaning the entire park is based on one story — in this case, a steampunk-inspired western town and its inhabitants in the 1800s. Comprising only 20 acres, the park would be smaller than most theme parks. But those 20 acres would be packed with fully immersive experiences.

Photo © Acorn Entertainment Group

Jackalope Junction was announced in 2021. The brainchild of amusement industry veteran Greg Schumsky, the park would be centered around life and adventure in the whimsical western town:

Imagine a place where you can fully take your time enjoying all the sights and sounds of our town, go on an adventure, become a Deputy Sheriff, or just relax and take your time exploring our little town and the backcountry, as you get to learn the history of it, meet its citizens (and other folks), have a good bite to eat, enjoy some great music from one of our local musicians, have a picnic at Paula Pigg’s, participate in a watermelon eating contest, watch local farmers display their prized animals for a Blue Ribbon, go to a real-life Hoedown at the Big Barn, or even take your chances at exploring the mysterious mine caves!

It is certainly a unique concept to have an entire park themed around a singular story rather than just an attraction or area within a park.

Jackalope Junction’s focus would be the story, so the proposal didn’t allude to major coasters and other attractions that would open with the park.

As of 2024, the Jackalope Junction’s website contains more exciting concept art and its social media pages are still active. Hopefully, there is more to come for this proposed theme park.

EarthQuest Adventures (New Caney, TX)

Another Houston-area proposed theme park resort, EarthQuest Adventures would have encompassed 1,600 acres with a theme park, water park, resort hotel, event center, retail, dining and more. Announced in 2008, the first phase of the resort was due to open by 2013.

The theme park was estimated to comprise 200 of those 1,600 acres with a $500 million price tag. The theme park would have been divided into various themed areas: sky, water, land and life. Each would include rides and attractions designed to educate guests about the planet and conservation efforts.

Unfortunately, funding for the resort never materialized, and the company that owned the land filed for bankruptcy in 2011. The land where the park was to be built is now a planned residential development.

Storyville Gardens (Nashville, TN)

Storyville Gardens is one of the more recent theme park proposals and is still an active project. The 100-acre park would be educational in nature and the first theme park in Nashville since Opryland USA closed in 1997.

Image courtesy of Storyland Studios/Guerrier Development

Announced in 2021 for an undisclosed location in Nashville, TN, Storyville Gardens will be themed to the four corners of the world: Africa, America, Asia and Europe.

Image courtesy of Storyland Studios/Guerrier Development

Guests would enter the theme park through an African-themed section before splitting off into the other themed areas. The park would contain roller coasters and other attractions as well as 220,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space.

Read our 2021 coverage of the initial Storyville Gardens announcement here. For more information, visit the Storyville Gardens website.

If you could build any proposed theme parks that haven’t been built yet, which would it be? Did we leave any out? Let us know in the comments section below.