March 10, 2009

Minn. amusement park up for sale

The Minneapolis-area amusement park Valleyfair is up for sale in the down economy.

Cedar Fair, the Sandusky, Ohio, company that bought Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minn., in 1978, is looking to sell it, along with its amusement parks in Kansas City and Santa Clara, Calif., and land in Toronto and Cleveland, to ease its debt load, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.

Cedar Fair spokeswoman Lee Alexakos disclosed no further details about the company's situation, the newspaper said.

The amusement park business has been recession-proof in the past, but David Mandt of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in Virginia says that's less certain this time around.

The nearly 400 amusement parks across the United States had 341 million visitors in 2007, but attendance was flat last year, he noted.

Considering that we had $4-per-gallon gas prices and certainly the concerns related to the economy, we felt that attendance was strong for the conditions in 2008, Mandt said.