EAS 2018: Expert urges education initiatives for theme park engagement
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EAS 2018: Expert urges education initiatives for theme park engagement

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Andreas Theve, park historian at the popular Grona Lund theme park in Stockholm, has urged theme park operators to adopt edutainment offerings into their annual calendar, using the Swedish park to demonstrate the success such a scheme can have for an attraction.

Founded in 1883, Grona Lund held its first ever edutainment day in 2009. For the session, a mix of 1,200 junior and senior school students from the Stockholm area came to the park before regular opening hours, going on the rides and performing a number of physics experiments on them based on the school curriculum.

"Initially we had mixed results," said Theve, speaking at the Euro Attractions Show taking place in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

"We had a large amount of media attention focused on school learning in a theme park environment, but this was our first attempt. Teachers for example are used to working in classrooms. We had created worksheets for the students and teachers but they weren't used to operating in the park. Our edutainment days have a cap of 3,500 students during a single session, so there's a lot to take in and be aware of.

"After the first session we did a lot of work with the teachers, asking what we could do to make the days even better, seeing what changes we needed to make to provide a fun and educational experience.

"One of the additional things we did was create group sessions that proved to be very popular. We also went to our mechanics department with students in small groups so they could see and touch the technology behind the rides. This included things like magnetic brakes, roll back systems and types of wheels."

For the students, it proved an eye opener for many, with teachers reporting to Grona Lund improved results in science studies following a park visit. With the success, the park's edutainment sessions grew in size and scope.

"We started with 1,200 students visiting the park for our first edutainment session, which took place over a single day nearly a decade ago. It's proved such as success that In 2018, we held sessions over three days, with 7,500 students taking part and teachers regularly bringing back new classes each year."

In his conclusion, Theve, urged theme parks that have not tried out educational days to do so.

"The media attention from this kind of event will be enormous," he said. "If you can establish a connection with a science centre, school or university, it adds credibility to such a programme. Importantly, it puts a spotlight on your amusement park in an area you wouldn't get otherwise."

Check back with Attractions Management during the week for all the latest breaking news coming from EAS 2018.

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Andreas Theve, park historian at the popular Grona Lund theme park in Stockholm, has urged theme park operators to adopt edutainment offerings into their annual calendar, using the Swedish park to demonstrate the success such a scheme can have for an attraction.
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