Arlington, Texas is truly a place for fun, with something for everyone within a small radius of the city. There are amusement parks for the family and two huge stadiums for sports fans alike.

By Nisie

Mayor Tom Vandergriff of Arlington Texas put Arlington on the map by turning the city into a major tourist destination. He even attempted to get a Disneyland theme park to open right here in North Texas but was not successful. Instead, Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961. And after seeing the success of marine animal-themed parks, Mayor Vandergriff hatched a new plan for the city.

After reaching out to the creator of Sea World with no response, the mayor decided to create his version of the marine-themed park. So, he put his creative team to the task and they came up with an almost identical theme as Sea World and named it Seven Seas. The city of Arlington would finance the project with an initial budget of 10 million dollars and Six Flags would design and operate the park. But soon after construction began Six Flags had to pull out of the project due to financial issues. The mayor continued with Seven Seas but unfortunately, this would be the first of many blunders to come.

Seven Seas opened its doors for the summer season in 1972, complete with two massive stadiums, marine animals that ranged from sea lions, killer whales, and even sharks. The new park even boasted two Himalayan black bears and a chimpanzee. However, with just a single themed ride throughout the park, visitors would quickly find themselves bored. Sadly, the reputation of the park quickly declined, and the following season had even fewer park-goers. It was not long before the city began to pile up debt, the cost to properly care for the animals was more than anticipated. But the mayor didn’t want to throw in the towel yet. He began selling off the animals to help cover the cities losses and would turn the park over to a new operator. The Hawaii Kai version of the park was Hawaiian-themed, but the extreme changes made no difference and attendance continued to decline until the last season in 1976.

Seven Seas was a failure for the city of Arlington but just a footnote to the major success the city has seen with other adventure parks and stadiums. Mayor Vandergriff or “Mr. Arlington” as some referred to him was a true visionary and without his willingness to take risks, the city would not be the great city it is today.

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