Atlanta’s Trippy the “World of Sid & Marty Krofft” Adventure Park Was Short Lived
Brothers Sid and Marty Krofft were introduced to American audiences at large in 1965 with an appearance on The Dean Martin Show where the boys showcased a lineup of dancing marionettes to the joy of their host. In the 10 years that followed, the Canadian natives would become household names, having launched a costumed children’s television empire on the backs of trippy shows The Banana Splits, H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and Land of the Lost, taking young viewers into wild and unexpected universes.
By 1974 the Kroffts were approached by urban developers Maurice Alpert and Tom Cousins, who were in the midst of pouring tenants into their behemoth Omni International building in downtown Atlanta. While the massive concrete wonder situated on Marietta Street included a theater, restaurants, hotel rooms, 600,000-square-feet of office space and an ice rink, there was a very visible vacancy atop the centerpiece eight-story-tall, free-standing escalator in the middle of it all. The Kroffts were inspired, and the World of Sid and Marty Krofft was born.
Conceived as a multistory adventure park broken up into themed zones, the World of Sid and Marty Krofft took two years to complete and was thought of by the brothers as something of a testing ground for a grander theme park concept. They had already partnered with Six Flags at various locations and were thrilled at the opportunity to create an immersive universe populated by characters from their shows and beyond. They also aimed to best traditional thrill parks with an attraction that could be open year-round as opposed to just during fair-weather months.
The World of Sid and Marty Krofft opened on May 26, 1976, welcoming visitors with ticket prices of $5.75 for adults and $4.25 for kids, guaranteeing it would take families no more than five hours to get through the experience. After being greeted atop the aforementioned escalator by two massive statues, guests made their way through Fantasy Fair. They then traveled down a floor to Tranquility Terrace, where they could ride hand-carved unicorns and creatures on the Crystal Carousel. Uptown was the next bold new world, putting ticket holders in massive pinballs that would be bumped and driven around through tunnels and incredible rooms as though inside a gaming machine. Lidsville followed, populated with familiar faces from the Kroffts’ weirdo hit TV show of the same name. The final endeavor is joining H.R. Pufnstuf in his battle against the nefarious Witchiepoo in Living Island Adventure.
While the park was certainly a singular entity, the Kroffts continue to claim its development was too rushed, and the resulting fractures in the plan became quickly evident as rides frequently broke down, and the notorious reputation of downtown Atlanta shooed off casual vacationers. After just five months the World of Sid and Marty Krofft closed and sat vacant, frozen in time, until CNN took over the building in 1987 and removed the various amusement installations.
Despite its bold outlay, the World of Sid and Marty Krofft left a mark on visitors and its creators. Said Marty Krofft in an interview years after closure, “This thing never dies for me.”