How structural engineering makes family attractions safer

As we write this, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed most of East Tennessee’s cherished destinations and theme parks. While closures of beloved places like Dollywood and Zoo Knoxville are discouraging, especially during a season when the parks are normally busy, it’s important to remember that this is temporary. We’ll all be able to ride the Lightning Rod or visit Georgie the gibbon again.

But as we reminisce about great days spent at a destination or theme park, it’s worthwhile to remember the professional skill and know-how that goes into crafting the spectacular structures and vistas you see there. As a Knoxville structural engineering firm, we’ve played an important role in creating the places you love to visit.

Bringing a Vision to Life

The goal of any theme park or destination is transport people out of the everyday world and into a world of fun, fantasy or nostalgia. Designers and architects develop a vision for how the area should look, how best to bring the look and feel of their vision to park-goers.

A structural engineer works with them to bring that design to life, recommending materials and construction methods that not only support the vision but make the structures safe and sound.

Safety is a Priority

Keeping people safe is a top priority for theme parks and destinations, and it’s part of a structural engineer’s job, too. Since theme parks include fantastic elements, moving attractions like roller coasters, and even live, wild animals, part of a structural engineer’s job is making sure the structures in the park keep everyone safe.

For example, the building that houses the boarding area for Dollywood’s Lightning Rod needs to withstand, not just crowds lining up to ride the ride, but the weight and force of the rollercoaster cars as they move through the building. The Asian Trek area of Zoo Knoxville needs to give visitors plenty of ways to view the tigers, but its structures also need to keep the animals secure.

A structural engineer helps the designers achieve the delicate balance between safety and immersive experience.

At Haines Structural Group, we love creating structures and experiences everyone can enjoy. If you would like to learn more about our services, call us at (865) 329-9920 or contact Haines online today.