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S N O S A E S 5 2 g n i t a r b Cele D O O W R E V SIL

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at



Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

Welcome to Silverwood!


ach year, Silverwood Theme Park offers new opportunities for guests to enjoy themselves, and this year, you’ll notice the changes even before you set foot in the park. As part of the State of Idaho’s improvements to U.S. 95 between Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint, the highway now actually passes to the right of Silverwood instead of running parallel to it. However, it’s now easier and safer than ever to access the parking lot, and when you depart, you can stop at a traffic signal to turn north or south. Previously, drivers leaving the park had to time their exit onto the highway just right and then get up to a proper speed quickly. Once you park, you’ll head through an expanded pedestrian tunnel going under the highway to a new, larger courtyard/entrance area. Park owner Gary Norton wanted to create more space for groups to gather or people to arrive early and wait until the park opens. The park is in the process of building additional entry

gates and even a shop/ café area. These building projects are expected to be complete later this summer. Along with the more than 60 rides and attractions at Silverwood Theme Park

and Boulder Beach Water Park, other new additions for 2012 include: • “Mysterium,” a new show by resident magician Nick Norton, blends Vegas-style special effects and personal touches that Nick brings to every performance.

• Two shows by magician/bird trainer Dave Womach: “Parrot FX” and “Thrillillusionist” blend the antics of exotic feathered friends and impressive illusions. • New items on the menu of many of the restaurants and dining areas, including a new lasagna recipe at Lindy’s. The park is also doing something special all year round – celebrating 25 years! Promotions for “25 Seasons and Millions of Memories” began opening weekend in May, with tickets only $19.88 (to commemorate 1988, the year the park opened.) Other anniversary events are scheduled throughout summer.

Continue reading this section for more details about these exciting items and more fun awaiting you at Silverwood Theme Park this season.

Cover Photo courtesy of Silverwood Theme Park Three generations of the Norton family now work at Silverwood Theme Park. Top row, from left, son, David Norton, son-in-law Jeff Sheets, owners Jeanne and Gary Norton, son, Nick Norton. Bottom row, from left, son Mike Norton, daughter Michelle Norton, granddaughter Stephanie Norton, granddaughter Sydney Norton, granddaughter Katie Norton, daughter-in-law Pei Wen Norton, son Paul Norton.

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at



Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

Gorgeous surroundings for garden lovers to enjoy


an Hague has worked in landscaping for more than 40 years. His dad ran a nursery, and had him moving trees by age 16. He’s a certified arborist and horticulturist, and has extensive experience in irrigation, pest control, design, plus anything and everything landscape-related. For the last four years, he’s been grounds manager at Silverwood Theme Park, making sure the place always looks great and keeps

looking great all season, even with 650,000 people walking around. “We want to attract people here for not just the rides but for the landscaping,” Hague said. “We do have some people who don’t go on the rides who tell us that they do enjoy looking at the quality and variety of flowers and trees.” Park owner Gary Norton wants Silverwood to be known as not just a theme park but a boutique theme park, with plenty of activities surrounded by beautiful scenery and foliage. So he asked Chrissy Wortman, park building Theming Manager, to set her sights on the grounds. Hague said Wortman likes to be behind the scenes, but does have an incredible eye for detail. “She has the vision and taste that the Nortons like, and we’re the people to make sure this vision happens.” In the last couple of years, the grounds crew has brought online a state-of-the-art greenhouse which allows greater flexibility in cultivating flowers all year round. Seeds are kept from year to year, and plants can be kept inside longer if spring is delayed. They’ve brought aboard a perennial gardener, Joe Torok, who has worked to beautify the park by converting and creating several flower beds and gardens incorporating perennials with borders of annuals. Though the local temperate climate doesn’t allow especially exotic or tropical plants or flowers to grow,

Hague said the grounds staff does occasionally slip in some rarer plants from this climate zone. “We do go out of our way to bring in some plants that most nurseries around here don’t sell,” Hagen said. “We get people coming up wondering how this plant does well here, since they’ve never seen it.” There are typically four yearround grounds staff, all of which received Master Gardening certification at Silverwood last winter, plus 14-15 seasonal crew members. This year, with all the construction at the park and on nearby U.S. 95, more than 20 seasonal employees are making things look incredible. “The 95 roadwork is giving us a chance to make even more improvements,” he said. One such effort was saving 40 maple trees on the edge of the parking lot that were in the highways right of way and scheduled for removal. Idaho Transportation Department gave permission for Silverwood to uproot the trees and move them to another part of the parking lot. “These trees were all about 25 years old, and we expect them all to survive,” Hague said. Visitors may not notice another endeavor the grounds crew has been focusing on: they added a soil drenching method for the park’s trees, which Hague said controls aphid populations. Fewer aphids mean fewer bees, which eat aphids. And fewer bees in the park mean happier guests. “We also put out our bee traps as early as March, which is a little

early, but can catch the queens,” he said. “With these solutions, we don’t have to spray to kill bugs, or expose guests to these chemicals.” Hague said the park is two years into a 5-year plan for greater beautification, including the route that the locomotive passes through. “We plan on redoing some stands of trees, maybe putting more emphasis on leaf trees for a great fall color experience.” Overall he said the park is always working on continuous improvement. “Our goal is to make it beautiful but also withstand hundreds of thousands of visitors and all sorts of weather,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at



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Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

The 25th Anniversary of a one-of-a-kind Theme Park


ack in 1987, when the Henley Aerodrome & Museum of Transportation was still under construction, Gary Norton wondered whether anyone would actually pay to visit his creation, located in a remote area of North Idaho. “If nobody shows,” he said, “then I’m just going to have a nice little park to play in with my friends.” 25 years later, people have either shown up in droves, or Norton has around 8.5 million friends – the number of people who’ve passed through the gates of his theme park, wisely renamed Silverwood before it opened in 1988. That statistic might be remarkable, but the story of how it happened is even more so. How did a small showcase to vintage planes, trains and automobiles become a regional tourist destination featuring wood roller coasters and a full water park? Why do well over half-million people every year journey well off the interstate to a still somewhat remote location in North Idaho? And how are they convinced to do so? The story is as unique as the park itself.

with a passion for vintage aircraft, he wanted his own airstrip and a place to store his burgeoning collection of classic planes. For the next five years, the airfield property remained Norton’s personal playground. But in 1986, he took a weekend trip to attend a vintage vehicle auction in Nevada. After spotting an original 1915 steam engine locomotive, the entrepreneur successfully outbid the likes of Disney for the train, five cars, and three miles of track. For the first time, he began to envision a transportation-inspired museum and theme park where visitors could appreciate rare and exceptional planes, trains, and automobiles. The plan quickly went into action. The train was shipped back to North Idaho and refurbished. A 3.5 mile track was laid around the airstrip and through the adjacent woods. A depot, pilot’s lounge, and restaurant were built, all with a nostalgic, Victorian feel. With 18 months of near nonstop labor behind them, Norton and his crew opened the park as Silverwood on June 20th, 1988. Somehow, someway, a theme park had opened in North Idaho.

History: from personal playground to regional attraction.

Grow, Evolve, Repeat

It all started when Norton, then president of Spokane’s ISC Computer Systems, purchased a small, private airport known as the Henley Aerodrome in 1981. An avid pilot

Though the park attracted 100,000 that first season, Norton lost more than a little money. Attendance dropped a bit in the second year, and the losses were even worse. “Then I started really scratching

my head thinking ‘What have I done’.” Norton knew he had to either shut the whole thing down or get to work improving it. Opting for the latter, he studied other theme parks in an effort to “make this thing go.” The result was new attractions; lots of them. By the time the third season started, thirteen additional rides and attractions had been added, including the Corkscrew Roller Coaster (formerly of Knott’s Berry Farm), the Log Flume, a Ferris Wheel, and a host of other carnival rides. Attendance rose immediately and the park came close to breaking even. After the Thunder Canyon rafting ride was installed the following year, attendance rose again. Norton’s hunch, that continually adding new attractions would help bring in repeat business, proved to be spot on. From then on, the park added significant new draws at regular intervals: the Timber Terror wooden roller coaster in 1996 and Tremors in 1999, and the Panic Plunge in 2003. With each addition, turnout surged and the park become more and more of a regional vacation destination. In recent years, the pace of evolution sped up even more. 2004 saw the addition of high-speed water slides known as Velocity Peak, and the Panic Plunge drop tower opened at the beginning of the 2006 season. In 2007, Silverwood celebrated its 20th anniversary season and expanded once again. 3

Four brand new attractions nearly doubled the size of the Boulder Beach Water Park, including a family raft ride called Avalanche Mountain, a new kid’s play area named Toddler’s Springs, a second 22,000 gallon wave pool, and a special VIP area called Cabana Island. In 2008 Silverwood added Aftershock Roller coaster a 191 foot tall inverted boomerang rollercoaster built by a Dutch company, Vekoma, that is really two thrills in one, because not only does it take riders forwards through a cobra roll and inverted loop at over 65 mph, but backwards as well. In 2009, 2010 and again in 2011Silverwood started and the expanded its darker side with Scarywood Haunted Nights in October, a fright filled event with multiple haunted attractions and scare zones throughout the park in addition to Silverwood’s already scary compliment of ride and attractions. Most recently, in 2011, Silverwood added its newest attraction, Ricochet Rapids, a thrill inducing family raft ride with a 20 foot diameter mega tube that takes riders near vertical before twisting and turning down to the bottom. The park has also made a serious effort to add more garden areas as well as new garden ornaments, seating, fountains and dozens of perennial and seasonal flowers

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

enhancing the atmosphere of the park for all of its guests. Today Silverwood is the largest theme & water park in the northwest with over 216 acres and boasts over 65 rides, slides, show and attractions. Attendance has reached over 650,000 per season; an impressive number for a family owned park located nowhere near a major metropolitan area that’s open only 6 months a year. It’s easy to think of Silverwood as a true American success story, or a testament to hard work, perseverance, and vision. But in the mind of Gary Norton, Silverwood is simply a place he can watch people enjoy his creation. “For me, the product is the smiles. It’s a lot of fun to watch families doing something together.”

A Family Affair Silverwood is a part of an increasingly rare category of theme parks: family owned. Over the last 10 to 15 years, many smaller, family run theme parks across the country were either bought up or went out of business, leaving the majority of parks owned by large corporations like Six Flags, Universal, and Cedar Fair. Not so with Silverwood. In fact, not only is the park family owned, it’s also family operated. Literally. Owner Gary Norton still makes all the major decisions, and his five children have all been intricately involved with the park during its 20 years in existence. Gary’s son, Paul is the park’s General Manager. David manages Lindy’s restaurant, and Mike is the Assistant Pavilion Manager. Michelle, Gary’s lone

Facts and Figures include:

• Silverwood is busy remodeling the front gate of the park and is making other necessary infrastructure improvements in an effort to keep up with its ever growing popularity. • Each summer, Silverwood hires an additional 1,400 employees. • Silverwood’s steam train is pulled by Old #7, built in 1915 for the Eureka and Palisades Railroad in Nevada.

• The Tremors Roller Coaster drops 103 feet and was named among the top 10 coaster in the nation.

• The Corkscrew Roller Coaster, purchased from Knotts Berry Farm, was the first ever attraction to take riders upside down • Silverwood attracts over 650,000 visitors per year. • Visitors can camp right outside the gates at the park’s 132 full-hookup sites or 71 tent camping sites at the Silverwood RV Park and Campground.

• Silverwood currently covers approximately 221 acres, with several hundred more available for expansion.

daughter, works in Marketing as the Research Assistant and her husband Jeff works as the Water Park Maintenance Manager. Paul Norton’s wife, Pei, works in the park as the Sign Department Manager. The other Norton sibling currently holds an important full time position. Nick, the youngest, is the park’s resident Magician, performing two to three times a day during the season.

Will Silverwood’s family theme come to an end anytime soon? Not likely, according to Gary Norton. Even his grandkids are now working here, “they all want to do it.


• Silverwood opens its gates for the first time in 1988. • New rides and attractions added in early 90s including the Corkscrew Roller Coaster and Thunder Canyon Raft Ride.

• Timber Terror Roller Coaster added in 1996. • Tremors Roller Coaster added in 1999. • Boulder Beach opens for the first time in 2003. • Velocity Peak Speed Slides added 2004. • Panic Plunge Drop Tower added 2006. • Boulder Beach doubles in size with the addition of another 22,000 square foot wave pool,VIP Cabanas, Toddler Springs and Avalanche Mountain Family raft slide in 2007.

• Aftershock Roller Coaster added in 2008. • Scarywood opens for the first time in 2009 with additional attractions added in 2010 & 2011.

• Ricochet Rapids Family Raft Slide and new children’s rides, Butterflyer and Frog Hopper, added in 2011.

• Silverwood Celebrates 25 Seasons of making wonderful memories.


A man and his vision 8

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at


ilverwood Theme Park is the largest theme park in the Northwest and the most-visited attraction in Idaho. This year is expected to see Visitor 10 Million. But it doesn’t seem all that long ago that owner Gary Norton wondered what he had gotten into. In the park’s early years, he offset financial losses from his personal accounts. People who solely follow balance sheets and financial projections would have walked away from this project years ago, giving into common wisdom that the marketplace just isn’t ready for a theme park in the middle of North Idaho. But he decided to go all in, and continue building and continue improving. He also has some big plans for future growth, as the theme park only takes up a small percentage of his property. Spokesman-Review Staff Writer/ Deputy City Editor Scott Maben spent a morning with Norton earlier this spring, and produced an interesting and insightful look at Norton and why he decided to keep the Silverwood dream alive. Here are excerpts from his story, and the complete version can be read at stories/2012/may/12/silverwoodgleams/

Q: How are you feeling about what you’ve built here?


The whole project from the beginning was just one day at a time. I never really thought about where we would be in 25 years. I didn’t even think about where we’d be the next week. It was just what we were doing at the time… I just look at it as a work-in-progress painting, something I personally like to do, not so much as a business project but as a creative project.

Q: Do you have childhood memories of attending amusement parks?

A: I remember growing up in south Florida and watching the Disney shows on TV, particularly the “Mickey Mouse Club” and seeing shots of Disneyland, thinking that’s someplace I’d like to see someday. It wasn’t until I was a young computer programmer (probably only 21 or 22 old) we went on a research project to California that I went to Disneyland. I was totally blown away by the feeling when you’re there. Years later I used to escape Los Angeles by taking the afternoons off and going to Disneyland. I’d just buy a ticket, sit down and look at it. Kind of a hobby of mine is analyzing businesses – why do you feel the way you feel when you’re there. I was impressed with how it transformed a person, and whatever problems you got, to an uplifting feeling or experience. And so I just tucked away lots of little details. That came into play later when I started creating this place. I came up with a little money from the computer business, and was basically playing at the time, building something I would like to be at, not necessarily as a business project. The original plan was doomed to fail, really. But those original memories of being at Disney are, and looking at the creativity of somebody like that and what he was after, I can sure appreciate what he was thinking.

Q: What were the first few years like?

A: The first two years was more

Photo by Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review

than a million dollars a year in negative cash flow. It was quite a shock realizing this beautiful creation of very expensive detail buildings, but as a business it just wasn’t going to fly. I always said when I first built it I’ll never put up carnival (iron) rides. I said this thing is just going to be a thing of beauty. Then I realized I’ve got to make a business survive. So then I wanted to do it in its most natural way I can, which is to take a park-like setting, building paths and hills, and planting landscaping. I drew the whole park myself. I drew the rest of the buildings, drew the footprints for rides, went out there, ran the cranes, pulled wrenches, put up the coasters and ruined my back doing that. I was basically on a shoestring budget building the Country Carnival, which drew more people. It started working as a business but still wasn’t profitable. But the cash flow was getting closer to breaking even.

Q: Did you ever consider calling it quits? A: Those early years there were

many times I thought about just giving up and going away. Now I’ve reached the point though, I say what else is there to do? I spend a lot of time now in details, in kitchens fighting with the people, saying you’ve got to do it this way. It’s got to be the best you can get. Same with the gardening… eventually we brought in an artist and a horticulturist from the east. Tearing apart, rebuilding it. The money is going back in to try to build something special here, because it’s really what it’s all about, to me, is to create something unique. I call it a boutique theme park. Because I have a house here; it’s where I live primarily. It’s kind of like it’s in your back yard, and you want to make it something special. It’s probably what I’ll end up continuing to do now.

Q: How do you keep up with the appetite of thrillseekers?


The thrillseeker market has not really been our market until we started Scarywood. And then you get the demographics which are the

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

kids out of high school, collegeaged, that are there for the pure adrenaline rushes. They come in and say boy I didn’t know this was this much fun. They live here and don’t come here. We attract Mom and Dad and little kids. The other side of the park is what interests me more than the thrill rides side. And that’s the more stable marketplace, that’s the families we’re bringing in. You can make the big hits, like a lot of the Six Flags parks do. But those are all one-shot wonder hits. But it’s the depth of the park that’s more important. The quality of the flower beds, the brick walkways. The shows and entertainment, that build foundation for a more loyal customer base. Building memories with families.

Q: How much time do you spend here? A: The last couple of years I’ve been spending more time here in the summer. My son Paul has taken over the reins. I want to make sure he has the philosophy behind the decisions. It’s very difficult to make decisions on a daily basis if you don’t have it, and he out of all my kids came up with the right attitude for customer service. It was very, very important to understand how to make the customer’s day important, and he has it more than any other person in the park. If somebody has a bad day at the park I hope they run into him, because he’ll make it a good day. He’s just wonderful at it. I don’t accept even one unhappy customer. We get one once in a while. We sure fix it when we find out about it.

Q:. What do you learn

from walking around?


You stand in line with other guests, and they don’t know who you are, and you listen to them all talking, it’s real interesting. That’s usually where I decide to go next, to find out what they like, what they don’t like, things they’re having problems with. It’s real nice to get that feedback directly.

Q: What’s Silverwood

going to look like in 25 years?


It’s hard to say. I hope we’re double where we are now. I’d like to just see it keep growing. Being as far as we are from major metropolitan areas, it’s difficult. But I

think we can get there. I have some long-range ideas and visions that I think would be real interesting if I can pull them off, and we’ll make it a very unusual place to visit. And I hope I can get them done over the next 5 to 10 years. There’s no exact formula for what will work. You have to basically learn as you go.



Advertising Supplement to The SpokesmanReview • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

Advertising Supplement to The SpokesmanReview • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at




Contests a class act

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

o help commemorate Silverwood Theme Park’s 25th anniversary, we sought the assistance of young people throughout the Northwest. In April and May, area youth were asked to participate in two fun projects. First up: use their artistic abilities to illustrate their vision of what Silverwood will look like in 25 more years. More than 80 students took part, creating everything from giant roller coasters to larger fun complexes with everything from an aquarium to a stand selling barf bags. The second challenge was for students to write an essay about why their class deserved an end-ofyear picnic at Silverwood, and we received more than 300 submissions, sharing everything from student accomplishments to how hard the teacher has worked. Some classes had never been to Silverwood before; others thought a picnic like this would help celebrate a great year. A committee of judges from Silverwood and The SpokesmanReview spent hours trying to choose our favorites from both batches. We ended up choosing three first-place winners and three-second place-winners in each category, which resulted in the whole class coming to the park.

2nd place:

Some of the contributions also impressed us, so we declared them individual winners, which included admission to the park for Spokesman-Review Subscriber Day July 14. If you want to see the drawings of the park’s future, visit reader-photos/silverwoodtheme-park-future/. To read the essays, visit www. why-my-class-needs-picnicsilverwood-theme-park/

• Semiah, 5, Cusick School District, teacher Jenette Clary • Kayla, 11, Madison Elementary, teacher Patty Driscoll • Jacob, 12, Holy Family Catholic School

Individual tickets into park:

Here are the winners: Drawing Contest: 1st Place: • Alden, 12th grade, Post Falls High School, teacher Michele Chmielewski

• Bo, 6th grade, Kootenai Elementary, teacher Mrs. Roget • Julia, Finch Elementary, teacher Kaylynn Mejia

2nd Place: • Kristine, 12th grade, Central Valley High School • Cruise, 8th grade, Independent Scholar Program, teacher/mom Holly Jeffery • Tabitha, 5th grade Heyburn Elementary, teacher Mrs. Miller

Individual Winners: • Kambria, 12th grade, Riverside High School • Jessica, 11th grade, Post Falls High School, teacher Michele Chmielewski • Brandon, 6th grade, Genessee Elementary, teacher Monte Sams • Skyler, 6th grade, Genesee Elementary, teacher Monte Sams

• Maggie, 2nd grade, Guardian Angel St. Boniface • Emily, 5th grade, Guardian Angel St. Boniface • Cherylynn, 4th grade, Finch Elementary, teacher Kristina Everts • Kaela, 4th grade, Hayburn Elementary, teacher Mrs. Shea • Alyssa, 4th grade, Hayburn Elementary, teacher Mrs. Shea • Sierra, 3rd grade, Sorensen Magnet School, teacher Kerry Erwin

Essay Writer Winners: 1st place: • Isabella, Michael Anderson Elementary, 7, teacher Karen Cabrera • Kaitlen Elaine, Riverside Elementary, 10, teacher Mindy Shaw • Alisa, Lincoln Heights, 11, teacher Patty Erwin

• Emily, 11, Mullan Road Elementary, teacher Camille Miller • Michalea, 13, Holy Family Catholic School • Felisha, Riverside Elementary, teacher Mindy Shaw • Anonymous student, St. George’s School, teacher Tyler Hartanov • Makenzie, Genesee Elementary, teacher Monte Sams • Tiffany, Madison Elementary, 11, teacher Patty Driscoll • Zander, Madison Elementary, teacher Patty Driscoll • Madeline, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Jaylein, Cusick School District, teacher Jenette Clary • Lonne, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Dylan and Brendon, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Miles, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Cheyenne, Cusick School District, teacher Jenette Clary • Araceli, Madison Elementary, teacher Patty Driscoll Libby, Potlatch Elementary • Megan and Lysandra, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Alice, Riverside Middle School, teacher Michelle Gallagher • Orion, Lincoln Heights, teacher Patty Erwin • Liana, Evergreen Middle School, teacher Chad Hocutt • Zoey, 11, Lincoln Heights, teacher Patty Erwin

Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

• Fabian, Finch Elementary, teacher Kristina Everts, • Joseph, Riverside Elementary, teacher Mindy Shaw, • Chloe, Sorenson Magnet School, teacher Kerry Erwin • Jaxon, Mullan Trail Elementary, teacher Michelle Faucher-Sharples • Julianna, Finch Elementary, teacher Kaylynn Mejia • Sunshine, Finch Elementary, teacher Kaylynn Mejia Garfield visits students at Michael Anderson Elementary to announce the prize winners. •Photo/Melissa Skomer-Kafton The Spokesman-Review Marketing

Peighton, Mullan Trail Elementary, teacher Michelle Faucher-Sharples • Eden, Independent Scholar Program, 12, teacher Holly Jeffery

To see all the student drawings, visit To read the essays, visit http://www. why-my-class-needs-picnicsilverwood-theme-park/ and click “view submissions.”

Upcoming Events: Grandparent’s Day, Sept. 8-9, General admission (ages 8 to 64) is only $35.99 and child/senior (ages 3-7 and 65+) is only $20.99. Plus you can celebrate Grandparents Weekend with FREE admission for grandma OR grandpa when a grandchild purchases an admission ticket. For each grandchild that buys a ticket they will be given one FREE ticket for grandma OR grandpa.

Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson Family Bike Day, July 15, Show off your bike on Silverwood’s Main Street lawn and save on admission for you and your family. Visit www. for more details. Toyota Tuesdays, July 17 and 24, the driver of any Toyota gets in FREE when they bring an admission coupon from any Inland Empire regional Toyota Dealer. Coupon must be validated on arrival at Silverwood by a parking attendant. Not valid with any other discounts, coupons, promotions or special offers. 25 Seasons Laser Light Shows, July 20-21, Silverwood Celebrates its 25th season with two massive outdoor laser shows at dusk. CW22 Silverwood Weekend, July 20-22, Watch CW22 to save up to $10 on admission and enterto-win a 2013 Silverwood Gold Pass, $100 in Buddy bucks and a commemorative 25th Season Silver Coin. Check back for discount promo code details coming soon. Frontier Customer Appreciation Days, July 27-30, All Frontier customers receive discounts. Check your bill for details. Rosauers Customer Appreciation Days, Aug. 27–Sept. 3. Save over $10 on discount tickets at Rosauers

Supermarket locations. Tickets valid for park admission any one day Aug. 27-Sept. 3. Tickets can be found in stores through the region Aug. 20, including Colfax, Spokane, and Yakima, Wash.; Lewiston, Meridian and Moscow, Idaho; Bozeman, Kalispell, Libby and Missoula, Mont.; and Hood River, Ore. Not valid with other discounts, coupons, promotions or special offers. Coaster Classic Car Show, Sept. 1-2, Nostalgic cars line up at Silverwood for one of the largest car shows in the region. Hosted by the Inland Empire Late Great Chevy Club ’55’72. For more information call 208683-3400 - ext 167 or register your car online.

Coaster Cross Country Meet, Sept. 8, a tri-State High School Cross Country invitational race (Idaho sanctioned event) plus an all age citizen’s fun run to follow. Call Mike Normand, Lakeland High School, for details at (208) 651-2310 and register all high school runners at Community Appreciation Days Food Drive, Sept. 15-16, 22-23 & 29-30 Silverwood saves you up to $17 on admission and donates up to $4 per admission ticket purchased to area food banks. General admission (8-64): Regular $42.99, Sept. 15-30 $25.99 with Silverwood donating $4 to food bank for child/ senior admission (3-7 & 65-plus):


Regular $21.99, Sept. 15-30 $16.99 with Silverwood donating $1 to the food banks. Park Sale, Sept. 15 – Oct. 27 We’re cleaning house! Park guests will save 50% on all Silverwood souvenir merchandise in our retail stores. Shop early for your favorite clothes and souvenirs because at these prices they’ll go fast. Some exclusions apply such as food, beverages, photos, some general merchandise and Scarywood Halloween merchandise.


Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman−Review • Saturday, July 14, 2012 • Online at

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Enjoy the Magic


ne of the many things that people love about Silverwood is that there’s always plenty for everyone to enjoy. If thrills are your thing, you’ll love high-speed coasters and the fastmoving waterslides. But if you want to pause to catch your breath, there are many opportunities. Depending on the time of day and day of the week you visit the

Theater of Illusion, you

may even catch some of the best entertainment this side of Las Vegas – and many visitors will tell you it’s even better! Here’s a summary of some of the super shows planned for this year: • Nick Norton and his magic return! Norton, a son of park owner Gary Norton, has performed at the park for more than a decade, blending humor and audience interaction plus lessons from some of the world’s top magicians and illusionists. “This year’s show is the biggest and best we’ve ever done,” said Norton. His illusions in “Mysterium” include double levitation, an elevator sequence, and trained birds. There is even a “deathdefying escape” section that is genuinely dangerous for him if things don’t go perfectly.

The show has a Steampunk theme, which he describes as ‘Jules Verne meeting the Old West’. “Our costumes are beautiful and elegant,” he said. “Plus there’s a lot of comedy.” Each show will be different, based on what Norton thinks the audience would love. “I usually go out a little ahead of showtime and talk to people, and customize parts of the show,” he said. “Younger people might want something different than older people, so I use some of the same elements every show but overall a different approach.” He also uses audience members more, instead of only asking for one volunteer. People who have enjoyed past shows know that he regularly leaves the stage and walks into the audience – and sometimes mysteriously appears in the middle of them. “We’re really having a blast,” he said. “We gave ourselves permission to jump around a lot more.” Showtimes are six days a week through Sept. 30. Check the daily park guide for the day’s times.

• Silverwood visitors last saw Dave Womach in 2008, when the Spokane resident left the park to bring his magic skills to the rest of the world. He had worked in the park for 12 years, some seasons performing as many as 17 magic shows each week. “I kept in contact with everyone here while I traveled, and finally everything came together,” he said. This season, Womach is back, offering something unique for the park and maybe for the whole Northwest: a trained bird show. He’ll feature up to seven birds’, Comet, Tusa, Jinx, Bondi, Bandit, Cressi and Rocki. They include a macaw and a toucan, and are all able to perform exciting and entertaining tasks. “It’s really 80 percent parrot, 20 percent magic, plus great lighting,” he said. “It’s sort of a bird/magic/ special effects show.” During shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday into September, visitors will see more of the birds in action in “Parrot FX” and the Monday-Tuesday shows will have more of a focus on magic with his “Thrillillusionist” program. Check the daily park guide for the day’s times. Womach has trained birds for years, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he thought about incorporating them into his entertainment repertoire. Like humans, no bird is the same. “Every bird has so many characteristics and a unique personality,” he said. Macaws usually perform well, but can get upset if something changes with the performance or otherwise stresses them. This could lead to maybe a nip or two.


“You don’t want to push them hard since they can bite,” he said. “It’s a great reminder to do the right thing.” Toucans have completely different personality and mannerisms, and are likely to be stubborn if something doesn’t go as it’s supposed to. Prior to returning to Silverwood, Womach performed and traveled for two years at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus. This gave him some great performing arena experience, and he’s been able to share some pointers with Nick Norton, Silverwood’s resident magician. Nick began working with doves and a macaw a couple of years ago, and Womach even flew up last year to put together a quick bird workshop. He’s also trained some birds for David Copperfield. So far, audiences have found Womach’s show entertaining and gives them the chance to be close to some birds they may not encounter on a regular basis. “It’s been awesome,” he said. “Combining birds with special effects had potential but had never been done here.”


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Silverwood By The Numbers

• Silverwood is the most visited attraction in Idaho, and saw more than 650,000 guests in 2011. • It is expected to see its 10 millionth visitor in summer 2012. • Attendance in 1988 was close to 100,000. • Surveys show that 2/3 of vacationing visitors come to North

Idaho especially for Silverwood. • Visitors come from around the world, but the Northwest makes up a big chunk – 16 percent from Eastern Washington, 32.7 percent from Western/Central Washington, 12.5 percent North/North-Central Idaho, 3 percent Central/Southern Idaho, Canada 13.1 percent, 8 percent

Montana, 5.6 percent Oregon, and other states 9.1 percent. • The Idaho Department of Commerce estimates that Silverwood guests spend $79.5 million while in the area, including food, transportation, lodging, shopping and entertainment. • Silverwood has a payroll of $8.5

million with 82 full-time employees and more than 1,400 seasonal employees. • Boulder Beach Water Park’s Wave Pool holds about 22,000 gallons of water. • Top two items sold in the park are one-scoop ice cream cones, and cheeseburgers.

Silverwood Makes Big Splash in North Idaho By Steve Wilson, CEO, Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce


ho would have thought that 25 years ago a computer whiz kid’s passion for flying would lead to one of the West’s finest amusement parks? Such is the case, Gary Norton’s transition from the owner of a major computer manufacturing operation to that of Amusement park owner began in the mid 1980s with the purchase of the Henley Aerodrome. While an interesting attraction the early years it had a minimal impact on Tourism in North Idaho. All of that changed dramatically in 1988 when Silverwood opened with its train ride, old west Victorian town, variety shows & daily air shows. From the very beginning Silverwood was of major discussion within the Northwest’s travel industry. Individual visitors to the area as well as groups were drawn to the park due to

its uniqueness. It was the addition of Silverwood’s Tremors roller coaster that truly helped carve out the niche that it enjoys today. Not only is Silverwood a Major attraction with the traveling public but incredibly important to the profitability of the local travel industry. In 2011 650,000 visitors passed through the gates at Silverwood. A vast majority of these were from out of the area staying more than 1 night in local hotels. The Idaho dept. of Commerce placed the economic value of Silverwood at $79,500,000 in 2011. Silverwood stated that its annual payroll for 2011 stood at $8,000,000.

Silverwood is a great asset to our area & a great member & partner with the Chamber & CVB. Thank you Gary & your entire TEAM. Congratulations on the 1st 25 we look forward to the next 25.

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Supporting the community


long with being a fun place for community members to visit, Silverwood Theme Park tries to return the favor by being involved in and supporting community endeavors. Over its history, it has donated thousands of dollars to local charities and nonprofits. It has also opened its doors to everyone from

Another special program is Reading is the Ticket, which offers students in the Northwest a ticket into the park each summer in exchange for them reading independently at least 10 hours during the school year.

soldiers returning from combat

zones to disabled community members. For at least five years, the park has awarded scholarships to park employees wanting to pursue or continue higher education. During some fall weekends, visitors received discounted park admission if they brought along a donation for the park’s food drive. In 2011, 6 tons were collected. In 2012 (the last three weekends in September) the park will reduce general admission to only $25.99 and $4 of the price will be donated to area food banks (for details and child/senior prices go to People who have dug for change in their pockets during the train robbery also will be happy to know that their surrendered loot goes to a good cause – at the end of each year, the park picks a different charity to contribute to. In 2011, the recipient was Children’s Village. Guests collectively gave $48,000 and Silverwood added another $12,000 to the total. Each spring, the park holds the Night of Stars, where as many as 5,000 physically and mentally disabled guests and those with a terminal illness receive free entrance for a special outing and pavilion meal in the park.

It’s free for teachers to take part in the program, and all the students have to do is log their hours and turn in their completed form by early spring, and then they receive their passes by the time school gets out. The program began in 1999 with 4,522 students, and continues to grow every year. In 2008, more than 44,000 young readers participated, and more than 68,000 took part in 2012. If you’re a teacher or principal and would like to know more about Reading is the Ticket or for your students to participate, please call (208) 683-3400 ext. 167.

USA Today top ten pick t Rails to Trails Hall of Fame 10 Tunnels and 7 Sky High Trestles All Downhill, Shuttle back to the top t 208.744.1301 Visit for more information

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area operates the Route of the Hiawatha under a special use permit from USFS

Tickets, bike & tag-a-long rentals, & picnic lunches available at Lookout Pass Ski Area

Park receives acclaim 18

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ver its 25-yearhistory, Silverwood Theme Park and owner Gary Norton have received recognition from peers in the theme park world, various community groups and the public.

In recent years, Norton and Silverwood have received: • Inducted, Idaho Hall of Fame • The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce’s Kyle M. Walker Champion of Tourism Award • Take Pride in Idaho, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Recreation and Tourism • Coaster Landmark Award from the American Coaster Enthusiasts (Corkscrew) • Inland NW Tourism Award, Attraction, Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau • Brass Ring awards for Marketing for Television, Radio and Outdoor Billboards from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions




THE LARGEST OUTDOOR POWWOW IN THE NORTHWEST! Photo courtesy Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Silverwood owner Gary Norton, left, and Coeur d’Alene Resort president Jerry Jaeger, right, accept the first Kyle M. Walker Champion of Tourism Award from the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce, and Dave Walker, Kyle’s son.



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Always, Always Overscoop! some are walkup places where you can get a quick snack. There are

23 different food areas, most with


ilverwood Theme Park always faces an interesting dilemma where its food is concerned.

Owner Gary Norton encourages the staff to offer the best food possible for its guests, but also get it to them as quickly as possible. “It’s all about finding balance,” said Shawn Munson, food and beverage manager. “You offer restaurant-quality food in a timely manner, consistently for every guest. And they want it quick so they can go back to enjoy the activities.” Silverwood has made an effort to spread food choices throughout the whole park, not just a central dining area. Some are sit-down spots like Lindy’s restaurant;

unique items, from barbecue to Mexican to ice cream to pizza. “You can walk through the park and have a total food tour,” Munson said. This year, park guests will have even more to

enjoy thanks to new creative menu items. Head chef Nick Gerard, better known as “Frenchy,” has worked to create several signature items, along with preparing more food onsite. Frenchy has created treats like a super new lasagna for Lindy’s, fresh-made guacamole in Orlando’s, and new pizzas for the Theater of Illusion. “Frenchy studied in Italy with some of the world’s best pizza makers,” Munson said. “He began by creating our own dough instead of using pre-made.” Each morning, new dough is rolled out, brushed with garlic butter, then every pizza is cooked

to order. He also modified the spices in the sauces, and Munson said the difference in quality is amazing. Pastry fans will enjoy two other Frenchy creations: giant cinnamon rolls, and muffin tops, which many people agree are the best part of the muffin. “They have huckleberries now, but we’ll switch the fruit later in the season to something like peach,” Munson said. Later this season, Silverwood will begin dry roasting its own coffee, another signature product. The staff also continues to follow Norton’s philosophy of giving more than people expect. For instance, when the park first began serving ice cream years ago, Norton encouraged over-serving, rather than a set amount, or worse, a skimpy portion. “He tells us to always, always overscoop,” he said. “Sometimes it seems like we put a whole pound of ice cream on top of a cone and dare people to try to eat it.”


The overscoops are certainly popular, and more than 74,000 one-scoop cones

were sold in just 2011. Munson said guests are already excited about the improvements, just as Frenchy is excited to keep experimenting. “He’s a chef by nature, classically trained in Europe, and well-versed in cuisine from around the world, and very passionate about food,” he said. “He puts the ideas together and we get to make them happen.” The recipes are all created to not just wow individual diners, but for the staff to quickly be able to cook them consistently for thousands of visitors. “Gary Norton wants Silverwood to be a boutique park, and every guest to have a great experience, including great tastes and smells,” Munson said. “We don’t just want to have everyday fare that you can get anywhere else.”


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U-CITY 924-7037 W. FRANCIS 326-4993 NW BLVD. 327-4417 AIRWAY HEIGHTS 244-7002 HAYDEN 208-762-8030


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Silverwood, July 14, 2012  

Silverwood theme park celebrating 25 seasons.