Despite the fact that a space-themed amusement park in Fukuoka will close for good soon, it’s still ready to brighten people’s lives — as a small twinkling star in the night sky.
Space World in Kitakyushu said it purchased the naming rights to a star in the constellation Taurus from Springbrook Research Observatory in Australia. The amusement park named the star, which is about 417 light-years from Earth, after itself: Space World.
The amusement park, beloved by the community as a signature entertainment spot, officially closes on New Year’s eve.
“We wanted people to remember Space World from now and forever,” a Space World spokesman said Friday.
The park, which opened in 1990, attracted about 2.16 million visitors a year during its peak but has seen that number decline in recent years, according to Kyodo News. The park filed for protection from creditors in 2005, and its management rights, which were owned by Nippon Steel Corp., were handed to Sapporo-based resort operator Kamori Kanko Co. The theme park is currently run by its affiliate Japan Park & Resort.
Space World’s spokesman denied its closure was caused by slumping business and said its profit set a record high in its 2015 business year.
The amusement park has been both famous and infamous for its unique promotion campaigns. Last year, it was hit by a barrage of criticism for opening a skating rink featuring about 5,000 fish frozen in the ice, prompting the company to apologize and close the facility.
The price tag for the star’s naming rights was not disclosed.
“It’s better not to talk about something so mundane, since we are an amusement park providing fantasy,” the spokesman said.
The company plans to hold its grand finale on New Year’s Eve, including a countdown, from 8 a.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday. Live music, dancing and fireworks will be featured at the park’s farewell.
But “it’s not farewell,” the spokesman said. “It’s just another beginning of a new journey.”
“Although Space World will depart from Mother Earth, our story will continue somewhere up in outer space. I hope people will remember us when they look up at the night sky.”
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