Awarded by the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), the prestigious Thea Awards honour excellence in the creation of visitor attractions, experiences, exhibits and places. Read on for winners of the 16th annual awards.
“It was a good year for museums,” notes TEA president Steve Thorburn. “Other Thea Awards illuminate the growing Asian market and its steady flow of creativity and innovation. The predominant thread of this awards cycle is a maturation in the use of technology – we’ve mastered the seamless and transparent blend of media and technology with live performers and physical elements – all in the service of storytelling.”
This year’s Thea Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Mark Fuller, chairman and CEO of WET, the world leader in water feature design and technology. Fuller owns more than 50 patents on water control, lighting and air compression devices and his firm has created a new reference for the modern water fountain.
The Thea Classic Award, meanwhile, goes to Coal Mine at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Now in its 76th year of operation, this beloved exhibit takes visitors on a simulated excursion 600ft below the earth’s surface. This themed ride anticipated similar theme park adventures by some 20 years. An updated post show brings visitors to the computer control rooms, where every facet of modern mining is monitored by today’s technologies.
Thea Awards for outstanding achievements are as follows: Attractions – Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s California Adventure and Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World (California and Orlando), Dragon’s Treasure Show at City of Dreams Casino (Macau); Attraction Rehab – Disaster! at Universal Studios (Orlando, Florida); Museums – The Museum at Bethel Woods (Bethel, New York), Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia, USA); Travelling Exhibition – America I Am: The African American Imprint; Science Centre Exhibit – Skyscraper! Achievement & Impact at Liberty Science Center (New Jersey, USA); Zoo Attraction, limited budget – McNeil Avian Center at Philadelphia Zoo (USA); Live Show – Tea Show at OCT East Resort (Shenzhen, China); Brand Experience – The Heineken Experience (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
The awards will be formally presented at a black-tie gala ceremony on March 16 at Universal Studios Hollywood. Click here for more details, and to see the full winner’s descriptions.