Marriott’s Great America history
In 1976, the Marriott Corporation opened two Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA parks. The two parks represented the state of the art in theme park design and attractions at that time. First to open was Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA in Santa Clara, California. Shortly after the Santa Clara park began operations, Marriott’s GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee, Illinois celebrated its grand opening. A third park in the Washington, DC metropolitan area was also to have opened in 1976. Local opposition, however, at two proposed sites prevented the third park from becoming a reality.
Simultaneously building two major theme parks and opening them just over two months apart was an unprecedented achievement in the theme park industry. The Marriott’s Great America parks were designed and constructed with great dedication to authentic theming that was reflected in the rides, entertainment, food, merchandise, and more. The goal was to provide a top-quality theme park experience for families to enjoy together.
View a selection of Marriott’s Great America press releases: