Editor's note: Happy April Fools' Day!
A well-known entertainment conglomerate is floating the idea of opening a Silicon Valley-themed amusement park in Palo Alto, according to multiple city officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The proposal, which could bring a potential $20 million to $35 million in annual taxes to the city, could also be a boon for the city's adjacent municipal Baylands Golf Links by making the area a regional destination.
The conglomerate, whose name isn't being revealed at this time because of a non-disclosure agreement, is said to desire a theme park in Silicon Valley because of the area's dense population and ability to draw in outside visitors. The region attracts well-heeled tourists from throughout the world and has two international airports within a reasonable distance, one of the sources said.
"It's very, very big," the city source said of the company without divulging its name. "There's tremendous potential, including filling area hotels, which would reap more transient occupancy taxes for the city."
The theme-park developer might also add housing as a public benefit, which would help the city inch closer to its state mandate to make way for 6,000 more housing units.
Two of the city sources said the company could comfortably build a park on the 104-acre Palo Alto Municipal Airport site, which has come under scrutiny in recent years. The airport has been accused of being an amenity that only serves the wealthy while creating noise in neighborhoods and pollution. Some people have called for its closure.
"A theme park would be far more lucrative and would benefit all residents and would also offer many jobs for less-skilled workers," the city source said.
A person familiar with the entertainment company's real estate and concepts divisions said that the theme park designers are exploring both the good and the bad of the industry that overtook what was once the Valley of Heart's Delight.
Plans include a Silicon Valley Bank Collapse "drop" tower that sends riders plummeting in free fall; a giant Tesla coil ride looming over the futuristic landscape that lights up the sky during special events; the Sam Bankman-Fried Haunted House-arrest ride; and a Robotics World where visitors encounter over-sized mechanical spiders, creatures and aliens; and a Pirates of Silicon Valley exhibit — a metaverse of so-called tech "pirates" who have become part of the valley's legacy, including Elizabeth Holmes and Elon Musk.
And no Silicon Valley theme park would be complete without space exhibits and rides developed in collaboration with Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center; future cars and rockets in virtual reality that entice visitors to envision the future world and how communities will play, work and travel; a flight-simulated trip around Mars in a SpaceX rocket; and treasure hunts through 3-D virtual landscapes.
"It's really exciting. The concept of a futuristic theme park in the heart of Silicon Valley fits in with the region's culture: envisioning the realm of possibilities and beyond," the source said.
"And by the way: April Fools!"