Guests offered opportunity to enter Skydome for close look at sinkhole
12 the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY was handed a
lemon... a 40' wide by 60' deep lemon to be exact. What the Museum did,
in turn, was even more unexpected than the sinkhole itself. The Museum
turned the misfortune into a tourist attraction.
"We started with a Plexiglas
viewing window so guests could see the construction going on inside the
Skydome, and eventually the recovery of the Corvettes," said Katie
Frassinelli, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Museum. "We
always had one web cam available inside the Skydome, and due to the
growing interest and popularity we added two more so our online visitors
could get additional angles to view what was going on."
The interest in the damaged
Corvettes continued to grow as did the Museum's attendance, so much so
that the Museum decided to leave the sinkhole for the summer, and delay
construction until after their 20th Anniversary Celebration August
27-30. "We have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world
pre-registered for our event so far, and many of them have expressed an
interest in seeing the damaged cars as well as the sinkhole.
Determining the best method for repairing it and getting bids on the
construction work has been a time consuming process also. In the grand
scheme of things, we felt it would be best to delay construction a few
months to give all of our visitors the opportunity to see it."
at the Museum since February has been up nearly 50% over the same time
period in 2013. Many guests have expressed that while they came to see
the sinkhole and damaged cars, they were pleasantly surprised by the
rest of the facility and Corvette displays.
"Driving up I-65, I saw the
sign for the museum and decided to make a stop but had fairly low
expectations given it was a roadside attraction. I was pleasantly
surprised by the facility; it was very modern, well themed, professional
staff, and it was much larger than I expected with a gift shop and
restaurant," wrote Mark Byrn of Orlando, Florida in a Trip Advisor
review. "Even more impressive was the fact that the museum suffered
extensive damage from a sinkhole, and they turned a negative into a
positive by making the sinkhole into an attraction of sorts and
displayed the Corvettes that were heavily damaged. Overall I was very
happy to have made the stop."
Museum is awaiting price estimates on the various options to repair the
Skydome, from keeping all of the sinkhole, to leaving just a small
portion of it, to restoring the building to the way it was before. The
Museum's board of directors is scheduled to convene on June 25 to review
the proposals and options on both the building and the "Great 8"
Corvettes, and make a decision on the plans moving forward.
The Corvettes that are not
restored will be kept on display in the Museum's Skydome, as part of
preserving and telling the story of the February 12th sinkhole collapse.
Given the recent boost in
attendance, the Museum is expected to hit its 3 millionth visitor within
the coming days. As of May 31, 2014 the Museum has recorded 2,995,655
visitors since its Grand Opening September 1994. In celebration of the
milestone, the Museum will be awarding their 3 millionth visitor with a
special "Walk of Fame" engraved sidewalk brick with their name, one-year
membership to the Museum, $10 Corvette Cafe gift certificate, $50
Corvette Store gift card, Flint Brick and article in the Museum's
membership magazine, "America's Sports Car."
The Museum is located at
I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, KY - just one hour north of Nashville,
TN and less than two hours south of Louisville, KY. Open daily, 8am-5pm
CT, admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 and
over, $5 for kids age 6-16 and children age 5 and under are free.
Access to view the sinkhole is included with regular admission. Guests
who enter the Skydome to view the sinkhole must be age 8 or older. For
more information on the Museum, visit their website at www.corvettemuseum.org or call 800-538-3883.