Roswell: An Out-of-Town Experience
by Allen Wolfe
Posted: 12:35 June 7, 2007
Roswell, New Mexico was made famous in 1947 when a supposed Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) crash-landed just outside of the city. The U.S. government claimed it was a weather balloon, but the city of Roswell has been enjoying the alien-related tourism ever since.
Jake Schoellkopf / AP
|"We would welcome something like an alien roller coaster or a theme park, absolutely," said Sharon Welz, left, who is seen with her husband Larry Welz outside the couple's alien-themed store in Roswell, N.M., on May 22.
“Our instant and worldwide name recognition for being famous for UFOs and aliens is priceless,” said Zach Montgomery, planning director for the city of Roswell.
Recently the city of Roswell has begun planning for a UFO theme park. Many residents of Roswell see the contruction proposal as a positive stimulus for the local economy.
Some people might relate the projected success of the theme park to the success of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell.
“With the creation of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in 1991 and 1992, Roswell now has a tourism sector of the economy,” Montgomery said, predicting a positive future for the UFO theme park.
Dirk Vander Ploeg, editor and publisher of UFO Digest, believes “if the theme park is in Roswell, it should do well, like the museum.”
Since the early ‘50s, UFOs have been an appealing part of American culture, engendering various movies, television shows and pilgrimages to what is referred to as the Mecca of UFO enthusiasts.
Within the UFO research world, many are hesitant to support “gimmicky” business endeavors concerning UFOs or “Star Visitors,” as Dr. Richard Boylan calls them.
Dr. Boylan is an internationally noted researcher of UFOs/Star Visitors and owner of the UFO-Star Visitors website.
Dr. Boylan expressed a concern common among many UFO enthusiasts.
The theme park could be detrimental to UFO research “if it follows the usual cartoonish and non-respectful presentation of Star Visitors,” he said.
Vander Ploeg explains the universal appeal of UFOs as representing an attractive unknown in a well-understood system of knowledge.
“The thought that other intelligent life is visiting Earth means we are not alone in the universe,” he said. It is this magnetism to the mysterious that will always draw a crowd.
One hope of the park is to encourage tourists to elongate their stay in the city.