It was a little over a year ago on February 12, 2014 that a sinkhole opened up under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It swallowed eight rare Corvettes, seriously damaging the irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind cars. The museum briefly considered leaving the sinkhole visible as an attraction, but it proved too costly. They’ve instead decided to create a virtual experience called Thunderdome.
This might sound a little crazy, but the sinkhole that destroyed those precious cars also increased museum attendance by 50% the month after it struck. People flocked to see the carnage, kind of like those rubberneckers at an accident on the highway. The only difference was this time the car crashes were in a giant hole in the ground.
The initial thought was to reinforce the surrounding area so the sinkhole wouldn’t become larger and then possibly cover it with a glass floor for easy viewing. They even talked about building stairs so that people could walk down to the bottom of the sinkhole.
While all of this was being debated, the museum set things up so visitors could view the hole from behind some plexiglass. Once the cars were removed, it became clear that the area was just too unstable and the sinkhole needed to be filled in for safety.
Thunderdome was developed by a Florida company that specializes in multimedia displays. The idea is to recreate that sinkhole with visitors experiencing the cave-in from beneath a miniature replica of the Skydome. It will hold roughly 15 visitors at a time and will simulate the whole thing with thundering sounds and an animated ceiling to recreate the event.
It’s not just about shock value, or so they say, as there will also be displays to educate visitors about the damaged Corvettes and sinkholes. Caves and sinkholes are common in southwestern Kentucky so it’s an apt educational experience for visitors to the area. No opening date has been set yet, but it will probably be sometime late in the fall of this year.
Although some of the cars that were damaged by the sinkhole are completely beyond repair, the National Corvette Museum is making the best of the situation. They see it as an opportunity to educate people about the region, and share the history of the Corvette.
With that Mad Max name, they better have Tina Turner there with a crowd screaming, “Two men enter. One man leaves,” or we’ll be seriously disappointed.