Slotzilla’s promised spring opening expected to bring some zip to downtown

The foursome were all stiffs — a quartet of crash-test dummies harnessed to a 77-foot-high zip line, tilting at 45-degree angles and moving down the lines recently as workers tested the hulking tourist-attraction structure on the Fremont Street Experience known as SlotZilla.

The $11.5 million two-level zip line thrill ride is getting close to opening. Harnessed thrill seekers should be zipping down the gravity-based lower zip line, which travels above two city blocks, by the end of April. The higher zip line that starts at 114 feet tall — above four city blocks — should be ready a month after that, said Tom Bruny, Fremont Street Experience marketing director.

People, who will be referred to as “fliers,” will zip down the higher line in the Superman flying position and come as close as three feet to the Fremont Street Experience’s famed canopy, Bruny said. The Fremont Street Experience will own and run the new attraction after a third party ran a previous zip line operation two years ago.

There is keen interest in the opening. On the “Slotzilla Zip Line” Twitter account, people were asking when the attraction will debut.

On Thursday, workers were buffing the concrete below the oversized, 12-story slot machine-themed tower, computer screens were standing at attention inside the nearby indoor ticket office and a pickup truck with an “All Star Steel” moniker on its side was corralled by metal barriers at SlotZilla.

Bruny said Friday that the Fremont Street Experience expects to open the zip line attraction once it receives testing and certification approvals from the city and Clark County.

Still, there was sparse SlotZilla information for Fremont Street Experience tourists at the zip line tower that visually dominates the downtown entertainment corridor.

The only message: “Opening soon” signs on the ticket office exterior glass.

But workers at the new Banger Brewing storefront in the Neonopolis center about 15 feet from SlotZilla can’t wait for the Fremont Street Experience attraction to open.

Nick Fischella, one of five Banger Brewing founders, said he hopes tourists will pop into his microbrewery for a pint of “liquid courage” to climb up SlotZilla and zip along at speeds as fast as 35 mph.

“It will help us — we are banking on it,” said another Banger Brewing founder, Marc Longwith. “Anything new will be a good draw for us.”

Rohit Joshi, Neonopolis owner, said SlotZilla brings traffic to his commercial center next to the zip line attraction. His building’s restaurants that face SlotZilla such as Denny’s, International Eatery and Heart Attack Grill will cash in. He noted the buzz around the SlotZilla opening has helped business.

“It’s perfect for downtown,” Joshi said. “Financially, it’s very good.”

He said he’s negotiating with two attractions to open in Neonopolis because it’s so close to SlotZilla,

“More people have come to talk with me in the past year and a half because of SlotZilla opening soon,” Joshi said. He said tourists will even come for photo opportunities at SlotZilla.

A job fair was held March 21, with more than 100 permanent positions expected to be eventually created.

For those who want to ride, it will be $30 for the higher line where riders will be mechanically launched and zip along horizontal to the ground. The lower 850-foot-long zip line will cost $20 per ride. Fliers will be able to reserve flight times.

Contact Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.

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