WQED mobile
menu
close menu


- CHAPTER 1 -
Our great American imagination

unusualBuildings

CHAPTER 1 | CHAPTER 2 | CHAPTER 3 | CHAPTER 4 | CHAPTER 5 | CHAPTER 6 | CHAPTER 7 | CHAPTER 8 | CHAPTER 9 | CHAPTER 10 | CHAPTER 11 | CHAPTER 12 | CHAPTER 13 | CHAPTER 14 | CHAPTER 15 | CHAPTER 16 | CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 18

RICK Well, ownership can be important but a zany idea and the wherewithal to build it seem to be the keys to success. It’s not far from Orange World to Orlando.

JACKIE This is International Drive that we are on. And it’s a pretty heavy traffic area, lots of tourists and families come out to this area.

RICK It’s called Wonderworks. And Jackie Vasquez is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the company that created this amazing building in the shape of an upside-down building.

JACKIE One of our owners came up with the concept, Mr Barry Frank, and he had this idea, and it was certainly a great one at that. And I’ve always said, “How did you think of that?”

BARRY One day it just hit me, you know: upside-down, on an angle. It would be the biggest thing on I Drive. So far it worked so good.

MAYA Yeah, I think it does work. It’s intriguing. It makes people take notice and want to come inside. And once they hear about what we have inside, they usually want to come in.

RICK Maya Blount works in the lobby, telling people the story about how Wonderworks happened.

BARRY We had to figure a way of how it got here.

MAYA We usually tell them that it was a science research lab.

BARRY It was a science lab in the Bermuda Triangle.

JACKIE A group of scientists were working to harness the power of a manmade tornado.

BARRY They had a problem, and it ended up on I Drive on top of a citrus warehouse.

JACKIE It was a Pepsi warehouse.

BARRY The building was a big headache. It went way over budget.

JACKIE In the real world, it was a great idea.

BARRY And a lot of nightmares and a lot of hard work, but we got through it, and if you go back far enough back and turn it right side up, it looks like a very famous building in Washington DC.

JACKIE When you first enter the lobby area, it is upside down. Keeping with that, and then you go through an inversion tunnel that will turn you right-side-up so you can now experience everything.

MAYA Oh, there’s virtual roller coasters, there’s simulators for hurricanes, earthquakes…

BARRY It’s an interactive, hands-on experience with a hundred different experiences inside. And this is something to do besides going to the big parks.

MAYA It still amazes me like the architecture of it.

BARRY It’s made of steel and brick and concrete…

JACKIE My favorite part is the mailbox hanging from the top.

BARRY I really like the trees hanging upside down.

MAYA I’ve never seen anything like this before, so it was kind of cool.

BARRY People, they’ll stop…

JACKIE People jumping out of their cars to get a good picture.

BARRY If I could get a dollar for every picture, we’d probably let everybody in free.

MAYA It’s unique.

BARRY Well, it’s a Wow, and we’re in the Wow business.

 


BEHIND THE SCENES | ORDER A DVD | READ THE TRANSCRIPT | PRESS CLIPPINGS
OTHER RICK SEBAK PROGRAMS

Produced by Rick Sebak and WQED Multimedia Pittsburgh

Made possible by Viewers Like You and CPB The Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
a private corporation funded by the American people.

 

featured specials

  • Portraits for the Homefront: The Story of Elizabeth Black
    The poignant story unfolds as we explore Black’s lost art career, seek out elderly veterans who encountered Miss Black on the battlefield, and present to amazed and appreciative families portraits that never arrived.
  • Classical Crossroads
    Where classical music crosses paths with rock and roll, world music, folk music and jazz. Listen to interviews with people who make good music here.

featured specials

  • Portraits for the Homefront: The Story of Elizabeth Black
    The poignant story unfolds as we explore Black’s lost art career, seek out elderly veterans who encountered Miss Black on the battlefield, and present to amazed and appreciative families portraits that never arrived.
  • Classical Crossroads
    Where classical music crosses paths with rock and roll, world music, folk music and jazz. Listen to interviews with people who make good music here.

featured specials