What is a Goat Path?
A Goat Path, with respect to theme park design, is a defined, designed, and hidden – from Guests or public view – path within a theme park ‘mountain’ or within the landscape design.
Goat paths offer multiple positive attributes in theme park design including:
- They provide maintenance, landscaping/horticulture, and safety inspectors a safe, well-defined, and often lighted path around the exterior of a themed mountain complex or through vegetation in landscaped berms.
- Goat paths are typically obstructed from the Guests line of sight within the on stage areas of a theme park.
- They are often accessed – when atop or around attractions – either via hidden exterior doors or roof hatches leading from back stage or back of house areas.
- Depending on their location and height off the ground they may incorporate fall protection tie-off points or rail systems for preventative maintenance or safety employees to utilize.
Understanding Goat Paths
Due to increased safety standards most major theme parks operate under – inclusive of both OSHA safety requirements in the United States coupled with company safety standards and guidelines – goat paths provide a means to safely access uniquely shaped and designed exterior areas of attractions or landscaped areas that would normally not be easily accessible by using ladders, high-reach lifts, etc.
Theme park architects and designers work, during their design phases, to incorporate goat paths – typically 30″ to 48″ wide – into the overall design of the attraction or landscaping. The goal being to make the goat path ‘disappear’ from Guests view sheds, but allowing safe access when required.
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Goat paths are a unique feature not commonly designed or seen in typical, real-world commercial projects. They are unique to theme park projects, and to be more specific even more contemporary themed projects.