acoustics in an indoor theme park

Acoustic Studies in an Indoor Theme Park

Exposure to moderate levels of noise can cause psychological stress including annoyance (fear, anger, feeling bothered, feelings of being involuntarily and unavoidably harmed, and feelings of having privacy invaded), and can interfere with activity. Headache, tiredness and irritability are also common reactions to noise.

Research by Taburlini[1] in 2002 showed that children may be more prone to the adverse effects of noise because they may be more frequently exposed….and they are more susceptible to the impact of noise.

Do you remember the various times you visited an indoor children’s recreation place? Places where children are entertained like trampoline parks, swimming pools, arcades and places with multiple climbing frames. Do you remember the soundscape in these places? Was it mostly a cacophony of sounds full of screams and shrieks by mostly happy children running around the space with the occasional cry from a kid that maybe tripped up somewhere? If you went there for a birthday party, do you remember the intelligibility of the PA announcements and you looking around you and asking “was this for us”? “which room are we in”? “did they say Nick or Mick”?. How about afterwards? Do you remember how you felt after spending a couple of hours in some (maybe most?) of these spaces? Perhaps with a newfound headache and a feeling of tiredness?

Hopefully, you never visited such a place when some kind of emergency happened, perhaps a fire, and you could barely understand the evacuation instructions from the PA since it is often the case that the room’s acoustics are unsuitable for a PA system, and therefore efforts should be made to improve them first, as a PA system cannot rectify poor acoustics.

When an overseas Family Entertainment Centre provider wished to foray into the UK market, and specifically London with a brand-new attraction for locals and tourists alike, it approached Finch Consulting to assist it with various acoustics and noise/vibration control studies for the indoor vacant space it acquired in the capital.

The proposed space for this venue is underground (below apartments, office and retail space) where in the double-height main space the main attraction will be a small rollercoaster and there will be a mezzanine level that will comprise ancillary attractions with rooms to organise children’s parties. In the main space, various juvenile rides such as a hopper and dodge cars will be located alongside static arcade machines.

In order to determine the approximate quantity and location of sound-absorbent treatment that may be required to achieve the desired acoustic criteria, 3D acoustic modelling of the space has been carried out.

A 3D wireframe model was constructed using Sketchup, based on the extruded floorplan provided and imported into CATT Acoustic, see Figure below. Materials were assigned to the surfaces of the model with absorption coefficients for the proposed acoustic panels. The model was calibrated using reverberation time measurements undertaken at the existing space, in order to reduce the modelling uncertainties.

teli screenshot 1

The results of the 3D acoustic modelling exercise showed that the provision of fixed sound-absorbent finishes as detailed would significantly reduce the reverberation time to support speech intelligibility within the space, which will be appropriate for the priority use of the space.

Teli screenshot 2

Following the review of the acoustic absorption around the space, we also undertook further 3D computer modelling in order to review the speech intelligibility in the space based on various loudspeaker locations and loudspeaker types. Due to the expected background sound levels in the space and the presence of nearby noise-sensitive uses, the loudness of the sound reinforcement had to be controlled so as not to result in nuisance. The figure below shows the 3D model with loudspeaker positions (blue bots around the walls).

Teli screenshot 3

The modelling demonstrated that with a sufficient spread of carefully chosen loudspeakers around the space a suitable speech intelligibility level can be achieved with a relatively low signal to noise ratio.

teli screenshot 4

[1] Children’s health and the environment: A review of evidence. Tamburlini G et al., eds. EEA-WHO, 2002 (


© Finch Consulting Limited | Privacy Policy


Ivanhoe Office Park
Ashby de la Zouch
LE65 2AB

+44 (0) 1530 412 777
[email protected]


+44 (0) 2070 627 093


+44 (0) 1217 289 814


+44 (0) 1313 572 223

Registered in England
and Wales No: 2774164
VAT Registration No: 616 5962 20

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority 634469.

© Finch Consulting Limited | Privacy Policy