Students Engineer a Creative, Collaborative Future for Themed Entertainment

July 21, 2022

Ambient lighting and ethereal depictions of Greek mythology welcome visitors to Daedalus: The Lost Wings, Texas Theme Park Engineering & Design’s latest pop-up attraction. Teams of UT students enter a room filled with artifacts and puzzles – a tiny Grecian boat, a glowing fountain, a bookcase that doubles as a doorway – with 45 minutes to unlock a pair of Daedalus’s legendary wings. Beneath the puzzles are wires, magnets and structures built by an ambitious group of students from across the Forty Acres. The Texas Theme Park Engineering & Design student organization, sponsored by Theatre and Dance faculty members J.E. Johnson and Karen Maness, may be comprised of a variety of academic emphases, but they are united under one goal – to entertain their audiences through unique, story-based experiences, cultivating the creative problem-solver within each of its members.

Texas Theme Park Engineering & Design (formerly Texas Theme Park Engineering Group*) or TxTPED, exists as a space for students interested in the amusement park industry to get hands-on experience crafting elements for themed attractions. A student organization within the Cockrell School of Engineering, their membership is largely made up of engineering students, but over the past academic year, their roster has grown to include students from the School of Design and Creative Technologies, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Radio-Television-Film, Undergraduate Studies and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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