Theme park and museum scent company AromaPrime turns 50

Have you ever entered a theme park attraction and wondered how they created that smell? One company, AromaPrime, has been creating immersive and educational smells for themed attractions for 50 years.

AromaPrime founder Fred Dale
AromaPrime founder Fred Dale

AromaPrime offers over 500 different aromas for use in themed attractions, including unique options like Dragon’s Breath, Pirate Ship, Popcorn, Volcano, and even Jaguar Urine.

Fred Dale of AromaPrime
AromaPrime founder Fred Dale

These scents are used in dark rides to take guests on emotional journeys, on roller coasters to build anticipation, and in museums to immerse visitors into the past. The company’s scents even help trigger nostalgic memories in those with dementia in care facilities.

AromaPrime History

50 years ago, AromaPrime became the world’s first company specializing in scents for themed attraction design. Before that, theme parks and museums would obtain air fresheners from shops, with basic options like floral and fruit aromas.

Large operations seeking immersive scents developed their own technology, but the Smellitzer scent used at places like Epcot demanded a sizeable financial investment and most theme park and museum operations could not afford that expense.

AromaPrime on television

In 1973, Fred Dale srealized the industry required focused, off-the-shelf technology and aromas for its projects, and venues needed somewhere to find the most unusual whiffs without destroying their budget. A perfumer’s custom fragrance looked impossible for most operations’ budgets.  Smaller operations desired diffusion technology suited to their needs.

At the beginning, AromaPrime made pleasant smells. The company’s first big themed project was for the historical “smellscape” at Jorvik Viking Centre in the early 1980s. This groundbreaking museum changed the landscape by including a dark ride through a recreated Viking village. Using new archaeological discoveries, Fred Dale created the authentic smells of the village, including cesspits, fish, wood smoke, and pigs. Dale also assisted with the ride’s overall design, ensuring the scents were delivered as effectively as possible. This marked the beginning of the company’s involvement in themed attraction design.

Fred Dale’s Legacy

Dale’s pioneering spirit had a long-lasting effect on the industry and its approach to creating multi-sensory experiences. AromaPrime continues to make smells for customers like Alton Towers, Legoland, and Madame Tussauds, as well as escape rooms, galleries, and hotels. The company also continues to play an essential role in bringing history to life, with products that remind guests of Egyptian mummies and even dinosaur breath. Customers experience these scents worldwide, including in South Korea and Australia.

Liam Findlay
Liam Findlay

“I am very proud to work for AromaPrime on its 50th year, having researched its exciting history,” said Liam R. Findlay, themed attraction consultant for AromaPrime. “The achievements of our founder Fred Dale were totally unique in the late 60s, up to the millennium, whether we appreciate his creation of historically-accurate smells to transform traditional museums, the technology he developed to push special effects in theme parks, or his ingenuity when it came to bringing back memories in the elderly.”

Findlay also stated that, “Fred Dale made a lasting impact on memory-making and education for thousands. The AromaPrime team is always inspired to continue in this spirit, developing our technology for changing visitor experiences, enhancing the accuracy of our museum interpretations, and expanding our knowledge around attraction design and exciting psychological tricks.”

Have You Experienced AromaPrime?

The next time you walk through a themed attraction, you might be experiencing a scent from AromaPrime. And if you want your home to smell like a theme park, this company offers that as well. The company’s range of weird and beautiful smells can be explored here.

Fred Dale’s son, Bob, created a library of photos and videos from AromaPrime’s beginnings for viewing on YouTube.

Have you ever thought about the aromas when you enter a themed attraction? Which one counts as your favorite scent? Let us know in the comments below.


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  1. Thanks for sharing this deep-dive into AromaPrime’s history! My favourite theme park smells are the welcoming, sweet aroma at Disney’s Main Street USA, and the musty pongs at Alton Towers’ haunted house!

  2. Thank you for this fascinating article. I think my favorite special smell in an attraction is the “forest” in E. T. at Universal, and certainly the one that people comment on the most.