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Journey to the Surface (Amusement Park Ride)

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Advertisement for "An experience that no citizen of Rapture can afford to miss."

"Rapture is a secret… So, your parents bring you somewhere to feed you ice lollies and terrify you out of ever leaving the perfect city all around you. That's Ryan Amusements."
―Sofia Lamb[src]

Journey to the Surface is the main attraction of Ryan Amusements, the theme park of Rapture. It details a journey beginning in the country on the Surface and finally to the Lighthouse, down into Rapture.


Andrew ryan puppet

Ryan addresses the visitors.

Ryan Amuse-Journey01

A pastoral scene on the surface segues to…

Ryan Amuse-Journey02

…ruin and dismay.

Ryan debased

A debased Ryan automaton.

Journey to the Surface was designed by Carlson Fiddle on Andrew Ryan's command to be the most powerful piece of propaganda directed towards children. It served the purpose of scaring children away from ever leaving Rapture, as Ryan believed that contact with the Surface was to be avoided at any cost, lest the secret of Rapture be leaked. Carlson Fiddle was unhappy with utilizing his craft in this way, but nonetheless complied.

The RideEdit

The first part of the ride is a speech by Andrew Ryan as he sits in his office, while the audience is standing in the queue. Here, he talks about why he built Rapture in the first place, and whether or not the Surface has changed since.

Then, the customers enter carts shaped like bathyspheres on a track and ride up to an allegorical recreation of the surface world. The first stop is at a peaceful farm, with a man working and his wife and child holding each other in the background. While Andrew Ryan narrates, a big hand labeled "God" and "Government" takes the roof off the house and proceeds to steal its contents. Second is a scientist working amongst his peers in a laboratory, who slowly begins to rise above the rest. Suddenly, another huge hand shoves him back down as an act of forced mediocrity. Third, an artist shows off his work, only to have it obscured by the symbolic hand of a government censor. The last stop is inside a family home with a happy couple and a ten-year-old boy sitting in front of a television. A giant hand emerges, and the boy is dragged from his parents to die in war. Interspersed are sets depicting a recreation of Andrew Ryan's office, complete with his signature golf club and ball off to the side. There the ride pauses momentarily, and Ryan lectures the riders on the horrors of "The Surface" and the superiority of Rapture.

In between scenes, the ride takes its audience through a run-down surface city, with symbolic buildings such as the Censorship Bureau and the Ordinance Hall lining the streets and side passages with names such as War Street and Curfew Alley. The end of the Journey to the Surface shows a mannequin child inside a tiny bathysphere in front of a miniature lighthouse, the path back to Rapture, symbolizing the children's escape from the fearful Surface world to the safety of the underwater city.

Interspersed throughout the ride, behind the scenes, are different maintenance and upkeep areas for employees. There are workshops, storage areas, maintenance junctions, and even access points back up to the museum. One of the workshops, the Ride Cart Garage, has an auxiliary bathysphere that is out of service.

Park transcriptEdit


The "Parasites" demand their share.

Amusements Journey-Surface04

Staggering scientific discovery.

Amusements Journey-Surface02

An exhibition of censorship.

Amusements Journey-Surface05

The child is mine!

Ryan Amuse-Journey03

Escaping to the sanctuary of Rapture.

"I am Andrew Ryan. Welcome to Ryan Amusements. Please, enjoy the park."
―Upon entering the attraction.
"Why, hello there, my name is Andrew Ryan. I built the city of Rapture for children just like you, because the world above had become unfit for us. But here, beneath the ocean, it is natural to wonder if the danger has passed, if those we left behind will ever come to their senses. So, let us imagine, you and I, what might befall us… on the surface."
―Second Ryan display.
"On the surface, the farmer tills the soil, trading the strength of his arm for a home and lands of his own. But the Parasites say, "NO! What is yours is ours! We are the state, we are God, we demand our share.""
―Farmer Display
"The Parasite makes nothing for itself. Its only tools are taxes and tithes, meant to trick you into offering what it has not earned. In Rapture, we keep what is ours."
―Third Ryan display.
"On the surface, the scientist invests the power of his mind in a single miraculous idea and naturally begins to rise above his fellows. But the Parasites say, "NO! Discovery must be regulated! It must be controlled and finally surrendered.""
―Scientist Display
"On the surface, an artist strives to frame his ideals in an image, to challenge his audience and make his vision immortal. But the Parasites say, "NO! Your art must serve the cause! Your ideals endanger the people!""
―Artist Display
"Lacking its own ingenuity, the Parasite fears the visionary. What it cannot plagiarize, it seeks to censor; what it cannot regulate, it seeks to ban. Rapture was founded on an idea, and here they are held inviolate."
―Fourth Ryan display.
"On the surface, your parents sought a private life, using their great talents to provide for you. They learned to twist the lies of church and government, believing themselves masters of the system. But the Parasites said, "NO! The child has a duty! He'll go to war and die for the nation.""
―Family Display
"Unable to provide for itself, the need of the Parasite grows until war is made to justify it. Your parents brought you to Rapture, where you need never fear the Parasites again. So you see, there is no place for you on the surface, but you may bring the world to you! If you know someone who belongs in Rapture, write a letter to the Ryan Industries mailroom. And you never know! The next new face… might be familiar."
―Fifth (vandalized) Ryan display.
"(No Dialog) "Rise, Rapture, Rise" plays in the background."
―Upon seeing the model Lighthouse.

New DiscoveriesEdit

Amusements Journey-Surface03

A Splicer examines a Power to the People machine.

Single Use EventsEdit

Plasmids and Tonics (Found)Edit

Audio DiariesEdit


Concept Art and ModelsEdit

In-Game ImagesEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • Horace Heidt and his Musical Knight's "Dawn of the New Day" plays in the Puppet Workshop, the official theme of the 1939 New York World's Fair. In the novel,[1] Carlson Fiddle explains that he got the idea for the park's "animated mannequins" from the 1939 Westinghouse Electric Corporation exhibit which featured "Elektro the Moto-Man", a 7-ft tall robot that could talk, walk, smoke cigarettes, and distinguish colors. Following the 1940 World's Fair reopening, he appeared with his dog "Sparko" who could bark, sit, and beg.
Chalkboard table of elements
  • The periodic table of the elements in the Science exhibit of the ride bears the label "Arrangement by CIENCIAS CIENTIFICAS, 1945." It is actually an exact copy of a periodic table arranged by Glenn T. Seaborg,[2] with only his name removed.[3]
  • The portraits in the Artist exhibit of the ride are in the style of Tamara de Lempicka,[4] a well-known Polish Art Deco artist whose works adorned the covers of the Penguine Modern Classics editions of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.


  1. BioShock: Rapture Chapter 7
  2. Glenn T. Seaborg on Wikipedia
  3. Periodic table, heavy elements in actinide series in the BERKELEY-LAB/SEABORG-ARCHIVE of the LBNL Image Library
  4. Tamara de Lempicka on Wikipedia

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