To: screamforadream –
You're right about the rules being a bit more "relaxed" with an outdoor venue. Unfortunately, my home town (Bensalem, Pa.) is also a ball buster with that concept as well but, if I do find a suitable outdoor location, I'll pursue it and see if I can figure out a way of making it work. Weather is an obvious issue. We just have to make sure there are ways of protecting certain props/animatronics when the situation arises.
Before you do anything, research the rules and regulations in the areas where you are searching for a spot to setup your attraction(s). Get acquainted with the local officials. You should also check with the local business operators and ask if they'll share their experiences when it comes to regulations and setting up a new enterprise. And it can be any type of business; movie theaters, restaurants, industrial spaces, hotels, places of worship, etc. Nothing can replace personal experience but this will help to give you a better perspective of what to expect from your local officials.
Check with your state for regulations adopted at that level. Then request the local regulations or for some kind of guidance. Something they refused to do in my home town but most areas are much more business friendly than Bensalem, Pa.