Amusement park rides that don't SEEM to be there anymore

Maybe they still are and I don’t see them anymore, but I’m pretty sure the first one isn’t around anymore

  1. Giant metal slide that sits out in the sun all day. Has a couple of dips, so it isn’t just one straight angle down. And finally what do you slide down on? Potato sack bags. Yeah, I’d say onl;y 75% of kids actually got to the bottom still attached to those bags.

  2. Simple metal centrifugal spinning metal cylinder. As seen at Six Flags over Texas. Not particularly dangerous, except to your stomach from nausea. I know versions of centrifugal rides still exist, but I don’t know if the very simple ones do.

I know there are at least a couple of the centrifugal rides around. Those are some of the few rides I can’t do very well any more and I don’t think I’ve ridden one in years.

There are still slides like those around, but I think most of them are plastic now a days. I know I’ve seen at least two of them in the past few years, but off the top of my head I can’t remember where.

I can’t remember the last time I saw an octopus. And I heard Kennywood, near Pittsburgh, is getting rid of their Volcano, which I always knew as an apple turnover. It’s the ride that’s a big circle with sit down cages. It starts spinning and slowly goes from parallel to the ground and goes to 90 degrees. Not many of those left around either.

Last time I was there, Keansburg Amusement Park still had one of those.

I checked the site and they still have one indeed. It appears to be pink with 3 lanes.

#2. Worlds of Fun in Kansas City closed that one about 3 years ago. The company that made it had gone under and they simply could not find replacement or repair parts.

So as to the question, remember those rides are built by specific companies and it might be the equivalent to getting parts for say a Apple 2 computer.

Having just researched this heavily for my book, there are lots of really old rides that aren’t there any more.

Shoot the Chutes – at one time virtually required for all amusement parks (back before 1910). You rode in a flat-bottomed boat that slid down a long water-lubricated ramp into a receiving “lagoon” at the bottom, where your boat would skip across the water like a flat stone. There are still “Shoot the Chutes” rides, but they’re not really the same. Most are either roller coasters that have portions where they skim the water (while riding on tracks) or else rides where a large and heavy boat plunges down into the water and makes a big splash, soaking spectators and usually the riders (such as the Boston Tea Party at Canobie Lake Park. In the original Shoot the Chutes the passengers pretty much stayed dry).
Here are modern versions –

The Scenic Railway – a sort of proto-roller coaster where there were no dep plunges or sudden turns. The cars rode on a track that undulated vertically in a sinusoid. The “scenic” part was a building you went through that had replicas of famous places (Venice, Paris, etc.) I think that more modern roller coaster pushed out the undulating part and “dark rides” took the place of the “scenic” part. The Thompson Scenic Railways disappeared in the 1920s.

Whirl the Whirl – A central tower with four cars at each end of two horizontal bars. The cars were all linked to a central ring that rotated them simultaneously. As they did, they moved outward away from the central shaft, then rose, so that the cars executed a helical motion, first up, then down. I know of two amusement parks that had this, and a few traveling shows. I suspect the people on the outside of the car got uncomfortable when the centrifugal forces pushed the other riders into them.

Bay Beach amusement park has a giant slide, but is closed (not sure if COVID or other reasons

When I was growing up I think rides were 5 or 10 cents. Most are now 50 cents, with the Zippen Pippen being $1


My mother, who was born in 1930, always referred to any roller coaster as a “scenic railway,” much to my confusion as a kid.

Here’s a pic of the slide i was referring to

These days I rarely see medium- or long-length twisty waterslides where you do not use a mat. I like the ones where you go down on your back because you can improve your speed with skill, whereas with a mat it’s like riding a sled with no steering gear. Unfortunately, that’s one of the reasons operators like them because everyone goes down at the same speed you get higher throughput, whereas you need more leeway doing bareback so you don’t have a speed racer running into a very slow person. Even with that leeway I’ve had close calls where I’ve almost run into a child who was sitting straight up and sliding very slowly down the slide.

Plus I think they don’t have to make the bottom as smooth when they use mats since your back won’t get sore from all the bumps.

The giant metal slides I used to see recently (when my early 20s kid was 11 or 12) - but not as a permanent feature, just as something that showed up when the town had its fair and went back to wherever funnel cake stands and ringtoss games go after the fair is done.

Looks like this one is permanent - and still there

Both the Minnesota State Fair grounds and the Wisconsin State Fair grounds have the giant metal potato sack slides as permanent fixtures.

Do you mean the ones where the floor drops down after it gets up to speed?

COSI (the Center for Science and Industry) in Columbus, OH, had one of these a few years ago, in its “backyard,” but if the Google Maps satellite image I just looked at is up to date, it’s not there anymore. Shame, it’s a fun illustration of an important principle of physics.

I remember going to an amusement park as a Junior High end-of-school-year field trip (the long gone Bob-Lo Island, for those of you who grew up in the Metro Detroit area. The ride down the Detroit River to the island in the big boat was half the fun). I did the centrifugal spinner ride-- after it got you up to speed the floor dropped, so you were pinned against the wall, defying gravity!

The ride I took that day was only like half full, so we were spaced out some. The kid next to me threw up, and I watched in horror as the vomit creeped along the wall towards me, and, pinned by centrifugal force, there was nothing I could do to get away. Fortunately, the ride spun down before the vomit reached me.

There was definitely a Coney Island Rotor:

Are there really none left in the NYC area?

Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Park had a Rotor. Everyone knew someone who puked on the ride.

Slightly related…I see Six Flags over Texas entirely ditched the “six different cultures/ national sections of the park bit”

That’s sad. It was very fun and historical and interesting. I also see they ditched The Confedracy with no controversy before just ditching them all. Interesting.

The Funland (Rehoboth Beach, DE) version is called the Gravitron. As of a couple of summers ago it was still there.

I was on one of those at Astroworld in Houston, Texas, and some kid managed to get himself inverted (with his head toward the dropped-out floor). The ride operator couldn’t spin down the ride for fear of the kid getting injured, so he kept it going and going while yelling at the kid to turn right-side-up. That was fun. :grin:

I worked as a carny for a relative who owned an amusement park company. One of my most favorite things was running the “Flying Saucer” ride. They had two different versions of the ride. One was powered by an electric motor and fairly tame. The other was powered by a gas car engine. You could really whip that sucker! In the video below they don’t show it but there was also a way to tilt the “saucer” from the angle you see in the video to fully horizontal or any degree in between. I could give a real wicked ride if I wanted :slight_smile:

Only drawback is that if anybody got sick I’d have to hose down their car. The cars had drain holes in the bottom so the puke just rinsed right out.

I haven’t seen this ride anywhere since about 1974 or so:

Chippewa Valley Rides Flying Saucers (Comet) Ride - YouTube

There was a ride I recall from the 1970s:- four or six “barrels” each of which can hold four or five kids around its edges are attached to a rotor that spins them around and around - and then releases them one after another so that they roll at high speed away from the rotor (into a corridor just big enough for the barrels to roll through). Anyone remember what it was called?