Amusement parks are a favorite pastime for young and old, but sometimes it seems like the rides go to the extreme. It seems like every year a theme park is trying to construct a bigger and better thrill ride, even if its not quite the safest. Let’s take a look at the wildest and most extreme amusement park rides in history.
20. Original Ferris Wheel, Chicago World’s Fair
The 1893 World Exhibition in Chicago was the debut of the original ferris wheel, and no one knew if it was going to work when it was turned on. The 284 wheel was massive, with each of its 36 cars holding 60 people (for 2,400 riders!) Although people reported bolts raining down from the sky, no one got injured.
19. Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure
The tallest and fastest steel coaster in the world, Six Flags’ Kingda Ka goes up and down as fast as possible. At 128 mph, passengers hurtle through a 456 foot track in just 28 seconds. The ride is so fast it briefly simulates the weightlessness of a trip to outer space – vomit bag included.
18. Derby Racer Roller Coaster, Revere Massachusetts
Opened in 1911, the Derby Coaster killed three people and injured many more. It was eventually ordered dismantled by the state Supreme Court.
17. Big Dipper, Battersea Fun Fair
The most popular ride at Battersea Fun Fair was the Big Dipper, but in 1972 one of the cars got detached from its rope, flying backward into a docking station and colliding with another car. 13 were injured and five children were killed. The ride was soon destroyed.
16. SCAD Dives, Various
SCAD Dives is short for “Suspended Air Catch Dives” and the rides are notoriously dangerous. The reason? It suspends you at the top of a 150 feet drop and then drops you without any restraints, causing you to free fall into a (hopefully) waiting catch-net below.
15. Kayak Experience, Action Park
Action Park appears on this list more than any other amusement park. The Kayak Experience aimed to recreate a whitewater rafting experience in a giant pool. Since large electrical fans were used to create the rapids, it introduced electricity to water, a bad idea that led to one poor soul being electrocuted.
14. Aqua Scoot, Action Park
Here’s a bad idea: create a slide made of the same material as airport luggage rollers and place it above a pool of only 12 inches depth! The plastic sled was supposed to skim across the top of the water, but if your body was just a bit out of position you risked breaking your tailbone, colliding with other people in the water, or worse.
13. Gladiator Jousting, Action Park
Our friends at Action Park were inspired by the TV show American Gladiator to create an attraction which would pit visitors against muscle-bound gym rats on top of a metal pedestal. Combatants got bludgeoned by steroid guys, causing them to slip, fall and be knocked into the pool or against the metal pedestal.
12. Alpine Slide, Action Park
The notorious Action Park makes this list yet agin. Its Alpine Slide was a single-rider slide that put riders in winter sleds and threw them down concrete and fiberglass tracks. The sleds were uncontrollable, dozens, possibly hundreds of riders suffered head injuries and an employee died on the track.
11. The Tidal Wave Pool, Action Park
The Tidal Wave Pool was known as “The Grave Pool,” since three people died in accidents. The huge pool had a maximum depth of 8 feet and had a capacity of 1,000 people. Meaning that despite the lifeguards’ best efforts and about 30 rescues a weekend, a few slipped through the cracks.
10. Geronimo Falls, Action Park
Geronimo Falls was Action Park’s version of a speed slide. But like everything else associated with Action Park, it was taken just a bit too far. The slide was so steep it had to be enclosed at the top since people going up to 60 mph could fly up in the air and land on the ground.
9. Tank Tag, Action Park
This is a great idea for a 12 year old boy. Rather than bumper cars, the cars were metal, enclosed tanks that had a tennis ball shooting canon. And viewers could pay money to shoot tennis balls at the riders, from canons mounted along the exterior walls. Poor workers would get pelted mercilessly every time they had to go inside the ride to restart a stalled tank.
8. Perilous Plunge, Knotts Berry Farm
The Perilous Plunge was a large-car water ride with a steep drop. Unfortunately in 2001, a woman slipped out of her restraints and flew out of the boat, dying instantly. The ride was shuttered.
7. Human Catapult, Middlemoor Water Park
Visitors to this water park in the UK could actually crawl inside a massive human trebuchet and be flung at 60 miles an hour into a net 75 feet away. Riders suffered broken bones, a broken pelvis and even death.
6. Cannonball Loop, Action Park
Action Park was nicknamed “Class Action Park” because 6 people died on rides during the 18 years the park was open. Its worst ride was rarely even opened because Cannonball Loop was a looping tubular water slide which ran in a perfect circle. The perfect circle is a no-no in ride engineering since the high g forces can break your neck.
5. Lightning, Revere Beach
The Lighting operated between 1927 and 1933. Although only a 40 second ride on a figure-8 track, it killed its first rider on its second day of operation. The ride was so rough on the ribs people in the Boston area created a saying – “take her on the Lightning” – to describe how to deal with an unintended pregnancy.
4. Vertical Log Flume/Hydro, Oakwood Park
Vertical Log Flume (originally known as Hydro), like other water attractions with an almost vertical drop, resulted in many injuries and one death. A girl was killed after the 100 foot plunge, when a metal railing was not adequately secured.
3. Tower of Terror, Gold Reef Park
This Johannesburg South Africa tower coaster has the fastest g forces in this world – and the next world. The 6.3 gs is double the amount experienced by astronauts orbiting the earth. Another ride where a vomit bag is a must!
2. Takabisha, Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park
Takabisha has the greatest vertical drop of any coaster in the world. Riders start out with an impressive view of Japan’s Mt. Fuji before plunging 141 feet at 61 miles an hour. Even worse, the drop is inverted, meaning you are upside-down!
1. The Banzai Pipeline, Waterworld California
The Banzai Pipeline was a six-story high water slide. In 1997 a group of California high school students attempted to break a world record for most riders on a slide. 33 students shoved by the lifeguards, ignored their warnings and slid down at once, creating a plug trapping the students. The slide burst open and collapsed, the water ran red with blood. One student died and 17 went to high school graduation in wheelchairs.