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Trip Report March 23, 2012

 

As part of my 35th Birthday celebration, my friend Kijofa took me to Wild Adventures for the first time. I had no idea where we were headed as it was a surprise. Once we hit I-75N from Gainesville, I had a few places on my mind. When we got off in Valdosta, I knew. I had been wanting to go there ever since I heard of the park after I moved to Savannah from Charlotte in 2006 (I moved to Gainesville, FL in '09).

 

The park opened up at 10AM and closed @ 7PM. We arrived at opening and got in line to park. $10? Pretty decent I suppose. It was the first time he had to pay to park in a long time since we have annual passes to the parks we normally go to. Fortunately since it was a Friday, the local schools were in session, with only some neighboring areas out for Spring Break. The park was in general not busy, which was great for us.

 

After finding a nice shady place to park we get out and head to the entrance. As expected the "photorazzi" was waiting to take everyone's pic...lol

 

After picking up our tickets we head towards the turnstiles and get ready for a day of fun and excitement. After the usual restroom break and getting our bearings, we head out into the park.

 

First ride of the day: Ant Farm Express; Coaster Credit # 61. Who can resist a credit right? Since the line was non-existent, they were running it through twice, sometimes more every cycle.

 

Next up was Go Bananas!, a Maurer Söhne wild mouse coaster; Coaster Credit # 62. First time riding one by them and thought it was more enjoyable than those by Mack (Sand Serpent, Ricochet, etc.) even though the layout was basically the same.

 

Moving on we ride Pharaoh's Fury, a swinging ship. Surprisingly to some I had never ridden one before. I had only been on a looping ship before (Southern Star @ Carowinds when it was still called Frenzoid).

 

After that we rode the Century Wheel.

 

Now for Coaster Credit # 63: Swamp Thing. Now I have ridden one of these Vekoma Suspended Family Coasters before at Carowinds, and it was not an experience I would say I enjoyed. However, this one did not knock my head around into the restraints like the other. I would say it was somewhat enjoyable, and it also cycled through twice due to no line.

 

After tackling the "kiddie coasters", it was time to take a little break and visit Lorikeet Landing Aviary to check out the birds. The nectar was only $2 so we decided to feed them. This aviary had many of the same birds seen at other parks (like Busch Gardens Tampa), but is a bit smaller with narrow paths. Since the park wasn't busy there were only a few other people in there at the time. Outside the Aviary there were a few more animals and a new show called "Do You Zoo?" in a small theater next door (didn't watch). It appears that the other animal trails in that area are closed either temporarily for refurb or permanently. This meant we didn't get to see the bears, wallabys and other animals back there.

 

As we continue back to the rides, we come across some peafowl by the Fresh Corn Dog Co. They are scheming to try and snatch a bite from some unsuspecting tourist. They didn't have to try very hard though as the children were throwing them fries. I'm sure that isn't very healthy for them. I'm just surprised they were roaming free through the park. Across from there is the boardwalk around the park's lake where this beautiful Mute Swan was watching over it's nest.

 

Here is Aviator. I've always wanted to ride one of these and now I had my chance. It was quite nice and the views were great.

 

Next up is Boomerang (geez what is this, Vekoma Park? LOL); Coaster Credit #64. This was my first time riding a Boomerang. I can say the coaster was fun and ok, however I really didn't like going through the cobra roll backwards on that second ride I took. For me it's a try once coaster just for the credit, but couldn't see riding one over and over again. It still had the old restraints too, so I'm not sure if it's much better with the new ones or not.

 

After that I realized we hadn't eaten anything yet all day so I wasn't feeling my best. So my friend and I decided on what to eat. Unfortunately we didn't eat at any of the places posted above...lol. He ended up eating from Mamas Pizza and had some fries from the Fresh Corn Dog Co. I had the corn dog/fry basket from there. It was ok I guess. The fries were obviously fried in the same needing to be changed oil the corn dogs were fried in. I must say I wasn't impressed at all by the quality or pricing of the food here at this park. I would have to give this park the lowest quality/pricing rating of the parks I've been too based on what we had. They did offer a discount for buying 2 souvenir cups which included your drink though. Perhaps we should have tried one of those places pictured above...maybe next time.

 

Knowing that it isn't a good idea to go on coasters or spinning rides after eating, we decided to take the Safari Train and view some of the Asian and African animals on display. The theme song you ask? "Africa" by Toto. I love the song, but can imagine the ride operators are sick of it...lol. The 7 minute or so journey took us under the Cheetah coaster into the Asian area. In here there were Llama (pictured), Water Buffalo, Black Bucks, Fallow Deer, Nilgai and more. Then we journeyed into Africa where there were Ankole Watusi, Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Oryx, Sable Antelope, Scimitar (pictured), Addax (pictured), Thomson Gazelles, Waterbuck, Wildebeest and more. At the end of the journey we come to the park's Asian Elephant "Shirley" (pictured). She is 68 years old; the oldest elephant in North America and 3rd oldest in the world.

 

Next we go over to the Giraffe viewing area. Here they do daily feedings with trainers. You can get very close to these giraffes as you can see from the pictures. I'm not sure what the cost was to hand feed them, but it's definitely cheaper than some tours you can take at other parks. You can see the Cheetah coaster in the background of the picture on the left.

 

Speaking of Cheetah...it was next; Coaster Credit #65. This CCI was actually a very smooth and fun ride. I guess the recent refurb job they did actually helped, as I’ve heard bad reviews of it before they did it. I would have to put it in my top 3 of wooden coasters ridden. It delivered a descent amount of airtime and as stated before was pretty smooth so I didn't feel beaten up after riding.

 

Next is Viking Voyage; Coaster Credit #66. This family coaster by E&F Miler Industries, came to the park in 2010 from Celebration City in Branson, Missouri. I didn't expect much from this coaster considering it's size. However, was I ever surprised. The airtime on this coaster was amazing (I know I was shocked too). The back row of course delivered the best ride. I kept getting back on this one. This coaster ended up being my favorite at the park. Too bad only a few of this model were built. It's a great family coaster and a good stepping stone from smaller junior coasters and a bigger woody or a looper of some sort.

 

Wild Adventures actually has a decent selection of flat rides. In the pic above are Rattler, Firecracker and Falcon Flyer. They also have a Yo-Yo, Whirling Wildcats (scrambler), a Frog Hopper, Kite Flyer, Swinging Safari (Matterhorn/Music Express type ride), bumper cars and more including many children's rides. The park's 2 water rides (Tasmanian River Rapids & Blackfoot Falls) and waterpark were not yet open for the season.

 

Here is Rattler, a Moser Rides Sidewinder, similar to the Huss Frisbee. This was my first time trying this style ride as well. I quite enjoyed it, which was a shock since I rarely get on rides with such circular motion. This was my favorite flat at the park. I wish Carowinds and Busch Gardens Tampa would get one of these. Of course I would think they'd need a much larger one to handle the crowds.

 

Next is Firecracker, an S&S Double Shot tower. It was pretty much your standard double shot ride. I've been on similar and always like the feeling of launching into the air.

 

Another first for me (sad, but true) are the Falcon Flyers. I skipped the one at Carowinds not knowing how fun they could be.

 

A Greater One Horned Rhino. It was located behind the Twisted Typhoon coaster.

 

Final coaster at the park to ride is Twisted Typhoon (formerly Hangman); Coaster Credit #67. This is a standard Vekoma SLC (689m). This was my first time riding one. I attempted to ride several times earlier in the day, but was unsuccessful. If it wasn't the storm that blew through shutting it down for over an hour, it was the e-stop that occurred on the brake run after it opened back up, causing them to evacuate manually. I thought it was odd they didn't do a test run after not running for that long. Oh well at least I wasn't stuck on it. After about 45 minutes or so it had re-opened.

 

I had always heard the horrors of the SLC. Well, those stories were not far-fetched. The first half of the ride going through the rollover and into the sidewinder was ok. However once it went around and hit that double in-line twist...HEADBANGER CITY. Needless to say I only rode this once and got a massive headache from my head slamming into the OTSR. Why in the world would they make them like that? I usually can prepare how my head is positioned to avoid the banging, but it didn't quite work out. Perhaps if I had ridden again, I could have fared better, but I wasn't going to make things worse. Hopefully they will have newer trains with comfortable restraints soon. Until then, I won't be riding....lol

 

After all that head banging, it was time to relax while my headache went away. So we watched the Tigers Of India show. It featured 7 Bengal tigers. There are 4 different color variations present: orange and black stripe (standard), white and black stripe (white), snow white and a golden tabby. This was an ok show showing some of the agility of the tigers and how they interact with trainers. I was a bit uncomfortable at one part of the show where the trainer had to discipline one of them for trying to bite his arm. I was thinking "Where is PETA"?

 

After that feeling subsided some, the show continued and they brought out a male golden tabby (pictured above with trainer). It was the "bad boy" of the bunch, or so they would make you think with it's theme music: "Bad To The Bone". Well I'm not sure about it being a bad boy, but it got a bit frisky with one of the females and had to be pulled away. They did some "tricks", nothing too over the top, just stuff they would do anyway such as roll over and sit up. Tigers are my favorite animal and despite the discipline earlier, I enjoyed watching them do more than lay around half comatose.

 

I had a great time for my first visit to Wild Adventures. I'm sure the light crowds helped. The most I had to wait to ride anything was about 5 minutes, or about 1 or 2 cycles for each ride. Most were a walk on. The weather cooperated for the most part as the high was about 84. There was a quick-moving storm that came through around 2pm which shut the rides down for about an hour. The only real complaint I have about the park is the food. Perhaps It was just a bad day, or was the places we chose to eat at. It wasn't horrible, but wasn't great either.

 

I will definitely be back someday. I don't see it in the near future though, unless I take my nephews and nieces. If I lived in Valdosta that would be different of course (which isn't gonna happen...lol). This park does have potential and hopefully it will get a signature coaster in the years to come to keep people like me coming back.

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I know people like Thunderhawk at Michigan's Adventure (also one of the newer ones I believe), but I still found it impossible to enjoy with those oversized OSTRs.

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  • 3 months later...

Time to do a brand new update for Wild Adventures! I swung by for a few hours to see what has been added since my last visit for a media day in 2010. You can find that trip report right here: http://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=54955

 

They continue to keep improving the park's infrastructure in which I will showcase in my photos as well as a nice surprise for 2013. Operations still are so much better than the old days, as pretty much every ride was in operation including all of the coasters. FYI, Fiesta Express has been removed from the park as well as the kiddie log flume ride. Anyways, let us begin with photos.

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Also known as Zombieland.

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Wild Adventures is still removing any bug references from the old children's area.

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I am so sorry Elissa.

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Ant Farm Express is one of the remaining rides that still has the original bug themed name.

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It really is a true roller skater.

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Many of the rides received updated signs.

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They really should add zombies to the ride.

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It looks like something new will be added for next season.

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Hmmmmm....

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I wonder....

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Construction zone!

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The Vekoma SLC received a brand new paint job as well as a new name.

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Yes, it still is the best Vekoma SLC I have ridden, and I have ridden a lot.

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I think that they went with these new colors since it is fairly close to the water park.

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The station.

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Long shot.

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One more.

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Cheetah continues to run pretty well after the super referb 2 years ago. The G Trains though shake a bit more.

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The first drop.

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Cheetah!

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The waterpark section of the park continues to grow. These attraction were added in 2011.

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These would be the names.

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The waterpark really has a ton of attractions now, and yes it is included with your regular park admission.

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You can now rent a cabana. Check out what is included!

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A row of cabanas.

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The lazy river has been updated as well.

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New signage and planter.

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The deck around the lake has been completely replaced last year.

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Deck Part 2

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Deck Part 3

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It looks to me that the Boomerang also recently received a new paint job.

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Boomerang.

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This is one of the new shows for this season. Yes, it has a really catchy song as well.

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The show involves animals...

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Animal #2

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As well as fun family games. She is supposed to pop the balloons with her porcupine hat.

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Sloth!

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For me, the tiger show is my favorite.

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The collection here are really special.

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Awwww......

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New bathroom near Cheetah.

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An all new Halloween event is going to start this season.

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There were signs for it all over the park.

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Phobia is now a thing of the past, this is the new replacement.

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In another year or so, this will be covered with vines.

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We had to ride this.

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I understand that these are great to help you escape from zombies.

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That is it for this update. I really like how the parks keeps making improvements. I am curious to see what they add for next season.

Edited by Erik Johnson
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Awesome, thanks for the update. I'm glad that the park is continuing to improve under HFEC. I guess most of the individual decisions that I have been wondering about there have all been made in order to promote a central and consistent safari/adventure theme. They've done the same thing at White Water in Branson in recent years. I'm glad to see so much effort in that area, it really sets the parks apart.

 

It looks like those banners for 2013 have some splashes on them. I guess that means they're in for another water ride. My first thought was the supersplash from CC, but I guess they already have one. Hmmm... don't know what else they could be looking at. I'd guess either one of those cool Mack rides that are sort of like tea cups with water guns, a splash battle, or, as a long shot, one of those new Intamin water coasters. The splash battle is the most likely candidate, seeing as the other two HFEC-owned parks in the chain have them and they are popular there. Plus a splash battle would really fit in here with the way the water park and dry park are merged.

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I still haven't gotten around to going to Wild Adventures and it's only like 2 hours away from me but it looks like it finally might be worth a trip. Might have to check out the Halloween event this year.

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According to their website...these are all the things new for this year!

 

What's New

 

This season, Wild Adventures is all about guest comfort with hundreds of additions throughout the park. Whether it's more seating and shade, new live entertainment or delicious food items, additions are around every corner waiting to be discovered!

 

 

 

19 ALL-STAR PERFORMANCES - The season is packed with 19 all-star performances across 13 concert dates during the park's concert series. Most of the artists featured are award winning and promise a memorable performance. Come for the thrills and stay for a concert, like newsboys, Thompson Square, Kutless, The Band Perry, Styx, BOSTON, Sugarland and Skillet. General concert entry is FREE with a 2012 Season Pass or park admission. Reserved seats are an additional cost to park admission.

 

 

3 COASTER MAKEOVERS - Three of the park's largest coasters received makeovers. Go Bananas and Boomerange received fresh coats of paint to spruce up their original colors while Hangman got a total overhaul. Hangman's colors changed to blue and green and it now has a thrilling new name...Twisted Typhoon!

 

 

PARADISE RIVER UPGRADE - Your journey down the river is now even more of an adventure! Float under three different cascading waterfalls to cool off while enjoying Paradise River.

 

 

SIGNATURE FOOD ITEMS - A trip to the park is an adventure in eating. New signature food items: chicken and waffles at Congo Wings, fried cheesecake at Jack A Roos, and chocolate covered french fries at Safari Burgers will satisfy even the bigget thrill seeker's appetite.

 

 

DINING MAKEOVER: TYPHOON GRILL - The former location of Doc Holliday's has been overtaken by Typhoon Grill and it's storm of flavors. Experience a whirlwind of flavors with NEW freshly-made alligator bites, seafood kickers, and chicken tenders all served with french fries, and ice-cold Coca-Cola beverages.

 

 

300 MORE PLACES TO RELAX - Sit and relax for a moment in the new seating area across from Lonestar BBQ Restaurant and throughout Wild Adventures. Head into Splash Island Water Park and rest on one of the 250 additional seats in the new lounge area between Catchawave Bay and Kalani Blasters

 

 

2 NEW LIVE SHOWS - Two new shows take the stage giving guests an upclose and interactive animal experience. Do You Zoo? is a high-energy ineractive animal game show now playing in the Wildlife Theatre. Creature Feature Extreme, beginning in May, gathers all of the favorite elements of the beloved Creature Feature show and turns up the thrills with in-your-face action!

 

 

5 MORE CABANAS - We've added five more cabanas to Cabana Village to provide guests even more opportunities to enjoy the ultimate Splash Island experience in a secluded cabana. Ammenties include: seating for up to 8 guests, flat screen television, two lounge chairs, secured storage, mini refrigerator, and WiFi.

 

 

NEW & RENOVATED RESTROOMS - New restrooms located beside Whirling Wildcats, and renovated women's restrooms by All Star Amphitheatre.

 

 

NURSING MOTHER CENTER - The park offers a quiet and comfortable place for mother's to take their nursing children, should they want the option. The Nursing Mother Center is located next to the restrooms behind Swingin' Safari.

 

WIFI - Rent a cabana or lounger in Splash Island's Cabana Village and enjoy complimentary WiFi.

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Current plans are to be in Florida end of September, this was already on my list of parks to drive to while there and based on this here TPRPRTRPRTPTR thing it will certainly remain. Thanks for the update Erik.

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Wow, this place looks pretty good this year. I went last year and it was looking pretty nice. Thankfully there were no zombies to run away from. Hanging Typhoon Twisted Flaming Snakes on a Horse or whatever you call it looks pretty good this year, even though it's name makes almost no sense for the area of the park it's in. And their Boomerang is the definitely the worst I've ridden (the only other one I've been on was Carolina Cobra) but I am still excited for Wild Adventures' future.

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It looks like they've made some great improvements to this park. Past trip reports have never made me interested enough to visit the place (as it seemed to be just one step above the old Cypress Gardens Adventure Park), but they are moving in the right direction.

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I use to go to this park multiple times per summer while visiting family in the area. Haven't been in years, it was always fun and never packed which was always a plus. I just kinda hate the re-theming of Hang Man. Wild Adventures needs a new thrill ride or land ride at least. The water park has been expanding since I can remember.

 

All together the park is looking better than it did when I used to visit, would love to go back someday.

 

Btw a few years ago they were supposed to be getting a new ride, don't remember much about it but it involved water and the sketch was up on their website.

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I use to go to this park multiple times per summer while visiting family in the area. Haven't been in years, it was always fun and never packed which was always a plus. I just kinda hate the re-theming of Hang Man. Wild Adventures needs a new thrill ride or land ride at least. The water park has been expanding since I can remember.

 

All together the park is looking better than it did when I used to visit, would love to go back someday.

 

Btw a few years ago they were supposed to be getting a new ride, don't remember much about it but it involved water and the sketch was up on their website.

 

 

I agree. Why did they even retheme Hangman in the first place? They could've at least added new trains. The last non-waterpark thing was Viking Voyage in 2010.

 

 

Also, The water ride your talking about was a Log flume from Miracle Strip and was going to be called Shaka Zula River Adventure log flume. The ride was delayed due to engineering problems and never opened.

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I've always thought of Wild Adventures as "the little park that could." I have definitely seen some HUGE improvements under the Herschend ownership! I would really like to see a new addition to the "rides" side of the park soon. The water park looks better and better each year, but I'm not a huge fan of waterparks in general. It would be nice to see a compact coaster like a Eurofighter or even a Zac-Spin - something thrilling, but fitting for a park of this size.

 

And I'll agree - the Sloth picture made the report!! Sloths are AWESOME!!

 

D.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

There are 2 new attractions announced for 2013: Tailspin and Wacky Wheels.

 

From the park's Facebook page:

 

COMING IN 2013 - TailSpin - a rocking and spinning ride on a half-pipe which takes riders more than four stories high while facing outward on a motorcycle-like seat.

 

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Go to http://www.wildadventures.com/2013

for information on the other attraction, Wacky Wheels, for our littler guests.

 

Which one of you thrill seekers wants to be the first to ride TailSpin?

 

 

From the Park's Website:

In addition to the above, it states that the height requirement for Tailspin will be 48".

 

Wacky Wheels

A whirling teacup-like ride for littler kids who aren't tall enough to twirl on TailSpin yet. No height requirement

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