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  • 2 weeks later...

1978

 

Leaving off from the last update, the reasoning why a Schwarzkopf shuttle loop was added to Riverwood Theme Park was the interest in bringing in a new demographic in the park...So, Did Richard Riverwood's plan work?

 

 

Hmmm.....why don't you judge for yourself?

 

 

Another fully loaded train ready for blastoff!!

 

 

Through the big loop....

 

 

And up the giant spike!!!

 

 

Serpent's immense popularity didn't stop people from enjoying other coasters in the park, such as the Bobs! Still getting lots of attention more than 50 years after it was built!

 

 

However, it seems as if the transfer tram system from the park to the zoo isn't as efficient as Richard Riverwood thought it would be...On busy days, it seems that the line for the tram is always huge on the Riverwood Zoo side, but very short on the Riverwood Theme Park side....It wouldn't be surprising that in the upcoming decade of the 1980s, a new system is worked out...

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There has to be more than one way to skin a cat. I guess if you want more people to go to the zoo then you have two options,

 

1. Build a path

2. Increase the trams capacity with

A. More trains or

B. double track the trains

3. Build a sky chair.

 

Either way it is good that the park is doing so well however you need to clean those paths!

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This is a very interesting read.

 

Riverwood park has slowly grown into quite the small-town amusement park in the past 51 years. This is very realistic for a park that is operated locally. It's a shame Mini-Bobs didn't make it that long, that would of easily been a classic if it would've stayed around a bit longer. Anyways, the Riverwood Zoo was an excellent choice for this park, it captures the essence and theme of this park well. Small, yet charming.

 

I had a feeling '78 was going to be some type of looper, although a Schwarzkopf shuttle loop was a bit surprising. Although I think the coaster could use some more green. Nevertheless, a great park with an interesting story. Intriguing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

1979

 

 

The 1978 season was a great success for the park with the advent of a roller coaster that has an inverting element for RTP. The Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop model was still rather new for the following year, 1979, so it would make sense that it hasn't lost any novelty value!

 

However, despite the fact that the thrill seekers gave the park new life, Richard Riverwood still felt bad about something...In 1972, he made the decision to tear down the park's only roller coaster for kids, the Mini Bobs due to it being a maintenance nightmare. Since then, there hasn't been any "kiddy" attractions at Riverwood Theme Park and he felt as if trying to attract the thrill seekers with Rotor and Serpent alienated the people that made RTP such a huge success to begin with, the families.

 

 

How did he rectify the dilemma? By building a kiddy coaster, of course! New for 1979 is an E.F Miler children's roller coaster named "Junior Serpent" as a kids counterpart to the 1978 smash hit, Serpent.

 

 

Now, let's be honest, it's a kiddy coaster. Nothing very exciting or impressive about it. The first hill is 20 feet tall, and it travels at a top speed of 8 miles per hour. It has two metal tunnels, but that's pretty much it. It's a coaster for little kids.

 

 

However, I found this thing in particular to be really cool and somewhat ironic...Adjacent to Junior Serpent is the massive vertical loop of Serpent...Almost a looming warning to kids, "someday, you're going to be tall enough to ride the big, scary, looping coaster..."

 

 

Judging from the massive plot of land cleared twoards labor day of 1979, it appears that Richard Riverwood is not resting on the laurels of the Serpent success.....he has something else in store for the park for the beginning of the new decade....now known as the "Decade of Decadence", the 1980s.....

 

 

Not to give away too much....but not only will the 1980s be a decade of decadence for music, it will also be a decade of decadence for Riverwood Theme Park and Zoological Park...

Edited by fraroc
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1979

 

 

Around November of 1979, Richard Riverwood decided to make his large scale decade-long project for Riverwood Theme Park public.....The press release explains that for the upcoming decade, the 1980s, he plans to have at least one major park expansion, and one major zoo expansion built at the park. By the time the ten year plan is officially over by January 1st, 1990, Riverwood Theme Park should have three more major roller coasters built, three more major flat rides built, and at least one major expansion to Riverwood Zoo.

 

 

 

Part of the major expansion, which might include a new coaster, must be planned to open in 1980, they COMPLETELY tore up the new Serpent pavillion they put in for the 1978 season!

 

 

Stay tuned.

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1980

 

On January 31st, 1980, the first phase of the decade-long park expansion plans were revealed to the public....The whole reason why all of the paths around Serpent and Junior Serpent were torn up was to lay down a different, themed pathway for the park's third themed area, known as "The Snakepit" In addition to the new themed area......

 

 

 

The parks fourth major roller coaster was announced for that area...Steel Sidewinder, an Arrow-Huss double corkscrew model. The Arrow Double Corkscrew coaster model is reknowned in the amusement industry as the very first modern steel roller coaster to include inversions in it's layout, the Corkscrew at Knott's Berry Farm (now located at Silverwood) being the very first one built.

 

 

Here are some basic facts about Steel Sidewinder...It's not a very tall, fast, or long coaster compared to other coasters at the park. It's roughly 70ft tall with a 62ft first drop. It's top speed is around 40mph and the track is 1,250 feet long, which makes for a minute and a half of ride time.

 

By 2015 standards, this coaster is considered downright puny compared to the scream machines of the 21st century, but keep in mind, this was just 1980, and a coaster with any inversions was considered something new and exciting...And for Riverwood Theme Park, this was the first roller coaster with two consecutive inversions.

 

 

One of the more thrilling elements of Steel Sidewinder is the fact that the train travels right over the queue line on the second corkscrew, giving future riders the heart stopping sensation of fear and excitement as the line slowly creeps closer to the entrance....

 

 

Despite the fact that this new coaster for 1980 is a cloned ride, I can predict with great confidence that this will be another great success for Riverwood Theme Park and will be a serious indicator of what's to come for this park....

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  • 2 weeks later...

1980

 

 

Looks like it's time to do an overview of another successful season for Riverwood Theme Park!

 

 

 

As expected from the very start, Steel Sidewinder became an immensely popular attraction for the park, with lines exceeding an hour wait! Even with two trains!

 

 

The double corkscrew over the queue line created a very exciting effect for oncoming riders! Despite being a very short ride, Steel Sidewinder proved itself to be a fun coaster and a great addition to the park!

 

 

However, that's not to say that Serpent isn't still enjoying success! Steel Sidewinder and Serpent both had the longest lines of any ride in the entire park at that point in time.

 

 

 

In this picture from the '80 season, River Rush seemed to have been going through a period of down-time....Oh well, it happens.

 

 

 

Riverwood Zoo was also enjoying a period of success, with the zoo winning an accolade for treating their animals very well, all thanks to Richard Riverwood's high standards, being an animal lover himself! The people of Kearney, Nebraska have really taken a liking to the animals.....

 

 

As evidenced here, with a bunch of teenage girls cooing over a newborn Bengal tiger cub!

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This is really shaping up to be a great park. I love the mix of coasters and animals, you do that quite well and make it realistic. Steel Sidewinder should help pull in a lot of numbers this season, I hope this turns out well for the park.

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1981

 

 

Let's shift the time one year ahead to 1981! It was another successful year for the park, there really wasn't anything outstandingly different about the park compared to 1980.....

 

 

Apart from this, though...

 

 

THIS is the first of the three major thrill rides planned for the 1980s! A HUSS standard Enterprise aptly named "Hurricane" Going on this ride sure makes you feel like you were in a hurricane!

 

 

Junior Serpent still seems to be a big hit with the littlest guests of Riverwood Park!

 

 

But some little ones would rather go on the BIG Serpent!

 

 

The efficient ride-ops mixed with the fact that Hurricane stole most of the attention away from it gave Steel Sidewinder some pretty short lines!

 

 

River Rush celebrated it's 15th anniversary in 1981! Still proving itself to be a perfect mixture of a family-oriented coaster and a thrilling coaster!

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Another great update. It's interesting that the park plans to add three thrill rides back-to-back. Hurricane is definitely a step in the right direction as it isn't too intimidating, yet has some thrill factor to it. I'm also surprised that Junior Serpent is bringing in the customers. Could this mean more family additions in the future?

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Time for a mini-update!

 

1983

 

Piggybacking on the success of the 1981 season, 1982 and 1983 didn't really have anything to offer, other than some general park improvements such as minor beautification, pretty much nothing happened in 1982...But in 1983, people began to see signs that something major was happening....

 

 

A long strip of land was cleared starting from the exit path of River Rush, running alongside the mine train coaster and stretching all the way back to the far end of Riverwood Zoo on the other side of the river.

 

 

I don't want to give too much a way, but let's just say that soon enough, two will become one.

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1984

 

 

So...what did I mean by "two will become one" last update?

 

Well, if you guessed that Riverwood Theme Park and Riverwood Zoo were going to be merged in one big park......

 

 

You are correct!

 

 

Sometime in 1983, Richard Riverwood made the decision to do away with the incredibly inefficient tram system and Zoo-exclusive tickets and merge Riverwood Theme Park and Zoological Park into a big, giant 2-for-the-price-of-1 park! Starting from 1984 onward, there will only be a single 1 day ticket option for full access to both the park and the zoo!

 

 

The pathway leading to the bridge leaves a lot of empty land, however in the near future, this land could definitely be used for more rides and attractions in the Old West Towne.

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1985

 

Riverwood Theme Park seems to have really hit it's stride, especially since the zoo and the park were merged into one the year prior...The park patrons found the new prices to be an amazing deal for full access to the park and the zoo and 1984 became one of their most successful seasons, even though they didn't add anything else new!

 

 

And in '85, they followed it up with the second of the proposed flat rides!

 

 

This is Sea Monster, a new Huss pirate ship ride! These rides are great for both thrill seekers and families. The back sections of the ride give some damn good airtime!

 

 

In addition to the new ride, a new restaurant, Adventurer's Cafe was built at the park! The new resturaunt sells all your fairground favorites, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, corn dogs etc, but it also sells some pretty exotic foods such as kebabs and turkish delight!

 

 

Also around that time, talks were beginning to occur about the proposed expansion of the zoo, which includes a few new exhibits! Perhaps this expansion will occur sooner than later!

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