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Six Flags Darien Lake

 

My girlfriend hates Six Flags. And I think that’s partially my fault. I always seem to take her to the worst of the worst- Great Escape (oddly that one is her favorite), Discovery Kingdom, etc.

 

But I could sell her on Darien Lake. Tim Horton’s alone was probably enough, but she lit up when I described the greatness of Moose on the Loose.

 

It took about 10 minutes to enter the park. For most parks, that’s due to a security line, but oddly Darien Lake didn’t have metal detectors. Rather we were stuck behind a single family who kept retaking their season pass photos. I hate to break it to them, but no one is ever going to look at that photo.

 

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I'm so thankful for the words "Six Flags" because I can now use my membership here.

 

We only had 1.5 hours, so we had to prioritize. Naturally we started with Moose on the Loose. This didn’t exist in my last visit to the park. The ride is a best described as an adorable WTF with effects so cheap and simple that it becomes a masterpiece.

 

The ride was pulling the longest wait in the park. Since it takes a while to properly mount a moose, it took us a half hour with only ~ 30 people ahead of us in line. But every minute was worth it to finally experience this legendary attraction.

 

I felt one with the moose as he rocked back and forth. It’s like that feeling you get on Flight of Passage, but next level. Now unfortunately, my moose had laryngitis so I didn’t get the full Moose on the Loose experience.

 

Emily got the full experience and loved every second of it. I contemplated getting back in line, but figured I’d lose my coaster enthusiast card if I missed out on the park’s coasters in favor of a little moose ride. At least I have something to look forward to next visit.

 

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Moose moose moose on the loose.

 

Up next was Tantrum, or the EuroFighter themed to the Darien Lake Discussion Thread. We ended up waiting ~ 20 minutes and it was well worth it. I rode Iron Shark last year and enjoyed it. This one was identical minus the waterfront setting.

 

The first drop had some killer airtime and the Gs on the Immelmann had me seeing grey. The rest of the ride includes a sneaky s-hill with air and lats, a forceful inclined loop, and a pop of air into the brake run. It’s short, but the lap bar only trains are oh so sweet. 7 out of 10

 

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The lap bar only Eurofighters are a godsend.

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So much twisted track.

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And Darien Lake fans are you ready for this...it ran two trains!

 

We hoped to hit Viper, but bailed when we saw the wait. In typical Darien Lake fashion, they were only running one train and each row was at least 6-7 groups deep. We couldn’t risk missing Ride of Steel. We told ourselves we wouldn’t get distracted and then we saw what we thought was a mirage.

 

Fascination.

 

I have no clue how this is still at a major corporate park and why it still only costs 25 cents a game, but we weren’t going to question this gift from Jim Reid Anderson. We played two games, losing both of course.

 

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I was not expecting to see one of these here.

 

We made one more pit stop at member services so I could grab my skip-the-line passes for Ride of Steel. The process was seamless and I was in for a treat. Usually each it’s one pass per person, but at Darien Lake, each pass lets you bring up to four guests.

 

Ride of Steel didn’t have a designated line for the Flash Pass Go Fast Pass, so we were instructed to board via the exit. We figured we’d ask for the front row, but we were told there was no choice seating and were shuttled to the center. Eh, it was worth a shot.

 

Thankfully, Ride of Steel is awesome in any row. The first drop has some great airtime and the first giant camelback has some delicious floater air. Then comes a helix, but not before a quick pop of air I always forget about.

 

After that comes the ride’s signature moment, the third hill. This hill is what Intamin does best, sustained ejector air. There’s another helix and then Ride of Steel kicks it into overdrive for the finale. There are three hills back to back with very strong ejector air.

 

I know people dislike the helices and straight track on Ride of Steel. And to be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of them either. But everything else is fantastic. And as icing on the cake, Ride of Steel still has the original T-bar restraints. Oh how I wish SFNE still had those. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Maybe someday they'll get the S back. But not in 2019.

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Airtime into the brake run. I love it.

 

We contemplated one last ride on Ride of Steel in the standby queue, but I had a much stupider idea. I remembered hating Predator; however, I’m pretty sure I rode it in a wheel seat like a moron. I sort of wanted to give it another ride to see if it’s as bad as everyone says.

 

We were lucky enough to score the last ride of the night in the front row. I told Emily to brace for impact, but something odd happened. Predator didn’t kill us. In fact, we both really liked it.

 

Almost every hill offered some type of airtime. Most hills offered the floater variety, but the turnarounds all offered pops of ejector. And it was reasonably smooth too. Now the couple behind me told the operators the ride broke their backs and needed to be condemned, so I’m just going to stick with the front row.

 

Maybe this will be RMCed someday. It’s entirely possible with Six Flags now at the helm. But as it stands, Predator is quite good in the front row. I cannot emphasize that last part enough. 8 out of 10

 

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Something's wrong, I really enjoyed Predator.

 

Due to time constraints, I had to cut out the park's two newest tower rides. I never even made it back to Sky Screamer and Blast Off was still in pieces as of Memorial Day.

 

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Sky Screamer sure looked great for the park's skyline.

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Guess no one will be having a blast on this today.

 

While we had an abridged visit, I’m excited to see what Six Flags does with Darien Lake. I’m well aware that’ll probably consist of a flat ride every year, but that’s perfectly fine for this park. Their current coaster lineup is pretty well-rounded and they have a clear star, Moose on the Loose.

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Great reports! I think I read somewhere along the line that Darien Lake actually asked Intamin to build them a brand-new, original-spec train for Ride of Steel, which is what it looks like they did. Looking at the photos, it even looks like the T-bar is the original style and not one of the evolved versions that Dragster/Xcelerator use. I also really wish SFNE could have these for Superman instead of the horribly thigh-crushing restraints, but who knows if we'll ever see that.

 

I haven't been to this park in 10+ years but it looks like it's been taken care of well!

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:lol:

 

I've never had an issue with the food at Macho Nacho. I've just had an employee who couldn't fold a burrito and asked if I knew how.

 

HA. . we just had similar at SF STl -- the end product (which I wish i had taken a picture of) looked like a giant rock. I ended up having to eat it with a fork. . . more of a pot pie than a burrito.

 

but the food was consistent with other Macho Nacho I've eaten at

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Looks like y'all had a great time at Niagara Falls!

 

when we went, we did the Maid of the Mist, even tho I don't think Hornblower had the funicular option at that time last year.

But NO WAY would my spouse have gotten on that. The Elevator down from the US observation structure was just fine for him. .LOL

 

have you done the Cave of the Winds before? if not, it's well worth the trip the US side, just to walk on the platforms that go right next to/under Bridal Veil.

 

and agreed, we LOVED that little tourist trap/amusement center area, and our Courtyard Marriott had a fantastic view of that ferris wheel (and the fire that comes out of the volcano at the miniature golf).

 

that's great you got to meet up with Bill (and Brit). there are a number of folks on here that i would still love to meet in person, and they (as well as you, Michael - and Andrew (Ybitterium) & Boldicus - all on the short list I'd love to meet), and who knows, maybe someday we'll all be near a park together and get to say hi.

 

as to Darien Lake? I totally wanna go just for Moose on the Loose.

so that's pencilled in for a trip at some point, since our Season Passes will work there now!

 

great reports!

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The Mean Streak trick totally works on Predator. The front seat is where it's at.

 

It's one thing to get a tolerable ride on a notoriously rough coaster like Mean Streak. But my ride on Predator was genuinely great.

 

Enjoyed your Niagara report.

 

The funicular down to the boat is new for this season. Was it busy? Do you have to get tickets for Hornblower before going down or can you now get them at the bottom?

 

Thanks! We walked right up to the kiosk on street level, purchased our tickets, and were on the funicular in less than 5 minutes. I think it's possible to ride the funicular without doing the Hornblower.

 

Great reports! I think I read somewhere along the line that Darien Lake actually asked Intamin to build them a brand-new, original-spec train for Ride of Steel, which is what it looks like they did. Looking at the photos, it even looks like the T-bar is the original style and not one of the evolved versions that Dragster/Xcelerator use. I also really wish SFNE could have these for Superman instead of the horribly thigh-crushing restraints, but who knows if we'll ever see that.

 

I haven't been to this park in 10+ years but it looks like it's been taken care of well!

 

Thanks! I love the original T-bar restraints. They're so minimalistic and free. Even if SFNE got a U bar like El Toro, I just want the lap bar itself to be thinner like most enthusiasts.

 

:lol:

 

I've never had an issue with the food at Macho Nacho. I've just had an employee who couldn't fold a burrito and asked if I knew how.

 

HA. . we just had similar at SF STl -- the end product (which I wish i had taken a picture of) looked like a giant rock. I ended up having to eat it with a fork. . . more of a pot pie than a burrito.

 

but the food was consistent with other Macho Nacho I've eaten at

 

 

Looks like y'all had a great time at Niagara Falls!

 

when we went, we did the Maid of the Mist, even tho I don't think Hornblower had the funicular option at that time last year.

But NO WAY would my spouse have gotten on that. The Elevator down from the US observation structure was just fine for him. .LOL

 

have you done the Cave of the Winds before? if not, it's well worth the trip the US side, just to walk on the platforms that go right next to/under Bridal Veil.

 

and agreed, we LOVED that little tourist trap/amusement center area, and our Courtyard Marriott had a fantastic view of that ferris wheel (and the fire that comes out of the volcano at the miniature golf).

 

that's great you got to meet up with Bill (and Brit). there are a number of folks on here that i would still love to meet in person, and they (as well as you, Michael - and Andrew (Ybitterium) & Boldicus - all on the short list I'd love to meet), and who knows, maybe someday we'll all be near a park together and get to say hi.

 

as to Darien Lake? I totally wanna go just for Moose on the Loose.

so that's pencilled in for a trip at some point, since our Season Passes will work there now!

 

great reports!

 

Thanks! I've only explored the Canadian side. The only bits of the US side I've seen are the parts you can see from Canada and the street you get dumped on after crossing the Rainbow Bridge.

 

The operator told us the funicular had only been in operation for two weeks. I'm not sure how long it took to build it.

 

Moose on the Loose really was quirky and an experience. I just wish my moose could talk. I guess it's incentive to return.

 

I'll definitely let you know the next time I'm at Fiesta Texas!

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I had a chance to visit Darien Lake for the first time last summer and while Ride of Steel was down the entire day of my visit Predator was a huge surprise. I really liked the ride and thought it was running great, front back middle whatever, glad to hear it's still performing. I was pretty impressed with the park as a whole honestly and would love to get back sometime to try Ride of Steel.

 

Great report as always, always fun to follow your adventures.

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I had a chance to visit Darien Lake for the first time last summer and while Ride of Steel was down the entire day of my visit Predator was a huge surprise. I really liked the ride and thought it was running great, front back middle whatever, glad to hear it's still performing. I was pretty impressed with the park as a whole honestly and would love to get back sometime to try Ride of Steel.

 

Great report as always, always fun to follow your adventures.

 

Thanks! Maybe I'll try it further back next time as well, but I'm definitely going to avoid a wheel seat.

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Kings Island

 

2019 was finally the year I made the pilgrimage to Holiday World for the legendary Holiwood Nights. Since Santa Claus, Indiana inexplicably doesn’t have an airport (seriously, where is Santa supposed to land his sleigh?), I found myself flying through Cincinnati. So it was a no brainer to stop by Kings Island.

 

All my prior visits had been on Saturdays when the park was slammed, so it was a breath of fresh air to visit the park on a quiet weekday. Not only that, but I was shocked they stayed open as late as 10 pm and ran three trains on all major coasters.

 

Now I only had 3 hours after my flight landed, but their top notch operations made it possible to hit all major coasters a few times each.

 

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I suspect this may look a bit different next year.

 

I started with Diamondback, which ended up being my longest wait of the day at 15 minutes. Without any hesitation, I plopped myself down in the back row and was treated to some of the best floater airtime anywhere on the first three drops. Diamondback would be an easy 10 out of 10 if it kept this up.

 

Unfortunately the trim and MCBR kill the pacing of the second half. The floater airtime is still plentiful, but the intensity simply is not there. Ultimately, I’d say Diamondback is a middle-of-the-road B&M hyper, which is still a great and inherently rideable attraction. 8.5 out of 10

 

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Diamondback has some fantastic airtime.

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Sure the end gets a bit slow, but your keister still comes out of the seat.

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Diamondback never fails to make a splash.

 

I then made my way over to the Miami Lumber Company to see what was in the shed. Video games? 2020 giga plans? A laser horse snake on fire?

 

Without question, Mystic Timbers is the (current) highlight of the park’s coaster collection. The coaster is GCI’s finest work. It’s a lightning fast barrage of airtime hills and laterals. It’s truly impressive how much maneuvering Mystic Timbers does for what essentially is an out-and-back coaster. Plus the finale is a glorious WTF. I never thought the ending of Adventure Express could be topped, but Kings Island did it.

 

I just pray the park takes great care of Mystic Timbers. It’s sister coaster at Worlds of Fun has a nearly identical layout, except Prowler feels like you’re riding on a jackhammer. 9 out of 10

 

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Don't go in the shed!

 

I had planned to grab a ride on Beast, but riders were being evacuated from the lift. So instead I grabbed a ride on Vortex. I know this coaster is much maligned and many wish it was the coaster to meet its demise at the end of the 2018 season over Firehawk, but I enjoy it.

 

Like most Arrows, the first drop offers some good air and the vertical loops are very forceful. But the hangtime is a nice surprise. Due to the mid-course bringing you to a complete halt, you literally crawl through the corkscrews and batwing. There are some jerky transitions, but I’m tall enough to avoid the headbanging. 7 out of 10

 

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Vortex is a mess of twisted track.

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Having the batwing at the end feels weird.

 

Racer wasn’t living up to this name, as only the red side was open. Still it was an enjoyable coaster. The (not) Racer is mostly smooth with some decent airtime, particularly on the return leg. 6 out of 10

 

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Can you call it the Racer if it's not racing?

 

If you asked me what I thought about Banshee after my first two rides, I would have told you it was the worst invert. It felt like we were riding on square wheels. It felt uncharacteristically unlike a B&M.

 

I decided to throw a Hail Mary and see if the rattling was due to a specific train, as both my rides were in the blue train. And guess what, the teal train was perfectly smooth! I have no clue what is going on with that blue train, but dang was it bad.

 

When you aren’t being shaken like a Magic 8 Ball, Banshee is a solid invert. The speed is incredible and while the first half isn’t particularly forceful, I love the second half with the bonus vertical loop, super slow inline twist, and powerful helix. 7.5 out of 10

 

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After you hear the shriek of the banshee, you hear the roar of the B&M.

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Invert pre-drops are so 10 years ago.

 

I then took a short hike back to the Bat and unsurprisingly, it was a walk-on. The Vortex/Bat layout is my favorite of the suspended coasters I’ve ridden. Both have a large first drop and manage to hold their speed the entire way through. 7 out of 10

 

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It's a long walk to the Bat, but it's a nice reward.

 

I figured I should take a peek at the 2020 construction site, so I did it from atop the Drop Tower. Kings Island’s Drop Tower is undoubtedly huge, but it feels even more gargantuan when you climb above the sky coaster next door, which is super tall on its own right.

 

I had plenty of time to appreciate the sizable clearing behind Racer since the ascent and hold takes forever, but then the drop happened. It may not have the punch of a Larson tower, it lasts forever and you get some nice float the whole way down. 8 out of 10

 

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I got a bird's eye view of the 2020 site.

 

I have a feeling Vekoma inverted boomerangs will be extinct someday. For that reason, I took a token ride on Invertigo. It still baffles me how Vekoma took their two worst coaster models and yielded something rideable. It’d be like mixing Chef Boyardee and Lunchables together and getting something equivalent to Subway.

 

I’m not a fan of the oversized OSTRs, but the ride has minimal headbanging. Instead, it’s just a ridiculously intense coaster. The standard boomerangs are already some of the most intense coasters out there, so the Gs feel even more ridiculous with the blood rushing to your legs. 6 out of 10

 

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It's a rare sight for me to see an inverted boomerang operating. :cough: Goliath :cough:

 

When I think of the best areas in amusement parks, I usually think of the highly themed lands of Disney or Universal. But in the evening, you could make a compelling argument for Rivertown. What the area lacks in theming is compensated with three of the best night rides out there.

 

However, there was a problem. My handy dandy weather app warned me of approaching storms. I probably should have gone straight to Mystic Timbers, but Diamondback was a walk-on. As we dispatched, I saw a flash of light in the sky. Uh oh.

 

But it was a relief to find out they were the fireworks! There was something magical plunging into a black hole with explosions overhead. I hit the brake run with a big smile on my face until I saw a different flash in the distance. This one was unmistakable. Lightning.

 

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This is the park's tallest coaster...for now.

 

I figured I compromised my night rides on Mystic Timbers, but it was still open and dispatching trains like a champ. I anxiously buckled myself into the back row praying for a quick dispatch. Then I heard the phone ring.

 

I was pretty sure what the call would be, but moments later we dispatched! I know the Beast is famous for its night rides, but Mystic Timbers is even better in my opinion. It’s almost as dark, but here you have a far more aggressive, ambitious, and enjoyable layout.

 

Anything from this point was just gravy. After another quick reride on Mystic Timbers, I decided to really push my luck. Maybe I could get a ride on the Beast as well. I had been keeping an eye on the app all day, but I hadn’t seen it reopen.

 

[bEEP] [bEEP] Attention park guests. The National Weather Service has advised us that the current weather conditions are favorable for rapidly developing thunderstorms. [bEEP] [bEEP]

 

I figured that alert meant all outdoor rides would cease operations immediately. On the bright side, I noticed Flight of Fear had reopened. I figured that’s where I’d end my night, but I noticed others entering the Beast’s queue. Curious, I walked over and was told the ride was just down for fireworks.

 

You had a coaster that was evacuated and idle for three hours. You had a coaster that can’t run during fireworks that go off right before closing. And you had approaching thunderstorms. It made almost no sense to reopen Beast, but guess what Kings Island did? They reopened Beast.

 

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The 40 year old birthday boy finally wanted to celebrate right before closing.

 

Since it seemed like I had a golden horseshoe wedged up my keister, I went for broke and queued up for the front row. I was able to pair up with another fellow enthusiast and miraculously was in the front row for the last ride of the night.

 

Yes the Beast is trimmed. Yes it lacks airtime. As a coaster, it’s inherently flawed. But as an adventure, it’s top notch. It was pitch black. There was more frequent lightning flashes in the distance. It felt like we were fighting for our lives in the jungle.

 

Even the most ardent critics of the Beast have to admit the finale is special. There’s something genuinely terrifying going 60 mph into a helix on a 40 year old coaster. Hats off to the Kings Island maintenance team. What could easily be the most painful coaster moment in the world is simply one of the most intense. It’s loaded with laterals and a real treat. 8 out of 10

 

As I made my way towards the car, the heavens finally decided to open up. I was thankful Mother Nature waited until after 10 pm to piss on Cincinnati. And this was no ordinary rainstorm. It was a deluge. I actually had to pull over for 5-10 minutes since my windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the rain.

 

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Until next year!

 

It was certainly an abridged visit, but I am 99% certain I’ll be back next year if the rumored 2020 giga comes to fruition. I still find it astounding that the park’s fan base has been begging for this giga for years and when their wish finally comes true, they complain.

 

Yes the rumored coaster is shorter than Fury in height and length. Some are even calling it Leviathan 2.0. But you know what? That’s fine by me! Leviathan is a fantastic and better than anything currently at Kings Island.

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Great report! I totally agree that The Beast is flawed. But, I LOVED going for the first time with my girlfriend last summer because she didn't know much of anything about the ride. She thought Mystic Timbers was The Beast when we were looking around the park from the Eiffel Tower. Didn't really tell her anything and waited until late night to get a night ride for her first experience. We loved it, obviously.

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Thanks! If I had no clue what the Beast was going into it, I definitely would have been blown away by the sheer size of the ride. But it's hard not to hype it up when you hear so much about it as an enthusiast.

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Indianapolis Zoo

 

The Indianapolis Zoo marks the seventh different zoo I’ve visited in the past 2.5 years. I don’t know if I should be proud or embarrassed, but it is also the seventh straight zoo I’ve visited that had a roller coaster.

 

Some of these zoos had world-class coasters like Wildfire and a mega lite. Others had a classic wooden coaster, a bizarre soap box derby/wild mouse hybrid, or a custom Chance coaster. But there was no sugar-coating this one; the Indianapolis Zoo only had an off-the-shelf Zierer junior coaster.

 

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Well this sure looks like the entrance for a zoo.

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All of the rides were an additional cost.

 

Since I know you’re on the edge of your seat to know all about Kombo, I won’t keep you in suspense. Kombo stands a whopping 20 feet tall. That’s over twice as tall as Yao Ming! It also reaches speeds of 19.9 mph. That’s just 0.1 mph below the speed limit in a school zone!

 

As far as junior coasters go, I do enjoy these Zierer coasters with the comically long trains. The ride is perfectly comfortable for an adult and the back row actually generates some good whip on the first drop. And the zoo doubles your pleasure by giving you two laps. 3 out of 10

 

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I came for the coaster. Stayed for the animals.

 

But the star attraction at the zoo is the Skyline. All I knew going in was that this “unsafe” ride had been in the news for getting stuck multiple times. What I quickly discovered is that this is unlike any other sky ride I’ve ever encountered.

 

Just look at the engineering on this thing. Gone are the cables. In are beefy supports and tubular track more fit for a coaster. Even the track profile resembles a coaster as there are turns and dips.

 

The over-engineered ride system brought me great joy, but the real stars were the orangutans. The ride circles a monkey exhibit, so you get some incredible views of apes climbing and swinging right beside you. And if animals aren’t your thing (although this is at a zoo so I’d assume you do), you get some solid views of downtown Indianapolis as well. 8 out of 10

 

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Seriously, WTF kind of skyride is this?

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The track looks like a coaster.

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And there are orangutans literally climbing it.

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The orangutans were busy showing off.

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The zoo is in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

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Lucas Oil Stadium, the house that Tom Brady owns.

 

The zoo also had two other rides, but I skipped both- a carousel with some different animals and a train that circled the plains exhibit. It’s also worth noting all rides at the zoo are an additional upcharge at $2-3 per ride.

 

While the coaster may have been the reason I stopped by the Indianapolis Zoo, I stayed for the animals. Unlike my recent trip to Wildlife World in Arizona, this zoo had the amount of guards I’d expect from a US zoo. I’d say they should assume people aren’t dumb enough to climb into an enclosure with a wild animal, but there are always budding Darwin award candidates out there.

 

My personal favorite exhibit was that of the tigers. The giant cats were resting per usual, but they were mere inches from the glass so I got some awesome shots.

 

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All of these animals were living in harmony.

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My favorite animal exhibit was the tigers.

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Just look how close you can get!

 

As far as zoos go, the Indianapolis Zoo is pretty average. But when you add in a credit and arguably the most bizarre looking sky ride out there, it’s worth a quick stop if you’re in the area.

 

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What's in here is a MISTery to me.

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You are so efficient at posting these reports, seriously great job!

 

Up next was Tantrum, or the EuroFighter themed to the Darien Lake Discussion Thread.

 

I haven't been to the Indy Zoo since a kid so that monorail/skyride hybrid is news to me. Soooo interesting! I'll have to stop on my way from Chicago to Cincy sometime.

 

It's so odd how un-B&M Banshee can feel. It must go through wheels so quickly or something because it hasn't changed since it opened.

 

Speaking of consistency, Diamondback's trims and MCBR have been the same since opening as well. It doesn't happen often but an early morning ride with a half empty train can result in the trim not activating but yeah if the MCBR didn't squeeze it would be a more memorable B&M hyper.

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Thanks! That sky ride is so screwed up it's worth the price of admission. Plus the views of the apes are great.

 

I remember Banshee having a slight rattle in past years, but nothing compared to what that blue train was producing. Some locals at Holiday World weren't surprised and told me blue was awful, purple was ok, and teal was good.

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Some locals at Holiday World weren't surprised and told me blue was awful, purple was ok, and teal was good.

 

Que following jokes about Banshee's wheels being the sign that budgets were being cut leading to the giga that won't live up to anyone's expectations

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as I'm sure you know, I love zoos, and zoos with carousel (even small,unimpressive looking ones?). . SOLD!

 

tho I really wanna go to ride that skyride.

 

what was admission to the zoo? you noted the 'rides' were extra ($2-3, which seems reasonable), do you recall how much it was overall to visit?

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Screw the kiddie coaster, I'd go to that zoo for the sky ride but I'd have to think of a reason to visit Indianapolis first and I can't think of one. Maybe if I was visiting Indiana Beach and one of these two attractions was open later I could squeeze both in one day.

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I made it to the Indianapolis Zoo last year as a quick credit run, on a trip. The sky ride was down for the day, but you’re right - it looks so absolutely cool!!Glad you got to ride it! I found the zoo to be quite charming overall.

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