Elvis’ favorite roller coaster Zippin Pippin comes to Green Bay

Green Bay Wisconsin’s Bay Beach Amusement Park will soon be home to a classic wooden roller coaster known as the Zippin Pippin. The remains of the defunct ride were purchased from a Memphis, Tennessee park last year. It was known to be Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster as he often rented out the park so that he could ride it without being bothered by fans. Reports are that Pressley rode Zippin Pippin eight days before he died. To support the ride’s history, Bay Beach Amusement Park is working on adding Elvis’ favorite food, peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bay Beach Amusement park is aiming for the ride to open when the park opens on May 7th. Even with the harsh Wisconsin weather, recent construction photos show that Zippin Pippin’s track work is nearly complete. It appears that the park should be able to hit their target date. Bay Beach Amusement park is the ninth oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. according to ZippinPippin.org. The park is already home to historic amusement park rides, so this classic wooden coaster with an interesting claim to fame should be right at home.

[Image credit: Flickr user – theogeo]

All I want for Christmas is a backyard roller coaster

I’ve traveled to theme parks all over the country. In my ongoing quest to experience new parks and conquer famous and infamous roller coasters, I’ve used numerous forms of transportation. At one time or another I’ve traveled by subway, car, train, monorail, bus, plane, and taxi cab. While traveling is part of the fun, having a roller coaster in my own backyard would be ideal. What roller coaster enthusiast wouldn’t want to look out of their window and see a beautiful vertical loop or majestic wooden coaster peak?

There would be a number of benefits besides getting a coaster fix whenever I needed one. Summer cookouts and parties would be amazing. Plus, there would be the possibility of charging people from the neighborhood and making a little money on the side.

There are a few coaster fans out there that have made my dream gift a reality. Two of the most prominent backyard roller coasters are a steel looping coaster called Blue Flash and a wooden coaster called Oklahoma Land Run.

John Ivers, the creator of Blue Flash, followed up with a sequel in the two-seater, known as Blue Too. It seems like over the years hundreds of others have tried making their own backyard roller coasters, but none appear to be as extensive as these three.

What do you travel for that you wish was in your backyard? Would you want a snow covered mountain, a rapid-filled river for rafting, a beautiful tropical beach, or something else?

Green Lantern to replace Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags’ trend of re-theming old rides will continue as New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure will open a relocated stand-up coaster in 2011. Formerly Chang at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, the coaster will be renamed and re-themed as Green Lantern tying into the new movie starring Ryan Reynolds. The coaster was removed from Kentucky Kingdom just months before Six Flags decided to close the park.

Green Lantern will feature trains where riders stand rather than sit, while an over-the-shoulder harness will secure them in place. At 15 stories tall with a 14 story (144′) drop, it will be one of the largest stand-up coasters in the World. Green Lantern’s exciting course will include: a huge vertical loop, a dive loop, an inclined loop, and two corkscrews. In its new form, the ride will be painted green and it may have some tunnels and special effects.

Stand-up roller coasters are somewhat rare and really good stand-up coasters are almost impossible to find. Green Lantern, on the other hand, could be an exception. If this coaster runs as well as it did when I rode it at Kentucky Kingdom, then Great Adventure guests will be treated to an impressively fun and thrilling ride. Thanks to its Bolliger & Mabillard design, it’s smooth enough to pull off a great experience while most stand-up coasters are rough and uncomfortable.

Green Lantern is being built on the former site of the Great American Scream Machine. For two decades the red looping coaster had been a fixture of Great Adventures’ skyline. Over the years Scream Machine had gotten so rough that it boxed ears and produced headaches. Still, the ride had its supporters. Hardcore coaster enthusiasts claimed it was a fun ride if you knew how to ride it. While there were some that were sad to see it go I feel that most, like myself, were happy that it was scrapped. Great Adventure fans should be excited about the new world-class stand-up roller coaster that will replace it.

To see construction photos visit Six Flags Great Adventures’ website.

Lagoon Park to add new family coaster – Bombora in 2011

Lagoon Park's 2011 roller coaster - BomboraUtah’s Lagoon Park is building a new roller coaster that’s set to debut in 2011. Little is known about the ride, but the park has revealed that its name will be Bombora. A Lagoon Park spokesman also confirmed rumors that it will be a family roller coaster. This means that it shouldn’t be taller than three or four stories and its top speed should be rather tame. Lagoon Park’s website shares little information, but thanks to construction photos popping up on the Web we know that it will have traditional sitdown-style trains and a blue steel track. Also, theme park fan site Lagoon Is Fun has posted a Christmas card that the park sent out as a teaser.

Lagoon’s last new roller coaster was the thrilling Wicked in 2007. The Zierer-designed launched roller coaster boasts two launches, a zero-g roll, and a 90-degree drop. I know that many coaster enthusiasts want every roller coaster to be bigger and faster than the last, but Bombora should serve as a reminder that amusement parks need to cater to families too. Not every new roller coaster can be an intense, white knuckle thrill ride.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user zaui]

Holiday World offers exclusive roller coaster photos online

Holiday World is known for its roller coasters, including The Voyage, which has been named the world’s top wooden roller coaster for the past four years.

holiday world roller coaster photos available onlineThe holiday-themed park plays host to thousands of coaster enthusiasts each year, and many of them like to capture photos of the coasters from different angles. In fact, park officials say, some coaster enthusiasts beg for a behind-the-scenes look, just to snap a few pics.

To feed that desire, Holiday World has introduced a collection of photos of its wooden coasters in its online “HoliShop”.

“Enthusiasts just love taking photos of our roller coasters–but these photos are taken from angles they could never get,” said Holiday World President Dan Koch

The 8×10 photos are matted and framed in an 11×14 black metal frame. They sell for $14.99. These could make a pretty cool Christmas gift for the roller coaster lover in your life.

There are eight different photos in the current collection. Koch says the Santa Claus, Indiana, theme park hopes to introduce new framed photos each season.