Friday, May 24, 2013
Bigger, faster, scarier.
The new 200-foot coaster Goliath in Agawam, Mass., is one of a number of new attractions at amusement parks that may tempt thrill-seeking Mainers.
Courtesy Six Flags New England
HERE'S THE lowdown on Maine amusement parks to get your summer off to a rollicking start:
WHERE: 980 Portland Road (Route 1), Saco
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Opens June 26.
HOW MUCH: $20; $16 for children under 4 feet tall
INFO: 282-3112; aquabogganwaterpark.com
• FUNTOWN/SPLASHTOWN USA
WHERE: 774 Portland Road (Route 1), Saco
WHEN: Hours vary through the summer and at the two parts of the park, but generally both are open at 10 a.m. most days. Splashtown opens June 16.
HOW MUCH: $29 for Funtown, $25 for Splashtown ($36 combo for both parks); $21 for Funtown, $20 for Splashtown for children under 4 feet tall and seniors ($27 combo for both parks).
INFO: 284-5139; funtownsplashtownusa.com
• PALACE PLAYLAND
WHERE: 1 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach
WHEN: Opens at 11 a.m. most weekends and noon most weekdays. Closing times vary. Rides open for the season this Saturday.
HOW MUCH: Free admission. Rides require two to four tickets each, and tickets cost $1.25 each (less if bought in bulk)
INFO: 934-2001; palaceplayland.com
• YORK'S WILD KINGDOM
WHERE: 1 Animal Park Road, York
WHEN: Noon to either 6 or 9:30 p.m. weekends until June 16, then every day from noon to 9:30 p.m. Opens for the season this Saturday.
HOW MUCH: $11 all-day pass, doesn't include zoo
INFO: 363-4911; yorkzoo.com
IF YOU DON'T MIND a little drive, here are some other parks that might make a nice day trip:
• CANOBIE LAKE PARK
WHERE: Exit 2 or 3 off Interstate 93 in Salem, N.H.
WHEN: Hours vary, but after June 23, the park is open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through August. Opens for the season today.
HOW MUCH: $33 for all-day admission; $24 for children under 4 feet tall; free for ages 3 and under
INFO: (603) 893-3506; canobie.com
• SIX FLAGS NEW ENGLAND
WHERE: 1623 Main St., Agawam, Mass.
WHEN: Open 10:30 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. most days in summer. Main park open now; water park (Hurricane Harbor) opens for the season this Saturday.
HOW MUCH: $49.99 for all-day admission; $39.99 for children under 54 inches tall; free for ages 2 and under
INFO: (413) 786-9300; sixflags.com
• STORY LAND
WHERE: 850 Route 16, Glen, N.H.
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends into June; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day in July and August. Opens for the season Saturday.
HOW MUCH: $28.99; free for children under age 3
INFO: (603) 383-4186; storylandnh.com
• WATER COUNTRY
WHERE: 2300 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, N.H.
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days beginning June 9; 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in July and August. Opens for the season June 9.
HOW MUCH: $37.99 for adults; $24.99 for children under 48 inches tall
INFO: (603) 427-1111;
Sounds like the tagline for a bad horror flick. But in the real world, it's the mantra of hardcore amusement park rides.
Area thrill-ride seekers will be happy to learn that a new 200-foot coaster called Goliath - sporting speeds of up to 65 miles per hour - is opening this summer at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass. Although the park is about a three-hour drive from Portland, its total of 11 major roller coasters makes it worth the trip for serious coaster fans.
But Goliath isn't the only thing that's new at area amusement parks this year. Water Country in Portsmouth, N.H., has an extreme water slide with a 40-foot drop and a couple of loop-de-loops - in the dark. Closer to home, there are six new slides opening at Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco.
Most of the new attractions will be open for Memorial Day, so you can get your thrill on before summer officially starts. Or you can start planning your summer vacation getaway now and include rides that won't be open until June.
Below is a list of some of the new rides planned for this summer at amusement parks in southern Maine, as well as a few within an easy drive of Greater Portland. For contacts and addresses, as well as information for other parks in the area, see the list at right.
FUNTOWN/SPLASHTOWN USA, SACO
Two parks in one! The amusement park, Funtown, is open now, and the water park, Splashtown, opens June 16. The latter is welcoming six new thrill slides in one attraction this year.
Collectively known as Mount Olympus, each slide is named for a figure in Greek mythology. Two of the slides start at 60 feet up -- Poseidon's Plunge and Triton's Twist. These are body slides, so you stand in a capsule above the slide and then -- poof! -- the floor drops out, and you race down at speeds of up to 40 feet per second.
The four other slides comprise Amphitrite's Challenge. They begin at about 49 feet up, and are lined up next to each other for racing down on mats. A new restaurant serving patrons of both parts of the park is also slated to open, and there will be a new candy store in Funtown.
The park is hosting a contest in which the winner gets to be the first to try out Mount Olympus. You can find details on the park's Facebook page, but you'd better hurry -- the contest ends May 31.
SIX FLAGS NEW ENGLAND, AGAWAM, MASS.
The 11th roller coaster at Six Flags is called Goliath, and is being hyped as the "tallest inverted boomerang"-type coaster in the country. It's 200 feet tall with a 90-degree first drop, and reaches speeds of 65 miles per hour.
The ride begins with riders strapped into chairs suspended from above. Riders then travel face-down up a tower for a 20-story free fall. That's followed by a 102-foot-tall vertical loop and a 110-foot-tall butterfly turn before heading up another 20-story tower. Just writing about it makes my stomach turn.
WATER COUNTRY, PORTSMOUTH, N.H.
The new ride at this water park just over the line in New Hampshire is called Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror. Park officials say it's the only water ride of its kind in New England, and one of only seven in the country.
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click image to enlarge
Although Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass., is about a three-hour drive from Portland, its total of 11 major roller coasters makes it worth the trip for serious coaster fans. A new 200-foot coaster called Goliath – sporting speeds of up to 65 miles per hour – debuts there this summer.
Courtesy Six Flags New England
click image to enlarge
Artist’s rendering depicts Funtown/Splashtown’s Mount Olympus, which has slides named for figures in Greek mythology. Two of the slides start at 60 feet up – Poseidon’s Plunge and Triton’s Twist.