9 Record-Breaking Theme Park Thrills
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- 10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls
- 24 Inspiring Spring-Garden Pictures
Farm in Buena Park, CA, ranks as the
country's tallest water ride. But that's not the
scariest part of this flume ride. The drop
measures an unbelievable 75-degree angle
(only 15 more degrees, and this would be a
straight vertical drop).
Longest. Fastest. Tallest. Steepest. As theme parks across the U.S. throw open the gates for the 2011 summer of fun, these thrill-makers dare us to climb aboard and test our mettle (and the strength of our stomachs). We scoured American theme parks big and small to find the wildest adventures. The question is: Are you ready for the challenges they offer?
The World's Steepest and Tallest Water Ride
Perilous Plunge, Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, Calif.
At 115 feet, Perilous Plunge ranks as the country's tallest water ride. But that's not the scariest part of this flume ride. The drop measures an unbelievable 75-degree angle (only 15 more degrees, and this would be a straight vertical drop). Thanks to an eddy magnetic braking system, the splashdown isn't as ferocious as one might expect, but there's still no escaping a total drenching. The Park: Knott's Berry Farm started out as an actual working berry farm in 1920—one of the country's first agritourism efforts. The Knotts sold berries, jams, and jellies at a roadside stand, eventually offering biscuits and chicken in the 1930s. Today, chicken dinners are still served up daily, but you might not want to grab a bite until after you've gotten off the park's many thrill rides.
America's Largest Collection of Coasters (for now!)
For now, iconic Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, holds the record for the largest collection of roller coasters in the country, with 17—two wooden and 15 steel. From the fastest double-twisting impulse coaster (the Wicked Twister, with a top speed of 72 mph) to the first coaster in the world to top 200 feet (the Magnum XL-200, which opened in 1989), there's always an off-kilter view of the park and Lake Erie available from the high perches of the coasters. Note: Cedar Point loses its record this year, when Six Flags Magic Mountain reopens its 17th coaster (Road Runner Express) and debuts its 18th roller coaster, Green Lantern: First Light, on Memorial Day. The 4-D coaster will feature a never-before-seen vertical zigzag pattern track, with eight riders sitting back-to-back in an independently rotating passenger vehicle. The Park: Cedar Point opened in 1870, with the first coaster debuting in 1892. Since then, the park has been considered the destination for coaster enthusiasts from across the globe, thanks to its great variety of thrill rides and gorgeous lakefront setting. There are also a number of stomach-churning alternatives to coasters, including the Power Tower, which drops at speeds faster than free fall.