They’re described as “giga,” “free-fly” and “wing” coasters, and they boast of being the “tallest,” “fastest,” you name it.
All you really need to know is that more and more theme parks in the United States are trying to lure you in by creating rides that try to do what no other ride can.
There are at least 16 new roller coasters across the country that have opened or are about to open this spring and summer, according to ultimaterollercoaster.com.
Here are six of them that are totally worth the trip:
1. Fury 325 roller coaster
This ride, which opened in March, is named for the height it reaches: 325 feet, making it the tallest of the so-called giga coasters, which reach between 300 and 399 feet tall. Riders will race down the coaster’s twisted 6,602-foot-long track at speeds of 95 mph, at one point passing through a “91-degree overbanked horseshoe turn.”
Joel Bullock, who reviews rides on coastercritic.com, said riders are momentarily lifted out of their seats several times during the ride, and then pinned down by the G-force. Be prepared for a narrow tunnel and a close fly-by with a support beam.
Where it is: Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C. near the South Carolina-North Carolina line.
Why it’s cool: This gravity-defying coaster will have you wanting to ride it again and again.
2. Batman: The Ride
With legs dangling below the seat, riders on “Batman” are flipped head-over-heels on this 4D free-fly coaster. Six Flags says that you’ll “fly like Batman” on this “wing” coaster, which has riders sit on either side of the roller coaster tracks with nothing above or below.
If you’re a fan of the DC Comics superhero, this ride promises to immerse you in the Batman storyline through its 4D special effects. Thrill-seekers will also be rewarded with at least four head-over-heels free-fly flips, a steep climb up a 120-foot hill, and two “beyond 90-degree raven drops.”
Where it is: Six Flags Fiesta Texas; San Antonio, Texas.
Why it’s cool: It’s in 4D, it’s different every time you ride it, and it has two complete vertical free falls.
3. Aqua Rocket Water Coaster
Southern California recently got its first water roller coaster when the 1,000-foot-long Aqua Rocket opened this summer. Riders get into a four-person raft that’s magnetically pushed down and around the coaster track, including four peaks and three “continuous rocket incline zones” going as fast as 30 mph.
Despite some chilly water temperatures, reviewer Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times wrote “the zip-zip-zip uphill portions were probably the funnest part of the water coaster, in part because most water slides are a downhill-only experience.”
Where it is: Raging Waters Park; near Los Angeles.
Why it’s cool: Conveyer-belt lift instead of stairs, magnetic technology allows for cool uphill experience and you get to stay cool on a hot summer day.
4. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
This new ride combines interactivity with the thrills of a roller coaster: riders team up with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other superheroes to destroy The Joker and Lex Luthor with interactive laser blasters, and experience the first virtual loop on a dark ride.
Where it is: Six Flags Over Texas near Dallas and Six Flags St. Louis.
Why it’s cool: It’s a 4D interactive dark ride, each rider has his or her own blaster gun to fend off bad guys, and it appeals to fans of the DC Comics superheroes.
It’s the world’s first waterslide gaming experience, and it’s called Slideboarding. As riders go down the waterslide, they try to hit targets for points by pressing colored buttons on the slide board. After the ride, they can see how they stacked up to others and try to improve their score on the next ride. You even get to pick the music that plays during your trip.
Where it is: Wet N’ Wild; Las Vegas.
Why it’s cool: Perfect for gamers and riders looking to compete with others.
This steel roller coaster has loops, rolls, “near-misses” with trees and buildings, and it’ll propel you from 0-to-60 miles per hour in less than four seconds. Holiday World says the Thunderbird has the tallest vertical loop of any other wing coaster. The track spans over 3,000 feet and is 140-feet tall at its peak.
Where it is: Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana (about an hour west of Louisville, Kentucky).
Why it’s cool: No shortages of rolls on this ride, plus you get to rush through the wooded terrain of Holiday World.