10 most extreme theme park rides around the USA
10 most extreme theme park rides around the USA:-It just wouldn’t be a day at the park – the amusement park that is – without a hearty chorus of screams. Parks have long appealed to our innate, cathartic desire to get our pulses racing and our adrenaline pumping. To better help us confront and conquer our fears, they’ve upped the ante lately with taller, faster, and more devilish contraptions. How devilish? Any one of the country’s most thrilling rides would surely leave you breathless (after you’ve finished screaming, of course).
Note: While there are more than 10 rides below, similiar attractions have been grouped into categories where applicable.
(By the way, none of the rides that follow are roller coasters. The kings of the midway are so popular, USA Today has compiled a top-10 list devoted exclusively to the most thrilling coasters. For that list, see the gallery at the bottom.)
10. Texas SkyScreamer at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington and New England SkyScreamer at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass.
Many things can trigger anxiety, including extreme heights. At 400 feet tall, both of Six Flags’ SkyScreamer rides are pretty extreme. In fact, they share recognition from Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest swing carousel rides. If they remained closer to the ground, they wouldn’t be nearly as thrilling. (Actually, both parks also have more conventional swing rides that don’t climb nearly as high as the SkyScreamers.) But spinning around at 35 mph where the air is rare on skimpy seats that are attached to a ride platform by thin chains is plenty unnerving.
9. Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
A pendulum ride, the Giant Canyon Swing moves four passengers back and forth, takes them nearly vertical at the height of each swinging arc, hits a top speed of 50 mph, and delivers potent, tummy-tickling, negative G-forces. That would be plenty thrilling. But what distinguishes this screamer from similar rides is that it is perched at the edge of a cliff on top of a mountain and swings out 1,300 feet above the Colorado River into a canyon. Talk about extreme heights.
8. Ko’okiri Body Plunge and Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides at Volcano Bay in Universal Orlando, Fla., Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach in Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and Deep Water Dive at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville
Florida’s mega-parks are better known for their princesses and wizards than for white-knuckle rides. But at 125 feet, Ko’okiri Body Plunge at Universal’s Volcano Bay is the country’s tallest speed slide. To make matters more thrilling, sliders get into a launch capsule and wait a few heart-pounding moments for the floor to release them into a 70-degree plunge in the dark through the park’s signature volcano. Volcano Bay’s two Serpentine Body Slides also start at the 125-foot level and also incorporate launch capsules, but as their name suggests, they take a more winding route through the mountain.
Not all that long ago, the slightly shorter Summit Plummet at Disney World took the honors, at 120 feet, as the tallest water slide in the USA. It is so out-of-control crazy, riders don’t make contact with the precariously steep flume for a split second. A similar speed slide, Deep Water Dive, opened in 2014 at Kentucky Kingdom. It sends riders careening down 121 feet – one foot more than Summit Plummet. And like Volcano Bay’s slides, its dive begins with a launch capsule.
7. Insanity at Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nev.
Passengers spin around on this centrifuge-like ride and experience 3 Gs of force as their vehicles pivot out at 70 degrees. If Insanity were located on an amusement park’s midway, it would be moderately thrilling. But it is one a few rides that sit at the top of the nearly 900-foot Stratosphere Tower. When the arm that holds the vehicles swings away from the tower, riders have an, um, insane 90-story-high view of the Las Vegas Strip below.
6. X-Scream at Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nev.
One of the Stratosphere’s other thrill rides is even more scream-worthy than Insanity. Resembling a teeter-totter, passengers board X-Scream’s coaster-like vehicle some 900 feet in the air. When the ride starts, the short piece of track on which the car sits tilts downward over the edge of the tower. Riders race headlong toward the Strip until magnetic brakes kick in at the last second. The screams kick in well before that.
5. Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa, Fla.
Like other drop tower rides, Falcon’s Fury climbs high into the air – in this case a knee-knocking 300 feet. What makes the Busch Gardens ride unique, however, is that before it drops, its seats pivot 90 degrees so that passengers face the ground as they freefall at a furious 60 mph.
4. Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. and Zumanjaro Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J.
Like Falcon’s Fury, both of these Six Flags rides are drop towers. But they are bolted onto insanely tall coaster towers (Superman: Escape from Krypton at Magic Mountain and Kingda Ka at Great Adventure) and slowly lift passengers more than 100 feet higher than the Busch Gardens ride. Riders stew in open seats over 400 feet in the air for a few what-have-I-gotten-myself-into moments before dropping to their doom at a gut-wrenching 90 mph.
3. SkyCoaster at Fun Spot America in Kissimmee, Fla.
Many parks have SkyCoasters. One to three riders get hoisted up to the top of an A-frame tower. When they are ready, they pull a release like those found on parachutes, freefall down, and swing to and fro a few times. At a mind-numbing 300 feet, the Fun Spot America SkyCoaster is the world’s tallest.
2. Slingshot at Magical Midway in Orlando, Fla.
Known as a reverse bungee ride, passengers sit in a vehicle that is tethered to two towers using spring cables and under enormous pressure. When the ride operator releases the vehicle, it catapults at tremendous speed into the air. Magical Midway’s Slingshot is the world’s largest and soars nearly 400 feet skyward at up to 90 mph while delivering up to 5 Gs.
1. SkyJump at Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nev.
SkyJump passengers get the ultimate thrill by starting at the top of the Vegas tower, jumping off, and landing on the ground. Yes, you read that correctly. Intrepid riders are harnessed into jump suits and attached to cables for a “controlled freefall” jump 855 feet down to the Vegas Strip. Not controlled: riders’ nerves.