Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Blast From The Past - Kombo at the Indianapolis Zoo

After a week in sunny Florida and a break from cold, wintry Indiana, this week the Blast returns to our look at the coasters of 2001 with a visit to a coaster near home.

The Indianapolis Zoo opened April 18th 1964 on East 30th Street, it was first considered a children's zoo with penguins, kangaroos, foxes, raccoons, camels, bison, deer, lambs, tortoises, llamas, prairie dogs, pygmy goats, an Asian elephant and buffalo exhibits. The Zoo was easy to find, there was a Dutch windmill at the entrance. a 19-foot-tall giraffe replica, a giant blue whale, and the Hoosier Barn. In that first year the zoo welcomed 270,000 visitors.

Five and a half million visitors later, on November 1, 1987, the Zoo closed its gates and began preparing to move downtown. On June 11, 1988, after months of training and adding new exhibits, a new improved Zoo opened at its current location in the White River State Park. The zoo has grown over the years; it is now more than five times the size of the old zoo and it hosts about 1.4 million visitors each year.

The zoo is a private non-profit organizations and is supported entirely by membership fees, admissions, donations, sales, fundraisers and grants. One of those grants, through the Scott A Jones Foundation, brought a roller coaster to the zoo.

Designed Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH and built by Zierer, construction on this junior, Tivoli began in late 2000 and continued throughout the winter. With a track length of 656 feet, this 26 foot tall steelie reaches a top speed of nearly 20 MPH.

The ride was given the name Kombo, which means "curved" in Swahili and it is a reference to the rides figure 8 section, which occurs during the free-fall portion of the ride.

The thirteen car train looks like a line of little safari jeeps, complete with camping supplies tied-on. Riders must be 38" or taller to ride and riders under 47" must be accompanied by an adult. A ride on Kombo consists of two laps and currently costs $2.25 (plus zoo admission.) The zoo offers combo ride tickets- $12.00 for seven tickets and $20.00 for 12 tickets.

Kombo is the only Medium size Tivoli coaster that has a transportable base and round track supports. The coaster delivers just the right heights, speeds, twists and turns for the whole family to enjoy together.

Weather permitting the zoo runs Kombo during their Christmas at the Zoo. It's a fun, chilly ride as well as a chance to ride a roller coaster in Indiana in the wintertime!

The Indianapolis Zoo also has an odd connection to Idlewild Park in Pennsylvania, taking a stroll around the zoo, one cannot miss "the tracks". Much of the current zoo layout centers around these tracks, which until 1989, were used by a horse drawn trolley. Unfortunately, the zoo trolley was too heavy to be horse drawn. At the end of the 1988 season it was sold to Idlewild and used for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ride.


Paul said...

This is a great little coaster! It's probably the first coaster that both my boys and I rode together.

With kiddos, it's important to start them with something that they can handle, not just throw them on the Beast and say "Have a good time"

The Kombo is just big enough for a thrill, but small enough that they can get all of it in their gaze!