Monday, September 5, 2011

Aerial Antics: Six Flags Great America

Summer is a busy time for a theme park blog, so my apologies that I haven't been focusing on getting out a lot of Aerial Antics lately.  I'm slowly running out of parks that have bird's eye views,  but I'm now discovering some that I've missed but thought I had covered, like Six Flags Great America!

The park is located outside of Chicago, in Gurnee IL.  It first opened to guests in 1976 under the Marriott Corp. and stayed that way for 9 years until it was purchased by Six Flags.  Its sister park, located in California opened with many of the same or similar rides and attractions, but over the years (and through different ownership) both parks have grown to be quite unique when compared.

One thing that still remains at both, and can be seen in the above aerial of the park's entrance, is the fountain area with a double-decker Carousel just beyond it.

Sticking out into the parking lot, guests are greeted by Superman: Ultimate Flight, which opened in 2003.  The ride sits on the area that was formerly home to Shockwave, a large Arrow designed looping ride that was built in 1988.  Superman is one of B&M's flying rides, cloned from the original instillation at Six Flags Over Georgia.

The opening of Viper in 1995 was exciting for the park, the ride was built as a mirror image of the original Cyclone in Coney Island.  I'm not 100% on the history of this coaster, but it's said to have been designed and built by Six Flags themselves.  I'm sure there is more to that story, but it is interesting nonetheless.

During the coaster building spree of the late 1990s, Six Flags Great America went big with a B&M hyper/twister coaster named Raging Bull.  The ride was one of the first two B&M coasters to be built in the large hyper style, opening just a couple months after the first, Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Here is a shot of a ride that is no longer standing at Six Flags Great America - Deja Vu.  Originally added in 2001, the ride didn't open until later that year.  When it was removed it found a new life at Silverwood Theme Park, currently known as Aftershock.

In case you missed it, Scott & Carol recently did a great story on these rides here on NPN.  

Pretty much the entire back side of Six Flags Great America is dominated by the massive American Eagle wooden racing coaster, who's turnaround helix always impressed me.  I would go into more about the ride here, but as with Deja Vu Scott & Carol have detailed the history of American Eagle just recently, so I suggest reading up on that here.

While the Iron Wolf is still thrilling riders as B&M first coaster, it won't be for much longer. Today is the last day to take a spin on the ride, before it is moved to Maryland to debut as Apocalypse at Six Flags America in 2012.

If you'd like to see the sights of Six Flags Great America from the air for yourself, check out Bing's aerials.