For as long as I can remember, August 16th has been the day set aside as National Roller Coaster Day, a day for celebrating the ultimate thrill ride: the roller coaster. The holiday’s origins are somewhat murky, but nonetheless coaster enthusiasts are proud to have their own holiday.
To celebrate the special day, we are giving away a Coaster101 Prize Pack filled with souvenirs and keepsakes from parks across the U.S. Simply fill out your information below and we will randomly select a winner. Enter through Sunday, August 18, 2013. Use the form below to submit your entry. Only one entry per person:
Update: Congratulations to Jordan M. for winning the giveaway! Thanks to all who entered.
Below we have highlighted some of our most memorable roller coaster experiences.
John – Chaos at Opryland
One of my first roller coasters was Chaos at the long-gone Opryland USA in Nashville, Tennessee. The year was either 1996 or 1997. I was only five or six, so I wasn’t tall enough for most of the park’s big coasters. I wouldn’t have wanted to ride them anyway—at this point I was still very scared of roller coasters. Despite this, I agreed to ride Chaos, the only indoor roller coaster in the park. I recall waiting in line and asking my dad twenty questions about the coaster. Did it go upside down? Was it scary? How fast does it go? As my dad had never ridden it either, he couldn’t help me that much.
One of the things that I remember most about Chaos was its long train. It sat, inline, 80 riders. The train seemed to never end. The coaster itself wasn’t terrifying. It was about 2,600 feet long and didn’t include that many impressive drops or turns. The indoor effects, which apparently had diminished by the time that I rode, were the coolest things that I remember about the coaster.
Sadly, Chaos, along with Opryland, closed in 1997.
Nick – Coasting for Kids 2009 at Cedar Point
In August 2009 I had the opportunity to participate in the very first Coasting for Kids ride-a-thon. This fundraiser benefits Give Kids The World Village (GKTW), a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The event was held only at Cedar Point that year and the thirty or so participants raised around $10,000. Since then, the event has been expanded to all eleven Cedar Fair amusement parks. This past June was the fifth consecutive year and $150,000 was raised by over 400 participants! I am very proud to have been part of the very first Coasting for Kids and the start of such a great tradition. It was also the very first coaster enthusiast type event I’ve attended and is a day I will never forget. While I don’t think I could stomach 105 laps on Gemini like I did last time, I hope to be able to participate again in the future.
Kyle – The Original X-Flight
My most memorable ride experience happened a few years ago, during a 5th grade field trip. My friend, who had never been on a roller coaster before, decided to come on the trip after I bugged him about it long enough. I was determined to get him on a coaster. So, for the couple months leading up to the trip I tried to convince him that coasters weren’t scary and were actually very fun. When the day of the trip finally came, he was excited to get to ride with me. We got to Geauga Lake and went right to X-Flight (now Firehawk at Kings Island). I remember him loving the experience and us riding it again, along with all the other coasters at the park! We ended up having a great day even though it was cold and rainy. This experience means even more now because that friend passed away in 7th grade. I remember that day every time I ride Firehawk.
What are your most memorable roller coaster experiences? Share them in the comments section below.
Happy National Roller Coaster Day!