8 Weird Things Found at this Unusual Amusement Park
A trip to Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park is like taking a walk back in time. Opened on June 1, 1925, this small but charming and quirky amusement park is located outside of Chattanooga, just south of the Tennessee border in Rossville, Georgia. While the Native American word Winnepesaukah means “bountiful waters” or “beautiful lake of the highlands”, most of us refer to the park simply as “Lake Winnie.” What makes it unique? Here are 8 weird things found in this unusual amusement park (in no particular order).
While not weird per se, Cannon Ball was the surprise hit of the visit. The simple out-and-back wooden coaster designed by the legendary John C. Allen packs a surprising amount of airtime throughout its 2,272-foot-long layout.
The coaster was built by Philadelphia Toboggan Company (now known as Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters) and opened in 1967, making it one of the oldest operating coasters in the Southeast.
The unassuming coaster reaches a top speed of 50 mph following its 70-foot drop at a 45-degree angle. The coaster maintains its momentum all the way through the brake run. I recommend sitting as far back as possible for maximum floater time.
Cannon Ball is a can’t-miss ride at Lake Winnie.
The Boat Chute
Lake Winnie founder Carl Dixon designed a mill chute boat ride for the park. A mill chute, or old mill ride, is the predecessor to the modern log flume attraction. Construction began in the winter of 1926 and the ride opened as The Boat Chute in 1927. The National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) considers it the oldest operating mill chute in the United States. Take a ride with us in the 360 POV video below:
Lake Winnepesaukah’s new-for-2016 Twister top spin ride is one of the weirdest and craziest looking flat rides you’ll see. It’s a Moser Rides “Maverick” model which features a 21-seat gondola that flips riders upside down in unexpected directions thanks to two asymmetric arms. As far as I know, this is the only operating Asymmetrical Maverick Top Spin in North America. Just watch the video below for the insanity. Unfortunately, the ride was closed on our recent visit in May 2021 due to staffing issues.
Clown Trash Cans
Does it get any better (weirder) than this? If only I could always throw my trash away in such style! I’ve seen a few of these clown trash can toppers at small parks before, but definitely not to the extent that Lake Winnie has them. Anywhere you are on the midway, you can see one.
There are some that have been recently refurbished and some that are most likely still bearing their original paint jobs. We loved them so much we even designed a tee shirt you can buy on the Coaster101 TeePublic store!
I’m a sucker for campy dark rides, and Wacky Factory checks all of the boxes.
The Lake Winnie website describes the ride experience as traveling “through the creaks and groans of a twisting mine shaft into the zany world of the Wacky Factory.”
It’s certainly zany with a plethora of flashing lights, black lights, an odd amount of foil-like wall coverings and even a surprise dip.
Oh-Zone! Drop Tower
At 140 feet, the OH-Zone! is the tallest ride at Lake Winnepesaukah. Although it really doesn’t look that tall, it still drops riders down 14-stories at a speed of fifty miles per hour and hits a breathtaking 4.6Gs. This intense ride proves drop towers don’t have to be 300 or 400 feet tall to be thrilling. I love how the car design blocks your view from seeing the top of the tower when you look up, and there’s no time to admire the scenic view. Once the vehicle gets to its highest point it drops without warning. Just brace yourself when it hits the brakes!
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The oldest ride at Lake Winnie is the Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel number 39, manufactured in 1916. Among the oldest and largest in the country, the carrousel includes 68 hand-painted steeds and has a unique location surrounded by water.
While we didn’t get to experience Lake Winnie’s “Lake WinnepeSPOOKah” Halloween event on this visit, it is yet another unusual facet that makes the park so unique.
Lake Winnie’s annual Halloween event may be lower-budget than parks in the big leagues, there are still some terrifying/unsettling set pieces and surprises throughout the park.
Honorable Mention: Wild Lightning
Wild Lightning is one of the more extreme (read: rough/painful) wild mouse coasters out there. It’s under the “honorable mention” category because the ride was closed on our latest visit with no vehicles in sight and seeing how it is missing from Lake Winnie’s website may be closed permanently.
Listen to us discuss our latest trip to Lake Winnie in this episode of the Coaster101 podcast and enjoy the visuals in the video below:
Have you ever been to Lake Winnie? What did you like or dislike about it? Let us know in the comments below.