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Canobie Lake Park facts for kids

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Canobie Lake Park
Canobie Lake Park logo.svg
Slogan Just for fun
Location Salem, New Hampshire, United States
Owner Family owned
Opened August 23, 1902 (1902-08-23)
Operating season May – Late October
Total 52
Roller coasters 4
Water rides 4

Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Boston. It was founded as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake on 1902. Three local families currently run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England region. Canobie Lake Park's age and history inspired author Stephen King to use rides and elements from the park in his Joyland novel. It is one of only thirteen trolley parks still operating in the United States as of 2020.

The park originally featured botanical gardens, with few amusement rides. After the automobile became the most popular mode of travel in the United States, the trolley line serving the park was closed. Attendance in the park declined until it was purchased by Patrick J. Holland. He installed a wooden roller coaster named Yankee Cannonball in 1936, a ride which was designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark by American Coaster Enthusiasts in 2013. The park recovered, and the Arrow Development designed Canobie Corkscrew was installed in 1987, after being relocated from the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois, where it was named the Chicago Loop. Untamed, a Euro-Fighter coaster, is the only other coaster in the park besides the Corkscrew with an inversion.


Apple Tree, Canobie Lake Park
A postcard of an apple tree in Canobie Lake Park.

Canobie Lake Park opened on August 23, 1902 as a trolley park for the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company. The amusement park has opened every summer since then. In its early years, the park was known for its flower gardens, promenades and gentle attractions. After the decline of trolley as a mode of travel, the park declined in popularity, culminating in the park's closure on St. Patrick's Day in 1929. In 1931, the park was auctioned off with the intent to subdivide the land into residential lots. Patrick J. Holland, a construction contractor from Ireland, bought the property for US$17,000. He and his workers restored the park with new gardens, attractions, and modern electricity. In 1932, the park reopened, three years after its initial closure. Its popularity recovered, and the Yankee Cannonball was installed, becoming one of the park's most popular attractions for decades. Holland died in 1943, leaving the park with his wife and son, who continued to own the park until 1958. The park is now owned by three families, who purchased the park afterward.

Some films and novels have used Canobie Lake Park as a setting or filming location. Stephen King, an American author of horror novels, based the amusement park in his novel Joyland on Canobie Lake Park. A resident of the nearby state of Maine, King visited after searching for a park "that was nice and clean and sunlit, but wasn't too big". During a visit in 2012, King took photographs inside the dark ride attraction, "Mine of Lost Souls", because he wanted to incorporate a haunted dark ride into his novel. The park was also used as a filming location for the 2013 film Labor Day, based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard. It also appeared in the reality TV Show Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman as well as in the season 6 intro to the TV Show Zoom.

Rides and attractions

Canobie Corkscrew
The Canobie Corkscrew roller coaster in its original yellow-and-black color scheme
Canobie Lake Park Untamed
One of Untamed's coaster cars, mid-loop

Canobie Lake Park features a variety of rides and attractions. The Yankee Cannonball, a 1930s-era wooden roller coaster, is one of the park's best known rides. The park also has a looping, steel roller coaster named the Canobie Corkscrew, designed by Arrow Dynamics. Originally manufactured in 1975, the Canobie Corkscrew operated at Old Chicago from 1975 to 1980 as the "Chicago Loop", at the Alabama State Fairgrounds as "Corkscrew" from 1982 to 1986, before moving to Canobie Lake in 1987. The Canobie Corkscrew is one of the first steel looping roller coasters manufactured in the world and is part of a series of Arrow corkscrew models produced from 1975 to 1979.

Other thrill rides in Canobie Lake Park include Starblaster, an S&S Double Shot, which replaced a ride called the Moon Orbiter in 2002. The park also features a rotor ride named "Turkish Twist", and a shoot-the-chutes ride named "The Boston Tea Party". The park has one dark ride, "The Mine Of Lost Souls". Passengers board mine cars, and venture into the depths of a haunted mine. Another flat ride at the park is the "Psychodrome", a scrambler ride located in a dome, with lighting, music and special effects. In 2005, the park opened Castaway Island, a small water park consisting of a water play structure. In October 2017, the park announced an expansion to the water ride complex, including a lazy river and a series of water slides.

The park once had a simulator ride named "USA Missile", built early in the Space Age by John Taggart and Sam Daugherty. Passengers sit facing the nose of the rocket, which is then inclined. A movie is shown on a screen at the front as a simulation of space flight. While at Canobie Lake Park, it was repainted to mimic the markings used on such launch vehicles as the Saturn rockets.

In 2011, the park added Untamed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter 320+ model. This is the fourth Euro-Fighter to be added in the United States, the only one in the Northeast, and the first roller coaster to be opened in Canobie Lake Park since the Canobie Corkscrew in 1987. The following year, park added Equinox, a ride that lifted and spun riders on a giant mechanical arm. Despite the ride's popularity, it was shut down in 2014 after persistent mechanical problems left the ride operating "sporadically". The park has stated that safety was not an issue.

Roller coasters

Image Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Canobie Lake Park Corkscrew.jpg Canobie Corkscrew
Arrow Dynamics A steel roller coaster with two corkscrew inversions. Originally a yellow and black color scheme, the ride was repainted in 2012 to blue and white.
Kiddie Dragon Coaster
Zamperla A children's roller coaster with a train designed like a dragon.
Untamed-Canobie lake park.jpg Untamed
Gerstlauer A Euro-Fighter roller coaster with three inversions, located near the Jackpot Casino. The ride features a 72-foot vertical lift and a beyond vertical drop at a 97 degree angle, as well as three inversions: a vertical loop, an Immelmann loop, and a zero-G roll.
Yankee Cannonball
Philadelphia Toboggan Company The park's oldest roller coaster; A wooden roller coaster with an out-and-back layout. The ride was given its name in commemoration of the American Civil War. Recognized as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark.

Thrill rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Ice Jet
Bertazzon A Flying Bobs ride
S.D.C. A pirate ship ride
Eli Bridge Company An indoor scrambler ride with flashing lights and sound effects
S&S Power A Double Shot launch tower ride, opened for the park's centennial
Turkish Twist
S.D.C. A Rotor ride
Chance Rides A Wipeout ride
Xtreme Frisbee
HUSS A Frisbee ride

Family rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Antique Carousel
Looff/Dentzel/Stein & Goldstein An antique carousel with a Wurlitzer style 153 band organ
Antique Cars
Arrow Development A car ride with cars themed after Ford Model Ts
Blue Heron
Unknown A boat ride that takes guests for a 20-minute trip on the lake
Boston Harbor Patrol
Canobie 500
Arrow race cars A car ride with cars themed after race cars
Canobie Express
Early 1970s
Crown Metal A train that runs through the park, around Castaway Island, and along the lakeshore. It runs on 2 foot narrow gauge tracks.
Harry Traver A caterpillar ride
Crazy Cups
Philadelphia Toboggan Company A teacup ride
DaVinci's Dream
Wood Amusement Rides B.V. A swing ride
Unknown Bumper car ride
Giant Sky Wheel
Preston-Barbieri A ferris wheel
Mine of Lost Souls
Sally Corporation A themed dark ride
Over the Rainbow
Zamperla A Wizard of Oz-themed balloon ride
Rowdy Roosters
Bisch-Rocco A Flying Scooters ride
Zamperla A Disk'O ride
Sky Ride
SkyTrans A chairlift
Twist & Shout
Sellner Manufacturing A Tilt-A-Whirl ride
Venetian Carousel
Wave Blaster
Zero Gravity
Battech Enterprises A Round Up ride; replaced a similar ride

Water rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Boston Tea Party
Hopkins Rides A shoot the chute boat ride that splashes guests on nearby paths when the boat falls down the drop. It is named and themed for the Boston Tea Party, an event when residents of Boston rebelled against the then-occupying British.
Castaway Island
WhiteWater West A small water play structure with slides and fountains
Policy Pond Log Flume
Hopkins Rides A log flume ride
Tall Timber Splash
WhiteWater West A water coaster
Castaway Island Tidal River Expansion
Aquatic Development Group First-of-its-kind Tidal River water ride

Children's rides

Name Ride type Year added
Alpine Swing Children's swing ride
Boats 1954
Fire Engines 1954
Flower Power Children's whip ride
Helicopters 1959
Jeeps 1953
Jump Around Children's Wave Blaster
Jungle Bounce
Junior Sports Cars
Kiddie Canoes Children's Boat Ride Late 1980s
Kiddie Carousel Children's carousel 1954
Mini Dinos 1960
Mini-Skooter Children's bumper cars Late 1980s
Pony Carts 1954
Sea/Land Rescue
Sky Fighters 1954
Tanks 1954

Former rides

Roller coasters

Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Figure 8 roller coaster Frederick Ingersoll
Jr. Roller Coaster Allan Herschell Company
A kiddie coaster next to the dance hall
Rockin' Rider SDC
Originally called Galaxi at Canobie before being rebranded/renamed; replaced with "Xtreme Frisbee"
Wild Mouse B. A. Schiff & Associates 1962 or earlier 1962 Used wood supports and steel track. The Paratrooper replaced the Wild Mouse, and was later replaced by the Skater attraction.


Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Bowling alley
After purchasing the park in the 1960s, the owners burned all the pins from the bowling alley to keep warm during their first winter.
Calypso Mack
Replaced with the "Moon Orbiter"
Equinox KMG
A twisting, spinning and flipping ride. Removed due to mechanical issues. Replaced with "Ice Jet".
Fascination Unknown 1930s 2001 Replaced with the "Jackpot Casino"
House of Seven Gables Unknown
A walk-through haunted house
Kosmojets SDC
Replaced with "Wipeout"
Matterhorn SDC
Replaced with a concession stand "Hotdog Diner"
Moon Orbiter Unknown
Replaced with the "Star Blaster"
Ocean Trip SBF
Replaced with Boston Harbor Patrol
Paratroopers Unknown
Replaced with "Skater"
Petting zoo Unknown Unknown
Round Up Unknown
Replaced with "Zero Gravity" and there was another round up ride before this one in the 1970s
Roller skating rink
Used to house ScrEEEmfest haunts
The Swamp Pretzel
A dark ride that was replaced with the Can Alley game and employee center building
Swimming pool
Removed during the construction of a larger main entrance
Tiki-Maze SDC
Formerly the Crystal Orbiter, on broken motor-driven platform
USA Missile Unknown 1958 2011 a missile ride it got replaced with untamed to make room for the ride
Vertigo Theatre Unknown
Replaced with Autobahn to make room for "Wave Blaster"
The Whip Unknown
Early 1980s
Was replaced with Matterhorn, then Equinox, until the latter ride was removed


Canobie Lake Park holds many events in the park throughout the year, including live performances and fireworks shows. The park has multiple venues for live entertainment, including the Country Stage, Midway Stage, and Dancehall Theater. The park's Dancehall Theater has hosted performers such as Duke Ellington, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. The Canobie Ramblers occasionally perform at the Log Flume Gazebo. On certain weekends in September and October, Canobie Lake Park holds ScrEEEmfest, a Halloween event run in the afternoon that features Canobie's most popular rides plus five walk-through haunted attractions. Past "haunts" have included Merriment Incorporated, The Dead Shed, Black Hollow Cove, Head Hunters at Cannibal Lake, Cannibal Island, Demons of Darkness, and Virus. The park hosts performances from impersonators of various celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Tim McGraw.

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