Six Flags Great America facts for kids
The Columbia Carousel, the icon of the park and the centerpiece of Carousel Plaza.
|Slogan||The Thrill Capital of the Midwest|
|Location||Gurnee, Illinois, United States|
|Opened||May 29, 1976|
|Previous names||Marriott's Great America (1976–1984)|
|Operating season||Spring – Winter|
|Visitors per annum||3.107 million in 2018|
|Area||304 acres (1.23 km2)|
|Website||Six Flags Great America|
Six Flags Great America is an amusement park located in Gurnee, Illinois, 45 miles (72 km) north of downtown Chicago. Originally opened in 1976 by the Marriott Corporation as Marriott's Great America, Six Flags has owned and operated the park since 1984. The park features nine themed areas and fifteen roller coasters, as well as a 20-acre (81,000 m2) water park called Hurricane Harbor Chicago. Over 3 million guests visited the park in 2017, ranking it among the top 20 amusement parks in North America for attendance.
Areas and attractions
The overall layout of Six Flags Great America has remained mostly unchanged from the original design that was created for Marriott. The park's designer, Randall Duell, followed the pattern of his trademark "Duell loop", creating a series of themed areas around a path which winds around the park circularly, allowing space for employees and maintenance workers to work out of sight of guests in the middle.
The front entrance area to the park, between Orleans Place and Hometown Square. In addition to the rides, there are shops and food kiosks themed to the area. In Carousel Plaza Gifts, guests could see a 1978 model of Marriott's Great America until the 2015 season.
|Columbia Carousel||1976||Chance Rides
|At a height of 100 ft (30 m), the carousel is the world's second-tallest, surpassed only by its twin, the Carousel Columbia. The horses and other animals were furnished by Bradley & Kaye, based on reproduced antique molds. For the park's 40th anniversary, the carousel was refurbished and repainted.||Mild|
|Sky Trek Tower||1977||Intamin
|The 330 ft (100 m) tower is the tallest freestanding structure in Lake County, Illinois and carries riders to a height of 285 ft (87 m). On a clear day, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline can be seen from the top of the tower. As of the 2019 season, the ride is operating less and less, most likely due to high maintenance costs and low ridership. The ride also did not operate in 2021 due to Illinois COVID-19 restrictions.||Mild|
|This triple-record breaking 175 ft (53 m) tall compressed air launch coaster from S&S features the world's tallest double inversion, fastest inversion (60 mph (97 km/h)), and the fastest acceleration in North America (0-78 mph (126 km/h) in under 2 seconds).||Max|
One of the park's original areas, themed after a small midwestern town around the turn of the century. Hometown Square is located between Carousel Plaza, County Fair and Southwest Territory. Guests walk through many shops and stalls and can ride many classic carnival-style rides. Whizzer, a Schwarzkopf spiral-lift coaster, is one of the last of its kind in the world.
|Triple Play||1976||HUSS Rides
|A spinning ride, slowly lifts and sets down||Moderate|
|Hometown Fun Machine||1976||Eli Bridge
|Opened in 1976 as Saskatchewan Scrambler in Yukon Territory. Relocated to Hometown Square as Hometown Fun Machine in 1977.||Moderate|
|The Lobster||1976||Anton Schwarzkopf (Monster III)||Opened in 1976 as "The Lobster" in Yankee Harbor. Rethemed, renamed "East River Crawler" and repainted in 1992 to match the new Batman: The Ride. East River Crawler was removed for refurbishment for the 2012 season and returned to service in 2013. Moved to Hometown Square in 2017 and renamed The Lobster, replacing The Orbit.||Max|
|This Classic ACE Coaster Landmark is one of the last "Speedracer" coaster models ever built. Originally named "Willard's Whizzer" after J. Willard Marriott.||Moderate|
|Great America Scenic Railway||1976||Custom Fabricators, Inc.
|3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge train ride around the park. Also has a station in the County Fair section of the park. Did not operate for the entire 2019 season due to Maxx Force construction.||Mild|
- This area is a sub-section of Hometown Square. This section previously existed from the park's opening in 1976 until the rides were removed after the 2001 season. In 2015, three of the original rides returned as part of the park's 40th season celebration.
Ride Year opened Manufacturer
Description Rating Lady Bugs 1976 (opened); 2015 (Re-opened) S.B Ramagosa (Kiddie Lady Bugs) Originally located here, was relocated to Bugs Bunny National Park until its closing in 2009 Mild Red Baron 1976 (opened); 2015 (Re-opened) Chance (Kiddie Planes) Used as Fright Fest props from 2002 to 2011 Mild Tot's Livery 1976 (opened); 2015 (Re-opened) Hampton (Kiddie Surrey Carriages) Mild
Originally intended to be built in 1979 as The Great Southwest, the area, themed around an old Wild West town, was built in 1996. The area is outside of the park's loop, connected to both Hometown Square and County Fair. It also has the primary connection to Hurricane Harbor. There are many shops and carnival-style games based on the theme.
|Raging Bull||1999||Bolliger & Mabillard
|The tallest roller coaster at Great America, with a drop height of 208 ft (63 m), as well as top speeds of 73 mph (117 km/h). It was advertised as the "world's first Hyper-Twister".||Max|
|Opened before the rest of the Southwest Territory area, Viper is the only rollercoaster ever constructed in-house by Six Flags. The ride is an identical mirror image of the Coney Island Cyclone, like similar rides at other Six Flags parks.||Max|
(Giant Drop/Multi Drop)
|A 227 ft (69 m) drop tower, themed around an ore excavator at the "Loco Diablo mine."||Max|
|Chubasco||1996||Zamperla||A spinning teacup ride, housed in a building based on a Spanish mission.||Moderate|
|Ricochet||1977||Huss Rides||A swinging ride painted with cow spots. Originally named Big Top and located in County Fair, the ride moved to the new Southwest Territory area in 1996 and its former location was replaced with Dare Devil Dive.||Moderate|
|River Rocker||1996||Zamperla||A swinging pirate ship ride.||Moderate|
The newest and smallest themed area of the park, based on DC Comics characters. It replaced the Southwest Amphitheater in 2016, and is located between Southwest Territory and County Fair. As of 2017, it consists of the Justice League ride and an attached gift shop.
|Justice League: Battle for Metropolis||2016||Sally Corporation||An interactive 4D dark ride.||Moderate|
The Great Midwest Livestock Exposition at County Fair, almost always known simply as County Fair, is the largest section of the park, taking up most of the back area. There are many shops, stalls and attractions set in a theme based on a rural county fair. The area also features a food court and a gallery of carnival games.
|Originally known as Turn of the Century when it opened with the park in 1976, two vertical loops were added to the ride in 1980 in addition to its two clockwise corkscrews and it was renamed and rethemed the Demon. At the time, it was tied for the most inversions on a roller coaster in the world.||Max|
|X Flight||2012||Bolliger & Mabillard
|One of the first Wing Coasters to be built in the United States.||Max|
|Goliath||2014||Rocky Mountain Construction
(wooden roller coaster)
|Formerly the world's fastest wooden roller coaster at 72 mph (116 km/h), and steepest wooden roller coaster at an 85 degree angle of descent. Built on the site formerly occupied by "Iron Wolf" and "Z-Force". Currently holds the record for the tallest drop on a wooden coaster, and is currently the world's tallest, steepest, and fastest looping wooden coaster. Goliath was also the first coaster in the world to feature a "Zero G" Stall.||Max|
|Buccaneer Battle||2009||Mack||Located on the former site of Sky Whirl and Déjà Vu, 14 eight-passenger boats navigate a 450 ft (140 m) channel featuring interactive targets and water effects.||Mild|
(wooden racing coaster)
|With a drop of 147 ft (45 m), a top speed of 66 mph (106 km/h), and a track length of 4,650 ft (1.42 km), the American Eagle has remained the tallest, fastest, and longest racing coaster in the world since it opened in 1981.||Max|
|Dare Devil Dive||1997||Ride Entertainment Group
|A bungee jump ride where guests freefall from a height of 125 ft (38 m), and then swing forward on a steel cable. This ride requires an additional fee.||Max|
|Originally operated at Six Flags Great Adventure as Pendulum from 1999 to 2003.||Max|
|Fiddler's Fling||1976||Anton Schwarzkopf
|Has 25 cars for a total capacity of 50 passengers.||Moderate|
|Great America Scenic Railway||1976||Custom Fabricators, Inc.
|3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge train ride around the park. Also has a station in the Hometown Square section of the park. Did not operate for the entire 2019 season due to Maxx Force construction. This train station is also used for the Santa meet and greet during Holiday in the Park.||Mild|
- See also: Kidzopolis
- A children's-specific area of County Fair, located in front of the American Eagle entrance tent. Originally known as Wiggles World, the area was added for 2007. The Wiggles theming was removed after the 2010 season.
Ride Year opened Manufacturer
Description Rating ZoomJets 2007 Zamperla
(Aero Top Jet)
originally named Big Red Planes Mild Bouncer 2007 Zamperla
originally named Bouncin' With Wags Mild Up, Up & Away 2007 Zamperla
originally named Yummy Yummy Fruit Salad Mild Splish Splash Zone 2007 (Pop Jet Fountain) originally named Henry's Splish Splash Mild Krazy Kars 2007 Zamperla
originally named Big Red Cars Mild Krazy Kups 2007 Zamperla
(Mini Tea Cup)
originally named Dorothy's Rosy Tea Cups Mild Pirate's Playship 2007 (Interactive Play Ship) Interactive Play Ship with nets and slides, originally named SS Feathersword. Since the Wiggles theming was removed, Six Flags has considered it a part of Splish Splash Zone.
This area is themed around the famous forests and mountains in northwest Canada, with references to logging, prospecting and gold panning. The area is located between County Fair and Yankee Harbor, and has a connection to the Picnic Grove near the Wilderness Theater.
|Winner's Circle Go Karts||1999||These go carts originally opened in 1999 in Carousel Plaza. The go karts were relocated to Yukon Territory in 2011 in the former site of Bugs Bunny National Park to make way for Riptide Bay. The ride requires an additional fee.||Moderate|
|Little Dipper||2010||Philadelphia Toboggan Company
(wooden roller coaster)
|Built in 1950, this junior coaster has been honored with the "Ace Coaster Classic" Award. This coaster was purchased by Six Flags Great America from Kiddieland Amusement Park in 2009. Six Flags Great America opened "Little Dipper" in 2010 as the park's 14th coaster.||Mild|
|Logger's Run||1976||Arrow Dynamics
|Water attraction with twin flumes.||Moderate|
- This is a sub-section of Yukon Territory. It was known as Camp Cartoon Network when first added in 1998. Despite the former name, the rides were themed to Hanna-Barbera properties and not Cartoon Network ones. In 2006 the area was renamed to its current name, with its entrance replacing the Cartoon Network characters with Hanna-Barbera ones. In 2018, the area was rethemed and with this removed all Hanna Barbera theming and so Camp Cartoon’s rides now feature more generic names.
Ride Picture Year opened Manufacturer
Description Rating Crazy Bus 1998 Zamperla
Formally known as Scooby-Doo's Mystery Machine (1998-2018) Mild Yahoo River 1998 Allan Herschell Herschell kiddie ride. Formally known as Yogi's Yahoo River (1998-2018) Mild Sprocket Rockets 1998 Vekoma
(Junior roller coaster)
kiddie coaster. Formally known as Spacely's Sprocket Rockets (1998-2018) Mild
Yankee Harbor is themed around a New England harbor and is surrounded by a large water feature. The area is connected by a covered bridge to Yukon Territory and formerly had another covered bridge connecting it to Mardi Gras which was removed to accommodate The Joker. The main entrance to the Picnic Grove, where the second covered bridge was moved, is located in Yankee Harbor.
(launched steel suspended coaster)
|Floorless coaches suspended beneath an overhead track traverse the track forward and in reverse. Launches riders 0-70MPH in less than 4 seconds.||Max|
|Originally located in County Fair on the site later occupied by Iron Wolf and Goliath, it was moved to Yankee Harbor and then moved again within the area to make room for Vertical Velocity.||Moderate|
|Yankee Clipper||1976||Arrow Dynamics
|Water ride with twin flumes. Between 2001 and 2005, the park had a corporate sponsorship with Nestlé and the ride was temporarily renamed Ice Mountain Splash.||Moderate|
|Batman: The Ride||1992||Bolliger & Mabillard
(inverted looping coaster)
|This Ace Landmark Coaster is the world's first inverted, outside looping coaster. It features a drop height of 109 feet, a top speed of 50 mph and 5 inversions. Built on the former site of "Tidal Wave".||Max|
|The Joker||2017||S&S Worldwide||4D "Free Spin" Roller Coaster, which took the former places of the East River Crawler in Yankee Harbor, and Jester's Wild Ride and Ragin' Cajun in Mardi Gras.||Max|
One of the park's newest themed areas, it opened in 2004, after being converted from part of Orleans Place. The area's theme comes from the Mardi Gras holiday and specifically the famous celebration of the holiday in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is connected to Yankee Harbor and Orleans Place.
(River rapids ride)
|Originally known as White Water Rampage, this was Marriott's last major addition to the park before it was sold. The location formerly hosted Traffique Jam, an antique car ride and "Davey Jones' Dinghies", a swing ride, until they were removed in 1982. This is the only ride in Mardi Gras which was built before the area was and the only one not to involve its theme or colors.||Moderate|
|Big Easy Balloons||2004||Zamperla
|A twirling balloon ride.||Mild|
|Mardi Gras Hangover||2018||Larson International
(Giga Loop 100 Ft)
|The ride is currently the tallest Larson Loop in the world. It replaced King Chaos, a top spin ride which closed at the end of the 2017 season. While Six Flags claims this attraction to be a roller coaster, it fails to meet the definition as it doesn't use gravity at any point in the ride to 'coast'.||Max|
Orleans Place is themed around New Orleans in the late 1800s, specifically the historic French Quarter. The area is connected both thematically and physically to the Mardi Gras area on the other side of the Scenic Railway, and also borders the entrance area in Carousel Plaza.
|Opened in 1991, after being relocated from Six Flags Great Adventure. Replaced the Yukon Yahoo, a Schwarzkopf Bayern Kurve that was located in the Yukon Territory area and later moved to Orleans Place.||Moderate|
|The Dark Knight||2008||Mack Rides
|A Wild Mouse coaster house within a dark, enclosed building, a cloned ride also located at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags México.||Moderate|
|Superman: Ultimate Flight||2003||Bolliger & Mabillard||Suspended beneath a steel track, riders experience banked turns, 2 inversions and sweeping drops at 60 miles per hour while harnessed in a prone flying position. Built on the former site of Shockwave.||Max|
|Rue Le Dodge||1976||Soli
|A bumper car ride that features the world's largest bumper car floor.||Moderate|
Hurricane Harbor Chicago
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Chicago, the adjacent water park from Six Flags Great America, opened in 2005, and became a separate admission park in 2021.
Images for kids
Six Flags Great America Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.