Six Flags New England facts for kids

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Six Flags New England
FNE 2019 CoasterLogo Color reduced res
Location Agawam, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates 42°02′16″N 72°36′57″W / 42.0377°N 72.6157°W / 42.0377; -72.6157Coordinates: 42°02′16″N 72°36′57″W / 42.0377°N 72.6157°W / 42.0377; -72.6157
Website Official Website
Owner Six Flags
Opened 1870
Previous names Gallup's Grove (1870–1886)
Riverside Grove (1886–1911)
Riverside Amusement Park (1912–2000)
Operating season April through late December
Area 235 acres (95 ha)
Rides 63 total
  • 12 roller coasters
  • 1 water rides
Slogan Thrill Capital Of New England

Six Flags New England is an amusement park located in Agawam, Massachusetts, a western suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts. Dating to the late 19th century, it is the oldest amusement park in the Six Flags chain (though that is because historically it was not always a Six Flags park). Superman the Ride is among the park's most notable rides having appeared in every Golden Ticket Awards publication by Amusement Today, ranking first or second in the Top Steel Roller Coasters category from 2001 to 2015 and third in 2016.

History

Throughout most of the 20th century, the park was known as Riverside Park. It started out as a picnic grove called Gallup's Grove in 1870 and was eventually renamed Riverside Grove, then Riverside Park. Prior to 1900, most of the park's patrons arrived via steamship. The Springfield Street Railway extended its line to the park in 1900 and, although Riverside was at the end of the Springfield Street Railway, it was not owned by the railway and is, therefore, not considered a trolley park, contrary to published reports.

In the early 1900s, a few mechanical rides and a carousel were added. The park was purchased in 1911 by Henry J. Perkins who transformed the park from a picnic grove to an amusement park. He built the park's first roller coaster, The Giant Dip, in 1912, which proved to be so popular that another coaster, The Greyhound, was added in 1915. Under Perkins' ownership, the park continued to prosper and additional amusements were added, including a 300-foot-diameter pool that became known as Lake Takadip. The original Giant Dip coaster was replaced in 1920 by a new, more thrilling coaster that was twice the size of the Giant and was eventually named Lightning. A third coaster, Whirlwind Racer, was added in 1928.

Closure and re-opening

Kiddieland, at Riverside Park, Agawam, Mass (78426)
Postcard c.  1940s

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 took its toll on the park and by 1931 it had gone into foreclosure. For the 1932 season, the park operated only Wednesday through Sunday and in 1933 it closed. Several attempts to reopen the park failed and it remained closed through 1939, although the grounds were occasionally used for company picnics. A drive-in movie theater operated in the parking lot from 1937 to 1939.

Edward Carroll Sr. purchased the abandoned park in 1939 and after making improvements, reopened Riverside Park on May 29, 1940. Carroll is credited with rescuing Riverside and turning it into the largest theme park in New England. He purchased the plans and cars of the 1939 New York World's Fair Cyclone Roller Coaster and opened a new coaster in 1941. That coaster, now known as Thunderbolt, is operating at the park and is the oldest coaster — in its original location — within the entire Six Flags Chain of theme parks. The park continued to add new rides and removed some older ones. The theater and bowling alley were removed in the late 1950s, making Riverside Park a seasonal attraction.

Carroll took a liking to auto racing, a sport that was gaining popularity in the Northeast after World War II, and added it to his slate of attractions at Riverside, building the Riverside Park Speedway in 1948, replacing an open air bandstand. The 1960s was a popular period for stock car racing at Riverside Park. NASCAR began to hold events at Riverside Park Speedway in 1976. In 1977, Riverside Park added its first looping roller coaster, The Loop Coaster, later known as Black Widow. The park continued to be successful throughout the 1970s and a log flume ride was added in that period. By the 1980s, the park stopped selling individual ride tickets and began charging a "pay one price" admission.

In 1983, Riverside Park added its third roller coaster, which was also the park's second wooden coaster. The owners originally wanted a coaster exactly like the Coney Island Cyclone, but space was limited, so the coaster would need to take up less space and would have sharper twists and turns. It became known as the Riverside Cyclone. In 1987, Riverside attempted to build a white-water rafting ride called the Lost River Water Ride. Plagued with problems, the attraction never opened and was subsequently abandoned. A majority of the ride was demolished in 1989 to make way for Wild River Falls, a waterslide complex consisting of three sets of slides: Riptide, Blue Lightning and Pipeline. A popular attraction, Wild River Falls remained in operation until the opening of the Island Kingdom Waterpark in 1997.

In 1994, Riverside partnered with Lady Luck Gaming in a proposal to build a hotel and dockside casino complex at the park, one of several competing casino proposals in the state. The plan died after Agawam voters rejected a non-binding referendum in support of casino gambling in November.

Purchase by Premier Parks

During the 1996 season, the track on the Musik Express was damaged and the attraction remained closed for a portion of the year. A Chance Chaos was ordered and was scheduled to open for the 1997 season. During the winter of 1996, the Carroll family was approached by Premier Parks of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which subsequently purchased the park. Premier Parks renamed the park as Riverside: The Great Escape.

Under Premier Parks, various changes were made to the park. For the 1997 season, the new owners invested more than $20 million on general improvements and several new attractions. Attractions included the Island Kingdom Waterpark, which featured a children's water play area, various slides and a wave pool. Other attractions included Mind Eraser (later renamed to The Riddler Revenge) and Shipwreck Falls. In the process of renovation, some older rides such as the Bayern Kurve were removed. Main Street U.S.A. was substantially redesigned, and the Southern Center midway was themed to a 1950s city and renamed Rockville. Other improvements included a new entrance plaza and the carousel being renovated and relocated to the front gate.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor New England
The water park at Six Flags New England

In 1998, the park added several attractions including a lazy river, another children's play structure named Hook's Lagoon, a speed slide tower called Cannonball, a family raft slide named Swiss Family Tobaggan and a multi-slide tower called Big Kahuna. The water park expansion was added to the south end of the park next to the park's log flume. The park also added The Hellevator, an S&S Worldwide Turbo Drop tower measuring 21 stories tall, which was originally painted red.

Six Flags

On April 1, 1998, Premier Parks acquired the larger Six Flags chain of parks from Time Warner. The park continued to be known as "Riverside" until the end of the 1999 season. In 1999, the Riverside Park Speedway was removed and the waterpark was doubled in size. Additions included a new slide tower named Shark Attack and a second wave pool called Hurricane Bay. The park added a Hopkins river raft ride named Blizzard River to the North End, replacing a set of dry slides and the old Bumper Cars. Blizzard River was themed to incorporate the Penguin character from the Batman franchise, but the name of the ride was never changed when the park was allowed to use characters from DC Comics on their rides. A new western area called Crack Axle Canyon was added and included four rides, three of which were new to the park. In 2000, Riverside was rebranded "Six Flags New England", reflecting similar changes made at other Six Flags properties. The main street running through the park was renamed "Carroll Drive" in honor of the family that had owned the place for much of its history. The park added a new front gate plaza. On the former site of the racetrack, a new DC Comics-themed section of the park was installed. The area featured several new rides, including Superman – Ride of Steel, a hypercoaster designed by Intamin.

In 2008, Six Flags New England was to open The Dark Knight Coaster, an indoor MACK Wild Mouse coaster based on the upcoming film of the same name. The park's other Batman-based attraction had its name briefly changed from Batman – The Dark Knight to Batman: The Ride to avoid confusion. However, due to apparent permit issues, the ride was cancelled and dismantled, being sent to Six Flags Mexico, which built it in their park. The ride would have cost the park $7.5 million in exchange for bringing $280,000 in taxes for the state of Massachusetts. The cancellation angered the city of Agawam, which stated that issues with the ride were not evident. The park then announced the new "Glow in the Park Parade". On November 8, 2008, the Town of Agawam allowed Six Flags the right to build roller coasters up to 200 feet (61 m) in height. This paved the way for many future roller coasters in the park.

The 2010 season brought about the addition of a new children's area: Mr. Six's Splash Island located in Hurricane Harbor. This increased the number of children's areas in the park to four. In 2011, Gotham City Gauntlet: Escape From Arkham Asylum opened up in the DC Superhero Adventure section of the park. This ride replaced the football field and was placed on the same plot of land that the cancelled Dark Knight Coaster was supposed to be built on. The same year, the "Mr. Six's" portion of Mr. Six's Splash Island was dropped, effectively renaming the area to Splash Island. In late August 2011, it was announced that Goliath would be coming for the 2012 season. Simultaneously, it was announced that Shipwreck Falls, a water ride located in the North End of the park, would be closing to make way for this attraction. The 2012 season saw the opening of Goliath in the CrackAxle Canyon section of the park as well as a new restaurant in the same area known as JB's Smokehouse. A month before opening day in 2013, Catapult was unexpectedly removed and scrapped. In May of that same year, a new water ride opened in Hurricane Harbor known as Bonzai Pipelines. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Taz's DareDevil Dive was closed to make room for New England SkyScreamer and Twister, an inverting ride located in Rockville, was also removed. At the time of its opening in 2014, New England SkyScreamer was the world's largest swing ride at 408 feet in height. The SkyWay attraction closed forever at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

In July 2014, Cyclone closed forever. Construction signs were quickly put up, and during August of the same year, it was announced that Rocky Mountain Construction would transform the ride into a steel hybrid coaster, which would include three inversions and a steeper drop. Wicked Cyclone opened in May 2015. The 2016 season saw the addition of two new attractions: Fireball and Superman: The Ride. Fireball, a Larson Loop attraction, was installed in the former location of Twister. Bizarro was transformed back into Superman, including a new red track color and other effects. In 2017, The Joker, a 4D FreeFly coaster, was installed on the former site of SplashWater Falls, which closed in 2016. MindEraser, the park's SLC received new trains with an updated restraint style. Also during the 2017 season, Superman: The Ride had a limited run of offering Oculus Rift goggles to enhance the ride experience. Buzzsaw closed at the end of 2017. Harley Quinn Spinsanity was installed for the 2018 season, opening in May of that year. To make room for it, the Tea Cups were moved to the former location of Buzzsaw and is now classified as an attraction in Rockville. The South End was transformed into Gotham City, also seeing the transformation of Mind Eraser into The Riddler Revenge (which received a new green and yellow paint job). For the 2019 season, Cyborg: Hyper Drive, a spinning flat ride, was installed inside the former Hall of Justice building in DC Superheroes Adventures area of the park. This ride is the first to include the fictional character Grid, a sentient cybernetic system and the arch-nemesis of Cyborg, in Six Flags' DC character roster.

For the 2020 season, the park will add Supergirl Sky Flyer, a Zamperla Endeavour located in the location of the former Kryptonite Kollider, which will be retired at the end of the 2019 season. Along with this, the DC Superhero Adventure section of the park will be rethemed to DC Universe.

Attractions

Six Flags New England is home to many rides and attractions, including two World Class Roller Coasters: Wicked Cyclone and Superman the Ride. Superman the Ride is 208 feet (63 m) tall and drops 221 feet (67 m) into a tunnel, reaching a top speed of 77 mph (124 km/h). It is considered one of the best steel roller coasters in the world according to the trade magazine Amusement Today, which awarded it the prestigious Golden Ticket award in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Wicked Cyclone is the first hybrid roller coaster to hit the East Coast. It is 109 feet tall and reaches a top speed 55 mph. It includes three inversions, the World's first hangtime stall, 14 airtime hills and the world's first double reversing banking airtime hill. Wicked Cyclone was voted the 2nd Best New Roller Coaster on the planet for the 2015 season with Fury 325 in first place. It has been in the top 30 ever since it was in the Golden Ticket Awards and never went down.

Roller coasters

Ride Name Picture Opened Manufacturer Model/Type Location Notes Thrill Rating
Thunderbolt Thunderbolt, Six Flags New England Entrance.jpg 1941 Joseph E. Drambour Figure 8 wooden roller coaster Main Street Oldest roller coaster in the park. Moderate
The Great Chase Great Chase SFNE.jpg 1996 E&F Miler Industries Family Coaster/ 16 ft Outside Spiral CCW Looney Tunes Movie Town Originally named Rolling Thunder. Mild
The Riddler Revenge 1997 Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster Gotham City A Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster. Formerly named Mind Eraser from 1997–2017. Aggressive
Superman The Ride Superman - Ride Of Steel (Six Flags New England) 01.jpg 2000 Intamin Megacoaster DC Universe Formerly known as Superman – Ride of Steel (from 2000-2009) and Bizarro (from 2009 - 2015). This ride used Samsung virtual reality headsets during the 2016 season. Aggressive
Catwoman's Whip Entrance Catwoman's Whip.jpg 2000 Zierer Tivoli - Large DC Universe Originally named Poison Ivy's Tangled Train. Mild
Flashback Flashback à Six Flags New England (recadrée avec plus de luminosité).jpg 2000 Vekoma Boomerang North End Originally at Star Lake Amusement Park as Boomerang, then Kentucky Kingdom as Vampire. Aggressive
Batman:
The Dark Knight
Batman SFNE.jpg 2002 Bolliger & Mabillard Floorless Coaster Gotham City During the 2008 season, Batman: The Dark Knight was temporarily renamed Batman: The Ride to prevent confusion with The Dark Knight Coaster that was ultimately cancelled. Aggressive
Pandemonium Pandemonium, Six Flags New England.jpg 2005 Gerstlauer Spinning Coaster Model 420/4 North End Originally named Mr. Six's Pandemonium. In 2007, Mr. Six was dropped from the title. Moderate
Gotham City Gauntlet:
Escape from Arkham Asylum
2011 Maurer Söhne Wilde Maus Classic DC Universe Originally Road Runner Express at Kentucky Kingdom. Moderate
Goliath Déjà Vu roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.jpg 2012 Vekoma Giant Inverted Boomerang Crack Axle Canyon Originally Déjà Vu at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Aggressive
Wicked Cyclone Wicked Cyclone Media Day (17745251928).jpg 2015 Rocky Mountain Construction I-Box North End Originally Cyclone, a wooden coaster designed by William Cobb and opened in 1983.
It was reconstructed and re-tracked with steel by RMC in 2015.
Aggressive
The Joker Joker (Six Flags Over Texas).png 2017 S&S Worldwide 4th Dimension roller coaster Gotham City Replaced Splashwater Falls. Aggressive

Flat rides

Ride Name Opened Manufacturer/Type Location Notes
1909 Illions Carousel 1940 M.C. Illions Carousel Main Street Among the horses, a lion, a tiger and a zebra can be seen on the carousel as the only menagerie animals on the carousel.
Wild Wheelz 1962 Arrow Development/ Gould Manufacturing antique cars Kidzopolis Known as Route 66 from 1962 to 2014. Originally all Arrow cars — many have been replaced with Gould cars.
Scrambler 1973 Eli Bridge Scrambler North End A scrambler ride.
Gotham City Crime Wave 1979 Zamperla Swings Gotham City Up until the end of the 2006 season, the ride was located near Scream! under the name of "Adult Wave Swinger."
Kontiki 1985 Chance Rides Alpine Bobs Rockville Themed around Polynesia.
Balloon Race 1989 Zamperla Balloon Race North End No minimum height requirement with an adult.
Stampede Bumper Cars 1997 Zamperla Bumper Cars Crack Axle Canyon Bumper Cars are powered from the floor, which means there is no receiver on the back of the car.
Scream 1998 S&S Worldwide 3-tower Combo Complex Main Street Originally a one-tower Turbo Drop called Hellavator. Two combo towers were added in 2000. Original tower is still a Turbo Drop.
Blizzard River 1999 Hopkins Rides River rafting ride North End Eight riders careen down a concrete channel in a raft while passing rapids, whirlpools and waterfalls.
Houdini – The Great Escape 1999 Vekoma Madhouse Crack Axle Canyon No minimum height requirement with an adult.
Tea Cups 1999 Zamperla Tea Cups Rockville A tea cup ride. The ride originally had no canopy. Relocated to the former location of Buzzsaw for the 2018 season to make room for Harley Quinn Spinsanity.
Tomahawk 1999 HUSS Frisbee Crack Axle Canyon Reaches heights of 78 feet.
Nightwing 2009 Slingshot Gotham City Formerly named The Blitz and Slingshot. An upcharge attraction. After being relocated to the park from Six Flags St. Louis, the ride was located in the DC Superhero Adventures section before being moved to the South End in 2011. Relocated in front of The Riddler Revenge for the 2018 season to make room for Harley Quinn Spinsanity and renamed Nightwing.
New England SkyScreamer 2014 Funtime Star Flyer North End It was the tallest swing ride in the world until the Orlando Starflyer opened in spring 2018. The New England SkyScreamer stands at 408 feet in height.
Rock n' Rodeo 2016 SBF/Visa Traffic Jam Crack Axle Canyon A spinning family ride located on the former Rodeo's pad.
Fireball 2016 Larson Giant Loop Rockville A larger version of a Larson Ring of Fire, measuring 22 meters (72 ft) in diameter. The fronts of both sides of the train are 50s style hot rod fronts. Located on the spot of Twister, the park's former HUSS Top Spin.
Harley Quinn Spinsanity 2018 Zamperla Giant Discovery Gotham City A very large pendulum ride with outward-facing seats that swings back and forth. The pendulum reaches a top speed of 70 mph and soars 14 stories high. Slingshot and Tea Cups were relocated to make space for the ride.
Cyborg: Hyper Drive 2019 Chance Rides Freestyle DC Universe An indoor spinning ride with outward facing seats. Themed to Cyborg and Grid. The ride was announced as "Cyborg" in August 2018 but was changed to "Cyborg: Hyper Drive" in February 2019. Located inside the former Hall of Justice building.
Supergirl Sky Flyer 2020 Zamperla Endeavour DC Universe Located in the location of the former Kryptonite Kollider.

Children's rides

Ride Name Opened Manufacturer/Type Location Notes
Animation Department 1998 Zamperla kiddie swings ride Looney Tunes Movie Town Children's swing ride.
Daffy's Hollywood Tours 1998 Zamperla Crazy Bus Looney Tunes Movie Town Children's bus ride.
Taz's Prop Delivery 1998 Zamperla Big Foot Looney Tunes Movie Town Children's truck ride.
Tweety's Clubhouse 1999 Zamperla Jumpin' Star Looney Tunes Movie Town Children's drop ride.
Wacky Wheel 2001 Kiddie Ferris Wheel Kidzopolis Originally named Chuck Wagon Wheel and later Cold Spaghetti Western Wheel.
Whirlybirdz 2001 SBF kiddie ride Kidzopolis Originally named Timber Town Sky Patrol and later Wags' Doggie Copters.
Krazy Kups 2001 SBF kiddie tea cups Kidzopolis Originally named Tiny's Tea Party and later Dorothy's Rosy Tea Cups.
Zinger Swings 2001 SBF kiddie ride Kidzopolis Originally named Flight of the Bumble Bees and later Henry's Underwater Swing Band.
Krazy Kars 2007 Zamperla Sports car ride Kidzopolis Originally named Big Red Cars.
New England Express 2007 Miniature train ride Whistlestop Park Originally named Thomas the Tank Engine from 2007 to 2010. (Closed from 2011 to 2012).
Ship's Ahoy! 2007 Zamperla Rockin' Tug Kidzopolis Originally named Captain Feathersword's Rockin' Pirate Ship.
Splish Splash Zone 2007 Playground and water play area Kidzopolis Originally named Henry's Splish Splash.
Wile E. Coyote's Speed Trap 1998 Looney Tunes Movie Town The ride was moved to the former location of the Looney Tunes Movie Town stage for the 2018 season to make way for an expanded bathroom in the area.
ZoomJets 2007 Zamperla Telecombat Kidzopolis Originally Big Red Planes.

Six Flags New England Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.