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  • Wooden roller coasters making comeback to American theme parks

    2013-03-29

    Wooden roller coasters used to be staples of amusement parks across the country. Their rustic charm, combined with their innate thrills, made them icons of yesteryear. However, as coasters became bigger, faster and more metallic, they got pushed to the side. That is no longer the case, however, as wood coasters are making a comeback in parks from one end of the United States to the other, reports NBC Travel.

    The biggest reason for the increase in wooden roller coasters is similar to the reason they went away in the first place - improved technology. Recent advancements have made it easier for designers to build safe, smoother rides that offer adrenaline junkies the thrills of a wooden coaster without the concerns over safety. One of the newest, Outlaw Run in Missouri's Silver Dollar City, has earned rave reviews. Experts say the new building methods have helped inspire confidence among riders.

    "Riding a wood coaster is very psychological," Robb Alvey, creator of the fan site, ThemeParkReview.com, told NBC. "People look at a steel coaster, see it's rigid and just trust it. With wood, what's planted in your brain is the idea that it's going to shake itself to pieces."

    With an increase in the number of wooden coasters bursting onto the scene, now may be a good time to take look back at some of the most famous amusements parks around the country - many of which have famous wooden roller coasters of their own. If you're looking for some of the most historic coasters around, you need to look no further than Pittsburgh's Kennywood amusement park, according to USA Today.

    Kennywood is home to two rides in particular, known as the Jack Rabbit and the Racer, that are among the most historic in the country. The two wooden coasters were built in the 1920s but have stood the test of time over the last nearly 90 years.

    Of course, there are many other amusement park hotspots in the United States. According to the Los Angeles Times, few can compete with Ohio's Kings Island, which is home to the famous wooden coaster known simply as The Beast. The track stretches well over a mile in length, and a ride takes more than five minutes to complete, but you'll certainly want to savor every second.

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