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Experiencing Astroland's Dante's Inferno

Opened in 1962, Astroland became a small, 3.1-acre theme park located on the boardwalk at Coney Island. Astroland first promoted itself as a space-age theme park, although in later years a trip to the aging theme park provided more of a blast from the past than a glimpse into the future. Dante’s Inferno comprised one of many popular rides at the now-defunct theme park.

A dark ride

A horror themed ride, Dante’s Inferno carried passengers through dark passageways in a car similar to a bumper car. Rife with blinking strobe lights, the ride simulated lightning and lingering screams. Riders treated themselves to gruesome scenes of people being dismembered with saws, dead bodies and skeletons. It also included werewolves who jumped at the passenger cars and two gorillas who seemed to be quite the misfits amongst the other horrors.

Not quite a roller coaster

Dante’s Inferno had some similarities to a traditional roller coaster. Whipping turns treated riders to thrills as the car moved through the dark maze. At one point, the car carried them outside and then plummeted down a slope, through a set of doors and back into the darkness with more horrors awaiting them. Towards the beginning of the ride, one ghoul swooped down towards the car, but for the rest of the ride passengers viewed the horrors through glass, making it rather tame as a house of horrors.

In its later years, Dante's Inferno added more scenes, some of which, like the man with a crown opening a door, seem to have little relevance to a horror ride. With the closing of Astroland in 2009, they dismantled it. The ultimate fate of the one minute and forty-five second long ride remains unknown.