Famous Astroland Rides and Attractions
Astroland opened in 1962 to huge fanfare and quickly rose up as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. Predating Great America, this park featured an assortment of rides, games and entertainment. An icon of the Eastern Seaboard and the site of the supposed birthplace of the hot dog, Astroland remains a fixture in American culture and features several rides that remain legendary even the parked closed in 2008.
This is probably the most famous roller coaster in the world. The Cyclone features classic-meets-current hybrid roller coaster technology, with a steel frame and wooden tracks. Since its construction, several companies have purchased and leased the coaster to keep it from dereliction. The Cyclone still runs despite running regular circuits for over 70 years, although on a more limited basis. Charles Lindbergh once reportedly said that riding the Cyclone was more exciting that flying solo across the Atlantic. Despite the rest of Astroland closing down, the Cyclone is basically a national monument and is destined to make kids and adults scream alike for many more years.
The Astrotower was one of the first exciting examples of a gyro tower as it lifted visitors into the air for a 360 degree panoramic view of Astroland. The Astrotower remained popular with crowds until frequent repairs permanently shut its doors. Although no longer in operation, the tower itself still stands as a monument and reminder of its popularity.
This German-designed ride offers park-goers a seemingly simple one-hill track, but with a twist. Riders start in a normal upright position but as the ride goes on, the seats gradually tilt inward, until bodies lean at almost a 45 degree angle. The ride was responsible for many delightful lost lunches and gleeful screams.
For many, the buildings and history of Astroland are the real attraction. Several movies filmed key scenes there, including The Wiz, The Warriors and Uptown Girls. Although tourists can only visit a small portion of the now mostly-defunct park, its place as a bridge between old-fashioned amusement parks and the sprawling mega-parks of today is cemented in time forever.