What's New At The Amusement Parks?

Korky Vann
Savvy Shopper
There's a new coaster at Six Flag New England and a new thrill ride at Quassy Amusement Park

If you thought amusement park thrills couldn't get more, well, thrilling, you're in for some stomach-churning, scream-inducing surprises at area amusement parks this summer.

Things are getting frantic at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark in Middlebury and wicked at Six Flags New England in Agawam, while a Dino Expedition is heading to Lake Compounce in Bristol.

Quassy Amusement & Waterpark management says its new thrill ride, Frantic, will provide 360 degrees of pure adrenaline rush when it makes its debut later this month.

From the sounds of it, they're not kidding.

Riders are seated on a circular platform, suspended on a giant pendulum. (Locking over-the-shoulder restraints secure you in place.) The platform floor retracts, and the pendulum starts to swing back and forth. As the ride climbs to 80 degrees, then 120 degrees, the G and negative-G forces increase — as do the screams.

The swinging action continues until Frantic — and riders' stomachs — goes through a series of complete 360-degree, topsy-turvy flips.

Ron Gustafson, the park's public relations manager, took a test drive when researching new thrill-ride possibilities.

"My colleagues took one look at my face when I got off and decided that if we were looking for thrills, this was it," says Gustafson.

The park is also adding a new bumper car ride for the younger set. Little parkgoers can drive their own wheels in "Collidoscope," an eight-car ride located near the kiddieland rides behind the arcade building.

Six Flags New England

A new hybrid steel-and-wood coaster, called the Wicked Cyclone, makes its debut at Six Flags New England this spring. (The ride is expected to open Memorial Day weekend.)

Park management says it's the first coaster of its kind on the East Coast — and fans can expect a shriek-fest experience.

In other words, the ride could be the longest 97 seconds of their lives.

Wicked Cyclone stands 10 stories high and reaches speeds of up to 55 mph. Once the 24 riders are on board, it quickly climbs the 109-foot hill then plummets at maximum speeds. The steel track/wooden structure coaster has a 200-degree stall and two Zero-G Rolls.

"There are fewer than five of these coasters on the planet," says Jennifer McGrath, the park's communications manager. "With its high speeds and upside-down rolls, it's going to be a massive attraction for coasters lovers."

Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce in Bristol is going the "edu-tainment" route with its new feature this season.

Dino Expedition, a prehistoric-themed area, features a fossil dig area and Jurassic pathways through a forest featuring eleven animatronics dinosaurs. The 40-foot creatures, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops and Velociraptor, breathe, roar and look for prey. Facts and trivia about the dinosaurs can be found along the paths and an open-air fossil dig area gives visitors the chance to unearth fossils.

"The area is educational and it's fun," said Jerry Brick, Lake Compounce's general manager.

"And we still have our famous coaster, Boulder Dash, which was named the best wooden roller coaster in the world by 'Amusement Today.' "

For those who like to camp, Lake Compounce has added new Cubs Huts to its Bear Creek Campground $89 Monday throught Thursday night; $99 Friday to Sunday night. A special deal: get two free tickets per night to Lake Compounce when you stay at the camp ground May 8 to 10 and May 15 to 17. Four-ticket maximum. More specifics at

Hours And Admission

>>Quassy Amusement Park is open on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26, for spring break. The park is open some weekends in May and daily starting June 5. Splash Away Bay Water Park opens May 23. Admission is $26.50 for adults and $22.50 for kids under 45 inches. Information:

>>Lake Compounce is open weekends in May and daily beginning May 21. The Crocodile Cove Water Park opens May 23. Admission is $40.99 for adults; $30.99 for juniors, (52 inches and under) and $20 for seniors. Information:

>>Six Flags New England is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday, April 26, for spring break. The park will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 17. Beginning May 22, Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor Water Park will be open daily. General admission is $59.99; children under 54 inches are $49.99, kids under two years of age are admitted free. There are discounts on advance purchase tickets. Information:

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