By Rebekah Bradway
September 20, 2006 | Riders can't turn back
once they've been buckled and closed in behind
two doors to be lifted and dropped from the world's
tallest drop ride at the Celebration Centre just
south of Logan.
The Sonic Boom, an attraction known for its
height and rusty appearance, drops riders 367
feet without using brakes, but the thrill begins
at the bottom of the base.
"That is the scariest ride ever!" said a 10-year-old
boy who had just experienced the adrenaline rush
of the fall.
Riders can go on the drop ride in pairs, and
they sit side by side on bicycle-seat-shaped stools.
They are held in place by just one strap that
looks and works like a basic seatbelt without
a chest strap. After checking the straps and distributing
headsets, a ride assistant shuts the riders in
behind a glass door surrounded by fence-like metal
and then waves goodbye as he closes and locks
the outer door, rusty and brown to match the rest
of the attraction.
The clear compartment slowly lifts out of the
rusty tube, and the riders look watch the entire
valley get smaller and smaller through the fence-like
walls and see-through door, as if in Willy Wonka's
glass elevator. Once at the top, they have the
choice of waiting 10 seconds for the ride to drop
automatically and without warning, or they can
push a red button to release themselves from the
view and anticipation. Any screams during the
100-mph drop are muffled by the loud echoing noises
made when the compartment enters back into the
metal base, ending the exhilarating ride.
The Sky Sling, however, does not end as quickly.
Riders can be strapped in to conventional seats,
ones that stay upright during the entire ride
and use shoulder bars to strap riders in. The
other option is to ride in a "suicide seat," for
which riders must be strapped to their seats using
"The suicide seats are everyone's favorite,"
ride assistant Tyson Irwin said. "Plus, the harnesses
make them safer too.
The Sky Sling flings up as the suicide seats
lean forward with bodies parallel to the ground.
The harnessed riders face the sidewalk below and
can even put their chins down and look through
their hanging legs in the direction opposite of
the way their seat originally faced.
Irwin, 17, said some of the employees like talking
to the riders right before they are flung from
the sling-shot-like attraction to distract them.
A favorite phrase, he said, is, "And make sure
you don't...," making sure to be interrupted by
the ride as it flies up for the first time.
Shooting forward, rather than up, sets apart
the Celebration Centre's Screamin ' Swing, named
the "Best New Ride" for amusement parks in 2005.
The name of the attraction explains the basic
idea of a swing, but instead of being powered
by leg movement, the ride shoots out air to give
the swing an extra boost each time it sways toward
the ground in a pendulum-looking manner.
Riders are shot forward and backward at 50 mph,
leading to streams of tears from wind in some
eyes, and they get high enough to face directly
the miniature golf course beneath. "The swing
ride is way more intense than I thought it would
be because of how fast it moves. I thought it
would just swing back and forth, but it was pretty
crazy," USU junior Adam Cooper said after riding.
The fourth and most expensive of the centre's
thrill rides is the Sky Coaster, another swing-like
attraction. For this experience, riders are strapped
in to what look like body-sized lifejackets. They
are secured to several cables, either alone or
with one or two partners, underneath a huge arch
from which they are then raised. The attached
cables lead to an adjacent tower, and once riders
have reached the top of the tower, they hear a
countdown. A rider pulls a releaser to send them
free falling, scooping down through the arch and
then ascending back up in a swing-like motion.
"The Sky Coaster makes you feel so secure but
so free too. It's pretty sweet, " Cooper said.
Riders must be 42 inches tall and above to be
eligible to ride these high-thrill rides, but
there are alternative activities for those who
can't. The Celebration Centre also has miniature
golf, Kiddie Cars, a kids' corner, an arcade and
Participants can pay for each attraction separately
or can buy half-day passes which include everything
except the arcade. The half-day passes can be
purchased for $35 for people 42 inches and taller
or for $20 for those under 42 inches. USU students
get $10 off of a pass when they show their student
ID card to the cashier.
For more information, the Celebration Centre's
http://logancelebrationcentre.com. The address
is 1903 S. 800 West.
TALL AND SCARY:
The rides at the Celebration Centre are designed
to thrill. Below, a statue of ride designer Stan
Checketts stands atop the Sonic Boom. / Photos
by Brianna Mortensen