Of the three-dozen rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, two are drawing the most attention, according to officials of the San Antonio attraction.
“Thrill-seekers like the Superman Krypton ride,” says Sydne Purvis, communications manager. “It’s about a mile of track with six inversions. There are varying twists and turns. It travels 70 miles per hour.”
It is the largest steel and the only floorless rollercoaster in the Southwest. It drops nearly 16 stories at its apex, she points out, while the track is below passengers’ feet, but there is no floor.
And, Purvis adds, “kids like Krypton, too.”
In an hour, about 1,600 people board three trains that each accommodates 96 riders. The seats are blue while the cars are red and blue. Over-the-shoulder restraints are yellow. The track is red with blue supports while the rails are gray. The ride lasts more than three minutes.
Believe it or not, forerunners of present-day coasters were huge blocks of ice fashioned into sleds, with straw or fur on the icy seat for passenger comfort in 1600s Russia. Sand helped slow down the sled at the end of the ride to keep it from crashing.
America’s amusement park history begins on Coney Island in 1875. Railway companies, in search of ways to keep passenger usage up on weekends, set up parks there and at the end of rail lines for weekend and summer activities. The first rides were carousels, but in 1884, the first gravity switchback train was introduced.
One of the most popular rides is in the water park. “The Tornado looks like a like a giant funnel on its side,” Purvis says. “Riders need a swimsuit. They are swirled over 5,000 gallons of water.”
“We’ve had pretty good response to the Tornado,” adds Dan Porter, Purvis’ assistant. “Lots of people have ridden it and we haven’t received one complaint.”
Cloverleaf shaped tubes each accommodate four people. Passengers begin there ride 75 feet in the air and blast down the 132-foot tunnel at 35 feet per second that leads to the open-ended funnel, which stands 60 feet high.
About 700 people an hour experience the wet ride that culminates in a waterfall splash through the mouth of the tunnel in the catch pool below.
Other popular rides include the:
> Boomerang: This super coaster nearly 20 stories high sends riders through loops and corkscrews – then again backwards.
> Road Runner Express: Designed to be thrilling for small children, each train consisting of six cars that hold two passengers zips around the circuit multiple times.
> Scream: Skyrocketing and ground-pounding free-fall machine catapults riders from a 20-foot tower several times at various intervals.
> Chaos: Spinning ride with bucket seats that can swing from 75 degrees to 360 degrees.
One of this year’s three new shows is Heat Wave, which features music and period costumes from the Motown era. Remember these songs: “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,” “My Guy,” “Get Ready” and “Reach Out.”
“We are absolutely delighted to bring this incredible show package to our guests,” said Steve Calloway, vice president and general manager. “We’ve always prided ourselves on our live shows, but these feature productions are truly the crÃ?Â¨me de la crÃ?Â¨me. Spirit of the Dance and the Amazing Acrobats of China have performed to sold out audiences all over the world.
“And Kathy Burks is a master puppeteer known throughout the Southwest. These shows epitomize the world class entertainment Six Flags Over Texas is famous for.”
And there’s the One Voice Concert series that will be stages in July. The performing dates are:
July 14: TobyMac, Kutless, Pillar, Grits, and Stellarkart.
July 15: Michael W. Smith, the David Crowder Band and Matthew West.
July 16: Third Day, Thousand Foot Krutch, Superchick and FM Static.
July 23: Ruben Studdard, Smokey Norful, Out of Eden and DJ Maj.
Tickets, however, cost an $8 in addition to park admission.
The attraction is open daily through Aug. 15. Then on Saturday and Sunday, plus Labor Day, through Oct. 31.
It’s difficult to time your visits to avoid the busiest days. “The crowds have been great,” Purvis says “It varies – it really does. Sometimes the weekends are good. And then during the week it’s crowded.”