Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Six Flags Astroworld
Six Flags Astroworld is a theme park that is part of the Six Flags chain. It is adjacent to the 610 Loop in Houston, Texas. It was the fourth park to be included in the Six Flags family of amusement parks. It was also the first park to be purchased by Six Flags instead of being built, however, to this day, Six Flags has not built a new theme park in the United States since the opening of Six Flags Mid-America (now known as Six Flags St. Louis) in 1971.
AstroWorld was originally the brainchild of local philanthropist and former Houston mayor Judge Roy Hofheinz, who intended it to complement The Astrodome. The bridge that crosses Loop 610 that connects AstroWorld to its parking lot is the only privately-owned bridge accessible to the public land in Harris County, Texas.
The theme park opened in 1968. The eight themed areas originally consisted of: Alpine Valley, American, Children's World, European Village, Modville, Plaza de Fiesta, Oriental Corner, and Western Junction. Original attractions included 610 Limited Train, Alpine Carousel, Alpine Sleigh Ride (dark ride through Der Hohfheinzberg Mountain), Astroway (VonRoll Sky Cars), Astrowheel (double ferris wheel), Barnyard Petting Zoo, Black Dragon (spider/monster ride) Crystal Palace Theater, The Happening (scrambler), Le Taxi (later Antique Taxis) Lost World Adventure (jungle boat ride through Rio Misterio), Maypole (tea cups), Mill Pond (bumper boats) Shooting Gallery, Skyrama (later Astroneedle), Spinout (car ride), Rub-a-Dub (nursery rhyme themed boat ride), Wagon Wheel (Chance trabant).
AstroWorld was sold to the Six Flags family of theme parks in 1975. It was re-named "AstroWorld, A Six Flags Theme Park" as to not confuse patrons with the Dallas based original park Six Flags Over Texas. Similarly, Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas is known officially as "Fiesta Texas, A Six Flags Theme Park".
AstroWorld is home to the only pipe-line barrel roll rollercoaster in North America (Ultra Twister), planned and designed with Intamin AG the world's first river rapids ride (Thunder River), home to the world's first successful suspended coaster (XLR-8), and features two looping coasters with no over-the-shoulder restraints. It is also home to Batman The Escape, the only stand-up rollercoaster in the state of Texas. AstroWorld was also the park to debut the S&S Power "Sky Swatter" ride, dubbed Swat. Diablo Falls is the world's tallest spinning water ride.
Six Flags Astroworld's major claims to fame are the Texas Cyclone, which, when built, was one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the United States; the Ultra Twister, which is widely regarded as one of the most unique rides in the United States. Another claim to fame is Greezed Lightnin, a roller coaster that acclerates from 0 - 60 mph in roughly 4 seconds. Also unique is that the ride is a shuttle loop type coaster, meaning riders travel both forwards and backwards during the course of the ride.
During construction of the Texas Cyclone, a tropical storm destroyed the entire North end turnaround section causing it to have to be rebuilt and the opening pushed back to June 12, 1976. There are more than 25,000 gallons of paint on the Texas Cyclone. It is made of Douglas Fir lumber. It has over a dozen drops and is one of the few full sized rollercoasters in the world to operate without a mid-course brake run. In 2001 it was determined that modifications made to the ride deemed the head-rests unnecessary and they were removed enabling riders a great view during the course of the ride.
AstroWorld is adjacent to Six Flags Waterworld , a water park (which has been incorporated into the themepark), and is nearby the Reliant Park complex. Aside from the Six Flags owned Splashtown water park in Spring Texas near FM2920 and I-45, and the future Schlitterbahn in Galveston, they are the only theme parks in the Houston Metropolitan Area.
Additional information on this park can be found at the fan-site http://www.sixflagshouston.com
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