Zoo home to oldest coaster in Ohio


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POWELL — The American Coaster Fanatics (ACE) on Saturday unveiled an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark plaque for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Sea Dragon, the oldest functioning roller coaster in Ohio. Sea Dragon, which opened in 1956, is also viewed as an ACE Coaster Vintage owing to its conventional working techniques, which include hand-pulled manual brakes and no seat dividers.

The designation as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark is reserved for rides of historic significance. Sea Dragon is noteworthy as the oldest roller coaster remaining from famed designer John Allen. In the course of the peak of the postwar baby growth of the 1950s, amusement parks began introducing junior-sized roller coasters, intended for more youthful riders. Allen, president of the Philadelphia Toboggan Corporation (PTC), began designing his have coasters soon after using manage of PTC in 1954. Amongst his first patterns ended up a few almost similar junior picket coasters that opened amongst 1956 and 1957 at a few unique parks. The first was at a zoo amusement park positioned adjacent to the Columbus Zoo with construction supervised by PTC’s Frank Hoover.

“We are exceptionally proud that Sea Dragon is acquiring this fantastic recognition from American Coaster Enthusiasts. We benefit sharing the roller coaster’s history with our returning company and these who are going through the pleasure and thrill for the very first time,” reported Anthony Sabo, vice president of Waterpark Operations and Guest Services.

“In addition to the nostalgia it offers, Sea Dragon serves as a potent foundation and inspiration for us as we continue to present new encounters. In fact, with the addition of Tidal Twist in 2021, the Columbus Zoo turned the to start with zoo in the United States to attribute two roller coasters. Sea Dragon continues to be a relatives favorite, and we seem forward to sharing it with foreseeable future generations of roller coaster lovers,” Sabo explained.

Originally termed Jet Flyer, the coaster has a height of 37 ft, reaching a prime speed of 25 mph alongside 1,320 toes of monitor. The coaster was renamed Sea Dragon in 1984 just after the park was leased to Funtime, Inc. and the park rebranded to Wyandot Lake. Six Flags took manage of the park from 1996 until eventually 2006, and a calendar year afterwards management returned to the Columbus Zoo, which annexed the park and provided a complete refurbishment of the coaster.

Started in 1978, American Coaster Enthusiasts is a nonprofit, volunteer firm committed to the preservation, advertising, appreciation and protected enjoyment of roller coasters. With 6,500 customers around the world, ACE is the greatest and longest-operating enthusiast firm in the world. Associates of ACE obtain distinctive park rewards, newsletters, publications and the option to show up at nationwide, community and even worldwide excursions at parks. ACE hosts more than 75 nationwide and regional coaster functions across North The us each individual 12 months and has been prominently featured on numerous news courses and lots of cable networks, these types of as the Journey Channel.

Riders just take a flip on the Sea Dragon roller coaster at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Submitted by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

By Harriet