HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — One of Hersheypark’s oldest attractions celebrates its golden anniversary this year.
The Coal Cracker flume turns 50 years old, making it the oldest water ride at the park.
This attraction was one of the first rides the park purchased during its 1970s renovation and rebranding from “Hershey Park” to “Hersheypark.” The ride was designed by now-defunct ride manufacturer Arrow Dynamics, who also designed Trailblazer.
According to the Amusement Parkives, Coal Cracker was originally included in Hersheypark’s renovation budget. The ride was formally purchased on August 15, 1972, at a cost of $811,000, which is equivalent to about $5.3 million today.
The ride has always been planned to be installed during Hersheypark’s renovation. But, with the park losing its former flume ride from Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the park made it a priority to add the new attraction the following year.
Arrow Dynamics called the ride a hydroflume that features two lift hills and one large drop with two sides for increased capacity.
Hersheypark states that the ride has a total of 30 boats, but runs between 21 and 27 boats, depending on whether both sides of the final drop are open. The ride also features a massive turntable in its loading and unloading station, which helps stabilize the boats as well as increase capacity.
Hersheypark says the boats weigh 600 pounds each and can hold up to five riders each. Each boat has a set of guide wheels that guide the boat through the course. The ride interacts with many Hersheypark rides, such as Great Bear and sooperdooperLooper.
The final drop is 55 feet tall and drops riders 49 feet at a 35-degree angle. At the bottom of the drop, there is a small airtime hill, which makes the boats skim across the pull-out of the drop and gives rides a quick pop of airtime, something not usually seen on log flumes today.
The Coal Cracker is popular at the park due to its low height requirement, unique layout, and is a great way to cool off in the Pennsylvania summer heat. You can find it in the Kissing Tower Hill section of the park near Great Bear.