Riding Rides

The first roller coaster I ever road was the Thunderbolt at Riverside Park (now Six Flags New England).


I was in the 6th grade, at least, before I had the guts to get on that coaster. I had been going to the park for years before I worked up the courage, and it would be another year before I had the nerve to ride Cyclone, the park’s larger (largest, at the time) coaster. Karin doesn’t like riding roller coasters at all.

My children do not share this reticence. Ben eagerly rode every roller coaster he was tall enough for the first time we went to Hersheypark. That was three years ago. This year he rode every roller coaster at Hersheypark.

(He would insist that I tell you that he has never ridden Sidewinder because it has tended to be closed when we are at the park, and he did not ride Breakers Edge Water Coaster, despite the park including it in their number of total coasters.)

Bouncing with excitement.

Bouncing with excitement.

Olive has discovered her love of roller coasters at an even earlier age. My Fathers’ Day gift this year was a surprise trip to Knoebels. The first ride we went on was the log flume. The second was the Phoenix. Knoebels is a free admission park; you pay per ride. Olive was just tall enough for the roller coaster, and the attendant let her on free the first time, in case she didn’t like it. She liked it. She rode it two more times that day, and she rode the park’s larger wooden roller coaster, the Twister, too. I started taking Ben to Hersheypark when he was 7. Olive will be 6 by next summer and is already angling to come along.

My photos from Knoebels and Hersheypark (including Ben with all of the coasters he rode) are on Flickr.

One final thought. I noticed something this summer. It’s a thing I do, a very Dad thing. Even now that I’ve noticed it, though, I can’t stop doing it. I wave. I wave at people passing on roller coasters; I wave at people I pass while I’m on a roller coaster. I wave happily, goofily at anyone and everyone as I ride the rides. There’s actually a photo of me doing it in one of the albums I linked above. I’ll leave it to you to find it.