- About Guide Rating (0=Yich!, 10=Wow!): 8.5
- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 5
No physical thrill-ride action, but gore and psychological thrills may be frightening for small children.
- Type: Classic Pretzel (the manufacturer) dark ride
- Location: Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, on the Boardwalk at W. 12th St. in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
- Phone: 718-372-2592
- Admission to the park is free. Guests purchase a la carte tickets for the rides.
- Coney Island Overview
Part sideshow come-on and part monster movie come-to-life, the garish dark rides were a midway sight to behold. Amid animated fiends, recorded shrieks, and brash signs promising the horrors that awaited within, tentative riders crashed through the doors and into the darkness at one end and emerged nervously laughing at the other (typically induced by a burst of air or some other shocker just before exiting).
Neither as flashy as roller coasters nor as charming as carousels, dark rides were nonetheless enormously popular. Every park had at least one, and major amusement meccas boasted many. New York's Coney Island alone once offered as many as 25 dark rides with evocative names such as The Devil's Pit and Shangri-La-Ha-Ha. Changing times and stricter fire laws, however, spelled doom for many of the traditional spook houses. In the latter part of the last century, hundreds closed in the US, and only about two dozen remain in operation today. Spook-A-Rama, arguably the definitive classic dark ride, is the lone surviving example of its genre at Coney Island.
Sitting in the shadow of the iconic 150-foot Wonder Wheel, the Spook-A-Rama, like much of Coney Island, oozes nostalgia. Its high-back cars, the quaint skeleton motif on the fa?ade, and even the name, "Spook-A-Rama," suggest another era. But, this is not a museum piece. Riders board the Spook today in search of the same scare-me-silly chills as riders from nearly 50 years ago.
Next page: Families Get a Charge out of the Spook