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The Wild One
Six Flags America, Mitchellville, MD
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A wonderful, classic wooden coaster. We should all give thanks to Six Flags for preserving this great, old woodie.

  • About Guide Rating (0=Yich!, 10=Wow!): 8
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6
  • Typical classic wood coaster thrills
  • Type: Wooden out and back
  • Highest point (feet): 98
  • Max. speed (mph): 57
  • Height restriction (minimum, in inches): 48

While Six Flags America is a relatively modern park, The Wild One coaster dates back to 1917. It originally circled along one side of Paragon Park in Hull, MA, south of Boston, where it was known simply as the Giant Coaster. When the venerable seaside park closed (lamentably, along with so many other vintage amusement parks) in 1985, the Maryland park saved it from the wrecking ball.

The Wild One stirs the senses with its nostalgic appeal: the look of the rickety, white-painted support beams, the sound of the click-clack-click as the train climbs the lift hill, the out-of-control feel as riders get tossed from side to side-- even the smell of the grease seems from another era. The traditional ride qualifies as a living piece of history.

While Six Flags America boasts some great new-age coasters, the Wild One more than holds its own. Airtime abounds throughout the ride and there are a couple of instances of ejector air-- a sudden burst of force that shoots passengers out of their seats (but still safely tethered by the car's lap bars). I defy anyone to emerge from this ride without an ear-to-ear grin.

It's been said that you can't go home again but, for a few minutes anyway, The Wild One takes you back to the Golden Era of roller coasters.

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Photo: (C) Arthur Levine 2002, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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