As with most Six Flags parks, the focus here is on coasters and thrill rides. And when it comes to coasters, Six Flags New England boasts what I believe is the world's absolute finest: the Bizarro hypercoaster. That alone would be more than reason enough to visit. But, there are plenty of other great features at the park.
The floorless coaster, Batman--The Dark Knight, is not quite up to the standards of floorless coasters at some other parks, but it is nonetheless a hoot. The Cyclone wooden twister coaster is a legendary fierce beast. While re-tracking and other modifications have taken some of the sting out of the ride, it can still pack quite a punch. Riders in the rear car, beware: Cyclone can toss you around mercilessly and inflict some punishing body blows.
The Mind Eraser, an inverted steel coaster, is not one of the park's highlights. With their feet dangling in the air, riders sit two across in ski-lift style cars that navigate the wild twists and loops suspended from the track above. Unlike other inverted coasters however, Mind Eraser is not particularly smooth and delivers some jarring head-banging moments. My advice: Skip the coaster's long lines and opt for a second (or third or fourth) ride on Superman.
Barely-There NostalgiaKnown for many years as Riverside, the park began as a picnic grove in 1840 and has a long history on which to draw. A circa-1909 carousel (although Riverside installed it in 1940) graces the park's front entrance in a lavish building canopy. The classic 1940 "Thunderbolt" wooden roller coaster includes the ride's original, evocative neon sign at its entrance. But, in typical Six Flags fashion, just about everything else about the park's glorious, if tacky, past is gone.
In fact, there is little to distinguish Six Flags New England from any of the corporation's other parks. The company tends to strip away any local ambiance in favor of a homogenized, one-size-fits-all ethos. This can be especially jarring when it comes to food. As with most Six Flags parks (and most theme parks, for that matter), the food stands are often overcrowded and the dining choices are limited, overpriced, and bland. Where are the lobsters, steamers, clam chowder, baked beans, corn bread, and other regional favorites? This is Six Flags NEW ENGLAND, right? Instead, it's the usual suspects, such as warmed-over hamburgers, Subway sandwiches, greasy chicken strips, and coagulated pizza.
But Six Flags knows how to do rides. In addition to the coasters, the park offers other great attractions, such as the Blizzard River raft ride. Teeming with fog, the rafts careen in near-whiteout conditions for a wet (but not soaking) respite from the heat. Houdini's Escape is an intriguing spinning room illusion. The nearby Tomahawk is an enormous whirl-and-hurl ride. Younger kids will have plenty of fun in Wiggle's World, Thomas the Tank Engine's land, and the Looney Tunes-themed Movie Town.
Hurricane Harbor water park is included with admission. With two wave pools, a water coaster, tons of slides, and other attractions, there's plenty to help guests cool down after a hot day on the thrill rides.
Agawam, MA (near Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT). The actual address is Route 159, 1623 Main Street in Agawam, MA.
Tickets and Admission Info:
Reduced price for children (2 years old to less than 54"). Ages 2 and under are free. Discounted tickets are often available online. Season pass tickets include admission to all Six Flags parks.
For an additional fee, the park offers the Flash Pass go-to-the-front-of-the-lines program. VIP tours available for an extra fee (which is quite high).
Compare rates for hotels near Six Flags New England at About.com's booking partner, Kayak.
Rides and Highlights:
- Bizarro hypercoaster
- Batman--The Dark Knight floorless coaster
- Fright Fest Halloween Event Info
- Cyclone wood twister coaster
- Thunderbolt wood coaster
- Blizzard River raft ride
The actual address is Route 159, 1623 Main Street in Agawam, MA.
From Boston: Mass Pike W to Exit 6. I-291 W onto I-91 S to Exit 3 (Agawam). Cross bridge, take first exit, and follow rotary to Route 57 W, then Route 159 S (Main Street) 2.9 miles to park.
From Connecticut: I-91 N to Exit 47W. Route 190 W to Route 159 N, then 3.8 miles to park.
From Albany: Mass Pike E to Exit 4. Route 5 S to Route 57 W (Agawam/Southwick), then Route 159 S (Main Street) 2.9 miles to park.
Other Six Flags New England Info:
- Six Flags New England Photo Gallery
- Hurricane Harbor Water Park at Six Flags New England
- Bizarro Coaster Review
- Batman--The Dark Knight Coaster Review
New for 2013:
New slide complex at the water park will include launch chambers and 360-degree turns.
New for 2012:
The giant inverted boomerang coaster, which is being imported from the Six Flags park near Los Angeles, will send riders forwards and backwards through the loading station as they navigate two 192-foot towers. That's just a few feet shorter than Bizarro.
Official Web Site:
Six Flags New England