Coaster enthusiasts around the world love when there is news of a new ride being built, but the same can be said for a ride that has been closed for a long time and being reopened. This is exactly what is happening at Alabama Splash Adventure. This past weekend, the park opened up the recently renovated Rampage wooden roller coaster. The coaster originally opened in 1998, but when the park closed the doors the coaster sat idle.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, this past weekend, the park opened up the coaster for the American Coaster Enthusiasts group if they wanted to be the first to ride the coaster. The park was closed to the public, but the general public will be able to ride the ride when the park opens for the 2015 season in May. The massive wooded coaster reaches a height of 120 feet and has a max speed of 56 miles per hour. The coaster has lived through two park names and then a complete closure of the ride park as the park only operated as a water park.
Over the past several months, the restoration of Rampage has included replacement of 1,400 boards and supports and a complete rehaul of the 28 passenger train. “We’re very excited to bring Rampage back to the public,” said Dan Koch, one of the owners of Alabama Splash Adventure. “It’s a great ride, and it’ll be a thrill to see Alabama’s signature roller coaster entertaining our guests once again.”
Alabama’s Splash Adventure Waterpark has a storied history that until recently had diminished greatly. Last week, the Koch family, noted for their ownership of Holiday World, acquired the waterpark and immediately began formulating ways to restore the park to its former glory. A five year plan was created that will eventually end up with two parks being created, Alabama Adventure and Splash Adventure. What this also means is a return of the Rampage roller coaster that many feel is one of the best wooden coasters in America. Rampage has stood dormant since the previous owners decided to focus exclusively on the waterpark and closed the amusement park section of the park. According to Dan Koch the new parks will be even better than they ever were saying, “We’re going to make this place hum. We’re going to make this the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state of Alabama.” One of the problems facing the new owners is the condition of the amusement park side stating, “The theme park side of it is in pretty bad shape. Getting the Rampage rebuilt and put back in shape is a priority, but we’re not sure when that will be complete.” However, they go on to say that there is a lot to work with at the newly acquired park and it the family is committed to improving it. Koch even joked, “We have a strategic plan that carries us through 2018. The real estate agent has helped me pick out a grave site here. That’s how long I plan on being here. I like it here.”
Before this grand plan can be fully implemented, next year’s improvements deal with another need, family and children’s rides. According to AL.com, the 2014 rides include the Wacky Worm Coaster, Rio Grande Train, Junior Bumper Boats, Mini Helicopter ride, Vintage Boats, and the Laser Maze Challenge. All of these attractions will be added to the Main Street area of the park and will serve as a bridge between the amusement and water parks. Koch also was purposeful in these choices of rides and attractions saying, “In the industry, one of the most under served markets is toddlers. We’re not a kiddie park, but when we started looking at the needs for 2014, that was one that we wanted to address.” Like its cousin Holiday World to the north, the park will offer free sunscreen, water tubes and parking. However, visitors will have to pay a bit more in admission.