Carowinds Fun Family Theme Park History and Facts

Park: 11 AM - 7 PM | Waterpark: 11 AM - 4 PM | View Hours

Carowinds' Hidden "Easter Eggs" 

Andrew Stilwell |
April 2, 2021

One of the Carolinas’ favorite activities to participate in during the Easter season is a good, old-fashioned Easter Egg hunt. Did you know that Carowinds has some “Easter Eggs” of its own, hidden in plain sight? (We’re not talking about the plastic eggs filled with candy!) See if you can find these “Easter Eggs” on Carowinds’ Opening Day on May 22nd!

The J.R. Helms Mining Company

Located between Carolina Boardwalk and County Fair lies one of four attractions that operated during Carowinds opening year of 1973, and the park’s oldest roller coaster, the Carolina Goldrusher. For many park guests, Carolina Goldrusher was their first roller coaster and now they are sharing their experience with the next generation of park guests.

Attached to the side of the ride’s station is a sign depicting the fictional J.R. Helms Mining Company.

Carowinds Classic Roller Coaster Carolina Goldrusher

Jerry Helms on Carowinds' classic roller coaster Carolina Goldrusher.

Photo by: Charlotte Observer

Highway to the Danger Zone

Longtime park guests remember a time when Paramount owned Carowinds, and many of the attractions had names associated with Paramount’s film properties. When Afterburn opened in 1999, it had a name, inspired by not only the coaster’s “fighter jet-esque” maneuvers, but also the 1986 Tom Cruise film, Top Gun. Top Gun: The Jet Coaster thrilled guests from 1999-2007 before it was renamed afterburn.

However, if you look to the skies as you’re waiting to board the roller coaster, you’ll see a star above the station that to this day reads “T-G,” a quick homage to the ride’s past.

Carowinds' roller coaster Afterburn signage.

Outside Afterburn, there’s another small Easter Egg, as the Fighter pilot’s name below the window of the fighter jet is CD. S. Jackson, a nod to Steve Jackson, Carowinds’ long-time Director of Construction.

Carowinds' Roller Coaster Afterburn Easter Egg on Fighter Jet

Photo by: @btweentheparks

Counting Counties

At Carowinds’ entrance, there is a feature that many guests do not notice or take completely for granted, as they’re focused on what’s ahead of them, not under their feet. Did you know that there are 46 counties in South Carolina and 100 counties in North Carolina? Each county has its own brick on its respective side of the state line, cementing Carowinds as the place where the Carolinas come together!

Carowinds State Line Brick Easter Egg

Photo by: Our State Magazine

Copperhead Strike Signs

Granny Byrd’s farm has some very clever “Easter Eggs” for those who are familiar with Carowinds history, as well as some familiarity with the park’s parent company Cedar Fair entertainment.

Outside the station, there is a sign for Whyte Lightning Spark Plugs.

Carowinds' Copperhead Strike Roller Coaster Tribute to White Lightning Sign

For long-time Carowinds aficionados, they will remember Carowinds’ first launched coaster, the former White Lightnin’, which operated at the park from 1977-1988. The sign on Copperhead Strike is a very subtle not to it’s launched predecessor, as guests were “Launched” into pure speed.

Inside the station itself is a mural for Centurion Motor Oil, with the tagline “Thunder and Lightnin’, Twice the Frightnin’.” This sign pays tribute to both Thunder Road and White Lightnin’, which operated near where Copperhead Strike is located today. As for the name Centurion? It’s a deep cut for sure, but if you’re a coaster enthusiast, you’ll remember Centurion as a bit of a “red herring” during Fury 325’s announcement in 2015.  For fans of other Cedar Fair parks, that lightning and cloud looks a little familiar too, doesn’t it?

Carowinds' Copperhead Strike Roller Coaster Easter Eggs

Cloud Easter Egg on Mean Streak

Blue Ridge Country Kitchen and the Extended Cedar Fair Universe

Normally, when thinking of an interconnected universe, Cedar Fair theme parks don’t necessarily come to mind. But the next time you’re in Blue Ridge Country Kitchen, take a moment to walk around and look at the signage inside the restaurant’s seating area. You’ll find references not only to Copperhead Strike and the nearby Byrd Farm, but other attractions inside Carowinds as well.

Carowinds Restaurant Easter Egg

Carowinds Restaurant Easter Egg

Carowinds' Restaurant Copperhead Strike Refrence

 

For fans of other Cedar Fair parks, see if you can spot all of the references to Kings Island, Cedar Point, Knott’s Berry Farm, Kings Dominion and Canada’s Wonderland as well. Be sure to check out this article on Coaster101.com, which tries to track down all of the references!

Whether you’re looking for actual eggs or hidden meanings when the park opens next month, happy hunting!

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