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Amusement Park Timeline
Park opens March 31 under leadership of real estate developer/entrepreneur E. Pat Hall
More than 986,000 guests visit the park in its second year of operation!
Carowinds is purchased for $16 million by Family Leisure Centers, Inc., a joint venture of the Taft Broadcasting Company and the Kroger Company. Hanna-Barbera® Land and the Paladium also are introduced as the park’s largest additions for the season.
The coaster Thunder Road is created and named after Robert Mitchum’s “Thunder Road,” a Carolina story depicting the speed and excitement in the old moonshine running days.
“White Lightnin’” strikes the Carolinas with a rollercoaster-type train which catapults daring guests from zero to more than 53 mph. in just 180 feet. The coaster was removed from the park in 1987.
Carowinds supports the athletes of the U.S. Olympic teams by donating $1 to the Olympic Fund for every discount coupon received through Belk department stores.
A $3 million expansion adds the county fair area, which contains four new rides. Also, a 1923 antique carousel built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company travels from Evansville, Ind., and makes its new home in Hanna-Barbera® Land.
The revolutionary design of Carolina Cyclone makes it the only rollercoaster in the world that turns riders upside down four times.
“Rip Roarin Rapids” is introduced offering guests a wet and cool attraction.
Surf’s up at the new 700,000-gallon wave pool featuring 25,500 square feet of swimming area and man-made waves three to five feet high.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Carowinds provides the magic of an old-fashioned Christmas during Winterfest. The centerpiece of this winter celebration was the illumination of the 340-foot tall Skytower Christmas tree, a tradition that continues today.
Taft Broadcasting Company’s Amusement Park Groups acquire two-thirds ownership of Taft’s theme parks, including Carowinds, and form Kings Entertainment Company. Smurf Island is introduced at the park.
A new motion illusion attraction called Blackbeard’s Revenge gives guests a pirate ship ride with the Carolina’s infamous pirate Blackbeard.
The 360-degree looping Viking ship, Frenzoid, makes its home in the completely renovated County Fair section of the park.
In its 15th anniversary season, Carowinds expands Hanna-Barbera® Land with additional rides, live shows and a Baby Care Center.
The park’s new family water attraction, WhiteWater falls, plunges guests down a 45-foot waterfall.
The addition of Rip Tide Reef, a six-acre water park, makes Carowinds the only theme park in the country to offer guests a full water park experience within a major theme park at no extra cost.
Gauntlet riders enjoy the panoramic view of the park as well as the breathtaking 360-degree loops and controlled free-falls.
Through a $4 million expansion project, the Paladium becomes a stand-alone concert facility– separate from the theme park – with a seating capacity of 13,000.
Paramount Communications Inc. purchases Kings Entertainment Company and forms Paramount Parks which includes Carowinds. Vortex, a state-of-the-art, stand-up rollercoaster, opens.
The park introduces themes from motion pictures and television shows in attractions such as DAYS OF THUNDER® and the Paramount Walk of Fame. The park’s name officially becomes Paramount’s Carowinds.
WAYNE’S WORLD™, a high-energy, three-acre addition to the park, re-creates the Hollywood set popularized in the Paramount motion picture of the same name. The Hurler, a new wooden rollercoaster, is the highlight of the area.
Animation Station introduces an interactive experience for kids featuring The Power Station, a challenging three-story climbing structure, and Kids’ Studio, an outdoor amphitheatre for children’s shows. Also, daring guests unearth the wonders of flight as they embark on the exhilarating Xtreme Skyflyer.
DROP ZONE Stunt Tower® provides daring riders a 160-foot free-fall at 56 mph. The park also entertains more than 1.8 million guests, making it one of the most popular attractions in the Carolinas.
In its 25th anniversary season, Paramount’s Carowinds undergoes a $7 million water park expansion of WaterWorks and now includes 12 acres of family water attractions.
ZOOM ZONE opens in Animation Station. The expansion adds three new attractions – Taxi Jam, Chopper Chase and Road Rally – and 3.5 acres to the existing area of Animation Station.
TOP GUN®: The Jet Coaster, a 62 mph., inverted rollercoaster, opens to the public. The state-of-the-art jet coaster includes six stomach-swirling inversions with floorless cars suspended below a steel track. The $10.5 million investment is the largest in the park’s history.
Paramount’s Carowinds becomes the first theme park in the world to have an attraction that combines water play experience with the adventure of a suspended coaster. The Nickelodeon™ Flying Super Saturator takes riders along a 1,087-foot suspended track while dodging a gauntlet of gushing geysers and rain curtains. SCarowinds, the park’s haunted Halloween attraction, also opens for the first time in October.
Paramount’s Carowinds introduces three all-new attractions appealing to all ages. Scooby-Doo’s™ Haunted Mansion is an interactive ghost-busting experience through an old southern plantation with America’s favorite cartoon canine. Pipeline Peak opens with the world’s tallest enclosed body slide, and 7Th Portal™ becomes the park’s first 3-D attraction.
Ricochet™, the park’s 11th rollercoaster takes guests on a wild ride as they drop, spin, twist and curl through the park’s first “fast track” coaster. Carolina Boardwalk opens and takes guests on a walk through the famous beaches of the Carolinas.
Nickelodeon™ Central, a themed area based on characters and shows from the number one kids entertainment brand in the world, debuts at the park. The area included three new attractions - Rugrats™ Runaway Reptar™, The Wild Thornberrys™ River Adventure and Rocket Power™: Air Time.
The first flying roller coaster in the Carolinas, Borg™ Assimilator, makes its debut and becomes the tallest roller coaster in the park. Guests fly facedown, suspended below the track in a superhero-like flying position and race toward the ground at speeds of up to 50 mph.
Nickelodeon™ Central grows to become five times larger than before. The 15-acre Nickelodeon playground is loaded with more than 20 attractions, including new rides Danny Phantom’s™ Flyers, the Flying Dutchman’s Revenge and Little Bill’s™ Cruisers.
Cedar Fair, L.P. purchases Carowinds on July 1, and the park becomes one of the 12 amusement parks in the newly-named Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. The water park expands and becomes Boomerang Bay – a 16-acre, Australian-themed experience featuring new attractions Kookaburra Bay (heated lagoon) and Platypus Plunge (kids’ water slide).
The first season under Cedar Fair brings the return of an ice show (Endless Summer on Ice) to the Carowinds Theatre and the Southern Star (formerly Frenzoid) back to County Fair. As part of the acquisition by Cedar Fair, L.P. many of the parks most popular rides were renamed.
Boomerang Bay™ water park expands again with the addition of Bondi Beach, a 600,000-gallon wave pool. The park also adds a new swing ride called Yo Yo, to the County Fair section park.
Carolina Cobra is introduced as the second tallest coaster in the park at 125-feet tall, sending riders speeding through three inversions forwards…then again backwards.
Intimidator™ is introduced, the largest capital investment in park history ($23M), and the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the Southeast. In addition, the Park says farewell to the Nickelodeon™ characters and welcomes Snoopy and the PEANUTS™ gang with the introduction of a newly re-themed children’s section called Planet Snoopy.
Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular, a million dollar nighttime walk-through light and sound experience featuring Snoopy and the rest of the PEANUTS™ gang is introduced. To showcase Snoopy’s Starlight Carowinds extends its operating hours till 10PM every day from June 27-August 7. The park also celebrates the launch of a stunning new fireworks show, Nights of Fire, which lights up each evening at 10PM from July 1-August 7.
Fun soars to new heights in 2012 with the addition of WindSeeker, a 301-foot-tall swing ride designed to give riders the sensation of flying. This 30-story tall ride stands more than 60 feet taller than Intimidator-making it the tallest ride ever built in Carowinds history!
Take a step waaaay back with a walk through Dinosaurs Alive! 32 roaring, moving animatronic dinosaurs that transport you to a pre-historic time! We also celebrate 40 Seasons of Thrills in 2013. 4 decades of fun in the Carolinas with special events all summer long!