Marineland of Canada
Niagara Falls, Ontario
May 21, 2014
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Niagara Falls may be the big attraction in Niagara Falls, Ontario
but venture past all of the cheesy touristy stuff that is built up around
the falls and there is a really amazing theme park just up the river.
Marineland of Canada's Sky Screamer tower ride can be seen from the Falls
and all around and it acts as a large billboard for the park.
Marineland began in 1961 as a simple roadside attraction that was known
as Marine Wonderland and Game Farm. There were sea lions, a swimming
snow and deer costing a whole $.25 to visit. In the coming years Marineland
has built slowly and steadily adding rides, animals, shows and other attractions.
I have been wanting to visit Marineland for years to take its legendary
Dragon Mountain coaster for a ride. When the chance to visit came
up paired with a trip to Montreal for Negative-G Forum Member Paul "Bratman"
Schroeder's wedding (dubbed the "SchroederCon" as coasters were included
in the weekend festivities) I emailed Marineland asking if it would be possible
to go back around Dragon Mountain in order to shoot it. Because of its terrain
you can't photograph or see much of it from inside the park. Marineland
happily obliged and shortly after arriving Bond and I found ourselves being
driven up to the top of Dragon Mountain.
Dragon Mountain is a huge looping coaster designed by Arrow Dynamics that
takes up a massive thirty acres of space. There are parks out there
like Quassy, Indiana Beach or Arnolds Park that could all easily all fit
in the space of land that Dragon Mountain takes up.
From 1983 when it opened until 1989 Dragon Mountain was the tallest coaster
in the world at 186 feet tall. It actually has two lift motors
and chains. Half they way up the lift hill you pass through a little
building. That is where the first lift ends and the second one starts
up. The design is interesting because on the lower side of the lift
the chain is on the left side of the track and the anti-rollback is on the
right. Once you switch to the second lift the lift chain and anti
rollbacks positions are reversed but riders won't notice a thing as the
transition is smooth. The reason for two lifts is simple the forces
that cause wear and tear on two 93 foot lift chain is a lot less than one
massive 186 foot tall lift chain.