One of Silver Dollar City’s oldest and most popular rides, the Lost River of the Ozarks, has been demolished in advance of something new, set to open next year.

Even though curious park-goers can get glimpses of the construction site from several vantage points in the park, they will have to wait a few months to find out exactly what’s going on there.

“Massive project underway for 2020, which is also our 60th (anniversary),” Silver Dollar City Director of Public Relations and Publicity Lisa Rau said in an email. “Announcement in August.”

The last time the folks at Silver Dollar City made an announcement during the month of August was for the park’s newest ride, Time Traveler, which took place on “National Roller Coaster Day,” Aug. 16, 2017. In October of last year, park officials announced 2019 would be “The Year of Shows & Festivals.”

Fencing that stretches from Fireman’s Landing to the Giant Barn Swing has been erected to hide the construction site. It also appears as though the park’s Riverfront area will also be redeveloped as part of the project.

The Lost River of the Ozarks originally opened in May of 1985 at a cost of $2 million. It took the place of Rube Dugan’s Diving Bell, which was an attraction that simulated a journey similar to the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride at the Walt Disney Parks. It was removed in the early 1980s.

While there is no official word on what will take the Lost River’s place, there is plenty of speculation on both a local, and world-wide level. The last few rides and attractions have not only gained near-universal acclaim, but they’ve also been record-setting efforts.

In fact, the 2018 opening of the Time Traveler carried along with it a $26 million price tag, the park’s biggest investment and attraction ever. Time Traveler also set spinning coaster world records as the fastest, a top speed of 50.3 miles per hour; steepest, a 10-story, 90-degree vertical drop; tallest, custom-designed for mountainous terrain with its tallest point at100 feet.

It is also the first and only with three different inversions, a dive loop, a 95-foot tall vertical loop and a zero-G roll and a double Launch, which goes from 0 to 47 mph in 3 seconds, then from 30 to 45 mph in 3.5 seconds.

“It’s a perfect ride,” American Coaster Enthusiast President Jerry Willard said. “I can’t compare it to anything. It’s the first time a big coaster spins like this.”

In 2015, the park debuted Fireman’s Landing, an $8 million development featuring six rides and four interactive play zones for children and families.

The area is centered around the headquarters of “Fire Station No. 3,” with rides including Fire Spotter, Fire Wagon Frenzy, FireFall, Roundabout, Up The Ladder and Fireman’s Flyers, a low-flying swing ride for little firefighters. Attractions include Firehouse Splash Yard, Firefighter’s Fire Drill, Firefighter’s Fire Escape and Firefighter’s Junior Fire Escape.

March of 2013 saw the opening of Outlaw Run, a $10 million wood coaster that included  several firsts, as well as records. Outlaw Run features the world’s first and only double barrel roll on a wood coaster, with a 720-degree (double) barrel roll, and is the only wood coaster to twist upside down with a record-breaking three inversions. Outlaw Run is also the world’s steepest wood coaster with a first drop of 162 feet (more than 16 stories) at 81 degrees – nearly vertical; and the second fastest wood coaster in the world, reaching a top speed of 68 miles per hour. 

Outlaw Run was voted Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide.

2010 saw the addition of Tom & Huck’s River Blast, a $7 million water ride dubbed “the wettest, wildest river adventure in the Midwest.” Both riders and spectators can participate in this slow-moving water feud.

The Giant Barn Swing, a $6 million ride, debuted in 2007. Featuring two colossal arms holding back-to-back seat rows, the Giant Barn Swing sends riders soar backward as well as forwards, 75 feet-high in opposite directions and through the barn roof before powering them back toward the ground and past each other at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. The swings then soar 75 feet skyward, high above the trees on the other side, arcing a full 230 degrees so riders are nearly upside down.

Silver Dollar City unveiled the Grand Exposition expansion in 2006 at a cost of $8. In what was the park’s biggest expansion for kids, the Grand Exposition features 10 family rides of all shapes and sizes.

One of the park’s most popular family rides, Powder Keg, opened in 2005. This coaster launches riders from 0 to 53 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, up a lift to a 110-foot drop, into spiraling and dragonfly banked turns, through a wave of floater hills with negative G forces. It is also the longest ride in Silver Dollar City.

The $14 million WildFire, the park’s tallest and second-fastest ride, opened in 2001. Standing 120 feet tall and featuring a top speed of 66 miles per hour, WildFire features five inversions, including an Immelmann loop, a vertical loop, a cobra roll and a corkscrew.

In 1999, the park opened the ill-fated BuzzSaw Falls, a $7 million flume ride/rollercoaster prototype from Premier Rides. 

This “Liquid Coaster,” as it was known, attempted to marry traditional “flume” and “coaster” rides, Buzzsaw Falls proved to be unsustainable and was closed at the end of 2003 to make way for Powder Keg.

1993 saw the opening of Thunderation, Silver Dollar City’s first “large-scale” roller coaster. This classic is one of Arrow Dynamics’ largest and fastest mine train coasters, with a 3,000-foot-long course and a top speed of almost 50 miles per hour.

The American Plunge, which replaced Jim Owens Float Trip in 1981, is a boat ride around a man-made river, complete with animatronics, a tumbling outhouse, whirlpools and a dark cave. Like with all great log flume rides, the American Plunge ends in a drop.

Of course, the park’s first coaster, Fire-In-The-Hole, is still up and running. Built in-house by Silver Dollar City and opened in 1972, this 3-story indoor steel coaster and dark ride is a perennial favorite for guests who have grown up coming to Silver Dollar City.

As far as this season, “The Year of Shows and Festivals,” is headlined by “Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure,” a new $1 million, original “mega-production” show created exclusively for Silver Dollar City’s Star-Spangled Summer festival. This $1 million Broadway-style musical is called “a magical journey of discovery with a colorful cast, flying characters, state-of-the-art sets and special effects.”

This fall, Silver Dollar City will continue highlighting craftsmen with Craft Days, but will be adding a new show, as well as expanding hours for something new called Pumpkin Nights.

Visit silverdollarcity.com. 

Keep reading the Branson Tri-Lakes News, Branson Live, the Ozark Mountain Visitor and bransontrilakesnews.com for more.

 

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