Leap-the-Dips, Lakemont Park, Altoona, PA 1902
Leap-The-Dips is the worlds oldest standing roller coaster,
being built in 1902. Located at Lakemont Park in Lakemont
(Altoona), PA, the ride has stood idle for fourteen years. It
has been fully rebuilt for the 1999 operating season.
Leap-The-Dips is the only "side friction" roller coaster left in
North America. The ride is very gentle, with only small drops,
averaging about 10 MPH. Currently, the cars are running on Oak
boards, as they did during it's initial years. The only metal
"rails" are located in the station.
Jack Rabbit, Sea Breeze Park, Rochester, NY 1920
Jack Rabbit, is an "out and back" wooden roller coaster located
at Seabreeze Amusement Park in Irondequoit, New York. At its
opening in 1920, it was the fastest roller coaster in the world,
the Giant Dipper superseded it in 1924. It is the fourth oldest
operating roller coaster in the world and second oldest in the
USA. It is a hard ride to learn to operate, there are several
brake levers and it takes a while to learn the proper timing and
sequence to accurately stop the cars at the platform.
Rabbit, Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA 1921
Designed and built by John Miller in 1921, it is one of the
oldest still-running roller coasters in the world. The ride's
three trains were manufactured by Andy Vettel in 1947 and
contain three cars of six seats each. The aging cars are
considered an essential part of the ride's nostalgic experience
but also lead to some young children being disallowed to enter
the ride (36" is the minimum), due to the use of only a small
lapbar to hold in riders. A popular early feature of the ride
was a tunnel which covered the turnaround section after the
first drop, but this was removed in 1947 when the new cars were
ordered. In 1991, the tunnel was restored, even though it's a
bit shorter than it had been.
The Jack Rabbit was built shortly after Miller patented a new
track design in 1920. This design involved the use of wheels
both under and over the track, which allowed Miller to create
the then enormous 70 foot drop that is the attraction's largest.
It is most well known for its double dip following the lift
hill. The double dip produces strong airtime that makes the
rider feel that they will be thrown from the seat, and a feeling
that the train leaves the track.
Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Beach
Giant Dipper, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, CA 1924
The Giant Dipper is a historic wooden roller coaster located at
the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an amusement park in Santa Cruz,
California. It opened on May 17, 1924. Over 55 million riders
have ridden it since its opening. The United States National
Park Service recognized the Giant Dipper as part of a National
Historic Landmark also covering the nearby Looff carousel in
1987. It was named an American Coaster Enthusiasts Coaster
Landmark on May 5, 2007. The ride appeared in many television
commercials and movies, including The Lost Boys, Sudden Impact
and Dangerous Minds.
Giant Dipper, Belmont Park, San Diego, CA 1925
Originally the idea of John D. Spreckels, the original coaster
was built by a crew of 100 to 150 people in two weeks. The
coaster became very popular in the 1940s and '50s but by the
late '60s, it had fallen into disrepair. It closed in 1976. In
the early 1980s, people began calling for the demolition of the
coaster, as it had been in disrepair and became a home for local
transients. A date for the demolition was set, but a group of
citizens calling themselves the "Save the Coaster Committee"
headed by Tim Cole intervened and had the Giant Dipper
designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. A few years
later, the San Diego Seaside Company was formed to restore the
coaster to operation. $2 million was spent on the restoration.
New trains, manufactured by Morgan Manufacturing, seated 24
riders per cycle in six four-person cars. On August 11, 1990,
the Giant Dipper was reopened to the public. The response was so
strong that a second train was eventually added to the coaster.
Wildcat, Lake Compounce, Bristol, CT 1927
Wildcat was built in 1927 and is the park's centerpiece. With a
first drop of only 73 feet, it's not too intense making it
popular with younger guests. The entire structure was rebuilt
with new wood in 1985, and the last bunny hills were retracked
in 2004. The Wildcat went down for refurbishment on September
17, 2006 and reopened for the 2007 operating season. During its
refurbishment, the brake runs were completely removed and
rebuilt with new magnetic brakes. The station also received air
gates in the queue line and individual seat belts were added to
each seat. The Wildcat's trains were built by the Philadelphia
Toboggan Company. Before the Wildcat was built, the Green Dragon
Coaster used to stand in its place.
7. Giant Coaster, Arnolds Park, Arnolds Park, IA 1927
8. Cyclone, Astroland - Coney Island,
Brooklyn, NY 1927
Racer, Kennywood, West Mifflin, PA 1927
10. Little Dipper, Playland, Rye, NJ 1928
This listing of the
Top Ten Oldest Roller Coasters in the United States is constantly being revised as we discover more of these ancient wonders.
So, if you feel
we are missing
one, please email
us and let us