Take a deep breath. Now picture yourself spinning nearly 30 stories above the Lake Erie shoreline in two-person swings that allow riders' feet to dangle. At the ride's pinnacle, the swings spin at 25 to 30 mph at almost 45 degrees from the tower.
Welcome to the WindSeeker, the newest stomach-churner at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky,
. The $5 million WindSeeker joins the park's 75 rides, including 17 roller coasters, among them the 310-foot tall Millennium Force, perhaps the park's chief white-knuckler. Park admission, which covers access to all the rides, is $46.99 for guests 48 inches and taller, $21 for guests shorter than 48 inches and seniors 62 and older. Information: 419-627-2350, cedarpoint.com
As the summer amusement park season nears, Midwest attractions are preparing to roll out their new enticements.
Kings Island, in Mason, Ohio, northeast of
, has added a WindSeeker to its repertoire, which includes Delirium, whose riders spiral in a 240-degree arc between 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock, up to 137 feet in the air; Diamondback, a roller coaster that reaches 80 mph 230 feet above the park; Drop Tower, which plunges riders from 315 feet at 67 mph; and Firehawk, a roller coaster that takes riders through five inversions at 50 mph. Admission: Purchased online, tickets are $33.99 for adults, $31.99 for juniors and seniors. Gate price is $51.99 and $31.99, respectively. visitkingsisland.com
Not all parks are adding thrill rides. Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, in southern
, has added Rudolph's Round-Up, a family-friendly ride that allows older siblings and parents to ride along with smaller children. The older riders can control how high the sleigh rises as Rudolph takes flight. The privately owned and operated, family-oriented park also has three wooden roller coasters for those seeking an adrenaline rush. General one-day admission is $38.95; it's $30.95 for those less than 54 inches tall and for seniors 60 or older. 877-463-2645, holidayworld.com
in Gurnee, north of Chicago, expanded its Hurricane Harbor with Riptide Bay, a double-sided surf simulator, and a Caribbean-inspired activity pool with high-speed waterslides and fancy cabanas. For those who want to hang 10, the surf simulator creates 5-foot waves with 50,000 gallons of rushing water a minute.
Land-based thrill-seekers can ride the park's 14 roller coasters. General admission, which includes all the rides, is $56.99; children under 48 inches tall, $36.99; children age 2 and under, free. Buying tickets online can save you $20. 847-249-4636, sixflags.com/greatamerica
St. Louis, the new attraction is the 236-foot SkyScreamer, a variation of the WindSeeker. Guests swing in a 98-foot circle at 43 mph. If that doesn't jack up your heart rate, perhaps the parks eight roller coasters will. Six Flags St. Louis also includes a Hurricane Harbor water park. Admission is $44.99 for adults, $34.99 for children under 48 inches. Infants 2 and under are free. Tickets purchased online are $34.99. 636-938-5300, sixflags.com/stlouis
In ever-popular Branson, Mo., Silver Dollar City has added Half Dollar House, a play area for kids up to age 7. The attraction features treetop fun houses, a climbing net, box crawls, mini-wave swings and lots of sand. At the play area's center: a hand-carved carousel featuring woodland creatures. Admission: adults 12-61, $59.11; seniors, $56.96, children 4-11, $48.36; children under 3, free. 800-475-9370, silverdollarcity.com