Knott’s Berry Farm to relocate WindSeeker thrill ride, delaying launch

WindSeeker thrill ride is coming to Knott's Berry Farm in 2011, but later than first expected.
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Knott’s Berry Farm has chosen a new location for its 2011 swing tower, pushing back the debut of the $5-million thrill ride to mid-summer while at the same time preserving one of the park’s aging landmarks.

The 301-foot-tall WindSeeker spinning swing ride, which was scheduled to replace the 225-foot-tall Sky Cabin gyro observation tower in the Boardwalk section of the Buena Park theme park, will now be built in the Fiesta Village area between a 100-year-old carousel and the Jaguar roller coaster, Knott’s officials confirmed.

WindSeeker, which was expected to open as early as spring, may now make its debut as late as the Fourth of July, officials said.

The ride will carry 64 riders in twin-seat gondolas to the top of the tower, where the ride’s metal arms will extend out at a 45-degree angle and spin for one minute at 30 mph.

The new location will require the demolition of a barbecue restaurant but won’t significantly affect other existing rides. The relocation also means the park will retain and renovate the venerable Sky Cabin, built in 1976 and painted in patriotic red, white and blue.

In recent years, the sedate observation deck has become better known for getting stuck in mid-ascent than for its commanding views. Knott’s removed the nostalgic Sky Jump parachute drop from the tower in 1999, leaving only the Sky Cabin.

WindSeeker will be just a bit shorter than Knott’s 312-foot-tall Supreme Scream turbo drop ride, touted as the tallest freestanding structure in Orange County when it was built in 1998.