When you celebrate a 60th anniversary, you need something big to mark the occasion, not just a cake or a card or taking a bow for longevity. At Story Land in Glen, celebrating means a roller coaster — and not just any roller coaster.
The new Roar-O-Saurus that will debut with the opening of Story Land for the summer season on May 24 will mark the 60th anniversary of the theme park.
“The anniversary will revolve around the wooden coaster,” explained Jack Mahany, assistant general manager at Story Land. “The coaster will expand the demographic of park guests somewhat; right now we are very popular with ages two to 12 and, of course, their parents. The wooden roller coaster will appeal to a slightly older child, offering entertainment for those that come along with younger siblings to enjoy a day at Story Land.”
The wooden roller coaster has 12 air-time moments and the first drop is from 40 feet in height and reaches a speed of 37 mph. “It packs a wallop in those 12 air-time moments and it has been named by CNN as one of the top 10 insane coasters in the country,” Jack said. The new wooden coaster also has received a positive review from the American Coasters Enthusiasts Club.
Construction on the Roar-o-Saurus has been ongoing since last November. The challenging and snowy winter weather in the area did not stop the crew from working toward the goal of having the coaster ready for Story Land’s late-May opening.
Jack said the Gravity Group of Ohio built the wooden roller coaster. “They worked six days a week, no matter what the weather was, and the snowy winter was a real challenge,” Jack said, adding, “The group builds roller coasters all over the world and they are accustomed to working in all kinds of weather.”
The wooden roller coaster is a breathtaking sight, nestled at one corner of Story Land’s large theme park. It is the only wooden roller coaster of its kind in northern New England and will be the centerpiece of the new Dinosaur theme section of Story Land.
“Guests must be 42 inches or taller to ride the wooden roller coaster,” Jack noted. “For smaller children, we will offer the Dino-Dig, a fossil digging experience that allows youngsters to uncover fossils and see animated, friendly dinosaurs.”
The Roar-O-Saurus wooden roller coaster has a colorful train of 12 passenger cars led by Rory, “the little Dino with a big roar.” The track is 1,242 feet in length and has many twists and turns while operating at a fast pace. The first passenger car of the Roar-O-Saurus is fashioned to look like the green triceratops Rory, which will add to the charm and fun of the experience.
“After we got the mention by CNN, we have been receiving a lot of calls and inquiries about the wooden roller coaster,” Jack said. “We anticipate a very busy summer and the coaster will be popular.”
The wooden coaster’s Rory the Dinosaur cars will take riders on the fun and exciting course and, along the way, the timid little dinosaur will find his roar as he goes through a tunnel. The charming story is just part of the excitement and fun of the ride.
The wooden roller coaster will be a transition from the gentler Polar Coaster, often referred to as a younger child’s first roller coaster experience. According to Story Land’s website, young ones can take a roller coaster Arctic adventure with Waldo & Wilbur on the gentler (but still thrilling and fun) Polar Coaster.
Other rides and attractions at Story Land include the Swan Boats; Splash Battle (participants take a cruise on the 300-foot-long waterway in a water cannon splash-blast); Alice’s Tea Cup; Antique Cars; Antique German Carousel; Bamboo Chutes; Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach; Crazy Barn; Buccaneer Pirate Ship; Cuckoo Clockenspiel; Dr. Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride; Dutch Shoes; Farm Tractors; Great Balloon Chase; Los Bravos Mining Co.; Flying Fish; Huff Puff and Whistle Railroad; Slipshod Safari Tour; Turtle Twirl; Story Land Queen, and the Whirling Whales.
“We now feature 22 rides on 35 acres,” Jack said.
He marveled at how the park has expanded over the years. Jack is a close friend of the Morrell family, the original creators and owners of Story Land. He said the park started with one ride when it opened in 1954. “The ride was Freddy, a 1923 fire truck. Admission was 85 cents a person and they had 237 people come through on opening day.”
Now, 60 years later, Story Land sees many, many more guests of all ages during the season. Families return year after year and, as children grow up and start their own families, they return again and again to the most magical place in New Hampshire’s North Country.
When Story Land opens on May 24, those families will surely flock to the park to experience the thrilling Roar-O-Saurus wooden roller coaster, along with all the other rides for children of all ages.
For information about Story Land, visit www.storylandnh.com or call 603-383-4186. Story Land is located at 850 NH Route 16 in Glen.