shoot the chutes


Shoot-the-Chutes is an amusement ride consisting of a flat-bottomed boat that slides down a ramp or inside a flume into a lagoon. The first of this type of amusement ride was built by J.P. Newberg in 1884 down the side of a hill at Watchtower Park in Rock Island, IL. The ride traveled along a 500-foot greased wooden track, skipping across the Rock River at the bottom. It was then poled back to the ramp by an on-board ride attendant. Newberg took this unique ride concept next to Chicago, where more flumes were built and the rides grew in popularity.

Paul Boyton and Thomas Polk built another example in 1895 for Sea Lion Park at Coney Island. The ride was widely copied and "Chutes" rides were found at many amusement parks throughout the United States, and even became the name of several amusement parks. While the original form of the ride is largely obsolete, modern log flume rides work on similar principles.

Historical ride

On the earliest chutes rides, the flat bottom boat was pulled up the ramp by cable, sometimes with a turnaround on a small turntable. In the ride at Sea Lion Park, the passengers arrived at the top by elevator. The bottom of the ramp curved upwards, causing the boat to skip across the water until it came to a stop. The boat was guided to a landing by a boatman on board. The oldest ride of this type still in operation is the Boat Chute, constructed in 1926 and 1927 located at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park in Chattanooga Tennessee. An operating modern reproduction, The Pittsburg [sic] Plunge, is currently in operation at Kennywood amusement park in Pennsylvania.

Modern ride

The Shoot-the-Chute concept has evolved over time in the amusement park industry. All modern Shoot-the-Chute rides today feature a guide track after the descent down the chute into the pool of water that allows the boats to return to the loading platform -- completing a closed circuit track. Most modern Shoot-the-Chute rides usually consist of (though not limited to) an oval shaped layout or a figure-eight layout.

The most technologically advanced ride based on the Shoot-the-Chute concept is Perilous Plunge at Knott's Berry Farm. It is presently the tallest and steepest water flume ride in the world. 24-passenger boats climb a 121-foot (36.8 m) lift-hill, round a curve, and descend a 115-foot (35 m) water chute at a staggering 77.8 degree slope. Upon landing in the lagoon below, each of the ride's three seven-ton boats are capable of generating an amazing 180-degree, 45-foot (13.7 m) high splash that drenches riders as well as spectators standing on an observation bridge overlooking the ride. It was the first water-based amusement park ride in the world to utilize an adjustable electromagnetic braking system to control the volume of the splash. Most rides require passengers to be at least 36 inches or taller.

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., announced plans on August 26, 2008 to build an even larger Shoot-the-Chute ride named "Pilgrims Plunge". The plans for Pilgrims Plunge call for a 135 open elevator lift leading to a 131 foot drop at a 45' angle which will propel the boat to speeds approaching 50 miles per hour. The resulting splash is anticipated to be a 90 foot wide wall of water 45 feet high. Plans call for construction completion in time for 2009 season.

Locations and names of modern chutes ride

Locations and names of historical chutes ride


External links

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