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Carowinds is a theme park, located adjacent to Interstate 77 on the state line between Northmarker and Southmarker Carolina, in Charlottemarker and Fort Millmarker, respectively. The park opened on March 31, 1973, at a cost of $30 million, after a four-year planning period spearheaded by Charlotte businessman Earl Patterson Hall, who was inspired to build the park by a 1956 trip to Disneylandmarker and a dream of bringing the two states closer together. It is owned by the partnership of Cedar Fair.


The Carowinds theme park itself was originally envisioned as a component of a large resort-type area that would have included hotels, a shopping center, a golf course, and a pro football stadium. However, like many other theme parks across the country, attendance at Carowinds was severely diminished by the 1973 oil crisis, and the plans for the resort that would have surrounded the park were abandoned. Hall and the other stockholders of the Carowinds Corporation continued to operate the theme park through 1974, though sagging attendance and mounting debt forced the company to sell out to Taft Broadcasting in early 1975.

The park was purchased by Paramount Communications in 1993 and joined the Paramount Parks family, after ownership bounced from Taft Broadcast Company to Family Leisure Centers (a joint between Taft and Top Value Enterprises), to Kings Entertainment Company, which was the last owner prior to the acquisition by Paramount. The park was renamed Paramount's Carowinds in 1993. Viacom then purchased Paramount in 1994.
The original Carowinds logo, used from 1973 - 1992.

The name "Carowinds" was derived from the park's original theme. Since the park was built around the history and culture of the Carolinas, the name is a combination of "Carolina" and "winds", representing the winds that have blown across the two states. As the park changed ownership over the years, most of the Carolina themes and cultural attractions were dropped in favor of more generic television and movie themes.

Carowinds opens in late March each year and closes in early November, after the park's Halloween event, "Scarowinds". In 2005, a portion of the park reopened during December for the Winterfest Christmas festival. However, the park did not repeat the event in 2006, citing poor attendance. A similar decision was made regarding Kings Islandmarker's Winterfest.

On January 27, 2006, the website of the Dayton Daily News reported that CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom at the end of 2005) would be selling Paramount's Carowinds and other parks in its Paramount Parks division.

On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. acquired Paramount Parks, including Carowinds.

Although Cedar Fair continued to use the Paramount's Carowinds name through the remainder of the 2006 season, it began to phase out the Paramount name in press releases and on the website. In January 2007, a brand new logo, featuring the Cedar Fair icon, but lacking the "Paramount" name, was revealed on the park website. The other four Paramount-branded parks that Cedar Fair acquired will also be receiving similar changes. As of February 2007, the "Paramount" name has been dropped from all of the parks.

Though it is the smallest and least well-known of Paramount's former parks, Carowinds is still a popular destination for tourists as one of 3 major theme parks in the Carolinas (Freestyle Music Parkmarker in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointemarker in Greensboro, NC are the other major parks.)



Southern Star, originally added in 1986

  • Afterburnmarker: A Bolliger and Mabillard inverted roller coaster. Located in the South Gate section of the park.
  • Carolina Cyclonemarker: An Arrow Dynamics coaster featuring 2 loops and 2 corkscrews. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park. First roller coaster to feature a record breaking 4 inversions.
  • Carolina Goldrusher: First roller coaster ever at Carowinds, made by Arrow Dynamics. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park. First roller coaster to cross state lines.
  • Carolina Cobra: A Vekoma tall "Boomerang" coaster in which you are pulled up the lift hill backwards and then released down the hill forwards and go through a cobra roll and a 360 degree loop then go up another hill, and then you are released backwards repeating the ride backwards.
  • Woodstock Express: Join Woodstock on his zany adventure on this wooden roller coaster. Formerly Fairly Odd Coaster.
  • Lucy's Crabbie Cabbie: A big city chase through Lucy's neighborhood ensues on this miniature, 15-foot high roller coaster with cars resembling taxi cabs.Formerly Hey Arnold's Taxi Chase.
  • Hurler: A wooden out and back roller coaster formerly themed to Wayne's World located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
  • Intimidator: A Bolliger and Mabillard roller coaster that is currently under construction and set to open in the Spring of 2010. Inspired by the famous stock car racing driver Dale Earnhardt, Intimidator will become the one of the Southeast's longest, tallest and fastest roller coasters.
  • Nighthawk: A Vekoma Flying coaster. This ride operated as STEALTH at California's Great Americamarker before being installed at Carowinds.
  • Ricochet: A "wild mouse" coaster. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park.
  • Flying Ace Aerial Chase: Travel with "flying ace" Snoopy on a high flying adventure on this family coaster. Formerly Rugrats Runaway Reptar.
  • Thunder Road: Twin wooden roller coaster that crosses the NC/SC border. Both sides go forwards and mostly race each other. Located in the County Fair section of the park.
  • Vortex: A Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M) "stand up" coaster. Located in the Carolina Showplace section of the park.

Thrill rides

  • Drop Tower: Scream Zone (Formerly "Drop Zone: Stunt Tower"): An Intamin free-fall tower. It is high and has a drop. It is located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.It also features an 17.6 meter manetic brake system.
  • Scream Weaver: A Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride with a one-and-a-half minute ride time, located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
  • Southern Star: An Intamin Looping Ship Thrill ride, located in the County Fair section of the park.
  • Xtreme Skyflyer: A Skycoaster that has to be paid for first, located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
  • Thunder Raceway Go-Carts: Go-Carts that have to be paid for first, located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.

Other Rides

  • Carolina Skytower: An Intamin tall cabin tower that gives guests a view of Carowinds and Charlotte. It was originally sponsored by and branded as the Eastern Airlines Skytower. It is located in the Carowinds Plaza section of the park.
  • SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted Mansion: A dark ride where guests shoot targets and get a score and is themed to Scooby Doo. Originally, the building was a theater and variety shows were shown inside. It is located in the County Fair section of the park.
  • Action Theatre: A 3-D Ride in the Action Theater themed to SpongeBob SquarePants. Located in the County Fair section of the park. 2009 will be the last year that Spongebob is featured due to an expired contract with Viacom.
  • Yo Yo: A Chance yo-yo swing ride, currently occupies the spot where Whirling Dervish, a park original wave swinger sat. Located in the County Fair section of the park. (Relocated from Geauga Lakemarker in Ohio)
  • Dodg'ems: Bumper Cars located in the County Fair section of the park.
  • The Storm in a Scrambler: whirling gondolas that spin in a circular motion. Located in the Carolina Showplace section of the park.

Planet Snoopy

Charlie Brown Wind Up
  • A miniature swing ride.
Flying Ace Balloon Race
  • A flying balloon ride featuring Snoopy from the Peanuts.
Woodstock Gliders
  • A flying ride themed to Woodstock. First resided at Cincinnati's Coney Island Park in 1935. In 1972, debuted as Flying Eagles at sister park Kings Islandmarker with the park's opening. Moved to Carowinds in 2005.
Snoopy's Junction
  • A miniature train ride.
Woodstock's Whirly Birds
  • A monorail with helicopter cars themed to Woodstock.
PEANUT'S Yacht Club
  • A mini speed boat ride relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderlandmarker where it was once known as Bedrock Dock.
Snoopy's Space Race
  • A small flying jet ride.
Character Carousel
  • An antique carousel.
Snoopy's GR8 SK8
  • A swinging ride that falls at themed to Snoopy.
(Planet Snoopy Rename TBA)
  • A rotating pirate ship ride themed to The Peanuts relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderlandmarker where it was once known as The Great Whale of China.
Red Baron
  • A small plane ride themed to Snoopy.
Joe Cool's Driving School
  • Kids cruise in electric ' 50s' style Cadillacs and Corvettes on a track.

Water Rides

  • Rip Roarin' Rapids
A white water rapids ride. Located in the Carowinds Plaza section of the park.
  • WhiteWater Falls
A splash boat ride. Located in the Carolina RFD section of the park.

Boomerang Bay

  • Jackaroo Landing
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Bondi Beach
  • Kangaroo Lagoon
  • Wallaby Wharf
  • Crocodile Run
  • Sydney Sidewinder
  • Down Under Thunder
  • Awesome Aussie Twisters
  • Pipeline Peak - Body Slides
  • Pipeline Peak - Tube Slides
  • Kookaburra Bay
  • Platypus Plunge


  • 2010: Intimidator: A 232 foot tall, 5316 foot long Bolliger and Mabillard hyper coaster. It will feature a 74 degree, 211 foot first drop putting the train in excess of 75 MPH. A reported 23 million dollars will be invested in the ride. Planet Snoopy will also be coming in Spring 2010 due to an expired contract with Viacom. All Nickelodeon references will be removed. Carolina Cyclone will be repainted.
  • 2009: Carolina Cobra, a "Boomerang steel coaster" featuring new trains from Vekoma, will occupy the former spot of the Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator. Carowinds is rebuilding more sections of Thunder Road. Last year the majority of the work on Thunder Road was spent rebuilding the two large turn-arounds at back end of the ride and a little bit of the return track half way back. Now they have completely removed the old track in between last year’s rebuilt sections. Nighthawk will be repainted with yellow tracks and navy blue supports. Carowinds has replaced some track at the Hurler. Scarowinds will return for its tenth year. Wild Thornberrys log flume removed for a new attraction. Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure's track is also modified. "Carolina Cyclone" and "Vortex" will be repainted during winter for the 2010 year.
  • 2008: A second wave pool named Bondi Beach was added along with cabanas in Boomerang Bay. This added to the park making it . Geauga Lake's Yo Yo swing ride was also added in the County Fair section. Flying Super Saturator only operates on the Boomerang Bay operating calendar. Thunder Road now runs both sides going forwards again. The Flying Super Saturator is removed from the park in August. The log flume has its last year. It is to be removed during the 2008-2009 off-season.
  • 2007: Frenzoid was put back in as Southern Star in County Fair section. The price for a single day ticket dropped for the first time ever. Carolina Skytower was repainted to look like an American flag.
  • 2006: Frenzoid was removed. WaterWorks was rethemed and renamed to Boomerang Bay and converting the old Frenzoid lake into a heated lagoon. Thunder Raceway Go-Carts was built in the Thrill Zone. Paramount Parks is sold to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company for 1.24 billion dollars. This puts Carowinds under the Cedar Fair family of parks.
  • 2005: Nickelodeon Central expands into Animation Station, featuring Phantom Flyers (relocated from Kings Island as Flying Eagles), Flying Dutchman's Revenge (Relocated from Canada's Wonderland as the Great Whale of China), Little Bill's Cruisers, Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure (Formerly Yogi's Jellystone Tour) and Frenzoid removal begins in September.
  • 2004: BORG Assimilator (later renamed Nighthawk) Flying coaster added.
  • 2003: Nickelodeon Central, featuring Rugrats Runaway Reptar (New Vekoma Jr. SLC), Wild Thornberrys River Adventure (Formerly Powder Keg Flume), and Rocket Power Air Time (Formerly Gauntlet); Carolina Sternwheeler (Original Ride) riverboat removed.
  • 2002: Ricochet and rethemeing of Carolina Crossroads area to Carolina Boardwalk.
  • 2001: SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted Mansion; WaterWorks expansion; Whirling Dervish (swing ride) removed
  • 2000: Scarowindsmarker (Later renamed Scarowinds' Halloween Haunt) Halloween Event; Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator (steel coaster)
  • 1999: Top Gun: The Jet Coaster (Later renamed Afterburn) was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
  • 1998: Taxi Jam (Later renamed Hey Arnold's Taxi Chase), TV Road Trip, and Chopper Chase (Later renamed Lazy Town Sport-o-Copters).
  • 1997: WaterWorks water park
  • 1996: Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (later renamed Drop Tower: Scream Zone) was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
  • 1995: Xtreme Skyflyer was added in the Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section of Carowinds.
  • 1994: Wayne's World (later renamed Thrill Zone) section with Hurler and Monorail removed.
  • 1993: Action Theater was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
  • 1992: Vortex was added in the Carolina Showplace section of Carowinds.
  • 1991: Expansion of Paladium; Speedway Cars removed.
  • 1990: Gauntlet (shooting star, later renamed Rocket Power Air Time).
  • 1989: Riptide Reef water park; Expansion of Paladium.
  • 1988: WhiteWater Falls; White Lightnin' coaster removed; Black Widow (thrill ride) removed.
  • 1987: Expansion of Hanna-Barbera Land with three new rides; Old Jalopies antique car ride removed; Oaken Bucket removed.
  • 1986: Frenzoid, a looping Viking ship was added.
  • 1985: Blackbeard's Revenge (mystery house).
  • 1984: Smurf Island (themed area).
  • 1983: Cable Skyway removed.
  • 1982: Rip Roarin' Rapids; Ocean Island (water park).
  • 1980: Carolina Cyclone was added in Frontier Outpost.
  • 1979: County Fair area added. Meteorite (enterprise); PT Bumpem's Auto Stunt & Thrill Show (bumper cars); Whirling Dervish (wave swinger); Wild Bull (bayern kurve); Carousel.
  • 1977: White Lightnin' (Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster) in Pirate Island (entrance in Country Crossroads); Whirling Well renamed Oaken Bucket and moved to east midway.
  • 1976: Thunder Road; Carowinds and Carolina Railroad removed.
  • 1975: Paladium Amphitheatre; Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera (themed area) featuring Scooby Doo coaster; Surfer (Tagada); Wagon Wheel (Chance Trabant); Waltzer (Schwarzkopf spinning ride).
  • 1974: Country Kitchen is added; Whirling Well (Chance Rotor); picnic areas open. The Double-Decker Carousel is removed from the park at the end of the season and placed in storage.
  • 1973: Carowinds opens on March 31; the Monorail is still under construction and opens later. Original theme areas: Plantantion Square, Contemporary Carolina, Frontier Outpost, Pirate Island, Indian Thicket, Country Crossroads and Queens Colony.


External links


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