The best roller coasters and thrill rides make you question your sanity about half way through the ride. Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston has provided untold heart stopping, cold-sweat inducing, yell-out-loud moments since it opened nine years ago, and a new thrill ride makes its debut in June that promises to up the “Oh my God, what am I’m doing?” quotient.
The Screaming Serpent is scheduled to open to the public on June 13 and brings a brand new dynamic to the hugely popular waterpark.
“The Screaming Serpent is classified as a speed slide, which means it’s a body slide that you experience without a mat or anything, which allows you to gather more speed,” said Chris Ozimek, Schlitterbahn Galveston’s director of sales and marketing. “It is actually comprised of two totally enclosed tunnels that are twisted around each other from top to bottom and shoots the rider out the mouth of the serpent through its eight-foot head.”
The new ride shares the platform structure with the existing Cliff Hanger ride and features a 70-foot vertical drop that propels riders at more than 30 mph through the 281-foot long fiberglass tunnels. Along the way, a cacophony of music, lights and fog heighten the sensory overload.
“It takes only about 15 seconds to travel through the tubes, so it’s quite a rush,” Ozimek said. “This is the only attraction of its kind at a Schlitterbahn park and the serpent theme makes it pretty unique for our park.”
Ozimek says the Screaming Serpent is constructed out of over 13,000 pounds of fiberglass and was built by linking 71 sections together. If placed end to end, the materials would stretch out over 1,030 feet. The Serpent replaces a slide that featured a similar twisted tunnel construction, but was simply a blue tube and did not have the combination of psychedelic lights, music and fog that’s sure to make the Serpent a hit with the park’s younger, thrill seeking clientele.
“We try to entertain every member of the family, so not all of our attractions are the high thrill variety, but teens and college kids seem to be drawn to the higher thrill rides, so we’re sure they’re gonna love this,” Ozimek said.
The park has scheduled a grand unveiling of the Screaming Serpent for June 13 and is also planning to promote the new attraction by sponsoring contests with area radio stations to allow listeners to earn the honor of being among the first people to ride it. Ozimek says the park is also planning to work with a local charity to auction off family four-pack tickets that will include the Screaming Serpent.
Of course, if your tastes run a little milder, Schlitterbahn has numerous slower-paced and kid friendly attractions, including in excess of a mile of interconnected rivers that allow you to leisurely float around the entire park.
“We always try to strike a balance between the high speed rides, more casual attractions and things for kids. We have a children’s area in every section of the park, which makes it easy for everyone in the family to ride what they want in the same area. Lots of amusement parks just have a kids section in one area of the park,” Ozimek said.
Schlitterbahn Galveston, which opened in 2006, is one of five Schlitterbahn waterparks in the U.S., including the original in New Braunfels that opened in 1979. The other parks are located in South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Kansas City, Kansas. Ozimek says the Galveston park features over 35 attractions and hosts about 500,000 guests per year. Check out Schlitterbahn.com/Galveston for ticket information.