Roar-O-Saurus – Story Land’s Wooden Roller Coaster
Now open for the 2014 season is Story Land’s Roar-O-Saurus, a 1,242 ft. wooden roller coaster that CNN named among the top 10 “most insane” new roller coasters in the United States.
The much anticipated wooden coaster was constructed by The Gravity Group based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, a firm with years of experience building jaw dropping coasters for parks both large and small. The challenge for Gravity Group at Story Land’s, Glen, NH facility was creating such a monster with only a small footprint. Unlike larger coasters, the team needed to do more with less. The final result is nothing short of magical. With a total height of 40ft, cars are able to reach speeds upwards of 35 mph and riders are given 12 moments of seat elevating enjoyment.
We recently spoke with Jack Mahany the Assistant General Manager of Story Land to learn a bit more about how the “dino-coaster” came to life and what the beloved New Hampshire theme park has in store for future guests.
It’s important to note that Jack is more than a General Manager, he’s a fixture of Story Land’s rich history having begun work at the facility over 46 years. He began working at the Glen, NH theme park as a child and considers the late Bob Morrell, the parks creator, a friend and mentor. In 1968, Jack met his future wife who worked as Cinderella on the parks most popular attraction – he operated the Pumpkin Coach ride.
Below is an excerpt of our conversation
Why was the Roar-O-Saurus created?
Story Land is a wonderful place for youngsters, but lacks attractions that would captivate an audience of 12-14 year olds. The idea was to create a transition coaster thrilling enough for early teenagers, but not as death defying as dedicated thrill seeking parks. “We really want to create family memories that will last a lifetime” Says Mahany, “We want to include everyone in the family, we know Mom’s and Dad’s are going to love it!”
How did the Roar-O-Saurus come to life?
Story Land knew they wanted to do something big, something that would attract a new generation of visitors, something with dinosaurs. As with many great achievements it begins with a story. Rory, the green triceratops at the helm of the Roar-O-Saurus is a dinosaur that has lost his roar. As he leads the cars around the track he enters a tunnel and finds his roar again. “It’s a cute story we can build on over time, we’re even adding mechanical dinosaurs and components around the perimeter. We really transformed the area into a prehistoric landscape”
Why choose a wooden coaster?
“The wooden coaster appeals to a larger audience, its authentic and the Roar-O-Saurus is one of a kind.” There are of course steel elements for safety, but for New Hampshire and the ambiance of Story Land wood is definitely the preferred material.
Were there challenges with construction?
“Absolutely! the coaster was built primarily in winter. we had conditions 15 below 0 and yet the team was out there working every day, it truly is an amazing feat of construction.”
The Roar-O-Saurus marks the 60th anniversary of Story Land, a momentous occasion Mahany looks back on with fondness. “A lot has changed since opening day in 1954.” says Jack, “When the park initially opened we only had one ride, a firetruck Bob bought for a $1”.
There are currently 15 people still working at the park that were trained by Bob Morrell personally, a testament to the longevity and personal connection many have with Story Land. “We all take pride in our work and bringing joy to families. It’s wonderful we can keep the stories alive.”
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Great Roller Coaster Action!
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