Friday, July 15, 2011

The Rides at Hershey Park are Sweet

When I woke up this morning, I did not at all expect that by the end of the day I would have such a hoarse voice. Today was our class field trip to Hershey Park, where we would gather data from our respective rides. We had to meet in front of the quad at 8:00 so we could beat traffic into Hershey. We did in fact beat traffic, but the ride to the park was still long. We drove for two hours before reaching the amusement park. Once we arrived, we set up a base camp of sorts in a shaded area near the front of the park. This is where we were given our data collection tools and also where we would meet to leave the park later. Once my group was given a GLX (our data collection tool) and a camera, we headed for the SooperDooperLooper.

We had to walk about half way across the park to reach our ride, but it paid off later when we were trying to find other rides. The name SooperDooperLooper is slightly misleading. The name makes it sound like the loop is the main point of the ride. However, the loop is right after the first hill, which makes total sense with regard to physics, and then after that, the twists and turns of the ride are really what make it. The loop has to be right after the initial drop so that the carts have enough gravitational potential energy to convert into kinetic energy. This kinetic energy is important because otherwise the carts will not have enough energy to make it around the loop. Our data was easy to collect and we only had to spend about half an hour of our time working. Once we collected the data and analyzed it, we returned our equipment and began exploring the park.

Checking the data thoroughly
The first stop we made was at the most intense rollercoaster in the park: Fahrenheit. Since Mike has been to Hershey before and he had already experienced the whiplashing vertigo-inducing Fahrenheit he opted not to ride it. I also decided not to ride because I value the alignment in my spine and neck far too much to ride what looks to be a deathtrap.

Our group divided and Brian and Julia waited to ride the coaster for an hour. Mike and I did several things in the meantime. We rode the Lightning Racer, which is a wooden coaster on which two trains of carts race to the finish, as well as a pendulum ride called Pirate. Mike and I rode on separate trains of carts so we could race and my group of carts won. After several roller coaster rides, Pirate was actually pretty relaxing.

We also had lunch at a pizza shop next to the water ride Tidal Force (which will reappear later). We met up with Brian and Julia after we ate and thankfully they were each still in one piece.

Once we were all back together, we decided to ride Stormrunner, which is the second most intense coaster in the park. Words cannot really do justice to the experience so I will post a link to a YouTube video where you can see what we saw. ( The ride is only about forty-five seconds long and the speed of the carts begins at about seventy miles per hour. I cannot really estimate how fast it was going after the first hill because I was just gripping the seat for dear life, but it was definitely faster than any other ride that I have been on in the past. It was a great ride and was definitely the highlight of my day, despite it being the cause of me losing my voice.

After Stormrunner, we headed to Tidal Force, which is similar to Logger’s Revenge for those readers who are familiar with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The ride is just a big cart that holds about twenty and you are dropped down a tall ramp into a pool below, which then causes a “tidal force” that splashes just about everything within a twenty foot radius. After Tidal Force, we decided to dry off by riding Lightning Racer again. Unfortunately we had to return to base camp and attempt to, once again, beat traffic. It didn’t work this time…

Being launched at 70 mph is not exactly calming...
When we returned to Penn, Brian and I discovered that we were late for our movie group’s departure. Because of this we had to go watch Avatar in the lounge instead of going to the real movie theater. Thankfully, all the other people in the room (about six people) were just as bored with the film as Brian and I were. When we finished disc one, we pleaded with Elliot (one of the RC’s that manages the events) to let us leave. He allowed us to leave so Brian and I sought out the other members of our group. Once the seven of us had gathered, we played Pictionary and Taboo in our lounge. It was a great way to conclude an already excellent day.

As I sit here typing this blog, I am also chugging water because I would like to restore my voice to full capacity. This was really the only downside to the day. All the other thrills I experienced today and all the fun I had far outweigh that small side effect. Tomorrow we will all be taking another field trip to Washington, D.C. and I cannot wait to tour the capitol with my friends. Until tomorrow’s blog, I’m signing off.
I thought the heat was getting to me when I saw dancing chocolate...
A sea of Domo...

1 comment:

  1. Alex,

    I'm glad that at least some of your trip was used for some sort of educational purposes: learning that when you take the water ride you're going to get wet.

    I watched the YouTube video clip of your ride--I think I've taken a cab ride or two that were about that fast and rough.