Skyscraper takes flight at Cedar Point

SANDUSKY Prepare to kick the sky. Riding Skyscraper, the newest addition to Cedar Poi
Annie Zelm
May 24, 2010



Prepare to kick the sky.

Riding Skyscraper, the newest addition to Cedar Point's Challenge Park, feels like tumbling beneath the clouds.

The 160-foot tower, with rotating arms that propel riders 16 stories into the air at speeds of up to 55 mph, debuted last week.

Bill Spehn, vice president of park operations, said the ride introduces a new level of thrill to the park's offerings.

"We are very excited about introducing a ride of this caliber to Challenge Park," he said of Skyscraper, manufactured by Gravity Works, Inc., in Ottawa, Ontario.

As they're strapped into open cars on either end of the four-person propeller, guests brace themselves for a gut-wrenching journey. In the first few seconds, the cars begin to rock back and forth as they travel upward with their feet dangling.

After rotating several times, guests are given a brief reprieve when the ride stops momentarily at the top to load the second car. Even if no one else is boarding, they still have about a minute to take a birds-eye view of the entire park and wave to riders chugging up the hill of the nearby Magnum.

Just as they're getting comfortable, the real terror begins.

"Prepare to kick the sky," the ride operator announces, and on cue, the car plummets, spinning faster than before.

The entire ordeal is over in about two minutes, but it feels slightly longer --which could be good or bad, depending on one's perspective.

Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said the ride has attracted a steady stream of guests since its opening.

"You get a great view, and yet you feel totally exposed up there," he said.

Those who aren't brave enough to climb on board can still take part in the fun by watching a live streaming video of the passengers.

The cost is $20, but the park is offering a limited-time opportunity for two riders to board for the price of one. One word of caution: Riding with the added weight of a seat mate does make the ride spin faster -- but at least there's the built-in moral support of someone to scream with.