|Park section South Midway|
Opening date May 11, 1996
Designer Steve Okamoto
Max speed 119 km/h
G-force 4.1 g
Cost 14 million USD
Height 63 m
Height restriction 1.22 m
Opened 11 May 1996
|Manufacturer D. H. Morgan Manufacturing|
Similar Steel Venom, Renegade, Corkscrew, High Roller, Xtreme Swing
Wild Thing, located at the Valleyfair amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, is a steel out-and-back roller coaster with more than one mile (1.6 km) of track. Its first hill is 207 feet (63 m) with a 60 degree drop, and reaches speeds of up to 74 mph (119 km/h). Wild Thing's height was set by the FAA, due to the nearby presence of Flying Cloud Airport.
In 2005, Wild Thing was the main challenge for a local radio station's "Survive it and Drive It" game. Approximately 20 listeners were challenged to be the last one riding continuously for days upon end. The winner received a new car from a local car dealer. The contest lasted for seventeen days. Due to the unbelievable stamina and willpower of the final two contestants, they were each awarded a car.
Designed and manufactured by D. H. Morgan Manufacturing, it was the first "hypercoaster" to be built by the company, opening in 1996. It was the 5th tallest coaster in the world when it opened. The ride's success led to the construction of Steel Force at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1997 and Mamba at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri the next year.
After the ascent to the top of the 207 ft (63.1m) lift hill, the train plunges down the 196 ft (59.7 m) drop, reaching the maximum speed of 74 mph (119.1 km/h). The train then enters a 103 ft (31.4m) parabolic hill, resulting in the longest low gravity section of any coaster in the world. After the hill, the train climbs a larger 130 ft (39.6m) hill and turns left followed by a large figure-eight turnaround. The train then makes a s-turn into a mid-course brake run. followed by several airtime hills, two of which are inside a tunnel where riders are photographed via on-ride camera. The train is led into a final brake run followed by a right turn back into the station.
Several minor injuries occurred following a derailment on the Wild Thing on May 21, 2006 when a brake mount came loose. The accident happened in the mid brake, where a train waits to enter the station following a run. The failed brake mount struck the rear axle of the train's fifth car, causing the sixth car to detach from the train and de-rail on one side. 14 people were taken to St. Francis Regional Medical Center, but all were released the same day with minor or no injuries.
Contrary to widespread rumors, neither the train, the cars, or any of the riders fell from the track. All riders were wearing their required seat belts and lap bars, preventing them from being ejected from their car. The sixth car did not completely derail from the track, rather settling in a leaning position on its right side.
Wild Thing reopened on June 1, 2006, after being judged safe by inspectors.