Category Archives: Travel

Don’t Visit: South Dakota

michael putthoff block

           My wife is always nagging me that we don’t do enough, that all we do is sit around the house getting fat and old.  I asked her what she wanted to do, she looked at me said she wanted to go on a trip.  Fine, I can do a trip.  I looked back at her, “Okay, where do you want to go?”

Silence.

“I don’t know.”

 

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Source: fallontonight.tumblr.com

Of course she knew, women always know what they want, but they can’t let men know that.  It’s why men exist, to pitch the terrible ideas, then women shoot them down, making their choice the superior one even if it’s not.

           After a week or so, she decided she we should visit South Dakota.  I’ve never been there, because I’m thinking what’s the point?  I’m pretty sure it looks like the majority of Nebraska, our current state of residence:  full of nothingness and people who want to move to a better place.  I agreed because I couldn’t be bothered to argue about where we should go for vacation.

 

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Source: everplans.com

           We packed up the car and headed out of town. I think everyone had the same idea, as traffic was backed up for miles.  I was tempted to end the trip there and go back home, as there was no way South Dakota was worth this.  As we sat in traffic, my wife was telling me all the things she did when she went with her family in South Dakota as a kid.

I was confused and asked her why we were going to South Dakota if she had already been there, but she ignored me in that “Listen to your wife” way.   Isn’t the whole point of travelling to see new places?  If I went to another state, I wouldn’t bother going back because I’ve probably already seen everything I wanted to.  The first time you go somewhere, you visit everything that’s cool and you want to see.

           She told me to shut up and keep driving.  We took I-29 to Sioux Falls, which was a dreadful drive.  I thought the drive from Kansas City to Omaha was bad, this was so much worse.  It was literally miles and miles of absolutely nothing to see but corn and depression.  It also doesn’t help that the radio only seems to play shit these days.  I don’t know who Nicki Minaj is, all I know is that I want her to stop doing whatever she thinks she’s doing.

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Source: ineedthisforreactions.tumblr.com

           We made it to Sioux Falls, South Dakota after dark.  I was already tired of driving, and we still had 5 more hours to go to get to our final destination: Rapid City.  We were hungry, so we went to Applebee’s for those half-price appetizers.  Their appetizers are really the only thing worth ordering.  Everything else tastes like it came from the frozen section of a gas station.     

           Our waitress wasn’t very friendly.  I get it, it’s late, you don’t want to be here, but Jesus, put a little life in your step.  You don’t see doctors moaning when they have to jam their fingers up a man’s ass to check his prostate, all you’re doing is bringing me wings.

           The morning came too quickly as I had an amazing dream that I was chasing a herd of donuts.  We had barely gotten any sleep that night because there was a man next door who sounded like he was passing a kidney stone.  That, or he saw his fat wife get naked.  My wife punched me and said that wasn’t a nice thing to say.  I told her that wasn’t a nice thing for her to do to him.

           We needed to get gas, so we found a BP near our hotel.  It was an old-looking gas station; in the front there were six pumps, and four of them looked like they had been out of service for a while.  It took us almost ten minutes to get gas due to the pumps right out of the Flintstones.  After that ordeal we were finally on our way to Rapid City.  My wife’s mom called.  I had forgetten how long they can talk to each other.  When my family calls, we talk for about 20 minutes, then we don’t talk again until the next month.   

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Source: tumblr.com

           It was well into the afternoon by the time we got to Rapid City.  They really make up their downtown, but then again, they really have to.  No sane person wants to willingly visit South Dakota.  I don’t think we would lose anything if we sold the Dakotas to Canada.  What does Canada really have going for it anyway?  Canadian bacon and apologies?  C’mon Canada, step it up.

           Rapid City has one of those typical touristy-looking old downtowns.  All of the buildings were new, but they were made to look like they’ve been there since the town was founded.  The street was lined with sweet shops, souvenir stores, and law offices.  I never understood why there are so many law offices located in tourist downtowns.  I imagine the sweet shops and souvenir stores are always having a bout with each other over customers.

 

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Source: minitime.com

There was a small cafe at the end of the street, so we popped in for bite to eat. The place was decent, and the food was leaps and bounds better than Applebee’s.  I’m pretty sure the people who owned it bought all the tables and chairs from garage sales as none of them seemed to match.  There was a group of guys a couple tables over.  They all had to be in their 30’s or 40’s, and they were talking about My Little Pony.  I’ve heard about these people on the radio, they’re called ‘Bronies’ or something like that.  I bet when they walk into the toy store, everyone else clears out.  My wife told me to stop staring and finish my lunch.

           I’m glad we ended up eating there.  Food everywhere else was ridiculously overpriced, almost double what we paid at the cafe.  I don’t much care for tourist towns like this.  Everything is overpriced, and everything says ‘Rapid City’ or ‘Mt. Rushmore’ on it.  If I needed a new pair of boxers, chances are I would end up with Washington’s face across my crotch.  I guess when that’s only thing your state can capitalize on, you run with it.  We popped into a shop and bought a magnet, because my wife loves collecting magnets for the fridge.  Half of one of the doors is covered with them.  We got our magnet and headed out to see the big heads in the rock.

           We drove up to the monument.  It was $11 for parking.  Are you serious?  My wife told me to pay the fee, as there was no parking around for miles, and she didn’t want to walk all that way.  The monument was alright, the heads of our former Presidents looking out over a pretty useless state.  I don’t know why they just stopped at the heads, at least go down to the shoulders and make it count.  I wish there was more to say, but it’s literally just heads in a rock.  There were fat people in Hawaiian shirts taking pictures. This guy was way far back trying to get them all in the picture.  If your fat family can’t fit in a picture taken from a reasonable distance, you need to think about your lives.

 

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Source: wikipedia.com

           There was another miserable, uptight family there, and the mom was bragging to another family about how they only take educational trips in the summer.  The dad looked more than fed up with her, and so did her kids who were dressed in pressed clothing.  There was  another man there tending to his RV.  Have you seen the size of these things?  You have to have a special license to drive a bus, but these things are just as long and you need no special training.  It worries me a bit when I see them driving down the interstates.  The people-watching we did was more amusing than the monument itself.

           After spending thirty minutes gazing into the face of Washington and company, we headed back to town.  My wife wasn’t feeling well, so she had a lie-down at the hotel.  Being the amazing husband I am, I went out and picked us up some dinner.  I was walking down Tourist Town when I happened across a model railroad store.  This was amazing, as I love model trains.  Think what you want, but it’s what my grandpa and I did all the time when I was little.  I talked to the guy who owned it, and he said he got good business from the tourists, but he wishes they would all just piss off.  I couldn’t have agreed more with him.

           The next day we drove over to the Badlands National Park.  I was a bit worried to be going to a place called the ‘Badlands.’  I was right to be worried.  There was a Park Ranger there who warned people to stay on the trails and be careful of rattlesnakes.  South Dakota was the last place I thought I would see rattlesnakes.  The park was alright, it mostly looked like a big open field.  I feel like I could have seen this back in Nebraska.  There were loads of people taking pictures of the grass and dirt.  We did reach a part of the park that looked like a mini Grand Canyon.  It was a bit impressive, but I couldn’t enjoy it with the threat of Rattlesnakes everywhere.

           We went out for a nice lunch before getting on the road to go home. There was a big woman riding a scooter down the sidewalk, rudely pushing people out of the way.  Her scooter was barely scooting and the wheels looked flat, probably because she was so big.  She had a fat kid with her who was eating ice cream.  He was covered in it.  I thought it was a good thing he wasn’t in a scooter, he wasn’t paying attention and probably would have killed someone.

           We packed up the car and headed home.  It was an alright vacation, certainly more entertaining than visiting Kansas.  I would recommend visiting someplace else before making your way up to a useless state like South Dakota.  My wife told me not to judge South Dakota on what little we saw.  I think I’ll take my chances and assume the rest of this state is just as bad; after all, ignorance is bliss.


michaelbio

 

Don’t Visit: Kansas

michael putthoff block

When I was still in college, my mom, my brothers, and I went to Kansas to visit my mom’s friend from college.  I had to take three days off work for this trip, so I told her it better be worth it.  She told me to get in the car and shut up.  We left the safe haven of Kansas City, Missouri, and crossed into the forbidden land of Kansas.  For those of you who do not know, Kansas City sits on the border of two states: Missouri, where pretty much everything worth living for is, and the Kansas side, where people go to die.

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           It was only a three hour drive, but Kansas has a way of making anything feel like an eternity. “Flat and boring” isn’t enough to describe the depressiveness that is the state of Kansas.  You don’t even need to stand on top of a hill to see for miles around.  Drop a ball anywhere in the state and it won’t roll away.  I swear, the sign you see when you’re driving into Kansas should read: “Hey, buddy, I think you’re lost.”

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           We stopped at a rest stop that was literally in the middle of nowhere.  You couldn’t see anything for miles; it was like looking out into purgatory.  I couldn’t see any cows either, but there was a McDonald’s attached to the rest stop, so that probably explains that. I imagine this is what Hell really looks like.  No lake of fire, just fields of nothing.  No wonder everyone is so keen to do good these days. Maybe when you’re bad in a past life, you get sent to Kansas.  I can’t see a real use for this state, so I suggested we make Nebraska and Kansas one big state, dig out Kansas and make it a new Great Lake.  My mom asked where all the people in Kansas would live.  I just laughed because obviously no people live here.

           We made it to Wichita later that evening.  I found myself wishing that I would have stayed home and gone to work instead.  I don’t know how people live in these towns in the middle of nowhere; I would get too bored.  It’s already taken me three days to write this article because I can’t concentrate on anything for too long.  My wife is always yelling at me because I don’t listen to her.  I try to tell her it’s not her, it’s everyone, but she still gets mad at me.

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           My mom’s friend lived on this street that was half-pavement, half-gravel.  It’s like the people who were paving the street got bored, said “screw it,” threw down some rock, and got the hell out of Kansas.  The house was nice enough, but it reeked of too many cats.  I lucked out and got to sleep on the couch because I’m the tallest; my brothers had to share a blow-up bed.  My mom’s friend had four little shitlin’s of her own. I couldn’t be bothered to learn their names while we were there, so I just called them “Hey you.”

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           At breakfast the next morning, she asked me what kind of juice I wanted.  Everyone else had chocolate milk, so I asked for that.  She told me no, that I was too old for chocolate milk. Woah, fuck off lady!  Don’t you try and take the elixir from the Gods away from me because you think I’m too old, I want some goddamn chocolate milk. I spent the rest of breakfast sipping the abomination that is Sunny D, plotting my revenge.

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           Later, we went to the local amusement park called Joyland. Two of the rides were closed for ‘Safety Issues,’ so I’m assuming that means some people died on it.  There was a wooden roller coaster in the park called ‘Nightmare,’ and for an obvious reason.  This coaster, built in 1949, shook and threw you around like no one’s business.  We ended up riding that the most, everything else was carnival rides that were still on the trailer as the park hadn’t bothered to anchor them.  I saw some rides without a “years operating” sticker on them.  Needless to say, we didn’t spend too much time in the park.  Last I checked, the park’s status was SBNO, which means “Standing But Not Operating” in amusement park terms.

           Wichita itself isn’t that big, but I’m not surprised as most towns in Kansas are small.  There’s not much to do in that town, so we went to a tiny lake to try and beat the heat of the day.  The beach was dirty and had lots of sharp rocks everywhere.  I saw a few needles: we must have discovered the place where people come to do drugs to forget that they live in this soul sucking place.  There was a sign that said the lake was closed due to high levels of bacteria, probably full of heroin. Thank God we were leaving the next day.

           Have you ever been on vacation, and you’re about to go home, and you get antsy waiting for your parents to tell you that you’re finally leaving?  That was me.  I could not sit still.  Before we left, it was time for me to go ahead with my revenge plan. I got into the fridge and chugged the last of their chocolate milk.  I know I ruined it for the kids, but at that time I couldn’t care less.  Kansas was doing me in.  As we were loading up the car, I walked past my mom’s friend with a chocolate milk moustache and a smile.  I know she saw me, ’cause she had an “oh you little shit” look on her face. Mission accomplished.

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           We drove three hours north to Formoso, KS to visit my cousins.  It was worse than the drive to Wichita.  At least we saw some town on our way down to Wichita.  Not so much on our drive to to Formoso; there was nothing, and I mean nothing, but corn and wheat.  I think we only passed one McDonald’s.  That’s how you can guess the size of a town, by how many golden arches you can find.  I saw a dead cow, which had probably died of boredom.

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          While driving to our cousins’, I began to think of different ways to reach the sweet release of death and be out of this hell.  Then I realized that if I killed myself, I’d probably just end up back in Kansas, so I quickly changed my mind.

           When we made it to my cousin’s house, I told them outright how boring Kansas is.  They agreed and said when they graduated high school they were going to go to college in a bigger city, and that no matter where you go in Kansas it smells like cow shit.  At certain times of the day, you can’t be outside because it really smells that bad.  You shouldn’t live in a place where the smell of the day makes you want to stay inside your house.

           We went to a local bar for dinner.  There’s no age restrictions there, because it’s in Kansas and nobody cares.  We walked right past a county sheriff, who tipped his hat and kept drinking his beer.  The food was good, and everyone in the bar knew my cousins, so we ended up having a pretty good time.  We played a few games of pools and darts.  I’m rubbish at darts, but I beat everyone at pool, even conned my cousin out of $20.  When we left it was pitch black outside.  The nothingness of Kansas had literally disappeared. Staring out into the black abyss can really make you feel insignificant, alone, and very aware of your own existence. Not me, it makes me happy knowing that Kansas disappears at night.

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           The next afternoon we were off for home, and it could not have come sooner.  I’ve heard of people dying as a result of being kicked by a cow, and that was starting to sound real good.  The drive back was better because I knew I was going somewhere I liked: my house.  I always think going home after a vacation is the best part.  Being away is fun, but getting home to your own space is probably one of the best feelings in the world.  Unless you live in Kansas, then just stay wherever you went to for your vacation.  


michaelbio

The Types of People that Study Abroad in Ghana

dj bart plange block

When I studied abroad in Ghana, I met a myriad of people from different backgrounds and experiences. We all saw the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Most of the people I befriended were some of the coolest people I’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.  As a study abroad student, you’ll meet people you can learn from, laugh with, give the extreme side-eye to, and form incredible friendships with.  No matter where you study abroad, you’ll always meet some unforgettable characters.  Here are just a few types of people you’ll inevitably run into. Now if you go to Ghana, here are some you’ll be sure not to miss.

The “No New Friends” Student

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So you took the first step and you actually came to an African country, but are too afraid of the people to make any friends for the entirety of the semester.  Identifiable from afar as either a sea of lost-looking white people or those that would otherwise blend in if not for the perpetually confused look on their faces.  This one is categorized in the plural form simply because you only see them walking around in international student hordes, on the lookout for muggers or whatever dangerous type of person they were warned about by their friends before coming.  Going out to a bar or to the club- simply out of the question.  Didn’t you hear that those taxi drivers can kidnap you???

The Gold Digger

kanye

You’re the type of person that didn’t come to Ghana to simply study.  Or to learn.  Or to pay for things.  What’s the point of going abroad without living your life like it’s golden?  Like literally golden.  I mean like you gotta go out to the club dressed to the nines and find yourself a sponsor kind of golden.  You’re the type of girl or guy that can be found droppin’ it like it’s hot in a Ghanaian music video, discovered randomly one day six months after the trip. You’ll be approached by suitors left and right and never leave the hostel with a hair out of place.  The only money you decide to spend are for taxis to go see your boo when they can’t pick you up, because you know all of your food and drinks will be paid for.  You’re in your element and you’re on the prowl.  Throughout the semester your clothes will look increasingly more expensive, and people always see you leaving campus in an unidentifiable Mercedes.  No one has any idea how you found all these people or all of these new things.  You don’t play, you came to get chose.  Or better yet, you came to choose.

The “Where are all the lions?” Traveller

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The majority of your knowledge of Ghana (or I should probably say just Africa because you probs didn’t know that Ghana was a thing until like, yesterday) comes from National Geographic or some article you read about the Invisible Children that inspired you to “Brave it” and come to Africa.  You didn’t really come here to study much, because let’s face it, how hard could the classes actually be?  Upon landing, you were surprised and disappointed by the lack of exotic animals walking about, and pretty much just wanted to go home when you found out you were not in fact going to get to ride on a lion.  You settle for taking pictures of the random chickens or goats you occasionally see on the road to put in your Safari Facebook album.  Club clothes or cute outfits?  Nah, your suitcase consists of cargo pants, fanny packs, loose tank tops, and skirts, because there couldn’t possibly be a nightlife in Africa of all places…  Right?

The “BACK TO AFRICA” Enthusiast

dancing Africa

HELLO MOTHERLAND!  You’re finally back home!  This is the kente-covered, Kwanzaa-celebrating, braid-wearing, Marcus Garvey back-to-Africa-reading kind of study abroad Africa enthusiast.  It really didn’t matter where you studied abroad, as long as it was on your mother continent.  You’ll learn as much Twi as you can fill your head with, and trade all of your American clothes for as many Ghanaian clothes you can fill your suitcase with.  You already know all of the hottest hiplife artists, so you’re singing right along with all the other Ghanaians whenever you go out.  You feel like you’re finally home the moment that you step off the plane, and anytime someone dares to call you an “oburoni,” you make sure to learn them something about how your great-great-grandfather was from  “insert random African country here.”  You’ll eat all the food, meet all the people, and go to all the places.  Of course, you’ll make sure to surround yourself with as many Ghanaian friends as you can find.  The post-abroad depression will last for months after the trip, and every time you play your Ghanaian jams on your iPod after that you’ll be counting down the days until you return to your true home.

The Savior Complex

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You’re not afraid of Africa.  Not afraid at all.  You’ve been sponsoring one of those poor kids you see on the TV since the 5th grade.  In fact, you came to leave your mark, change the world, absorb the culture.  You’re the type of person that was def. singing Beyoncé’s “I Was Here,” trying to pump yourself up for all of the illiterate people you’ll get to teach to read, or the cute little orphans you can take some photos with to get a new Facebook profile picture (b/c you know it’ll get at least like, 100 likes).  You’ll shake your head when other students say something ignorant and think to yourself about how glad you are that you’re “down” with the people.  The moment anything you don’t understand offends you, you don’t get too upset because after all, they just don’t understand.  You didn’t come to this country to simply observe or learn the culture, you’re privileged enough to think you came to teach these people something.  You’ll raise your hand and correct the professor with your clearly superior American way of thinking, ignoring the fact that you’re in a completely different country with its own culture and belief systems.  That’s no matter to you though, you’re doing the right thing.  KONY 2012.

The Adventurer

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Let’s go skydiving.  No, bungee jumping.  No no, wait, let’s hike up this trail and go cliff diving.  The beach, the zoo, the market, the museum, anything that you can see has to be seen, and everything you can do must be done.  You’re the type of person that didn’t come here to just sit around, you’re ready for adventure.  On-the-go 24/7, the adventurer is ready for every experience their body can possibly handle.  Food?  Bring on the spices, you’ll eat anything offered to you.  You didn’t drop $1500 for a plane ticket to not experience everything you can while can, right?  You’ll go on vacation after vacation, travel to the North, the West, to Togo, to Benin, Nigeria, any place you can get your hands on.  You’re the master of the Tro-Tro and learn Twi or Fante with rapid speed.  No one has ever seen anyone bargain so well like they’ve lived here all their life either.  You are the type of person that will probably come home with a stomach parasite or a worm in their eye from eating the most random street food they can find, but you’ll have the best stories anyone has ever heard.

The Wanderer

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You’re the type of person that simply confuses everyone.  It’s been a week and you’ve already made 30 different Ghanaian friend in the most random places.  You’ll leave the room for 5 minutes to buy a bottle of water and come back 3 days later, talking about how you wandered into a group of street musicians and decided to go on a 3 day trip to Togo with them as the tambourine player.  Your whole life just seems like a series of random events that no one can follow.

The Walking Stereotype

why are you white

You’re pretty much the embodiment of every single negative American stereotype that ever existed.  You’ll probably lose 15lbs while you’re here because God forbid you actually try to eat any of the food (you didn’t come here to get typhoid, amiright?!)  Identifiable by the loud and slow voice you’ll use to talk to the locals to make sure they can understand you, and by the extra malaria pills you’ll be popping.  As you walk by, everyone around is immediately hit by a whiff of the strongest insect repellent on the market.  Maybe you’ll make comments like, “Wow, I can’t believe there’s actually Wifi here!!” or “At first when I saw the study abroad program listing, I was so surprised that there was a university in Ghana!!”  You’re no stranger to getting the side-eye, and you’re always ever so surprised when one of your racist comments is not received well by others.  But you’re not racist, you have an African friend.  Or just a black friend.  You know, one that used to clean your house.

 

No matter who you meet and where you go if you ever choose to study abroad in Ghana, it will be an experience you never forget. Whether you fit into one of these traveller stereotypes or none of them at all, you’re in for the trip of a lifetime. Buckle up, and enjoy the ride!


dianejobio

Top 10 Roller Coasters to Try Out This Summer

caleb johnson block

There is this weird breed of people that exist in the world that are crazy about theme parks and roller coasters.  I am proud, and at times slightly embarrassed to associate myself with this subculture.  We call ourselves roller coaster enthusiasts.  We know an uncomfortable amount of stats about rides.  If you show us a close up photo of roller coaster track we can tell you the name of the ride, the manufacturer, how tall is it, what year it was built, how good the ride is (sometimes without even riding it), and many other details the average person wouldn’t even think about.

We are grown adults that can walk into an amusement park anywhere in America and have this strange sparkle in our eyes.  The kind of sparkle you see in a 6 year-old kid visiting a park on their birthday.  It’s our addiction.  Our vacation days are spent driving to the next new coaster, or spent driving across the country to visit as many parks as possible in the days we are allowed to not be at work.  We count all the coasters we ride (I’ve rode 225), and we aren’t ashamed to ride the kiddie coasters to pad our coaster counts.  At any given moment, if you ask us where we would rather be, we’d say walking the midways of any amusement park in the world.

Another thing we do when we aren’t on dates with women (which is always) is make countdowns and rankings.  We just wait for the opportunity for someone to reach out to us to share what we think.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what has happened to me.  Now I am lucky enough to present to you the Top 10 Roller Coasters to Try Out This Summer.

  1. Phoenix – Knoebel’s – Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Knoebels-Phoenix

This coaster is nothing new to coaster enthusiasts.  It has been a favorite in the coaster riding community since it was relocated from San Antonio in the 80’s.  While at first glance it looks like a “Plain Jane” wooden roller coaster, it’s packed with a little something us coaster nerds live for called “airtime.”  This is known to the everyday visitor as, “OMG I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO FLY OUT!!”  And even as a coaster pro, I’m pretty sure that’s how I described it after my first ride.  Seriously, I was even afraid to put my hands up.

It also helps that this coaster lives in my personal favorite park in America.  Stepping into Knoebel’s is like stepping back into time.  The food is fantastic and cheap.  There is no admission price, as you pay for tickets to ride every ride (Don’t worry, it’s still cheaper than most parks).  It is the perfect mix of fair nostalgia in a permanent theme park.  Another fun aspect of this place is that you can camp on their property.  Just let the roar of the classic coasters be your alarm clock!

 

  1. Banshee – Kings Island – Cincinnati, Ohio

kings island - banshee

This ride was new to the park in 2014, and it was a HUGE hit for the place.  Let your feet dangle and kick the sky on what many consider the best inverted roller coaster in the world.  You won’t see many roller coasters out there hitting 68 miles per hour and flipping you upside down 7 times.

The park is home to 14 roller coasters and boasts an award winning kiddie area.  Also, the only theme park in the world where you can order a 3-way…  Chili that is.  Spaghetti topped with chili.  Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati staple, and a must eat in the park.  Try not to wink at the waitress and giggle like a school girl when you order.  It’s a fun game.

 

  1. Skyrush – Hershey Park – Hershey, Pennsylvania

hershey - skyrush

Skyrush is one of many coasters in what I feel is the most underrated “coaster parks” in America.  There is so much airtime on this ride, Jesus gives you a high five.

Hershey Park is a great place for chocolate lovers.  It’s where Hershey candy was founded.  Chocolate World shares a parking lot with the theme park and is free admission.  You can buy all sorts of sweets, and even ride a free ride that explains the chocolate making process.  Ladies, it’s the perfect post-breakup getaway!

 

  1. Coney Island Cyclone – Coney Island – Brooklyn, New York

Coney Island's Historic Roller Coaster

Built in 1927, the Coney Island Cyclone is a National Historic Landmark, and is one of the most classic wooden roller coasters in the world.  The place is full of amusement park history, and this ride pays homage to the area’s past.  It’s not the smoothest ride in the world, but you can’t go to New York without a ride on it.

Coney Island is the reason we have amusement parks today.  It’s full of history.  In past years it has been a bit run down, but it has recently been bought out and given the love it deserves.  It’s the perfect example of how a beach boardwalk place should feel.  Make sure you visit Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.  It’s where the hot dog eating contest is held every 4th of July.

 

  1.  Twisted Colossus – Six Flags Magic Mountain – Valencia, California

six flags colossus

Twisted Colossus is one of the more anticipated new coasters of 2015.  Not only is it from one of the hottest coaster manufacturers right now, but it is a racing coaster.  And the way that it’s set up is basically two rides in one!  One of its highlights will include the “Hi-Five element.”  It’s a moment where its appears you can high- five people on the other train while being tilted at 90 degrees!

Six Flags Magic Mountain has more roller coasters than any other park in the world with 19.  What else is there to say?

 

  1. Thunderbird – Holiday World – Santa Claus, Indiana

holiday world - Thunderbird

Thunderbird is Holiday World’s first major steel coaster.  It will feature a 60 mph launch, and go upside down 4 times.  Another unique feature is that the ride vehicle is set up so that you are sitting on the outside of the track with nothing under your feet.

Holiday World is one of the nation’s best kept secrets.  It is home to 3 very good wooden roller coasters, and the best water park I’ve ever been to.  Add free parking, free drinks, free sunscreen, and free water tubes, and you are guaranteed to have a blast for a great value!

 

  1. Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure – Jackson, New Jersey

six flags - Kingda Ka

Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world, and fastest roller coaster in the US.  The ride goes 128 mph in 3.5 seconds, and is 456 feet tall.

Six Flags Great Adventure is home to 12 roller coasters, and 4 of them are in my top 20 with Kingda Ka being #20.  Best coaster park in the nation.

 

  1. Cannibal – Lagoon – Farmington, Utah

lagoon - cannibal

Cannibal is another promising new for 2015 ride at a small park on the Great Salt Lake.  The ride is 208 feet tall, with a first drop at the angle of 116 degrees.  Wait, how is that possible?

Coaster enthusiasts claim this is one of the best independent parks in America.  I’ve never been, but with this new ride I’m willing to test that claim.

 

  1. Outlaw Run – Silver Dollar City – Branson, Missouri

sdc - outlaw run

Outlaw Run is my favorite roller coaster I’ve rode.  Have you ever been upside down on a wooden roller coaster?  Sound painful?  What if I told you it was super smooth?  This is one of the most unique coasters in the world, and features elements that don’t seem physically possible.

Silver Dollar City is one of the only parks where you will see old people everywhere.  So old that their toilets have those old people booster seats built into them.  This park is historically a place for people of all ages to walk around to shop and eat fantastic food out of skillets.  With Outlaw Run, the park made a statement that they are also here to thrill people.  It’s a pretty unique place, and a must visit.

 

  1. Fury 325 – Carowinds – Charlotte, North Carolina

carowinds - fury 325

Fury 325 is by far the most anticipated new for 2015 rides.  This ride is the tallest roller coaster in the world with a traditional lift hill.  It features elements that interact with the park’s new entrance area, and has received nothing but rave reviews since it opened a few weeks ago.

The park is home to 14 roller coasters.  With the addition of Fury 325, the park is now a destination regional park.  Mix this new ride with other park staples, and it’s the must visit park for 2015!

 

There’s the top 10.  A list for what’s hot this summer in the coaster world!  Amusement parks make for a great road trip with friends and loved ones.  Traveling to a new park is a great way to relive those special moments many had as a child.  Hopefully this list inspires people to try something different, and maybe even fall in love with the experience all over again!  See you out on the midway.