When I was a kid, going to Six Flags was the ultimate treat. And it was a magical place then. I could sit all day and watch the roller coasters. I didn’t want to get on them then — and still don’t — but I can watch them for hours. I’m terrified of heights and I do not like being dropped. I will ride the Runaway Mine Train, but that’s about it. I know, I know…wimpy rides.
When I first went, the Judge Roy Scream was a fairly new ride, and the LaSalle’s Boat Ride was on its way out. We never did make it over to the boat ride and I wish we had. I remember hearing the cannon fire. The next time I was there, it was replaced with Roaring Rapids. I remember the original Speelunker’s Cave Ride. The Speelunkers were slightly creepy, but it was a fun ride. I remember hearing all the rumors about snakes in the water. If nothing else, it made you keep your hands inside the boat. At the end, you went up a little ramp and had a little splash down. The log flume ride was fun too, and it was the first one of its kind. Riders today might be surprised that the log flume ride has been there since the 1960s. I remember getting on the Conquistador and getting my first taste of motion sickness, which was a mega-headache that lasted all day long. Shane and I got on the Texas Chute-Out in one of the baskets where you stand up! I remember sailing up to the top and thinking, what a lovely view. We stopped just for a few seconds and I remembered how you came down. I remember hanging on to the rail for dear life as we whizzed down. Shane actually dropped to his knees, I think.
Six Flags actually has an interesting history. It opened in 1961. Apparently Angus G. Wynne, a local real estate developer, felt that Texas could have a theme park just as good as Disneyland. Part of Highway 360 is named after Angus G. Wynne. Six Flags had (and to some extent still has) sections of the park dedicated to the different flags that flew over Texas at various points (Spain, US, Texas, France, Mexico, and the Confederacy). My grandmother talked about going sometime early in Six Flags history and trying to go over a bridge that would buckle under your feet (the Barrel Bridge, which took you out to Skull Island). I don’t remember ever seeing Skull Island.
I’ve found some websites that talk about rides from years past, and they seem quite interesting. For instance, there used to be a slide attached to the oil derrick tower (about halfway up) but they took it down after people started getting hurt on it. I wasn’t there when Big Bend was in operation (they took it out in 1979). For some reason, Big Bend fascinates me. It was a big coaster for Six Flags at the time. Apparently, Big Bend was located just inside the park entrance in what was called the USA section. Here’s a link to a 1979 map that shows it.
Check out this link. Not only does it have pictures of the Big Bend coaster, but it has some vintage footage. There’s also some silent footage that shows what the park looked like in the early 1970s (I think). Some of the footage was shot from the Tower, so you can get an idea of what I-30 looked like then.
It’s fun to read the comments of those who used to work there. They made minimum wage and the hours were long (not to mention the heat) but they said it was the best job they ever had. I bet that was a great job.
It has been years since I’ve been to Six Flags. It was fun when I went, but it’s not the magical place I remembered from when I was a kid. Maybe it seems like a magical place to kids today. In one day, you could store up enough memories to carry you through the rest of the summer. My favorite part was afterwards, when we would unfold the large park map and remember each ride and each attraction that we saw that day.