Where Have All the Log Flumes Gone?

In the past decade, an unfortunate trend has begun in the amusement industry.

Log rides have been a long time staple to many amusement parks, originating in the 1960’s with Arrow’s El Aserradero log ride at Six Flags Over Texas. From the launch of El Aserradero, the concept of the log ride took off, spreading globally to amusement parks all around the world. Some of the more notable log rides in the world include Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure, Splash Mountain at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.

At the beginning of the log ride era, the concept of a log ride began with the idea of guests floating in an actual log along a river. However, as technology has progressed, the concept is beginning to lose its original steam, with more innovative replacements such as Log FlumesPilgrim’s Plunge at Holiday World, and Shoot the Rapids at Cedar Point.

While many log ride enthusiasts favor the old time log style flume rides, these newer types of log rides are sweeping the nation. Why is it that such a classic amusement park concept is becoming an outdated ride of a past era? There are most likely many explanations, however there is one that is quite obvious; the capacity issue.

Typical log rides such as El Aserradero and the many old style flume rides that are still around at parks all around the world today feature logs that hold four to six people at maximum capacity. In comparison, newer flume rides such as the popular AquaTrax model by Intamin or the Super Splash model by Mack Rides can hold anywhere from eight to 16 people per boat. On top of a higher capacity, rides like Pilgrims Plunge at Holiday World can reach heights of up to 135 feet, and speeds much higher than that of a traditional log flume.

In the past decade, an unfortunate trend has begun in the amusement industry. The removal of traditional style log flumes did not start at any specific time, but in the last a five years, more and more flumes are beginning to disappear. Earlier this year, it was announced that Log Jammer at Six Flags Magic Mountain would be removed in order to accommodate room for future attractions. Along with Log Jammer, some of the other log rides that have been removed or replaced in the last ten years include White Water Landing at Cedar Point, the Flume at Valleyfair, Texas Splashdown at SeaWorld San Antonio, and Wild River at Luna Park, Coney Island.

With technology evolving to make more high capacity and more thrilling log rides, it is no wonder that traditional log rides are being removed or replaced with other rides. Fans have their opinions on whether or not Shoot the Rapids is a worthy replacement of White Water Landing, and whether or not older log rides should stay. Change, however, is inevitable within the amusement industry, and all good things must eventually come to an end.

Photo Credit: Lee Haywood