Tommy and his dad, Dan O'Leary, saw the 236-foot SkyScreamer on the morning news, and they both knew they had to check it out, Dan said. Dan, who reminisced about the countless hours he spent in the park when he was a kid was excited to introduce his son to the park. Although he was unsure how Tommy would do on the ride.
Fastened securely in his seat -- the ride features a seatbelt in addition to a metal lap bar and strap that goes between riders' legs -- Tommy was relatively stoic as he waited for the ride's lift off. As the ride gained speed, Tommy was all smiles.
The two-and-a-half minute ride tops out at 43 mph and traces a 98-foot circle. While many riders were hooting and hollering, this ride wasn't much of a scream-inducer. Smooth and quiet, the new ride provides views of the entire park and surrounding hills. Although Six Flags has given this ride a "max" thrill rating, unless riders have a serious fear of heights or a mistrust of modern engineering, it's more pleasant than it is terrifying.
What did Tommy think about the ride? As riders were slowly dropped back to the ground, Tommy quietly asked his dad, "Can we ride this again?"
Meanwhile, behind Tommy and his dad, rollercoaster-junkie Ernestine Hoffer, of St. Peters, took her two daughters, Abigail, 10, and Ruthanne, 12, on the SkyScreamer. Amped up on adrenaline, Abigail reported, "This was awesome. It's the best ride ever." Ruthanne, who kept her eyes closed the entire ride, wasn't so sure about the entire experience.
Brothers Benjamin and Matthew Burnside spent the morning on the SkyScreamer. The two rode on the swings seven times. Benjamin, 15, said, "This is probably my new favorite ride; it's one of the best. It's almost like the original swings, only it gets really high and it feels great with the wind blowing on you."
Children must be 48 inches tall to ride the SkyScreamer (children 44 inches and taller may ride with a responsible person 54 inches or taller).
Six Flags St. Louis is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. The Screaming Eagle, the park's original wooden rollercoaster, is getting a fresh coat of paint and will officially reopen on or around June 4, 2011, to coincide with the anniversary of the grand opening on the park, June 5, 1971.
Six Flags St. Louis is located at 4900 Six Flags Road, Eureka, Mo., 63025. Call 636-938-5300 for more information.
Top: Tommy and Dan O'Leary prepare to lift off on the SkyScreamer.
Middle: The view of the park from the top of the SkyScreamer.
Bottom: Ruthanne and Abigail Hoffer give the SkyScreamer two thumbs up.