Thrilling memories by many fans came plunging to the ground as Kings Island’s Son of Beast roller coaster went out with a bang and a cloud of dust.
Work crews brought down the final section of the $10 million coaster — its 215-foot lift — with cables Tuesday afternoon nearly two months after work began to dismantle the ride to make room for future park expansion.
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Son of Beast was heralded as the world’s tallest, fastest and only looping wooden roller coaster when it opened in 2000. The track climbs to a 218-foot peak, followed by a 214-foot drop; its trains would reach speeds of 78 mph.
But its history was troubled from the start. A string of accidents, closings, repairs, five lawsuits, settlements and one trial would ultimately shutter the ride.
Officials from Kings Island’s parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. and park management spent three years weighing all possible alternatives before ultimately deciding to raze Son of Beast, said Don Helbig, park spokesman.
Dismantling the ride — and its 53 concrete pilings, about 6,000 feet of steel track, 50,000 pounds of nails, 225,000 bolts and 1.65 million board feet of wood — proved no easy feat.
Different parts of the ride may be salvaged and reused and the park may keep the station for use in the Wolf Pack maze during Halloween Haunt, said Helbig.
Officials don’t yet know what they intend to do with the 12 acres that Son of Beast will vacate in the park’s north end.
“Once the ride has been removed, probably in early 2013, we’ll begin the process then of surveying the land and looking at all the ideas and different concepts and all the things we can do,” said Helbig. “There’s plenty of room to work with and we’re excited about that opportunity as we look towards the future.”
Fans can take home a piece of the shuttered ride. KI is offering limited edition plaques featuring a piece of track from the coaster for $99.99. The park is also selling authentic pieces of the wood structure for $49.99 and structural bolts for $24.99. To order, call 513-754-5776 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F.