OPINION: What Will Happen to the Roller Coasters of Indiana Beach – February 2020

Photo of Hoosier Hurricane via aceonline.org.

Yesterday, we received the upsetting news that Indiana Beach amusement park would be permanently closed. The park had operated for almost 100 years, and it was a shock to pretty much everyone that it would not be reopening ever again. The Apex Parks Group, the company that owns and operates Indiana Beach, stated that financial issues were to blame for its closure.

I never got to visit Indiana Beach. I was planning to make a trip out there either in late spring or early fall this year, since I go to school in Indianapolis, but I guess that won’t be happening now. The park has 5 roller coasters: two steel, three wooden. Two of the wooden coasters share supports with each other, while the other has a large cave structure built around it. Therefor, we probably won’t be seeing any of these classic attractions being relocated.

However, the two steel coasters are a different story.

Apex has already put Steel Hawg, an S&S El Loco coaster, and Tig’rr Coaster, a Schwarzkopf Jet Star coaster, up for sale. There hasn’t been a buyer listed for either of these rides yet. An article by USA Today states that “Apex would disassemble the rides this Spring and take them to nine company parks in California and two in Florida”, but that isn’t necessarily referring to the coasters. I’d like to think that purchasing these two steel coasters is fair game for pretty much any park right now, which is why I’m going to give you my top 3 picks for where Steel Hawg and Tig’rr will be relocated to.

Steel Hawg

Photo via the Steel Hawg wikipedia page.

Valleyfair – Owned by Cedar Fair

When thinking of smaller parks that are in need of a smaller roller coaster, I immediately thought of Valleyfair. The park is a charming one, but has been pretty much neglected the past few years. With Steel Hawg being a low capacity ride, it would fit right in with a park that doesn’t receive a huge amount of guests coming through their turnstiles.

Six Flags St. Louis – Owned by Six Flags

Six Flags St. Louis is also in dire need of a new roller coaster. Steel Hawg would be an interesting fit, since it takes up a relatively small footprint and offers a ride experience that you can’t really find anywhere else in the park. Also, Six Flags has had pretty good relations with S&S lately, so adding another one of their coasters might be appealing to them, even if it is used.

Kentucky Kingdom – Owned by Ed Hart

This is arguably my top pick for Steel Hawg’s relocation, and for pretty much all selfish reasons. The park is about the same distance away from me as Indiana Beach, so I wouldn’t have a lot of difficulty making it out there to ride it. Continuing with the theme of smaller parks, Kentucky Kingdom would not have an issue adopting this low capacity ride to a lower volume of guests.

Tig’rr Coaster

Photo via the Tig’rr Coaster wikipedia page.

Michigan’s Adventure – Owned by Cedar Fair

I know it’s a common expectation that Michigan’s Adventure will never get another coaster in the history of its existence, but I still have hope that Tig’rr Coaster could be the one that overcomes that expectation. I think this thrilling family coaster would be a great fit in this overall family-oriented park. They could probably give a Planet Snoopy re-theme too.

Knott’s Berry Farm – Owned by Cedar Fair

This is a bit of an oddball, but think about this: Knott’s Berry Farm is landlocked. If they want to add another coaster, they’re definitely going to have to remove a ride/add something with a small footprint. Tig’rr would fulfill the latter, and they could remove their wild mouse and put it in that plot of land. The only downside is this ride might look a bit tacky, but they could easily add some boardwalk-theming around it to make it fit in with the area.

The Great Escape – Owned by Six Flags

The Great Escape is in the same boat as Michigan’s Adventure, and is my favorite pick for where Tig’rr could go. It would fit in with the family-like atmosphere and help end the extremely long coaster drought this park has had.

Those are my top picks for where Indiana Beach’s steel roller coasters should be relocated. Feel free to share your top picks below in the comments section!

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