Type:   Log Flume
Year Built:   1990

It seems as though log flume rides are all over the place these days. You can basically pick a theme park and they've got their version. Even many carnivals and fairs are starting to include portable versions of these popular attractions. With so many log flumes in existence today, one has to wonder, are they even worth it anymore? If so, how do you still keep people interested in such a simple ride, amid today's top-notch thrillers?

The first Log Flume rides started popping up all over the country years ago. Originally, they were simple prototypes where the hollowed-out "logs" would float down a man made trough filled with water. Eventually the logs went up a lift hill and were sent down a drop to make a nice splash. Simple enough.

As the years went by, many log flume rides took on a similar theme: the Old West. Nice touch, eh? The trick became not track length or height of the drop, but instead, how well could you theme your flume ride? The goal was to engulf riders in a sort of mountainous creek; make them feel as though they were wandering down a river in the deep forested hillsides, venturing into the unknown.

Silverwood had a few years to watch before they decided what to do with their log flume ride. They saw the rinky-dink portables that travel across the country appearing at state fairs and such. They also examined elaborate models such as Disneyland's Splash Mountain, where theming is critical. However, Silverwood was at the time, not much more than a permanently installed state fair itself, and the budget was therefore, relatively tight. Silverwood had to come up with a ride that would be short, simple, and still a ton of fun.

The Roaring Creek log flume is one ride that can be seen from many different places within Silverwood Theme Park. As the logs pass by, guests often wonder: where do you go to get on this thing? It's really very simple to find the entrance once you know what to look for. Riders queue up in a giant red barn, a massive building that is all show. Inside the barn, one might wonder why such a large structure was needed for something that barely utilizes any of the actual space inside, but regardless, it is a nice touch, and easy to spot from about anywhere.

The logs make their way to the loading area where the majority of riders reveal a surprised look on their faces: why are these logs so wet inside? It's just a log flume ride, right? Just a little splash, right? Too late to turn back now, they board the ride, usually complaining that the seat of their pants is starting to feel wet. Just you wait, people.

Once riders board their log, they are released into the river itself. It is a beautiful twisting journey back through thick trees and foliage, which even do their job in the bareness of the Spring and Summer months. The country twang of Silverwood music can be heard as riders venture in and out of the wilderness.

The nice thing about this log flume's journey is that riders really do feel enveloped within a thick forest. It's not like Silverwood just slapped this thing down overnight - the river feels like it has been there all along, and passengers just got lucky enough to float down it's course.

A few quick turns are made, and suddenly the ride changes faces completely. What was once an isolated adventure in the deep forest has opened up into what one might call a journey through Hoover Dam, complete with tourists. The trees part, and riders now travel what is clearly a concrete trench, raised high up above an asphalt and water clearing. Crowds can gaze down at the ride from high above where a small eating area overlooks this part of the flume. Off to the left is the entire lift hill and drop with absolutely no theming whatsoever - freestanding in all its concreteness. The entire area is one of the strangest sights of any log flume around, leaving guests to wonder if Silverwood intended this so passers-by could get a nice overview of the ride, or if the budget was a bit too tight.

Regardless, riders soon enter a dark tunnel, turn-around, preparing for their venture up to the peak. Inside some minor-miner (sorry, we couldn't resist) theming is set up, but guests already have their sights set on the highlight of the ride that is just ahead of them. Exiting the tunnel, the log heads straight up to it's peak.

A great view of the park can be seen from the top of the Roaring Creek Log Flume - but look quickly. Cresting the peak of this flume ride, riders find themselves staring straight down into a giant lake area where the boat makes it's splashdown appearance before the masses. All eyes are on the little log barreling its way down the chute, and into the lake itself for a terrific splash. A bit of water may sprinkle your face, but have no fear, this one hasn't got you wet...yet.

The ingenious work of Silverwood's water cannon is found buried within the lake. Yup, for just a bit of spare change, guests have the opportunity to spray riders with a giant hidden water cannon that shoots out of the lake, straight up, and falls down - you guessed it - all over the victims in their log. Pretty hilarious to see folks who thought they had survived the worst get soaked to the bone by a surprise from above.

With just enough time for the screams and hollers of the drenched passengers to die down, the boats enter the barn and unload, and the short but sweet journey down Roaring Creek has come to an end. And for most it has been a great treat. Log flumes aren't really anything unique anymore, but Silverwood has taken these rides' best features, and lumped them all together in a pretty little package. The Roaring Creek Log Flume may be short and sweet, but it's still a whole lotta' fun.