Arnold's Park to rebuild classic wild mouse

Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:12 AM | Contributed by Jeff

When the summer tourism season begins, a new kind of thrill will await guests at Arnolds Park. Once a favorite of park goers in the 1960s and '70s, the Wild Mouse Roller Coaster is being built near the entrance to Arnolds Park. The ride features small cars carrying 2 people through several sharp turns and fast dropoffs.

Read more and see video from KCAU/Sioux City.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 10:57 AM

It’s what, the last remaining Herschell Mad Mouse ride? There may be one other somewhere, but hats off to Arnold’s for picking this up and rebuilding it. When I was a kid one showed up at a nearby shopping center parking lot carnival and it was my first Mouse ride ever. Scared the crap out of me.

Their original Wild Mouse was a Ben Schiff, and I believe there are none of those left now. So this is definitely a suitable replacement.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:09 PM

There was a Schiff mouse by the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD years ago. That was one of the scariest rides ever, only because it seemed like the structure would collapse at any moment. Felt like the real life version of Jenga.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 2:53 PM

RCMAC i’m curious how did you know the new coaster was a Herschell Mad Mouse?

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:22 PM

I keep up with these things. There’s a Ben Schiff Wild Mouse FB page and this acquisition was mentioned there. It was Lakemont’s

Plus, the article shows a photo.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 8:48 PM

Out of curiosity, how do the Schiff mice compare to the Miller models? I've never been on either, just Zamperla models, so I'm guessing that those two types probably give a whole different feel of ride.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:41 PM

There's a Herschell wild mouse at Little Amerricka, and I thought it was terrific fun. Definitely a couple "we're going to fly off the tracks" moments (and at least one painful bunny hop).

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Thursday, April 4, 2019 10:24 PM

The Schiff rides (and Mack for that matter) were wooden with a tiny steel track. The Miler rides are all steel all the time and whatever difference that makes is present. Wheel placement can be important, too. The original mice had tiny two person cars with wheels set back to the rear, and the corners were so tight that the nose of the car gave riders the feeling they were going off the edge. The rider’s butts were actually over the wheels so it was a very effective illusion and the reason why the rides terrified many. The modern steel rides have gotten away from that concept somewhat, with wider tracks, 4 person cars, bench seating, etc.

Layout is a difference, too, although they all have the switchback, big curve, drop, drop, sharp corner sequence. But each designer had/has their own hallmarks and layout features. When I was a kid in the 60’s you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a Wild Mouse and it’s hard to think of a park that didn’t have one. Cedar Point had two for a minute- A Schiff named Wild Mouse and a Mack that they called Scamper. A lot of people assumed they were duplicates but this grade school enthusiast recognized the differences. Scamper lasted there through the ‘69 season.

Nowadays all we see are modern steel rides by Mack and Miler, and spinning Crazy Mouse rides are everywhere. The old wooden rides and the steel Herschell rides are all but extinct. One of my favorite rides that still operates is a 1955 Miler, Lakeside’s Wild Chipmunk. I was surprised at how much fun I had on that ride. In spite of the fact that getting in and out of that bullit shaped car was a challenge for me, I rode it many, many times.

Welp. I believe that may be all I know about mice.

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, April 4, 2019 11:26 PM
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Friday, April 5, 2019 7:20 AM

RCMAC said:

I keep up with these things. There’s a Ben Schiff Wild Mouse FB page and this acquisition was mentioned there. It was Lakemont’s

Plus, the article shows a photo.

...and Lakemont's came from the now defunct White Swan Park in Pittsburgh, right? I liked that one because the design of the cars made you feel like you were going over the edge on the corners.

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Friday, April 5, 2019 9:05 AM

Yes, that’s true. I never made it to White Swan and it’s not like I didn’t have the opportunity. Back then I was making yearly trips to Kennywood but I always passed on White Swan thinking it was kind of rinky and I’d get there someday. Then it was too late.

I treated Lakemont that way too. Maybe it’s this Herschell ride that’s being elusive. I’ve been to DeMoines and hit the state fair and Adventureland, but didn’t make the effort to try Arnold’s. (I’m not even exactly sure where it is...) Now I should go.

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Friday, April 5, 2019 12:39 PM

This is not the Lakemont ride. It's the Mad Mouse from Joyland in Texas. I think that park is replacing it with another coaster.

I love that Arnold's Park is doing this. Nice to see some older parks that many assumed were dying (add Lakeside in Denver and Conneaut Lake to this comment) coming back strong. This park was once on the verge of disappearing, and the community raised millions to save it. I love these kinds of stories (which will come as a surprise to no one that has seen me post around here for almost 20 years).

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Friday, April 5, 2019 2:46 PM

Whoops. You’re absolutely right, Rob Ascough. And I was just reading about the new Joyland ride just the other day and mention of the mouse was made. Duh.

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Friday, April 5, 2019 5:10 PM

Okay, so "Miler" with one 'l.' "Miller" is a totally different world. :) Always good to learn something new!

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