Columbus Zoo to open Tidal Twist roller coaster

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The Columbus Zoo's newest attraction is set to open next month. The new family spinning roller coaster, Tidal Twist, is the first coaster of its kind in Ohio. It is 36 feet tall and reaches a top speed of 30 mph.

Read more from WSYX/Columbus.

I hate to be the one to complain about this, but..:
This is technically my home park, as I live in Columbus. However, I have never stepped foot in Zoombezi Bay, or Jungle Jack’s. (Funny, I went to Wyandotte Lake all the time) So maybe I shouldn’t care.
But for those not familiar, the Zoo removed a perfectly good log flume of some length for this coaster. I’m not sure why that would be- maybe ridership, with a full fledged waterpark right there, was low. Or maybe it’s a little too seasonal. But log rides are becoming more and more scarce.
I’ll agree the tiny dry side of the park could use the boost a new coaster would bring. But why this one? It’s a Zamperla spinning mouse, and the smaller version at that. And when they say it’s the first in Ohio, that’s not exactly true. Well, maybe at amusement parks, but the larger and more exciting version of the ride has played the Ohio State Fair for years, and I’m fairly confident there’s an overlap of ridership there.
I’ve always had high hopes for our city’s only outdoor amusement park, especially since it’s attached to the nation’s number one zoo. But so far it’s been a disappointment- so much so that I’ve yet to take on the crowds or spend the money to go. And it’s for sure this won’t be the attraction to encourage me.

Last edited by RCMAC,
Jeff's avatar

They didn't necessarily remove the log ride to install this... they could be unrelated.

I didn't realize that Zamperla was making these after Reverchon presumably disappeared. It makes me wonder then, why Disney has closed theirs permanently, and if they will sell them to someone.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

They could’ve sold em to us, lol.
The log ride was kind of “parking lot-ish” but they had constructed a cee-ment pond below it that provided a little interest and scenery. There were two drops, and part of the course was at a higher level. . I understand the mouse will be installed over that same water.
Of course I don’t know the real reason for the removal, maybe it was a dog and the coaster is a suitable replacement.
This model is Zamperla’s smallest- At first I thought it might be the ride that operated at a couple of SF parks. It’s the same color scheme, but is larger. RCDB lists it as a Reverchon and went in to SF America in 2004.
The distinction is hazy. In 2003 the two companies struck an agreement that allowed Zamperla to construct amusement rides, and the first coaster went to SF America which in turn went to Chicago. Finally, in 2005 the agreement dissolved and Zamperla was permitted to produce their own identical rides. Their restraints are lap bars- Reverchon’s pull down over the rider’s heads. I don’t know how production might’ve overlapped. By 2008 Reverchon filed and went out of business so going forward any mice are Zamps.

Reverchon happens to have made my favorite style of Himalaya and a few of those still operate. Kentucky Kingdom has one, Worlds of Fun had one, and there are several that still travel. It’s fast, with nice, hilly hills.

If we are talking about Ragin' Cajun I think you have your America and Great America switched around. The ride opened at SFGAm in 2004 before being shipped to SFA.

RCMAC said:

By 2008 Reverchon filed and went out of business so going forward any mice are Zamps.

Actually, that's not quite what happened.

Reverchon did indeed go bust, but a new French manufacturer called Cedeal Rides launched almost immediately offering a version of the standard spinning mouse. They built two versions – one called Crash Test and a second called Bad Trip.

Here's the fun bit:

  • Cedeal Rides operated from "121, route de Courbuisson, Samois Cedex, Île-de-France, France".
  • Reverchon operated from "123, route de Courbuisson
    Samois Cedex, Île-de-France, France".

If you look at the two buildings on Google Street View you'll see that they're in fact two doors on the same warehouse. While I have no concrete information here my hypothesis is that Cedeal was formed to allow the original Reverchon to go bankrupt without impacting production.

I'm not entirely sure what happened next, but Reverchon has been back in business since 2016, and has produced a number of new spinning mice. Their most recent innovation takes the classic design and adds a stupidly fast lift hill and a banked turn in place of the first turnaround on the classic models. The first of these is Heidi the Coaster which premiered at the 2019 Oktoberfest in Munich, and a second is under construction at Aussie World. The changes are a definite upgrade; it's a pity you're not getting one of these in Columbus.

Jeff's avatar

Interesting... this only begs the question about why Disney is abandoning Primeval Whirl.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I don't keep up with Disney that much, but are they doing anything with the rest of Chester & Hester's? Personally, I thought that whole section, especially located as it was right next to the exit from Dinosaur!, was amazingly well done, and very much lampshaded...well, pretty much the entire length of the Irlo Bronson Highway. But it seems a lot of Disney fans just didn't get it. I'm guessing these are the people who fly into MCO, take the Magical Express to WDW and never set foot off-property until they fly home. They complain that it's tacky and not Disney-like; they don't appreciate what Disney did there, probably because they've never seen the "real thing". Anyway, I wonder if Disney has plans for evicting Chester & Hester in favor of something more "Disney-like" and the standard carnival coaster doesn't fit into those plans.

As for the Columbus Zoo, that flume...
...was a soaker
...ran like the flumes in Roller Coaster Tycoon, where they were insanely slow except for the drop
...was closed much of the time
...just wasn't very good. Most of us will lament the loss of that flume about as much as we lament the passing of the Morgan safari-jeep ride that used to be next to it. Which is to say, not much.

I'm a little baffled by the position of the coaster. The pond is gone, completely filled in, but the station still stands at the edge of the midway. The new coaster, on the other hand, is set at an angle about where the flume's final drop was, and nowhere near the flume station which has not been removed. I expected them to back the coaster right up to that station and use it for the load and unload platforms, but with the present arrangement that makes no sense at all. I'm not sure why they put the coaster where they did, or why they didn't take down the old flume boarding platform.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Jeff said:

Interesting... this only begs the question about why Disney is abandoning Primeval Whirl.

A brief portion of my Disney career took place in Dinoland. Primeval Whirl constantly rated as one of the worst attractions on property for guest satisfaction. The fact that it was themed as a family coaster with a 48" height requirement (the highest on WDW property at the time) and guests never embracing the Chester & Hester theming, my guess is the benefit of operating it outweighs the costs.

But it still remains the only coaster I have ever operated and done a track walk on.

Jeff's avatar

Weird. My kid adores that ride, and it was one of his first large coasters. He's pretty crushed about losing it. I really like that model, and have since first riding one at Kennywood. I know the "Disney people" hate that whole area, but the park desperately needed something more to do, and that's a solid addition.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I thought the area was cute as it could be and was a perfect theme for a carnival atmosphere. And the mice were well done- any suspicions I had of it being a tacky, embarrassing mess were laid to rest when I got there. I thought the ride experience seemed somewhat elevated for an off-the-shelf.
Then again, maybe those uppity one-star review guests thought a carnival area was below the Disney experience. And I’ll admit the dinosaur theme mixed with a carnival was a bit of a stretch.
Is that area all closed now? (Except for Dinosaur?) And what happened to the Dino roto jet ride? I don’t think I ever rode it.

Jeff's avatar

Everything but the coasters are there and operating. Well, the dig site play area is closed because Covid and/or staffing.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Another issue I remember always coming up in the guest verbatims about Dinoland and Chester & Hester was the map promised a fun colorful carnival area and an area with dinosaurs, but there wasn't enough to do. Young kids liked the dig site and Triceratop Spin. Older kids and families liked Dinosaur. Those with kids that were over 48" would do Primeval. But many guests would walk into the Chester & Hester area expecting 4 or 5 family style flat rides and/or dark rides like Fantasyland and instead got a low capacity dinosaur themed Dumbo, a mouse coaster with a 48" height requirement, and games they had to pay for.

I am actually 99.9% positive this ride is the Crazy Mouse coaster that was traveling with Bates Amusements and was at the IX Center yearly over the last decade. When the pandemic hit and the IX Center, along with everything else closed, the ride must have been sold to the Columbus Zoo.

Interestingly, there appear to have been a few different mice in the IX park at different times.

This video shows a large-format Reverchon. You can tell by three things – the restraint design (pull down from overhead), the number of switchbacks, and the position of the station, which is on the side of the ride rather than the front.

Photos on RCDB of the Columbus Zoo unit show a compact version with the station on the front. However, that also matches with this video, so you may well be right.

Last edited by Richard Bannister,

I think they've definitely had different mice at the IX over the years.

Here is a link to a photo I took on a 2019 stop there showing the front station and restraint type depicted for the Columbus Zoo implementation.

Platinum Bass, this is the exact coaster that is now home at the Columbus Zoo. I’m positive.

Now I’m even less impressed, lol.

At the risk of being even more of an anorak than usual...

The station railings don't match. Compare the station in with the station in your photo.

While new railings could have been made, I'm not sure what purpose that would serve.

Update – the 2019 photo from Platinum Bass is the Zamperla unit owned by Reithoffer Shows. They still have it listed on their website and while that's far from conclusive it would tend to suggest that the Columbus Zoo has a different machine.

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