Scream Machines at AZSC

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Friday, February 14, 2003 5:53 PM
My friend called me earlier this week and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the Arizona Science Center. She had seen in the paper that they were having a special exhibit on roller coasters. Well this is all the persuasion she needed to get me to go. She knew I loved roller coasters and decided it would be fun to go to the exhibit with someone who knew a lot. She has never been on a "real" rollercoaster (only Big Thunder Mountain at Disney).

We drove through some pretty heavy rain on the way to the museum (rain in Phoenix, who would have thunk it). When we finally got in the museum I was glad to see that the price included the special exhibit. $9, which is pretty typical of science museums. However, no one told me how little this museum had in it. Maybe I was just spoiled by COSI in Columbus as a kid.

We spent time on the bottom floor looking over some of the cooler exhibits before heading on up to the main attraction. I had seen a roller coaster exhibit at COSI Toledo a few years back and hoped that this one wasn't the same one. No worries, it wasn't.

The exhibit only had a few hands on activities, but they were all good ones. They had a few pieces of roller coasters such as a wheel assembly, chain dog, chain, anti-rollback device, and a piece of the original Crystal Beach Cyclone. Then there were a bunch of tracks for balls to run on. Each one of these displays had two tracks running side to side that were very similar. On one, the ball would make it through the course and the other it wouldn't. The signs went on to explain how the track designs were slightly different (different steepnesses, different diameter pullouts, different shaped loops) and that designers have to account for these differences when designing coasters.

There was also an exhibit explaining what makes you dizzy, and how exactly the digestive system works when you throw up. There was also an exhibit called Revolver which explained lateral forces I guess (it was closed by the time we got there). There was a spinning tunnel as well, showing how perception can affect the way you percieve motion (although they didn't relate this to coasters very well).

There was really only 2 other things besides this, but they were definitely the highlights of the exhibit. One was a coaster-train looking simulator in a mini-theater. The screen showed POV rides on Thunderbolt, LochNess Monster, JackRabbit, and Desperado while the little train pivoted.

The last piece was by far the best. There was an 18-foot loop with a bicycle attached. It was called G-Force. They strapped you on the bike and then it was up to you to pedal the thing through the loop, and boy was it fun. I got it going pretty fast through that loop, and boy did it make me dizzy fast. When I applied the brake and the bicycle stopped, it took me a minute to realize that I had stopped upside down. I used it to my advantage though, and got the bike moving backwards through the loop a few times. It was so much fun. My friend, the coaster virgin, decided to take a try at it to, but didn't quite make it to the top when she started freaking out. :-). I found a picture of this thing online.

Overall, I thought the museum was overpriced for what regular exhibits they offered. The place has a lot of empty space. In addition, all of the coaster stuff was a bit outdated. It listed American Eagle as the fastest wood coaster, and the newest coaster they had a picture of was Desperado. However, G-Force by far made up for it.

-Raptor Crew-

*** This post was edited by Blaster_1578 2/15/2003 1:02:40 PM ***

Saturday, February 15, 2003 6:08 AM
Whoa, that loop thing does look pretty cool. Any idea what the exhibit name was so I can try to find its travelling schedule? In January I went with some peeps to check out the 'Theme Park: The Art and Science of Universals Islands of Adventure' (video HERE ) which was in Charlotte at the time, and it was a 'decent' exhibit, I guess.

Jonathan Hawkins
"There is a cluster of bees at the top of the lift. Sorry for the inconvenience."
*** This post was edited by StarCoasters 2/15/2003 11:08:41 AM ***

Saturday, February 15, 2003 8:03 AM
The exhibit is simply called Scream Machines.
*** This post was edited by Blaster_1578 2/15/2003 1:03:23 PM ***

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