This New Hampshire Kiddie Ride Is Surprisingly Thrilling

Roar-O-Saurus Roller Coaster at Story Land

Story-Land-Dinosaur.jpg
••• The Roar-O-Saurus wooden coaster at Story Land roars past a dinosaur. © Arthur Levine.

Since Story Land is geared to the 12-and-under set, all of its rides are toned down and fairly mild—with the glaring exception of Roar-O-Saurus. The wooden coaster is not in the same league as some of the behemoths terrorizing thrill seekers at parks like Six Flags. But given its relatively diminutive profile, it is uncharacteristically potent (which, depending on your tolerance for thrills, may be quite a good thing).

  • Date of review: August 2014
  • Coaster type: Wooden
  • Top speed: 34 mph
  • Height restriction: 48" (42" accompanied by an adult)
  • Lift hill height: 40 feet
  • Drop: 38.5 feet
  • Track length: 1,241 feet
  • Manufacturer: The Gravity Group
  • Location: Story Land in Glen, NH

Could You and/or Your Kids Handle the Ride?

Don't get lulled into a false sense of security based on the low-impact nature of the rest of Story Land's rides. While Roar-O-Saurus is fairly small, its speed is well below the legal limit on interstates, and its height restriction isn't all that high, this is a somewhat aggressive ride. If your kids (and you) are fine with mildly thrilling rides, by all means hop aboard. I give it a 5 on the Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!) for its characteristic wooden coaster thrills, which are somewhat muted due to its small stature.

Prehistoric Train. New-Age Technology.

To accommodate its new coaster in 2014, the Story Land folks carved out an unused section in the back of the park and gave it a lovely Jurassic-era theme.

A towering dinosaur guards the front entrance of the land. (According to park rep, Jack Mahany, the figure was supposed to be animated, but technical difficulties kept it static for its opening season.) The sounds of what may be squawking pterodactyls and other creatures fill the air. The coaster is the centerpiece of the area.

Because it only has one 12-passenger train, the queue for the ride can get long. With little shade, it can get steamy waiting to ride on a hot and humid day. The line snakes around and under the coaster's wooden structure. At one point in the queue, the train passes directly overhead. It's so close, a lanky basketball player might feel the need to duck.

With its green dinosaur-embellished lead car, the train is impossibly cute. But it is noteworthy for other reasons. Manufactured by The Gravity Group of Ohio, the coaster features one of a few of the company's patented Timberliner trains.  Essentially, the rejiggered trains have steerable wheels that, unlike the fixed wheels on traditional coaster trains, allow them to better navigate twists and turns and offer a smoother ride. 

At least that's the theory. Wooden Warrior, a similar Gravity Group ride at Quassy Amusement Park in Connecticut is gloriously smooth and demonstrates the capabilities of the Timberliner trains. Roar-O-Saurus, however, could not be described as offering a smooth ride.

It is not as if the New Hampshire coaster was excessively rough. I'd say its roughness quotient was about average for a typical wooden coaster. But the innovative train design, which is supposed to mitigate jostles and bumps, seems to be inconsequential.

 

This Dinosaur Comes Up for Air

After climbing its comparatively small 40-foot hill, the coaster rounds a bend, drops about 40 feet back down, and revs up to 34 mph. It then navigates a couple of small hills and delivers some brief moments of airtime. This is another area where Roar-O-Saurus breaks rank with its predecessor, Wooden Warrior. The out-of-your-seat sensations—which make coaster fans go gaga—is a bit more pronounced on the other ride.

The train then careens into a small covered tunnel section. It emerges, and snakes in and around the structure twister coaster-style. Banked turns and small hills provide some G-force hiccups along the way. About a minute after it left, the train lumbers back into the station.

Although it doesn't measure up to Wooden Warrior, Roar-O-Saurus is still a fine coaster and lots of fun.

 It's important to note that ride experiences on wooden coasters can vary. Variables such as heat, humidity, the position of the car, and the weight of the passengers can have an impact. Your results may vary. Also, perhaps some tweaks to the train and the track could bring the coaster more in line with the gracefulness of its Connecticut counterpart.