Inside the Beltway, politicians are fond of using roller coasters as an analogy for everything from the state of the economy to the fate of candidates' campaigns. Just outside the Beltway in Mitchellville, Maryland, Six Flags America offers some real roller coasters to help beleaguered citizens escape the Washington doublespeak.
And what great coasters! Superman: Ride of Steel, a hypercoaster that is 205 feet tall with a 200-foot drop, hits a top speed of 73 mph. You have to be tough to ride this one. It's 2.5 minutes of pure adrenaline rush. Curiously, the park's sleek, smooth flying coaster, which places riders in a superhero-like flying position, is called Batwing and is themed to Superman's non-flying buddy, Batman.
One of the Caped Crusader's archenemies has his own Six Flags America thrill machine. The Joker's Jinx is a magnetically launched coaster that accelerates riders from 0 to 60 mph in a straight shoot out of the station. Resembling a bowl of spaghetti, the demented track layout sends riders flip-flopping more than a congressman's policy position. After the wild launch, The Joker's Jinx feels muted as it meanders through its tangle of a track.
Amid all of these high-tech coasters, the transplanted, circa-1917 The Wild One, an out-and-back wooden coaster, more than holds its own. One of the oldest, still-operating coasters in the country, it is a nostalgic delight that remains surprisingly potent. However, the park's modern-day wood coaster, Roar, is surprisingly tame. With highly banked turns and hardly a straight line in its 3,200 feet of track, the ride is more about lateral (side-to-side) Gs than out-of-your-seat airtime.
Previously known as Apocalypse, the stand-up coaster got new, floorless trains in 2019 and was converted to a sit-down coaster that now goes by the name of Firebird. The two-minute ride includes two inversions. In 2014, the park added the spinning coaster, Rajin’ Cajun.
New at Six Flags America
For the 2021 season, the park will be debuting Harley Quinn Spinsanity. Themed to another Batman villain, the pendulum ride will seat 40 riders facing outwards on a circular platform that spins. It will swing back and forth, reaching a peak of 150 feet in the air at a 120-degree angle, and a top speed of 70 mph.
More Fun Rides
- Bourbon Street Fireball: This is a giant, looping thriller of a ride was new to Six Flags America in 2015.
- Bonzai Pipelines: Six water slides with 360-degree drops and launches chambers in Hurricane Harbor water park promise thrills that are especially welcome on a hot day.
- Apocalypse: This is a standup coaster recycled from the Six Flags park near Chicago, where it had been operating since 1990.
- Splashwater Falls: This interactive play area in Hurricane Harbor has more than 100 water features.
- Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth: This ride, new in 2017, takes passengers for a wild spin on top of a 24-foot-tower going 40 mph. Bonus: great views of the Washington area.