As with most of the amusement parks in the chain, the focus at Six Flags New England is on coasters and thrill rides. And when it comes to coasters, the park boasts one of the world's finest: the Superman the Ride hypercoaster. That alone would be more than reason enough to visit. But, there are plenty of other great features at the park.
Known for many years as Riverside, the park began as a picnic grove in 1840 and has a long history on which to draw. A circa-1909 carousel (although Riverside installed it in 1940) graces the park's front entrance in a lavish building canopy. The classic 1940 "Thunderbolt" wooden roller coaster includes the ride's original, evocative neon sign at its entrance. But, in typical Six Flags fashion, just about everything else about the park's glorious, if tacky, past is gone.
In fact, there is little to distinguish Six Flags New England from any of the company’s other parks. Six Flags tends to strip away any local ambiance in favor of a homogenized, one-size-fits-all ethos.
But Six Flags knows how to do rides. And if it is thrills you are seeking, you”ll want to head to the largest amusement park in New England.
The Coasters at Six Flags New England
It may not be the fastest roller coaster (although, at 77 mph, it’s plenty fast). It may not be the tallest coaster either. But, in our opinion, Superman the Ride at Six Flags New England is the best steel roller coaster in North America. It delivers a nearly ideal combination of thrills, pacing, and coaster elements. And its airtime moments are glorious. If you love roller coasters, you have to ride Superman.
Six Flags’ wooden coaster, Cyclone, had become progressively rough through the years and was not giving a pleasant ride experience in the last few years of its existence. In 2015, however, the ride got a newfangled steel "I-Box" track and a new lease on life as a hybrid wooden-steel coaster. The converted ride, now known as Wicked Cyclone, is faster, includes inversions, and is wicked smooth. It is the second-best attraction at Six Flags New England and among the best hybrid wooden and steel coasters.
The park has 12 coasters in total. Other rides in the lineup include:
- Batman—The Dark Knight: Not quite up to the standards of floorless coasters at some other parks, it is nonetheless a blast.
- The Riddler Revenge: Formerly known as Mind Eraser, the suspended looping coaster gives a bit of a rough ride.
- Goliath: Known as a Giant Boomerang coaster, the nearly 200-foot-tall thrill machine can be quite rough.
- Thunderbolt: The park’s only true wooden coaster has a great nostalgic feel.
- Pandemonium: A spinning coaster that climbs 42 feet.
In addition to the coasters,Six Flags New England offers other great attractions, such as the New England SkyScreamer. Climbing over 400 feet, it was the world's tallest swing ride when it debuted in 2014. Provided you don’t suffer from acrophobia, it is a real hoot.
Another really tall ride is Scream, a 205-foot-tall drop tower ride. It includes three options: One blasts you to the top of the tower; another slowly rises to the top and then drops you; the third option combines both modes.
Other ride highlights include:
- Houdini – The Great Escape: A wild, spinning-room illusion.
- Blizzard River: Teeming with fog, rafts careen in near-whiteout conditions for a wet (but not soaking) respite from the heat.
- Tomahawk: A spinning pendulum ride.
- Looney Tunes Movie Town: This is where younger kids will find pint-sized attractions such as the spinning ride, Wile E. Coyote Speed Trap, and the swing ride, Animation Department.
Hurricane Harbor Waterpark
Hurricane Harbor is enormous and is one of the best water parks that is included with admission to an amusement park. Among its features is Typhoon, an uphill water coaster that uses electromagnetic propulsion. The park also includes two wave pools, a lazy river, and a family raft ride.
Other highlights at Hurricane Harbor include:
- Tornado: A huge funnel ride.
- Bonzai Pipelines: A slide tower with launch chambers.
- Monsoon Lagoon: Younger kids will find toned-down water park thrills here and at Splash Island.
What’s New at Six Flags New England?
The Six Flags chain is committed to debuting something new each year at all of its parks. For 2020, the park will be opening the spinning thrill ride, Supergirl Sky Flyer.
In past years, the park unleashed the following attractions:
- 2019 – Cyborg Hyper Drive: A spinning ride in the dark with special effects.
- 2018 – Harley Quinn Spinsanity: A 147-foot-tall pendulum ride that hits 70 mph.
- 2017 – The Joker: A "4-D Free Fly" coaster that includes cars that spin on a vertical axis on either side of its track.
What’s to Eat?
As with most Six Flags parks (and most theme parks, for that matter), the food stands are often overcrowded and the dining choices are limited, overpriced, and somewhat bland. Where are the lobsters, steamers, clam chowder, baked beans, corn bread, and other regional favorites? This is Six Flags NEW ENGLAND, right? Instead, it's the usual fast food suspects such as Johnny Rockets, burgers, fries, and pizza.
Two dining standouts, however, are the Go Fresh Cafe, which offers freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps, and salads, and JB's Smokehouse BBQ, which rustles up some pretty decent pulled pork and brisket sandwiches.
Special Events at Six Flags New England
As with all Six Flags locations, the park presents Fright Fest Each fall. It is held on weekends from late September through late October. It includes walk-through haunted mazes, scare zones, shows, and select rides that are re-themed for the event.
Weather permitting, the park remains open on weekends and select days from late November through late December for Holiday in the Park. It includes festive lights and decorations, shows, and special food. And yes, although there may be actual snow on the ground, some of the coasters and other rides do run.
In July, Six Flags New England presents a Food & Brew Festival. It includes booths offering delicacies such as lobster rolls as well as locally crafted beers and ciders.
Admission and Location
The park offers reduced price for children (2 years old to less than 54"). Ages 2 and under are free. Discounted tickets are typically available online. Season pass tickets include admission to all Six Flags parks. Six Flags also offers a membership program.
Six Flags New England is located in Agawam, Massachusetts (near Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut). The actual address is Route 159, 1623 Main Street in Agawam, MA.