USA Today deems Glenwood Caverns’ Haunted Mine Drop one of nation’s top new rides |

USA Today deems Glenwood Caverns’ Haunted Mine Drop one of nation’s top new rides

A conceptual drawing for the new Haunted Mine Drop ride.

It’s still under construction, and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s new thrill ride is winning national attention.

USA Today has named the 12 most anticipated rides opening in 2017 at U.S. amusement parks, and the Haunted Mine Drop made the list.

“Many parks have drop tower rides,” USA Today’s story said. “They launch passengers high up into the air and/or slowly lift them to the top of a tower and release them into a freefall. The Haunted Mine Drop will add an interesting twist. Passengers will board the ride at ground level and drop down 120 feet into a shaft. The underground attraction will include show scenes featuring apparitions of miners.”

First reported last month by the Post Independent, the ride, with its storytelling and big fall, has similarities to Disney’s Tower of Terror — though with a bigger drop. The Mine Drop will have a relevant historical theme and will actually be underground just like a real mine shaft, Caverns Adventure Park owner Steve Beckley told the PI last month.

“This is our first ever try at theming a ride at the Caverns,” Beckley said. “It’s a real exciting thing to take a ride like this and put a whole story and theme around it.”

To do that meant pulling some actual mine history together and building a ghost story around it, he said.

“It’s not a true story, but it is based on some stories that we’ve found about the mines up in Leadville and some of the mining accidents that happened around the turn of the century,” Beckley said.

The ride is being designed and built by renowned thrill ride enthusiast Stan Checketts of Utah. Checketts also built the giant swing and zip line ride at the Caverns, as well as notable attractions like the Stratosphere Tower Big Shot in Las Vegas.

The park is working with St. Louis-based Creative Visions for the hologram imaging that will be featured with the mine ride. Company mastermind Mark McDonough has developed characters for theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, haunted attractions and amusement centers around the world. The company’s client list includes Universal Studios Theme Parks, SeaWorld, Knott’s Berry Farm, MGM Grand Adventure, Six Flags and David Copperfield.

The new Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park ride is part of a larger investment of some $2.5 million into park improvements for the coming year that will include a new pathway loop connecting the Mine Drop ride to the lower cave tour area and back up to the top of the park.

The Mine Drop is in good company. Other top new rides, according to USA Today, are:

• Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

• Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida.

• Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! at Disney California Adventure.

• Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at three Six Flags locations.

• Krakatau Aqua Coaster at Universal’s Volcano Bay in Florida.

• The Flyer San Francisco at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

• Submarine Quest at SeaWorld San Diego.

• Fear The Walking Dead at Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas.

• Drop Line at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. and Hershey Triple Towers at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

• Star Flyer at Elitch Gardens in Denver; Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth at Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and North Star at Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minnesota, described as “similar spinning swing tower rides.”

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