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No matter what record-breaking coasters pop up at amusement parks, something always seems to pull us to a log flume. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of feeling your stomach drop on that final water fall and cooling off with the whole family. Whatever the reason, log flumes like Race for Your Life Charlie Brown have entertained families for decades, and one of Kings Island’s most popular rides has an interesting past that dates back to before the park’s opening.
Many have taken a dive on this ride since Kings Island’s opened in 1972, but to know the full story we need to go further back to a time before Charlie Brown missed footballs and horses and buggies were a common sight. The inspiration for log flume rides comes from the 19th century lumber industry. To transport lumber over rough terrain, sawmills moved the lumber in man-made channels with flowing water. Sometimes the chutes became damaged or had backups, so workers known as “flume herders” inspected the chutes by hopping on a log and going for a thrilling ride. Not the safest, but hey, with no Netflix or Kings Island, what else could you do for fun? Amusement parks used this technology as inspiration for the log flume ride, and the rest is history.
Fast forward to the late 1960s. Manufacturing company Arrow built Race for Your Life at Cincinnati’s Coney Island in 1968 for $500,000, making it the most expensive attraction ever installed at Coney Island. The ride moved to Kings Island for the park’s opening in 1972 and found a home in what is now the park’s Rivertown section. To align with Rivertown’s nod to the pioneer days of the 1800s and Cincinnati’s past as a river city, officials named the ride Kings Mills Log Flume.
One of the few remaining original attractions from Coney Island that still operates at Kings Island, the ride was completely overhauled in 2001 by the O.D. Hopkins company and renamed in 2010 to Race for Your Life Charlie Brown after the 1977 PEANUTS movie by the same name. In the movie, Charlie Brown and the rest of the PEANUTS gang enter a summer camp raft race against a group of cheating bullies. After many obstacles and conflicts, Woodstock’s raft, consisting of sticks and a leaf, is the only one to cross the finish line!
Take a POV (point of view) front row ride on Race for Your Life Charlie Brown.
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