Everything You Didn’t Know About Saw Mill Log Flume
Saw Mill Log Flume has delighted families at Six Flags Great Adventure since 1974, every year the park has been open. Following the enormous success of other flume rides, it was clear when the park was being designed that a log flume was to be included. It was so popular that a second flume was built the following year. To make room for new rides, the second flume was retired, but the original still stands today. Not only was Saw Mill Log Ride the longer of the two, but also one of the longer flumes built at the time, being one of a few that passed the 2,000-foot length mark.
Saw Mill Log Flume has a unique journey through the treetops. Smaller dips lead to one large splashdown for a finale. The dramatic water wheel at the ride’s front entrance also helps this iconic attraction to maintain its popularity.
The World’s First Log Flume
When theme parks were rare, new ideas on a grand scale were needed to separate them from the typical amusement parks with carnival rides. The concept of a log flume was a perfect fit. In 1963, Six Flags Over Texas debuted the first ever log flume ride in an amusement park. To say it was a success is an understatement. In fact, it was so popular that the park felt the need to add a second flume in 1968. When Six Flags Great Adventure was being designed, the management took notice and opened the park with a flume from the very beginning.
As theme parks started appearing in the 60s and 70s, log flumes continued to be the “must have” attraction. The ride was built by Arrow Development Company, who was one of the rare ride manufacturers to provide bigger themed rides. To keep up with the demand for new ideas and larger thrills, Arrow would go on to build mine train coasters and eventually amaze the world with modern looping coasters.
A History of the Log Flume
Historically, log flumes were used in the latter half of the 1800s to transport logs and lumber down the side of a mountain where it would be received at a sawmill. Flowing water was the method of transportation, and it efficiently helped the transport of the wood over ravines, cliffs, and gorges. Some records indicate that one particular flume spanned over 62 miles in California in 1890. On occasion, workers would climb aboard a log and take a ride to make sure everything was flowing well, and quite probably, for the thrill. While that kind of riding would have been dangerous in the 1800s, it was the origins to the great family fun of the well-known log flume ride.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.