Infobox Amusement park
name = Carowinds

caption =
location = Charlotte
location2 = North Carolina
location3 = United States flagicon|USA
opening_date = March 31, 1973
previous_names = Carowinds (1973-1993),(2007-present)
Paramount's Carowinds (1993–2006)
season = mid March-late October
area = convert|112|acre|km2
rides = 49
coasters = 12
water_rides =12
owner = Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
slogan = Carowinds...Where Else?
homepage = [ Carowinds]

Carowinds is a convert|112|acre|km2|sing=on theme park, located adjacent to Interstate 77 on the state line between North and South Carolina, in Charlotte and Fort Mill, respectively. The park opened on March 31, 1973, at a cost of $30 million, after a four-year planning period spearheaded by Charlotte businessman Earl Patterson Hall, who was inspired to build the park by a 1956 trip to Disneyland and a dream of bringing the two states closer together.


The Carowinds theme park itself was originally envisioned as a component of a large resort-type area that would have included hotels, a shopping center, a golf course, and a pro football stadium. However, like many other theme parks across the country, attendance at Carowinds was severely diminished by the 1973 oil crisis, and the plans for the resort that would have surrounded the park were abandoned. Hall and the other stockholders of the Carowinds Corporation continued to operate the theme park through 1974, though sagging attendance forced the company to sell out to Taft Broadcasting in early 1975.

The park was purchased by Paramount Communications in 1993 and joined the Paramount Parks family, after ownership bounced from Taft Broadcast Company to Family Leisure Centers (a joint between Taft and Top Value Enterprises), to Kings Entertainment Company, which was the last owner prior to the acquisition by Paramount. The park was renamed Paramount's Carowinds in 1993. Viacom then purchased Paramount in 1994.

The name "Carowinds" was derived from the park's original theme. Since the park was built around the history and culture of the Carolinas, the name is a combination of "Carolina" and "winds", representing the winds that have blown across the two states. As the park changed ownership over the years, most of the Carolina themes and cultural attractions were dropped in favor of more generic television and movie themes.

Carowinds opens in late March each year and closes in early November, after the park's Halloween event, "Scarowinds". In 2005, a portion of the park reopened during December for the Winterfest Christmas festival. However, the park did not repeat the event in 2006, citing poor attendance. A similar decision was made regarding Kings Island's Winterfest.

On January 27, 2006, the website of the "Dayton Daily News" reported that CBS Corporation (which split from Viacom at the end of 2005) would be selling Paramount's Carowinds and other parks in its Paramount Parks division. []

On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. acquired Paramount Parks, including Carowinds. []

Although Cedar Fair continued to use the Paramount's Carowinds name through the remainder of the 2006 season, it began to phase out the Paramount name in press releases and on the website. In January 2007, a brand new logo, featuring the Cedar Fair icon, but lacking the "Paramount" name, was revealed on the park website. The other four Paramount-branded parks that Cedar Fair acquired will also be receiving similar changes. As of February 2007, the "Paramount" name has been dropped from all of the parks.

Though it is the smallest and least well-known of Paramount's former parks, Carowinds is still a popular destination for tourists, especially considering that it is the only large theme park in the Carolinas region.



*AfterburnA Bolliger and Mabillard inverted roller coaster. Located in the South Gate section of the park.
*Carolina CycloneA Arrow Dynamics coaster featuring 2 loops and 2 corkscrews. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park. First roller coaster to feature 4 inversions.
*Carolina GoldrusherFirst roller coaster ever at Carowinds, made by Arrow Dynamics. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park. First roller coaster to cross state lines.
*Carolina Cobra A Vekoma 125 foot tall "Boomarang" coaster in which you are pulled up the lift hill backwards and then released down the hill forwards and go threw a cobra roll and a 360 degree loop then go up another hill, and you are released backwards repeting the ride backwards. Opening Spring 2009.
*Fairly Odd Coaster (Carowinds)Formerly Scooby-Doo Coaster and themed to Fairly Odd Parents. Located in Nickelodean Central section of the park.
*Hey Arnold's Taxi ChaseA kiddie coaster themed to Hey Arnold. Located in the Nickelodeon Central section of the park.
*HurlerA wooden out and back roller coaster formerly themed to Wayne's World. Located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
*NighthawkA Vekoma Flying coaster. This ride operated as Stealth at California's Great America before being installed at Carowinds.
*RicochetA Wild Mouse Coaster. Located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of the park.
*Rugrats Runaway ReptarVekoma Inverted Coaster themed to Rugrats. Located in the Nickelodeon Central section of the park.
*Thunder Road Twin wooden roller coaster that crosses the NC/SC border. Both sides go forwards and race each other. Located in the County Fair section of the park.
*VortexA Bolliger and Mabillard stand up roller coaster. Located in the Carolina Showplace section of the park.

Thrill Rides

*Drop TowerAn Intamin free fall tower. It's 160 feet high and has a 100 ft. drop. It's located in the Thrill Zone section of the park
*Scream WeaverA Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride. With a 1 and a half minute ride time. It's located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
*Southern StarAn Intamin Looping Ship Thrill ride. Located in the County Fair section of the park.
*Xtreme SkyflyerA Skycoaster that you have to pay for it first, it's located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.
*Thunder Raceway Go-CartsGo-Carts that you have to pay for it first, it's located in the Thrill Zone section of the park.

Other Rides

*Carolina SkytowerAn Intamin 320 foot tall cabin tower that gives guests a view of Carowinds and Charlotte. It was originally sponsored by and branded as the Eastern Airlines Skytower. It is located in the Carowinds Plaza section of the park.
*SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted MansionA dark ride where guests shoot targets and get a score and is themed to Scooby Doo. Originally, the building was a theater and variety shows were shown inside. It is located in the County Fair section of the park.
*SpongeBob SquarePants 3-DA 3-D Ride in the Action Theater themed to SpongeBob SquarePants. Located in the County Fair section of the park.
*Yo YoA Chance yo-yo swing ride, currently occupys the spot where Whirling Dervish, a park original wave swinger sat. Located in the County Fair section of the park. (Relocated from Geauga Lake in Ohio)
*Dodg'emsBumper Cars, which is located in the County Fair section of the park.
*KaleidoscopeA Scrambler-Type Family ride, which is located in the Carolina Showplace section of the park.

Nickelodeon Central

Backyardigans Swing-A-Long
*A miniature swing ride themed to Nick Jr.'s The Backyardigans.Boots' Ballon Race
*A flying balloon ride featuring Boots from Dora the Explorer.Phantom Flyers
*It may not look that old but this ride is over 70 years old! First resided at Cincinnati's Coney Island Park in 1935. In 1972, it debuted as Flying Eagles at sister park Kings Island with the park's opening-until it found a new home at Carowinds in 2005.Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure
*A miniature train ride themed to Dora the Explorer.LazyTown Sporticopters
*A monorail with helicopter cars themed to Lazy Town.Little Bill's Cruisers
*A mini speed boat ride themed to Little Bill relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was once known as Bedrock Dock.Nick Jr. Jets
*A small flying jet ride.Nick-O-Round
*An antique carousel.Rocket Power Air Time
*A swinging ride that falls at 33 feet per second themed to Rocket Power.Flying Dutchman's Revenge
*A rotating pirate ship ride themed to SpongeBob SquarePants relocated from sister park Canada's Wonderland where it was once known as The Great Whale of China. The spot it once occupied is now held by Time Warp, Canada's first and only flying coaster. Tommy's Take Off
*A small plane ride.TV Road Trip
*Kids cruise in electric ' 50s' style Cadillacs and Corvettes on a 1,200-foot track.

Water Rides

*Wild Thornberrys River AdventureA log flume ride themed to The Wild Thornberrys. Located in the Nickelodeon Central section of the park.
*Rip Roarin' RapidsA white water rapids ride. Located in the Carowinds Plaza section of the park.
*WhiteWater FallsA splash boat ride. Located in the Carolina RFD section of the park.

Boomerang Bay

*Jackaroo Landing
*Great Barrier Reef
*Bondi Beach
*Kangaroo Lagoon
*Wallaby Wharf
*Crocodile Run
*Sydney Sidewinder
*Down Under Thunder
*Awesome Aussie Twisters
*Pipeline Peak - Body Slides
*Pipeline Peak - Tube Slides
*Kookaburra Bay
*Platypus Plunge

Carowinds Timeline

*2009: "Carolina Cobra" a "Boomerang steel coaster" will occupy the former spot of the Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator; It will feature new trains from Vekoma. Action Theater will be receiving a new show in place of SpongeBob SquarePants 3-D
*2008: A second wave pool named Bondi Beach was added along with cabanas in Boomerang Bay. This will add 20 acres to the park making it convert|112|acre|km2. Geauga Lake's Yo Yo swing ride was also added in the County Fair section. Flying Super Saturator only operates on the Boomerang Bay operating calendar. Thunder Road now runs both sides going forwards again. The Flying Super Saturator is removed from the park in August.
*2007: Frenzoid was put back in as Southern Star in County Fair section. The price for a single day ticket dropped for the first time ever. Carolina Skytower was repainted to look like an American flag.
*2006: Frenzoid was removed. WaterWorks was rethemed and renamed to Boomerang Bay and converting the old Frenzoid lake into a heated lagoon. Thunder Raceway Go-Carts was built in the Thrill Zone.
*2005: Nickelodeon Central expansion, featuring Phantom Flyers, Flying Dutchman's Revenge, Little Bill's Cruisers, Dora the Explorer Azul's Adventure and Frenzoid removal begins in September.
*2004: Nighthawk Flying coaster added.
*2003: Nickelodeon Central, featuring Rugrats Runaway Reptar, Wild Thornberrys River Adventure, and Rocket Power Air Time; Carolina Sternwheeler (Original Ride) riverboat removed.
*2002: Ricochet and rethemeing of area to Carolina Boardwalk.
*2001: SCOOBY-DOO's Haunted Mansion; WaterWorks expansion; Whirling Dervish (swing ride) removed
*2000: SCarowinds' Halloween HAUNT; Nickelodeon Flying Super Saturator (steel coaster)
*1999: Afterburn was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
*1998: Hey Arnold's Taxi Chase, TV Road Trip, and LazyTown Sporticopters.
*1997: WaterWorks water park
*1996: Drop Tower was added in the Thrill Zone section of Carowinds.
*1995: Xtreme Skyflyer was added in the Thrill Zone section of Carowinds.
*1994: Thrill Zone section with Hurler and Monorail removed.
*1993: Action Theater was added in the County Fair section of Carowinds.
*1992: Vortex was added in the Carolina Showplace section of Carowinds.
*1991: Expansion of Paladium; Speedway Cars removed.
*1990: Rocket Power Air Time
*1989: Riptide Reef water park; Expansion of Paladium.
*1988: WhiteWater Falls; White Lightnin' coaster removed; Black Widow (thrill ride) removed.
*1987: Expansion of Hanna-Barbera Land with three new rides; Old Jalopies antique car ride removed; Oaken Bucket removed.
*1986: Frenzoid, a looping viking ship was added.
*1985: Blackbeard's Revenge (mystery house).
*1984: Smurf Island (themed area).
*1983: Cable Skyway removed.
*1982: Rip Roarin' Rapids; Ocean Island (water park).
*1981: Nothing New
*1980: Carolina Cyclone was added in the Carolina Boardwalk.
*1979: Scream Weaver; Dodg'ems; Whirling Dervish (wave swinger); Wild Bull; Carousel.
*1977: White Lightnin' (Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster); Whirling Well renamed Oaken Bucket and moved to east midway.
*1976: Thunder Road; Carowinds and Carolina Railroad removed.
*1975: Paladium Amphitheatre; Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera (themed area) featuring SCOOBY-DOO coaster; Surfer (Tagada); Wagon Wheel (Chance Trabant); Waltzer (Schwarzkopf spinning ride).
*1974: Country Kitchen is added; Whirling Well (Chance Rotor); picnic areas open. The Double-Decker Carousel is removed from the park at the end of the season and placed in storage.
*1973: Carowinds opens on March 31st; the Monorail is still under construction and opens later.


*A 340 foot tower at Carowinds was cited as a possible causitive factor in the 1974 fatal crash of a jet airplane at the nearby Douglas Municipal Airport, which is now Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. "(See: Eastern Air Lines Flight 212)"

*Carowinds is home to a family of white squirrels that were brought in and released when the park opened to bring good luck.

*Carowinds' official address has it in Charlotte.

External links

* [ Carowinds Official Site]
* [ Carowinds Zone (Unofficial guide to Carowinds, and fan site)]
* [ Carowinds Connection (Unofficial Carowinds fan forum)]
* [ Carowinds: The Early Years (1973-1977) - Includes Pictures From 1972]

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