This is a love letter to the classic log flume, the greatest family ride in the world.
History of the Log Flume
The log flume is a simply designed ride – a boat, typically themed as a log and made of fiberglass – moves through a path of water at a nice relaxing pace, ending with a large drop and splashdown. Modern log flumes are direct descendants of Shoot-the-Chutes type rides popular in the late 19th century.
The first modern log flume ride opened up at Six Flags over Texas in Arlington Texas in 1963. It is still in operation. It was built by Arrow Development. The ride was so popular that after five years of long lines Six Flags was forced to build a second version right beside the original.
Cedar Point opened their log flume, the Mill Race, just a few weeks later at Cedar Point. The first heavily-themed flume was built at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1969, called the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Within 15 years Arrow had built over 50 different log flumes around the world.
While some those great rides have been lost, including the Mill Race and my beloved Zumba Flume at my home park Canada’s Wonderland, log flumes are currently having a revival with Knott’s Berry Farms and Busch Gardens Williamsburg both spending considerable sums to refurbish those beloved rides for another generation. The reason is simple: These classic rides are just perfect for families.
Almost Anyone Can Ride
What I love most about classic log flumes is there are either reasonable height restrictions or no height restrictions for riders accompanied by adults. At many parks the classic log flume is the only adult attraction, other than a merry-go-round, that parents can ride with their toddlers.
Here is a list of some log flumes that can actually be ridden with smaller children as none has a minimum height of more than 36 inches. Sorry Splash Mountain (40 inches) does not make the cut.
Log Flumes Not to Miss
|Ride||Park||Near||Min. Height with Adult|
|El Aserradero||Six Flags Over Texas||Dallas||None|
|Bugs’ White Water Rapids||Six Flags Fiesta Texas||San Antonio||36 Inches|
|Coal Cracker||Hersheypark||Hershey, Pa||None|
|Desperado Plunge||Great Escape||Lake George, NY||None|
|Giant Flume||Knoebels||Elysburg, Pa||36 Inches|
|Frightful Falls||Holiday World||Santa Claus, Indiana||36 Inches|
|Log Chute||Nick Universe||Mall of America, Minnesota||36 Inches|
|Log Jammer||Kennywood||Pittsburgh, Pen||36 Inches|
|Log Flume Ride||Centreville||Toronto||None|
|Loggers Run||California’s Great America||San Francisco||36 Inches|
|Logger’s Run||Six Flags Great America||Chicago||None|
|Race For Your Life Charlie Brown||Kings Island||Cincinnati||36 Inches|
|Shenandoah Lumber Company||Kings Dominion||Dorswell, Virginia||36 Inches|
|Sklooosh||Knoebels||Elysburg, Pa||36 Inches|
|Stanley Falls||Bush Gardens||Tampa||None|
|Thunder Rapids||Darien Lake||Buffalo||36 Inches|
|Thunder River||Waldameer||Erie, Pa||36 Inches|
|Timber Mountain Log Ride||Knott’s Berry Farm||Anaheim||36 Inches|
|Wild River||Luna Park (Coney Island)||New York City||36 Inches|
|Yankee Clipper||Six Flags Great America||Chicago||None|
When There Is Room in Your Heart, There is Room in Your Log
Another great feature about log flumes is the seating design. Most boats hold 4-6 people ‘in-line’ meaning that you can sit one in front of the other. That means that families can sit together without being split up. Small children sit right in front of their parents. Instead of a bulky restraint system parents can cuddle and a have special moment with their children. As a dad, nothing is better than the giggles heard during splashdown. heck out the picture to the right. Notice the smiles and hand positioning – I truly recommend the Daddy/Child hands together in the air pose.
Great Ride Value
One thing I obsess over is the value of any ride against its line.
Log flumes typically have short lines for several reasons: first they are extremely high-capacity rides that never stop moving, with turntable systems and limited restraints allowing them to load and unload quickly. Second, as they are older rides, they are often not as popular or busy as they once were.
Lines aside, log flumes are just great rides with some nice variety. The first part of the ride, typically, is a quiet portion where the boat meanders through the river. During this stretch you feel like you have the entire park to yourself with your family having a private experience in their own log.
We like to sing funny songs during this time including the ludicrous “We Are On a Log Flume.” Then comes the big drop, which is always surprisingly fast and fun for a family ride. Those drops are a great way to introduce kids to the speed and thrills of bigger rides and roller coasters.
Finally, the splashdown and attempt not to get wet is always a giggle-fest not to be missed. I have never been on a log flume in the summer where a child has not screamed “Again, again!”after getting off.
And with shorter lines, going again and again is actually possible.
In conclusion: Short lines and a long unforgettable fun exciting private ride that the whole family can enjoy with a memorable splash down – yes, please!
— Theme Park Dad
The Theme Park Dad helps raise children one ride at a time. After years of travelling the world to try the world’s biggest, fastest, and newest rides he now faces a far scarier challenge – sharing his love for rides, travel, and food with his young boys. A trial lawyer by day, he is obsessively passionate and focused on maximizing his family’s fun during his free time. He stresses over the minutiae of travel so you don’t have to.