Anyone who grew up in Houston, Texas and surrounding areas from the 1970s to the early 2000s will remember a place called Astroworld.
Astrowold was an amusement park that opened in 1968 in the heart of Houston, Texas. It was intended to compliment the Astrodome, where many will remember as the venue for the Houston Astros and Houston Oilers, among other events such as concerts and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was originally on 57 acres of land but ultimately expanded to 75 acres. A waterpark opened next door to Astroworld in 1983 and was appropriately named WaterWorld. Astroworld was bought by Six Flags in the mid-70s and continued ownership until the park closed in 2005.
Like most amusement parks, Astroworld had rides, roller coasters, games and shows. The first roller coaster at Atroworld opened in 1976 and was called the Texas Cyclone. It was a replica of the more famous Coney Island Cyclone in New York. It was a wooden roller coaster and at the time was considered one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the United States. Other notable rides throughout the years:
Â· Alpine Sleigh Rides â€“ considered one of the greatest rides ever at Astroworld. A 'dark ride' roller coaster, it inexplicably closed in 1983.
Â· Greezed Lightnin' â€“ a coaster with a single loop and nothing else. Also one of the greatest rides at the park.
Â· XLR8 â€“ a steel suspended coaster opened in 1984 and had a futuristic theme.
Â· Bamboo Shoot â€“ a log flume water ride
Â· The Serpent â€“ a kiddie roller coaster, also a classic.
Â· The AstroNeedle â€“ a 340 ft. tower that took guests to the top in a revolving enclosed cabin to enjoy panoramic views of the city. It was a landmark and defined Astroworld's landscape until it closed and was dismantled in 2000.
Â· Texas Tornado â€“ an infamous roller coaster that was opened from 1998-2002. It was actually closed most of the time due to various problems.
There were many others that frequent visitors will rememberâ€¦Excalibur (aka the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Coaster Ride), Thunder River, Myan Mindbender, and The River of No Return, just to name a few.
Not only was Astroworld a fun place to visit, it was also a fun place to work. Every summer it employed hundreds of Houstonians, mostly teenagers. From food service to ride operators, the employees who held summer jobs here have fond memories.
Astroworld finally closed in October 2005, breaking the hearts of many Houstonians. Reasons cited for the closure were loss of revenue and inability to expand, since the land around Astroworld was purchased and built up over the years. Although there has been talk of building a bigger and better park on the outskirts of northeast Houston, it will never be able to replace Astroworld.