Roller coaster enthusiasts are in for a new kind of rush when Cedar Point opens for the season Saturday.
The Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park will debut its 17th roller coaster, Rougarou. Named after a werewolf-like creature from French folklore that feeds on its victims' screams, the floorless coaster will lurk over swampy waters in the center of the park near Iron Dragon and Top Thrill Dragster.
Spokesman Bryan Edwards says Rougarou promises to be unlike anything Cedar Point visitors have experienced before.
"Typically when you get in a roller coaster, you sit down in the train and you've got the car all around, you pull the lap bar down and you go for a great ride," Edwards says. "Rougarou is a completely different experience in that there's nothing around you when you climb into the seat. There's nothing around your arms, there's nothing around your body or your feet. Your feet are going to be dangling inches off the track. It's something people have never experienced at this park, and we think it's going to add another thrill level to this awesome ride."
Rougarou will have no trouble harvesting screams to feast upon. The coaster, which was built on the original Mantis track, features massive vertical loops, 360-degree turns and peaks as high as 145 feet.
Cedar Point's opening weekend also will unveil the newly renovated Hotel Breakers. The century-old structure just completed a comprehensive two-year makeover, and Edwards says visitors who have stayed there before will hardly recognize the building.
"Every single thing is new at the hotel except the awesome views out your window," he says. "One side faces our beautiful mile-long beach and Lake Erie. The other side looks toward Cedar Point and all of our rides and roller coasters."
In addition to a spruced-up exterior, Hotel Breakers features freshly remodeled rooms with modernized furniture, appliances and decor. Other amenities include new pools and jacuzzis, an exercise room, a Starbucks and the new Surf Lounge bar.
While Cedar Point is famous for its thrilling rides, the park has much more to offer, especially for families, Edwards says.
"Whether you love roller coasters or you hate them, we want you to come to Cedar Point and have your best day of the summer with us," he says. "For some people, it's riding our 17 coasters and as many of our 71 rides as they can. For families with young children, it's seeing the Peanuts characters and going to any one of our three huge kids areas. For some older adults, it's seeing some great live shows."
Cedar Point offers a steady string of special events for season pass holders, including a preview night on Friday that allows guests to experience the park's latest attractions one day before the general public.
Cedar Point's opening week also will feature educational stations on the midway geared toward teaching youngsters the science, physics and math of roller coasters. Later in the season, the park will host other special events ranging from an overnight camp-out on the midway to a craft beer and barbeque festival.
When the weather heats up, Edwards encourages visitors to take a walk over to Soak City. The water park, which is only a short jog from Cedar Point and Hotel Breakers, boasts more than a dozen water slides, several lazy rivers, two large children's play areas and a half million gallon wave pool.
"On a hot summer day, a trip to Soak City is perfect," he says. "There's nothing better than riding one of our coasters at 90 to 100 miles an hour and then coming over and trying some of our water slides and our wave pool."
Steven Sonoras is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
Hours vary between 10 a.m. to midnight
One Cedar Point Drive,
Ticket prices vary widely due to differing hours and access to rides and other attractions; tickets are significantly cheaper if purchased online. See cedarpoint.com for the best pricing.