Things to do

Top 6 reasons to visit Carowinds if you haven’t been lately

Alex Cason Photography
Carowinds' new Copperhead Strike
Alex Cason Photography Carowinds' new Copperhead Strike

If you haven’t been to Carowinds lately, you’ve missed a lot. With new rides boasting descriptions including “fastest giga” or “double launch,” the theme park in our backyard is a thrill-seekers dream.

“An exciting wave of transformation for Carowinds began in 2015 with Fury 325, the world’s tallest, fastest giga coaster,” Pat Jones, Carowinds’ vice president and general manager, told CharlotteFive. “Each year since then, we’ve added events and attractions for guests of all ages.”

“This year represents our biggest investment to date,” Jones said. “We’re adding Copperhead Strike, the Carolinas’ first double-launch coaster, bringing back the Mountain Gliders, a longtime family favorite and opening a brand new restaurant. These attractions are in the new seven-acre Blue Ridge Junction area, which brings a little bit of the serene beauty of the Carolina Mountains right here.”

Sounds cool, right? What took you so long?

We get it — and you’re not alone, apparently. Lisa Stryker, Carowinds’ Director of Communications, said many Charlotteans don’t even know what’s been added over the past few years.

So, if you’ve never been to the theme park that straddles the Carolinas, or you’ve been but not lately, here are Stryker’s Top 6 suggestions to check out next time you’re there:

(1) Copperhead Strike

Alex Cason Photography<br/>Copperhead Strike Rod Zimmerman

Carowinds’ newest roller coaster, the Carolinas’ first double launch coaster, debuted Thursday.

Three 16-passenger trains designed to look like 1930s coupes send thrill seekers through inversions, twist, 360-degree loops, turns and flips. Hang on tight — it’ll be worth the long lines.

[Related: Why I tried to have as little fun as I possibly could on Carowinds’ new roller coaster]

(2) Mountain Gliders

Courtesy of Carowinds

These are a returning fan favorite family ride. It opened in Carowinds in 2005 (you knew it as Phantom Flyers), but it was actually built in 1935 for Coney Island Amusement Park. It moved to Kings Island in 1972.

(3) Blue Ridge Country Kitchen

Brck beef 2
Courtesy of Carowinds

“This new restaurant adds more air-conditioned space and features rotisserie chicken, beef tenderloin and sausage, collard greens, mac and cheese and Granny’s wild berry crisp and more,” Stryker said.

(4) Carolina Harbor

Courtesy of Carowinds Matthew Owen

The size of the water park was doubled in 2016, bringing it to 26 acres.

(5) Fury 325

Fury325 Drop
Courtesy of Carowinds Matthew Owen

Fury 325 has been voted best steel coaster three years in a row.

(6) Blue ice cream

Courtesy of Carowinds Jordan Sternberg

“Long-time fans will remember this as a nostalgic treat.,” Stryker said. “It’s back at the new Granny’s Ice Cream Shop, located in Blue Ridge Junction.”