If I were granted one superpower, I’d choose the ability to fly. And if anything, in reality, comes close to flying—at least, without having to sign a waiver—it’s riding a roller coaster. In other words, I’m a coaster fiend. The weightlessness and gut-wrenching drops are two reasons why, but if I had to pick just one, it’s that for somewhere around 120 seconds, coasters allow for a sense of sheer exhilaration that you just don’t find in everyday life.
Since I want the same good things for you, I’m here to recommend the top six roller coasters in the Midwest, including a couple that even smaller kids can enjoy. Happy coasting!
Even riders just 3 feet, 6 inches tall can board Adventureland’s first wooden coaster, which measures 3,200 feet long. The track borders a small lake and features three drops that are suitable for kids—though the first might score you some airtime, depending on where you’re seated.
Topping out at 93 miles per hour, Millennium Force is ranked as one of the world’s top steel coasters. Hills, tunnels and lagoons change up the view every second, while a couple of vertical drops (including one that’s 300 feet long) will leave your stomach high in the sky.
Yep, I’ll say it: Raging Bull is my all-time favorite. The world’s first hyper-twister coaster, this towering ride is 202 feet tall, 5,057 feet long and races at 73 miles per hour. The first incline creeps up 20 stories before plunging at a 65-degree slope, and the track is almost a mile long. I’ll never forget riding it last summer right as the sun set. Try it, people—you’ll see what I mean!
One of the first wooden coasters designed for kids and parents to enjoy together, Zach’s Zoomer lasts only 60 seconds—and sometimes, for little ones, shorter is better. Kids 3 feet, 4 inches tall can ride with a supervising companion.
Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
With “360” in the name, you’d be right to expect a 360-degree loop—a rarity for a wooden coaster. Such a rarity, in fact, that Hades is the world’s first wooden coaster to go upside down. It also features the world’s longest underground tunnel in a coaster.
This family-friendly coaster twists and turns through a grove of scenic greenery and spirals to a 70-foot hill. At the peak, the train disconnects from the electric rail before gravity sends you sailing downhill. Each seat accommodates two people, one in front of the other, which lets parents ride with kids—in a bear hug, if necessary.