Fury 325

During this segment of PARK SPOTLIGHT, we are heading to a theme park that is located in not one, but two separate states. That’s right, Carowinds, currently owned and operated by Cedar Fair is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, it straddles the state line, and part of the park also sits in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Carowinds originally opened in March of 1973 and was owned by the Carowinds Corporation. The original concept of the park was for it to pay homage to the culture and history of the Carolinas.

A Theme Park in the Heart of the Carolinas

Carolina Cyclone
Image: Carowinds

Over the years, the park has changed ownership several times. In 1975, it was purchased by Taft Broadcasting and later managed under Kings Entertainment Group, the same company that owned and operated Kings Island and Kings Dominion at the time. This group was later sold to Paramount Parks in the early nineties, and under that change, many ride names were changed to coincide with many of Paramount's intellectual properties like Top Gun and Nickelodeon. However, there would be a change-up in ride names again after the park changed ownership in 2006 and was bought by Cedar Fair (along with the other parks owned by Paramount).

Despite the many changes in ownership, the park has continued to grow over the years adding its first roller coaster, Carolina Goldrusher in 1973. This coaster was the first coaster to cross state lines. The steel coaster, Carolina Cyclone was built in 1980, it was the first coaster to feature four inversions. Both of these coasters still operate at the park today. They also added a waterpark, now called Carolina Harbor, and was the first theme park in the United States to include free admission to a full waterpark with paid admission to the park.

Kiddy Hawk
Image: Carowinds

Carowinds boasts over 60 attractions and shows including 14 roller coasters. Fury 325 is the tallest and fastest Giga coaster at 325 feet and reaches speeds of 95 miles per hour. Intimidator (not to be confused with Kings Dominion’s Intimidator 305) is a 232 ft tall red behemoth inspired by NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt. The newest coaster, Copperhead Strike opened in 2019 and features a double launch and 5 inversions. There are also several family-friendly coasters like the wild-mouse coaster, Ricochet, and the inverted coaster, Kiddy Hawk.

Carolina Harbor
Image: Carowinds

There are many other family-friendly attractions and shows too, including the interactive ride, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill and the kids area, Camp Snoopy. Camp Snoopy features several attractions for children that are themed around Snoopy and the PEANUTS gang. As mentioned, admission to the waterpark, Carolina Harbor is included with admission to Carowinds. The waterpark has several water slides, two large splash playgrounds, a wave pool and more. 

A Park of Festivals

Image: Carowinds

Carowinds also puts on special events for both the Halloween season and over the winter holidays. For the Halloween season, Carowinds becomes SCarowinds. SCarowinds runs during September and October and features special scare zones, live entertainment, and more. They also offer The Great Pumpkin Fest featuring more family-friendly Halloween activities like trick or treating. You can find more information on this year’s offerings in Our Breakdown of Halloween Events at Theme Parks Across the US.  During the winter holidays, Carowinds invites guests to enjoy WinterFest which begins around Thanksgiving each year. WinterFest includes ice skating, live entertainment, tasty treats, and select attractions.

State Line Celebration
Image: Carowinds

This year Carowinds focused heavily on including some other festivals throughout their March-January season. This included the State Line Celebration in April-June and Grand Carnivale in June-July. They also hosted their annual Festival of Music where bands, orchestras, and choirs from schools perform for ratings at the park from renowned musicians around the world.

New Attractions on the Horizon

Air Walker
Image: Carowinds

At the end of July, it was announced that three flat rides would be closing at Carowinds which included Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: 3Z Arena, Dodgem, Yo-Yo, and Southern Star. These attractions closed on August 1 and have even been removed from Carowinds website.

Following this change, Carowinds announced that it is introducing a new themed area just in time for its 50th anniversary in 2023. This aviation-themed area will be called Aeronautica Landing and will feature both new and reimagined attractions. Dodgem will be reimagined into Hover and Dodge, and it will join four other new attractions. These include Gear Spin and Air Racer which will have guests flipping and twirling in all directions. There will also be a high-speed spinning ride called Gyro Force and the rocking and spinning Air Walker. The land will also feature new games and dining. 

Are you excited to see  Aeronautica Landing coming to Carowinds in 2023? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.


Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...