It can be tough for adrenaline junkies to get their fix in Houston. AstroWorld has been gone for ten years now, and the nearest theme park is a few hours away (Kemah doesn't really count, though it can take an hour or more to reach in traffic on 45).
Luckily, we have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo RCS carnival to look forward to every year: Sparkling lights, fried everything and some of the best rides that don't require a two-hour drive.
Over a few days, we rode some of the fastest, tallest, scariest rides at the carnival. For y'all who are too terrified to ride or "don't do carnival rides," like several of my friends, read on for the scariest rides at the carnival:
Tango I began to second-guess this assignment on the Tango. Not only does the Tango spin you horizontally and vertically, it twists as it does so, making it one of the dizziest and scariest rides in the carnival. My face afterward can only be described as "shell shocked." And just FYI, guys, this isn't the most comfortable ride for you. I wouldn't ride it too many times if you want to have children one day.
OMG OMG is one of RCS's eight new rides and definitely one of the scariest. It's called OMG because, well, that's all you'll be able to say afterward. The ride spins you on pretty much every axis you can be spun on and takes you as high as 60 feet.
Mach 1/Speed The Mach 1 and Speed are the same ride, so save your tickets, unless you like this sort of thing. The ride is close to 130 feet tall, gives you a great view of Houston right before you hurtle to the ground and is pretty frightening, especially if you're afraid of heights. The worst part is waiting at the top for riders on the bottom. If you're really unlucky, you'll be up there for a while, waiting for new riders. On a slow night, if you're lucky, you can score a free ride to get those people down.
Sling Shot The Sling Shot looks terrifying from the ground. You're strapped into an open metal cage with a couple of lap belts and launched more than 200 feet in the air, going from 0 to 80 mph in 1.2 seconds. You have to pay cash to ride (sorry, no carnival tickets here!) and can buy a DVD of your ride after, so you know it's a serious ride. It just wasn't that scary to me. Sure, I screamed involuntarily and wondered what happens to a body being flung into the air at 80 mph, but it was a pretty enjoyable ride. You know, minus the guy telling you to think of Final Destination right before takeoff...
Freestyle Remember spinning in office chairs until you were dizzy when you were a kid? And then trying to walk a straight line after? The Freestyle is the adult version of that. It doesn't flip you upside down, but it does spin and tilt you to the point that you could throw up. Don't eat or drink anything before you get on this ride, or you may regret it.
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Honorable Mentions We also rode the Insanity, Remix II, Galaxy, Skyflyer, Haunted Mansion and G Force. The Galaxy roller coaster is another new ride and pretty fast. It doesn't look scary, but there are a few stomach-dropping moments that caught me by surprise (I'll admit it; I screamed a few times). The G Force is another pretty standard swinging and spinning ride. Adrenaline junkies won't be impressed and may even find it calming like I did, but it'll have a good rush for wimpier riders.
The one ride we weren't able to take because of repairs (and which I was both looking forward to and dreading the most) was The Zipper. It looks like an old-school, boring carnival ride, but don't be fooled. It's absolutely terrifying. I know multiple people who can attest to having nightmares about it or who refuse to ride it ever again, and I've considered ending relationships with people who rock the cage while you wait for more riders to get on.
The Zipper will be working by this weekend, so get your carnival tickets and go get your adrenaline fix.
Just don't eat beforehand.