“And I just have to say that I’m pleased to visit the Rocky Point Palladium. Hey, listen, this is the first time I’ve been to an amusement park in years. In fact, I wanted to check out the Corkscrew, but the Secret Service guys wouldn’t let me do it.” President George Bush at a Fundraising Reception for Senatorial Candidate Claudine Schneider at Rocky Point Park, November 20, 1989
Since its opening in 1984, Rocky Point’s Corkscrew coaster continued to gain notoriety over the years of operation. Many Rhode Islanders considered riding it a benchmark for bravery. Much taller, faster and wilder coasters may have been springing up elsewhere on the continent, but to most in the Ocean State, the Corkscrew was king.
For some of us veteran coaster riders who had tasted the rough and tumble bumper crop of new coasters springing up across the country, Rocky Point’s Corkscrew was a welcome reprieve. At no time did it punish riders with jackhammering, headbanging, or other torture methods some its newer, bigger counterparts inflicted.
But all good things must come to an end, and at Rocky Point’s April 1995 auction, the Corkscrew was acquired for a reported $805,000 by Wild Waves Theme & Water Park in Federal Way, Washington, USA. But the Corkscrew faithful were still able to get in their farewell rides in the summer of 1996 at Rocky Point Family Fair – an abbreviated final season. Seen below is a nighttime photo of one of the Corkscrew’s last circuit in July 1996.
On June 24, 1997, Wild Waves Theme & Water Park opened the former Corkscrew with a new color scheme of lime green with blue supports. It was renamed Wild Thing.
Meanwhile, back in Warwick, RI, Rocky Point Park remained dormant, all that remained of the Corkscrew was its loading station.
And the occasional piece of collateral.
Some fans have created amazing digital artwork of the coaster.
After Rocky Point State Park opened in October 2014, patrons continue to find Corkscrew collateral.
While there is no trace of the Corkscrew, not even an interpretive sign marking its footprint yet, you can find its former site by walking the side path towards the back parking lot. Stop right about here.
If there’s ever a call for an interpretive sign to mark the locally-famed coaster’s plot, here’s my proposed concept below.
Theme Park Page
Anita Cerri Ferla
You Must Be This Tall
Rhode Trip Photography
Paul F. Lynds