Altoona’s Lakemont Park, with world’s oldest roller coaster, is back open for rides |

Altoona’s Lakemont Park, with world’s oldest roller coaster, is back open for rides

Chris Pastrick
Lakemont Park
Leap the Dips is the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster, and it’s still in operation at Lakemont Park, near Altoona.

No doubt, Pennsylvania’s got some amazing things.

But the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster? Yep, we got that — it’s Leap the Dips at Lakemont Park in Altoona, which reopens to the public after more than two years of renovations.

In March 2017, Lakemont announced it was closing for renovations. Well, the upgrades are done, and the park is set to reopen to the public on Saturday.

The park’s updates focus on outdoor recreation — with two new miniature golf courses, two sand volleyball courts, four basketball courts, and state-of-the-art go-carts.

“We feel we’re going back to the roots of what Lakemont Park used to be when it was established almost 125 years ago,” Andrea Devorris Cohen, whose family co-owns Lakemont Park, told WTAJ. “We’re going to be making it a place where the community will want to be.

But the rides are still there — the Skyliner coaster, Tin Lizzy automobiles, the train, the Lil’ Leaper kiddie coaster, the waterslides and splash park, and the oldest wooden coaster in the world: Leap the Dips.

Check out the new park layout:

Leap the Dips was built in 1902 and operated continuously at Lakemont Park in Altoona until 1985, when it fell into disrepair. A campaign was organized to restore it, and the ride reopened to the public in 1999.

At only 41 feet tall, Leap the Dips isn’t particularly death-defying. And it maxes out at 10 miles per hour. However, being as old as it is, there are no seat belts or lap bars — so there’s that for death-defying.

Wanna know what it’s like to ride Leap the Dips?

“There’s been so many people that have put so much time and effort and work into this plan, and trying to get it done,” Melissa Vyborny, the parks’ general manager, told WJAC. “So we will be excited to have it all finished.”

All-day Ride, Splash and Play passes are $19.95 (free for kids 2 and under), while evening passes, after 5 p.m., are $14.95. Sadly, Leap the Dips won’t open for rides until June, per Lakemont’s Facebook page.

As far as the other “oldest roller coasters,” Pennsylvania’s got five of the Top 12 — and three of them are at Kennywood.

1. Leap The Dips – 1902; Lakemont Park, Altoona

2. Wild One/Giant Coaster – 1917; Six Flags America, Upper Marlboro, Md.

3. Jack Rabbit – 1920; Kennywood, West Mifflin

-. Jack Rabbit – 1920; Seabreeze, Rochester, N.Y.

5. Roller Coaster – 1921; Lagoon, Farmington, Utah

6. Thunderbolt/The Pippin – 1924; Kennywood, West Mifflin

-. Giant Dipper – 1924; Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.

-. ThunderHawk – 1924; Dorney Park, Allentown

9. Giant Dipper – 1925; Belmont Park, San Diego

10. Racer – 1927; Kennywood, West Mifflin

-. Wildcat – 1927; Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn.

-. Cyclone – 1927; Luna Park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Chris at 412-320-7898, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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