Tom Foolerys Texas

19th August 2021

Day fifteen of my trip was for the most part a transit day, comprising a lengthy drive from Oklahoma to San Antonio with a few stops along the way – the most important being in Austin, where I’d arranged a catch up with two former colleagues over a meal. We ended up at Smokin' Beauty, which I highly recommend if anyone else finds themselves in the area; the brisket bánh mì is heavenly.

Along the way I called in at Tom Foolerys Adventure Park, a free-admission indoor family entertainment center inside the enormous Kalahari Resort complex. The place has two family coasters, and while one of them redefines the meaning of credit whoring I can nevertheless confirm that it is accessible to the terminally sad provided that they are under 77” in height. The cashier thought it was a little odd that I wanted a $5 ticket for this ride, but recovered quickly, presumably with the realisation that a fool and his money are soon parted.

Tom Foolerys

The machine in question is of course Star Force Orbiter (#2933), an oval-shaped Micro Coaster from SBF Visa, a company that really should start advertising themselves as the World’s Leading Irritant of Coaster Counters. Five examples of the standard layout exist so far, and they’re truly outstanding machines with a track length of 28 metres (92 feet) and a height differential measurable using a ruler. The one saving grace is that the seats are spacious; I had no trouble fitting on board. The cycle lasted twenty laps, giving me plenty of time to think about just how silly this hobby really is.

With that out of the way, I made my way over to Screamin’ Centipede (#2934), a marginally more respectable SBF Big Air with a track length of 86 metres (282 feet). This ride is designed to operate with five cars: four standard spinning cars, and one hamster wheel that can roll over as it moves. The latter was not on track today – I noticed it in storage behind the other coaster, pictured above – but the other cars were operating as normal. After three laps on board I concluded that it could more accurately be named “Big Lurch”; an airtime hump with magnetic strips on it (presumably to trigger the hamster wheel) was not negotiated well. There was no spinning to speak of, either; enthusiasts definitely won’t need to budget more than $10 for a single cycle.

Much of the remaining space is occupied by arcade games, but there are four flat rides to supplement the coasters: a fifty-foot drop tower (Maximum Foolocity), a Zamperla NebulaZ (Red White’n’Woo), tea cups (Flynn’s Power Fuge), and a child-sized spin ride (Puppy Pulsar). The place is well presented, and is definitely worth a quick stop when passing through the area.


Austin's Park

19th August 2021

My first visit to Austin’s Park took place during a business trip to the Texas capital during August 2018. I didn’t bother writing a trip report that day because I didn’t actually do anything during my five minute stay; the relocated family coaster I’d hoped to ride was closed for maintenance, and there was nothing else that caught my eye. I’m don't think I’d have bothered going back today without the 2021 addition: a 35,000 square foot indoor expansion centred around a new generation SBF spinning coaster.

Austin's Park'

Barrellng Rapids (#2935) is the fifth global installation of the MX512 v5.0, a design that can be thought of as the lovechild of a figure eight spinner and a Big Apple. A diagonal lift hill leads to a stacked oval layout with one respectable drop, and unlike its ubiquitous predecessor there is nothing to slow the acceleration. The result is a respectable family coaster, and while the experience isn’t earth-shattering it is nevertheless a step above most cookie cutter rides. I very much enjoyed my two lap cycle. With that done, I endured a few minutes of Texas heat with a ride on the outdoor Fiesta Express, a Zamperla Mini Mouse that had been my 350th steel coaster when I’d ridden it at the park then known as Cypress Gardens back in 2005.

Both coasters in the park have the same $5 price tag, which has to be paid using a reloadable smart card. Enthusiasts will find that this costs $1; though the park only deducts $0.25 from your balance for it, attraction and game prices are all multiples of $1, and credit can only be added in the same dollar multiples, meaning that everyone will always have at least $0.75 worth of left over credit that they can’t actually spend. There’s probably some method to this madness; perhaps the idea is to get people to look at all attractions on offer? I know that I looked all over the arcade for somewhere to use up my credit, which I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have bothered with if the card had been fully emptied.