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.
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.