May 27, 2014

Opening of second Kansas City area amusement park ride delayed

What are thrill seekers to do but cool their heels?

What are thrill seekers to do but cool their heels?

The opening of a second dizzying amusement park ride in the Kansas City area has been delayed with the announcement Thursday by Worlds of Fun that its new SteelHawk ride is still undergoing its commissioning process.

The ride, which spins people around a 301-foot tower, was to have opened Saturday. Now a spokeswoman for the park says it will be “a few days” more.

“Our maintenance team has done a great job of keeping on schedule despite wind and rain,” vice president and general manager Frank Wilburn said in a statement. “It’s particularly amazing considering the height of this ride. It’s unfortunate the weather did not cooperate every day, which has delayed our extensive commissioning process.”

The ride must be approved by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Worlds of Fun spokeswoman Rachael Murie said high winds this week made it impossible for crews to work on the SteelHawk.

Last week, the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan., announced that the world’s tallest water slide would not open before June 5. It was to have opened Friday in time for Memorial Day weekend. The Verruckt, at 168 feet 7 inches, was still undergoing testing.

SteelHawk swings people at 27 mph at a 45-degree angle. Worlds of Fun says the attraction “provides riders with amazing views of the city and the feeling of free flight.”

The ride is a reincarnation of the WindSeeker, which used to be at Knott’s Berry Farm near Los Angeles. Both it and Worlds of Fun are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

The WindSeeker broke down twice in 2012, leaving riders aloft for hours. California regulators ordered new ladders added to the tower shaft. Cedar Fair decided to move the ride to Missouri, where state regulations are not as strict.

Reach Matt Campbell at 816-234-4902 or

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