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Canobie Lake Park

Coordinates: 42°47′42″N 71°15′01″W / 42.79500°N 71.25028°W / 42.79500; -71.25028
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Canobie Lake Park
LocationSalem, New Hampshire, United States
Coordinates42°47′42″N 71°15′01″W / 42.79500°N 71.25028°W / 42.79500; -71.25028
OpenedAugust 23, 1902 (1902-08-23)
SloganJust for fun
Operating seasonMay through October
Area59 acres (24 ha)
Roller coasters3
Water rides4

Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Boston. It was founded as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake in 1902. Three local families currently run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. Canobie Lake Park's age and history inspired author Stephen King to use rides and elements from the park in his Joyland novel. It is one of only thirteen trolley parks still operating in the United States as of 2021.

The park originally featured botanical gardens, with few amusement rides. After the automobile became the most popular mode of travel in the United States, the trolley line serving the park was closed. Attendance in the park declined until it was purchased by Patrick J. Holland. He installed a wooden roller coaster named Yankee Cannonball in 1936, a ride which was designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark by American Coaster Enthusiasts in 2013.[1] The park recovered, and the Arrow Development designed Canobie Corkscrew was installed in 1987, after being relocated from the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois, where it was named the Chicago Loop. It was removed after the 2021 season. Untamed, a Euro-Fighter coaster, is the only coaster with an inversion.


A postcard showing an image of an apple tree in Canobie Lake Park.
A postcard of an apple tree in Canobie Lake Park.

Canobie Lake Park opened on August 23, 1902, as a trolley park for the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company.[2] In its early years, the park was known for its flower gardens, promenades and gentle attractions.[3] After the decline of trolley as a mode of travel, the park declined in popularity, culminating in the park's closure on St. Patrick's Day in 1929.[4] In 1931, the park was auctioned off with the intent to subdivide the land into residential lots. Patrick J. Holland, a construction contractor from Ireland, bought the property for US$17,000. He and his workers restored the park with new gardens, attractions, and modern electricity. In 1932, the park reopened, three years after its initial closure.[4] Its popularity recovered, and the Yankee Cannonball was installed, becoming one of the park's most popular attractions for decades. Holland died in 1943, leaving the park with his wife and son, who continued to own the park until 1958. The park is now currently owned by three families; they purchased the park in 1958, continued operating the park ever since, and still operate the park today.[citation needed]

Some films and novels have used Canobie Lake Park as a setting or filming location. Stephen King, an American author of horror novels, based the amusement park in his novel Joyland on Canobie Lake Park. A resident of the nearby state of Maine, King visited after searching for a park "that was nice and clean and sunlit, but wasn't too big". During a visit in 2012, King took photographs inside the dark ride attraction, "Mine of Lost Souls", because he wanted to incorporate a haunted dark ride into his novel.[5] The park was also used as a filming location for the 2013 film Labor Day, based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard.[6] It also appeared in two live action children's TV shows on PBS Kids that were produced by PBS-affiliate WGBH Boston; it was featured in an episode of Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman,[7] as well as in the season 6 opening intro to the show Zoom.[8]


  • On July 27, 2001, five people riding the Yankee Cannonball roller coaster were injured when two of the ride's trains collided.[9][10]
  • On July 1, 2014, a family of five attacked police officers after they were told they could not carry weapons in the park.[11] Three of the family members were charged with felony riot.[12]
  • On August 6, 2016, a stuntman rolled off of a safety net during Canobie Lake Park's "Rocket Man: The Human Cannonball" performance. The stuntman was unharmed.[13]

Rides and attractions

A view of the Canobie Corkscrew roller coaster
The Canobie Corkscrew roller coaster in its original yellow-and-black color scheme
A view of Untamed, Canobie Lake Park's newest roller coaster, as one of the coaster cars goes through a loop
One of Untamed's coaster cars, mid-loop

Canobie Lake Park features a variety of rides and attractions. The Yankee Cannonball, a 1930s-era wooden roller coaster, is one of the park's best-known rides. The park was home to a looping, steel roller coaster named the Canobie Corkscrew, designed by Arrow Dynamics. Originally manufactured in 1975, the Canobie Corkscrew operated at Old Chicago from 1975 to 1980 as the "Chicago Loop",[14] at the Alabama State Fairgrounds as "Corkscrew" from 1982 to 1986, before moving to Canobie Lake in 1987. The Canobie Corkscrew was one of the first steel looping roller coasters manufactured in the world and was part of a series of Arrow corkscrew models produced from 1975 to 1979. The Canobie Corkscrew was closed in 2021, and in 2022 the ride was removed from the park.[15] Parts of the ride were subsequently donated to the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives upon its removal.

Other thrill rides in Canobie Lake Park include Starblaster, an S&S Double Shot, which replaced a ride called the Moon Orbiter in 2002. The park also features a rotor ride named "Turkish Twist", and a shoot-the-chutes ride named "The Boston Tea Party". The park has one dark ride, "The Mine Of Lost Souls". Passengers board mine cars and venture into the depths of a haunted mine. Another flat ride at the park is the "Psychodrome", a scrambler ride located in a dome, with lighting, music and special effects. In 2005, the park opened Castaway Island, a small water park consisting of a water play structure. In October 2017, the park announced an expansion to the water ride complex, including a lazy river and a series of water slides.[16]

The park once had a simulator ride named "USA Missile", built early in the Space Age by John Taggart and Sam Daugherty.[17] Passengers sit facing the nose of the rocket, which is then inclined. A movie is shown on a screen at the front as a simulation of space flight. While at Canobie Lake Park, it was repainted to mimic the markings used on such launch vehicles as the Saturn rockets.[18]

In 2011, the park added Untamed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter 320+ model.[19] This is the fourth Euro-Fighter to be added in the United States, the only one in the Northeast, and the first roller coaster to be opened in Canobie Lake Park since the Canobie Corkscrew in 1987. The following year, the park added Equinox, a ride that lifted and spun riders on a giant mechanical arm. Despite the ride's popularity, it was shut down in 2014 after persistent mechanical problems left the ride operating "sporadically". The park has stated that safety was not an issue.[20]


Roller coasters

Image Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Dragon Coaster
Zamperla A children's roller coaster with a train designed like a dragon.
Gerstlauer A Euro-Fighter roller coaster with three inversions, located near the Jackpot Casino. The ride features a 72-foot vertical lift and a beyond vertical drop at a 97-degree angle, as well as three inversions: a vertical loop, an Immelmann loop, and a zero-G roll.
Yankee Cannonball
Philadelphia Toboggan Company The park's oldest roller coaster; A wooden roller coaster with an out-and-back layout. The ride was given its name in commemoration of the American Civil War. Recognized as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark.

Thrill rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Ice Jet
Bertazzon A Flying Bobs ride that goes both forward and backwards
Zamperla Thrill ride in which 4 arms rotate in fast intermeshing orbits.
S.D.C. A pirate ship ride
Eli Bridge Company An indoor scrambler ride with flashing lights and sound effects[21]
S&S Power A Double Shot launch tower ride, opened for the park's centennial
Turkish Twist
S.D.C. A Rotor ride
Chance Rides A Wipeout ride
Xtreme Frisbee
HUSS A Frisbee ride

Family rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Antique Carousel
Looff/Dentzel/Stein & Goldstein An antique carousel with a Wurlitzer style 153 band organ
Antique Cars
Arrow Development A car ride with cars themed after Ford Model Ts[23]
Blue Heron
Unknown A boat ride that takes guests for a 20-minute trip on the lake
Boston Harbor Patrol
Canobie 500
Arrow race cars A car ride with cars themed after race cars
Canobie Express
Early 1970s
Crown Metal A train that runs through the park, around Castaway Island, and along the lakeshore. It runs on 2 foot narrow gauge tracks.
Harry Traver A caterpillar ride
Crazy Cups
Philadelphia Toboggan Company A teacup ride
DaVinci's Dream
Wooddesign Amusement Rides B.V.[24] A Wave Swinger ride themed to Leonardo da Vincis architecture.
Unknown Bumper car ride
Giant Sky Wheel
Preston-Barbieri A ferris wheel
Mine of Lost Souls
Sally Corporation A themed dark ride
Over the Rainbow
Zamperla A Wizard of Oz-themed balloon ride
Rowdy Roosters
Bisch-Rocco A Flying Scooters ride
Zamperla A Disk'O ride
Sky Ride
1970s or earlier
SkyTrans[26] A chairlift
Twist & Shout
Sellner Manufacturing A Tilt-A-Whirl ride
Venetian Carousel
Bertazzon A double-decker Venetian carousel
Wave Blaster
Zero Gravity
Battech Enterprises A Round Up ride; replaced a similar ride

Water rides

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Boston Tea Party
Hopkins Rides A shoot the chute boat ride that splashes guests on nearby paths when the boat falls down the drop. It is named and themed for the Boston Tea Party, an event when residents of Boston rebelled against the then-occupying British.
Castaway Island
WhiteWater West[28] Initially opened as a small water play structure with slides and fountains; this initial structure has been renamed the "Rain Fortress" after the 2018 expansion.
Aquatic Development Group An expansion to the section added a first-of-its-kind Tidal River water ride (a combined lazy river and zero-entry wave pool), along with three tube slides (Python, Anaconda and Constrictor) situated on "Slide Island" in the middle of the river, a toddler fountain area (Lil Squirts Play Pad), private rentable cabanas, and expanded locker and changing room facilities.
Policy Pond Log Flume
Hopkins Rides A log flume ride

Children's rides

Name Ride type Year added
Alpine Swing Children's swing ride
Fire Engines
Flower Power Children's whip ride
Jump Around Children's Wave Blaster
Jungle Bounce
Junior Sports Cars
Kiddie Canoes Children's Boat Ride
Late 1980s
Kiddie Carousel Children's carousel
Mini Dinos
Mini-Skooter Children's bumper cars Late 1980s
Pony Carts
Sea/Land Rescue
Sky Fighters

Former rides

Roller coasters

Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Mammoth Roller Coaster Frederick Ingersoll
Sometimes referred to as Figure 8 roller coaster, although that name was likely descriptive.[29]
Jr. Roller Coaster Allan Herschell Company
A kiddie coaster next to the dance hall
Rockin' Rider SDC
Originally called Galaxi at Canobie before being rebranded/renamed; replaced with "Xtreme Frisbee"
Wild Mouse B. A. Schiff & Associates
1962 or earlier
Used wood supports and steel track. The Paratrooper replaced the Wild Mouse and was later replaced by the Skater attraction.
Canobie Corkscrew Arrow Development
Two back to back corkscrew inversions. Removed due to mechanical issues.


Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Bowling alley
After purchasing the park in the 1960s, the owners burned all the pins from the bowling alley to keep warm during their first winter.[2]
Calypso Mack
Replaced with the "Moon Orbiter"
Equinox KMG
A twisting, spinning and flipping ride. Removed due to mechanical issues. Replaced with "Ice Jet".
Fascination Unknown
Replaced with the "Jackpot Casino"
House of Seven Gables Unknown
A walk-through haunted house
Kosmojets SDC
Replaced with "Wipeout"
Matterhorn SDC
Replaced with a concession stand "Hotdog Diner"
Moon Orbiter Unknown
Replaced with the "Star Blaster"
Ocean Trip SBF
Replaced with Boston Harbor Patrol
Replaced with "Skater"
Petting zoo Unknown Unknown
Round Up Unknown
Replaced with "Zero Gravity".
Roller skating rink
Used to house ScrEEEmfest haunts
The Swamp Pretzel
A dark ride that was replaced with the Can Alley game and employee center building.
Swimming pool
Removed during the construction of a larger main entrance
Tiki-Maze SDC
Formerly the Crystal Orbiter, on broken motor-driven platform
USA Missile Unknown
A missile ride. Removed to make room for Untamed.
Vertigo Theatre Unknown 1987
Replaced with Autobahn to make room for "Wave Blaster"
The Whip Unknown
Mid 1950s
Early 1980s
The ride became difficult to maintain in the early 1980s, so it was retired and replaced with Matterhorn, then Equinox, until the latter ride was removed
Tall Timber Splash WhiteWater West
A water coaster, removed for future expansion.


Canobie Lake Park holds many events in the park throughout the year, including live performances and fireworks shows. The park has multiple venues for live entertainment, including the Country Stage, Midway Stage, and Dancehall Theater. The park's Dancehall Theater has hosted performers such as Duke Ellington, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.[30][31] The Canobie Ramblers occasionally perform at the Log Flume Gazebo.
On certain weekends in September and October, Canobie Lake Park holds ScrEEEmfest, a Halloween event that they first did in 2008. Run in the afternoon that features Canobie's most popular rides plus five walk-through haunted attractions. Past "haunts" have included Merriment Incorporated, The Dead Shed, Black Hollow Cove, Head Hunters at Cannibal Lake, Cannibal Island, Demons of Darkness, Terro in the Corn Invasion and Virus.[32] Currently as of 2023, the park hosts five haunted attractions, Pinecrest Sanitarium, Carnivus, Breach, Cargo and Facility 235. In 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the park did not host Screeemfest for the first time since its inception. Instead, the park hosted a "food truck festival" within the closed for the season Castaway Island. This hosted trolley carts from around New England serving various foods and beverages to guests. Screeemfest started up again in the fall of 2021 and the park also continued with the "food truck festival" since.
The park hosts performances from impersonators of various celebrities, such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Tim McGraw, Justin Bieber, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, One Direction, KISS, and Aerosmith.[33] Canobie Lake Park is currently hosting tribute shows including Taylor Swift[34] and Freddie Mercury.[35]

Canobie Lake Park "Critters"

The Canobie Critters are the park's mascots. There have been several live shows starring the critters such as Critters Live: Surprise Party, Critters Live: Beach Bash, Critters Live: Halloween Show, Critters Live: You're on Mute, and the most recent Critter show, Critters Live: Dance Party. There are seven critters currently as of 2023: Dapper the Dog, Molly the Mouse, Bruno the Bear, Garrett the Parrot, Patches the Teddy Bear, Petey the Parrot, and Kimba-Sue the Kangaroo.

See also


  1. ^ "Coaster Landmark Award". American Coaster Enthusiasts. June 20, 2013. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Seed, Douglas, & Khalife, Katherine (1996). Salem, NH. Volume II - Trolleys, Canobie Lake, and Rockingham Park, Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-0438-5.
  3. ^ "Park History". Canobie Lake Park. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Holland Years". Canobie Lake History. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "King novel based on Canobie Lake Park". Eagle Tribune. June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  6. ^ "Film crew sneaks into Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  7. ^ ""FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman" Relaxin' with Ruff". IMDB. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  8. ^ ""Zoom" Episode #6.3 (TV Episode 2004) - Filming & Production". IMDB. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  9. ^ "Rides have stranded or injured passengers". USA Today. June 1, 2002. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  10. ^ "Roller Coaster Accident Injures 19". ABC News. August 6, 2001. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Vt. family allegedly attacks officers at Canobie Lake". Boston Globe. June 17, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Probable cause found against 3 accused in Canobie Lake Park melee". WMUR. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  13. ^ "Canobie Lake stuntman rolls off net, falls 20 feet". WMUR. August 6, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Cowette, Colleen (June 17, 1990). "Salem's Canobie Lake Park Has Given 80 Years of Fun". New Hampshire Sunday News. Manchester, NH.
  15. ^ "Piece of iconic Canobie Lake Park roller coaster donated to National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives". Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  16. ^ "Canobie Lake Park Gets Partial Approval For New Water Park". Patch. October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  17. ^ "Coney Island Space Age Icon - will it be destroyed?". Coney Island History Project. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  18. ^ "USA Missile (Canobie Lake Park)". ThrillNetwork LLC. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  19. ^ Bullock, Joel (November 24, 2010). "Canobie Lake Park adds new roller coaster: Untamed in 2011". Gadling. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  20. ^ Ireland, Doug (July 30, 2014). "Equinox shut down at Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. Newburyport, MA.
  21. ^ "CANOBIE SPECIAL", Boston Globe, April 16, 1989.
  22. ^ Sandy, Adam. "The Flat Joint". Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  23. ^ Donovan, Frank (August 14, 1968). "Canobie Lake More a Family Spot Than Ever--25". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  24. ^ "Wooddesign Amusment Rides B.V." Wooddesign Amusment Rides B.V. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  25. ^ "More sure signs of spring: Canobie Lake Park opens", New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH), April 29, 2001
  26. ^ "Our Clients". SkyTrans Manufacturing, LLC. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  27. ^ Miller-Medzon, Karyn (July 5, 1998). "For your amusement - Region's theme parks have a host of new rides to thrill and chill you". Boston Herald.
  28. ^ "Canobie's new Castaway Island water complex opens", New Hampshire Union Leader, May 26, 2005
  29. ^ Marden, Duane. "Mammoth Roller Coaster  (Canobie Lake Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  30. ^ Harpaz, Beth J. (June 26, 2010). "Trolley Parks: Survivors of an Earlier Era". NBC News. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  31. ^ "Big Bands". Canobie Lake History. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  32. ^ "Canobie Lake's 'Screeemfest' Provides Halloween Scares". CBS Boston. October 17, 2015. Archived from the original on November 5, 2023.
  33. ^ "12 Canobie Lake Park Tribute Shows". 94.9 HOM. Retrieved May 6, 2024.
  34. ^ "Tribute to Taylor Swift". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved May 6, 2024.
  35. ^ "Tribute to Freddy Mercury". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved May 6, 2024.

External links