Canobie Lake Park

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Canobie Lake Park
Canobie Lake Park logo.svg
SloganJust for fun
LocationSalem, New Hampshire, United States
Coordinates42°47′42″N 71°15′01″W / 42.79500°N 71.25028°W / 42.79500; -71.25028Coordinates: 42°47′42″N 71°15′01″W / 42.79500°N 71.25028°W / 42.79500; -71.25028
OwnerFamily owned
OpenedAugust 23, 1902 (1902-08-23)
Operating seasonMay– Late October [1]
Roller coasters4
Water rides4

Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Boston. Founded as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake on 1902, the park most prominently featured botanical gardens, with few amusement rides. Three local families currently run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England region. 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 2019.

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.[2] The park recovered, and the Canobie Corkscrew was installed in 1987, after being relocated from the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois. Arrow Development designed the Canobie Corkscrew, which was known at the time as the Chicago Loop. Untamed, a Euro-Fighter coaster, is the only other coaster in the park besides the Corkscrew 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.[3] The amusement park has opened every summer since then. In its early years, the park was known for its flower gardens, promenades and gentle attractions.[4] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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 owned by three families, who purchased the park afterward.[6][5]

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.[7] 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.[8] It also appeared in the reality TV Show Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman as well as in the season 6 intro to the TV Show Zoom.

Rides and attractions[edit]

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 also has 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",[9] at the Alabama State Fairgrounds as "Corkscrew" from 1982 to 1986, before moving to Canobie Lake in 1987. The Canobie Corkscrew is one of the first steel looping roller coasters manufactured in the world and is part of a series of Arrow corkscrew models produced from 1975 to 1979.

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". Canobie has one dark ride, named "Mine of Lost Souls". Passengers board a ride train resembling mine car, and the ride is themed around a fictional mine that is beginning to collapse. 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.[10]

The park once had a simulator ride named "USA Missile", built early in the Space Age by John Taggart and Sam Daugherty.[11] 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.[12]

In 2011, the park added Untamed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter 320+ model.[13] 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, 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.[14]


Roller coasters[edit]

Image Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Canobie Lake Park Corkscrew.jpg Canobie Corkscrew
Arrow Dynamics A steel roller coaster with two corkscrew inversions. Originally a yellow and black color scheme, the ride was repainted in 2012 to blue and white.
Kiddie Dragon Coaster
Zamperla A children's roller coaster with a train designed like a dragon.
Untamed-Canobie lake park.jpg Untamed
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[edit]

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Ice Jet
Bertazzon A Flying Bobs ride.
S.D.C. A pirate ship ride
Eli Bridge Company An indoor scrambler ride with flashing lights and sound effects.[15]
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[edit]

Name Opened Manufacturer Description
Antique Carousel
Looff/Dentzel/Stein & Goldstein An antique carousel with a Wurlitzer style 153 band organ.
Antique Cars Unknown Arrow Development A car ride with cars themed after Ford Model Ts.
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 Unknown 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
Wood Amusement Rides B.V. A swing ride
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 Unknown Bisch-Rocco A Flying Scooters ride
Zamperla A Disk'O ride
Sky Ride Unknown SkyTrans[18] A chairlift
Twist & Shout Unknown Sellner Manufacturing A Tilt-A-Whirl ride
Wave Blaster
Zero Gravity
Battech Enterprises A Round Up ride; Replaced a similar ride.

Water rides[edit]

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[20] A small water play structure with slides and fountains.
Policy Pond Log Flume
Hopkins Rides A log flume ride.
Tall Timber Splash
WhiteWater West A water coaster.
Castaway Island Tidal River Expansion 2018 Aquatic Development Group First of its kind Tidal River water ride.

Children's rides[edit]

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

Former rides[edit]

Roller coasters[edit]

Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Figure 8 roller coaster Frederick Ingersoll
Jr. Roller Coaster Allan Herschell Company
Rockin' Rider SDC
Originally called Galaxi at Canobie before being rebranded/renamed; Replaced with "Xtreme Frisbee".
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Wild Mouse B. A. Schiff & Associates
Used wood supports and steel track. The Paratrooper replaced the Wild Mouse, and was later replaced by the Skater attraction.


Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Bowling alley Unknown Unknown Unknown After purchasing the park in the 1960s, the owners burned all the pins from the bowling alley to keep warm during their first winter.[3]
Calypso Mack Unknown
Replaced with the "Moon Orbiter".
Equinox KMG
A twisting, spinning and flipping ride. Removed due to mechanical issues.
Fascination Unknown Unknown Unknown Replaced with the "Jackpot Casino".
House of Seven Gables Unknown
Unknown A walk-through haunted house.
Kosmojets SDC Unknown Unknown Replaced with "Wipeout".
Matterhorn SDC Unknown
Replaced with a concession stand "Hotdog Diner".
Moon Orbitor Unknown
Replaced with the "Star Blaster".
Ocean Trip SBF
Replaced with Boston Harbor Patrol
Paratroopers Unknown Unknown
Replaced with "Skater".
Petting Zoo Unknown Unknown Unknown
Round Up Unknown
Replaced with "Zero Gravity" (Round Up)
Roller skating rink Unknown Unknown Unknown Used to house ScrEEEmfest haunts
The Swamp Pretzel
Unknown A dark ride that was replaced with the Can Alley game and employee center building.
Swimming pool Unknown Unknown
Removed during the construction of a larger main entrance.
Tiki-Maze SDC Unknown
Formerly the Crystal Orbiter, on broken motor-driven platform.
USA Missile Unknown Unknown Unknown
Vertigo Theatre Unknown Unknown
Replaced with Autobahn to make room for "Wave Blaster".
The Whip Unknown Unknown Unknown Was replaced with Matterhorn, then Equinox, until the latter ride was removed.


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.[21][22] 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 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, and Virus.[23] The park hosts performances from impersonators of various celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Tim McGraw.[24]


  • On July 27, 2001, five people riding the Yankee Cannonball roller coaster were injured when two of the ride's trains collided.[25][26]
  • On July 1, 2014, a family of five attacked police officers after they were told they could not carry weapons in the park.[27] Three of the family members were charged with felony riot.[28]
  • 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, but was taken to an emergency room for an evaluation.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hours". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "Coaster Landmark Award". American Coaster Enthusiasts. June 20, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Park History". Canobie Lake Park. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "The Holland Years". Canobie Lake History. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "A Classic New England Amusement Park in Salem, New Hampshire". New England Today.
  7. ^ "King novel based on Canobie Lake Park". Eagle Tribune. June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  8. ^ "Film crew sneaks into Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. August 16, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Cowette, Colleen (June 17, 1990). "Salem's Canobie Lake Park Has Given 80 Years of Fun". New Hampshire Sunday News. Manchester, NH.
  10. ^ "Canobie Lake Park Gets Partial Approval For New Water Park". Patch. October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Coney Island Space Age Icon - will it be destroyed?". Coney Island History Project. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  12. ^ "USA Missile (Canobie Lake Park)". ThrillNetwork LLC. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  13. ^ Bullock, Joel (24 November 2010). "Canobie Lake Park adds new roller coaster: Untamed in 2011". Gadling. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  14. ^ Ireland, Doug (July 30, 2014). "Equinox shut down at Canobie Lake Park". Newburyport News. Newburyport, MA.
  15. ^ a b c "CANOBIE SPECIAL", Boston Globe, April 16, 1989.
  16. ^ Sandy, Adam. "The Flat Joint". Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "More sure signs of spring: Canobie Lake Park opens", New Hampshire Sunday News (Manchester, NH), April 29, 2001
  18. ^ "Our Clients". SkyTrans Manufacturing, LLC. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "Canobie's new Castaway Island water complex opens", New Hampshire Union Leader, May 26, 2005
  21. ^ "Trolley Parks: Survivors of an Earlier Era". NBC News. June 26, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  22. ^ "Big Bands". Canobie Lake History. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "Canobie Lake's 'Screeemfest' Provides Halloween Scares". CBS Boston.
  24. ^ "Amusement Parks Near Boston: A Huffington Post Travel Guide". The Huffington Post. August 11, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  25. ^ "Rides have stranded or injured passengers". USA Today. June 1, 2002. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "Roller Coaster Accident Injures 19". ABC News. August 6, 2001. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  27. ^ "Vt. family allegedly attacks officers at Canobie Lake". Boston Globe. June 17, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  28. ^ "Probable cause found against 3 accused in Canobie Lake Park melee". WMUR. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  29. ^ "Canobie Lake stuntman rolls off net, falls 20 feet". WMUR. August 6, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017.

External links[edit]