Wildcat (Lake Compounce)

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Wildcat Coaster.jpg
Lake Compounce
Coordinates41°38′27″N 72°55′23.3″W / 41.64083°N 72.923139°W / 41.64083; -72.923139Coordinates: 41°38′27″N 72°55′23.3″W / 41.64083°N 72.923139°W / 41.64083; -72.923139
Opening date1927
General statistics
TypeWood – Out and back
ManufacturerPhiladelphia Toboggan Coasters
DesignerHerbert Paul Schmeck and Dinn Corporation
Lift/launch systemChain Lift Hill
Height85 ft (26 m)
Drop78 ft (24 m)
Length2,746 ft (837 m)
Speed48 mph (77 km/h)
Height restriction48 in (122 cm)
Trains2 trains with 7 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 14 riders per train.
Wildcat at RCDB
Pictures of Wildcat at RCDB

Wildcat is the name of a wooden roller coaster located at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut. It was built in 1927 and is the park's centerpiece. It is one of the world's oldest operating roller coasters (in operation at the same location). It bears a striking resemblance to the now-defunct Wildcat roller coaster that used to reside at Elitch Gardens Theme Park in Denver.[1] Due to its historical significance, Wildcat is a recipient of the ACE Coaster Landmark Award.[2]


The Wildcat is a double out and back wooden coaster designed by Herbert Paul Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1927. Before the Wildcat was built, the Green Dragon Coaster used to stand in its place. In 1926, park owners Pierce and Norton contracted with the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for a new ride to replace the park's aging Green Dragon coaster. With the help of Herbert P. Schmeck, they created the Wildcat. The Wildcat featured a twister style layout including elements such as airtime and tunnels.[3]. The Wildcat's original trains were built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The entire structure was rebuilt with new wood in 1985, and the last bunny hills were retracked in 2004. The Wildcat went down for refurbishment on September 17, 2006 and reopened for the 2007 operating season. During its refurbishment, the brake runs were completely removed and rebuilt with new magnetic brakes. The station also received air gates in the queue line and individual seat belts were added to each seat.[4] In 2017, the ride got a full retracking by Martin & Vleminckx. The ride also got two new Millennium Flyer Trains made by Great Coasters International.[5]

Wildcat Timeline[edit]

  • 1927: Opened to the Public
  • 1985: Reconstructed with new wood
  • 1998: Fully Retracked
  • 2004: Final bunny hill run retracked, Seat dividers installed
  • 2007: Magnetic brakes installed for ability of two train operation, Air gates added to queue, Individual seat belts installed, Most of the track was repainted, blue train repainted Purple, leaving the Wild Cat with one Red train and one Purple.
  • 2014(Pre-Season): Lift Motor Maintenance
  • 2012–2018: Full retracking, lift hill partially rebuilt, and two new Great Coasters International Millennium Flyer Trains

Ride Experience[edit]

Wildcat sits in the center of Lake Compounce. Wildcat utilizes its design to twist around itself, while serving as the parks centerpiece. Once you leave the station the train turns slightly right and then left before climbing the 85-foot lift hill and dropping 73.7 feet. The lift hill is adjacent to the park entrance. The initial drop is followed by a left-banked curve and into a few more smaller hills until then reaching a right-banked curved leading into several more small hills. The train then curves right onto a section of bunny hills where it continues until it reaches the tunnel, where the brakes are.[6] The ride is known for giving a rough ride.[7]


  1. ^ "Elitch Trip". Karen and Jay. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  2. ^ "ACE Coaster Award". ACE. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Wildcat Facts". ultimaterollercoaster.com. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Lake Compounce packs thrills". wired. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Retracking". Martin & Vleminckx. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Wildcat Review". upsanddown. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "Connecticut Theme Park Is Loaded with Retro Charm". TripSavvy. Retrieved 11 July 2018.