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Crazy rides and critters: I-X Indoor Amusement Park offers cure for chilly weather blues

By Craig Webb • Mar 23, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Consider this.

Cedar Point boasts some 70 rides.

Kings Island, 48.

The I-X Indoor Amusement Park has some 60 or so.

Granted, the attractions and rides tucked under the weather-proof roof of the giant exposition center nestled by Hopkins International Airport do not reach the stratosphere heights of those in Sandusky, but this gathering of rides does offer all the sights, sounds and tastes of a summer night at the amusement park.

The temporary park takes up a good portion of the former military tank plant and opens for the spring break season on Friday and runs through April 17.

The popular Crazy Mouse Spinning Coaster is back to take riders on a spinning roller coaster experience.

And there’s a second coaster this year called the Wacky Worm Roller Coaster that offers a bit more gentle family-friendly ride.

Another new ride added to the lineup is the Drop ’N Twist that takes young riders high up in the air and instead of just dropping them back down, it drops in increments, then twists, so they can get a different bird’s-eye view of the park.

A new kiddie ride for youngsters is Charlie Chopper, which takes kids some 30 feet high in the air while riding inside of a helicopter.

A fair number of the rides found at the I-X Center are your typical fair and carnival variety that either spin really, really fast or shoot you up in the air and back down. There are also some fun-house type attractions with bouncy floors and spinning barrels you have to crawl through that cost an additional fee.

The I-X Center’s tall signature Ferris Wheel, which pokes its way through the roof and offers a great view of the airport and the Cleveland skyline, is included in the $23 gate admission for adults and $20 for children.

The center’s Soaring Eagle Zipline will also be open.

The thrilling — OK terrifying for some — attraction whisks two riders at a time backward up and into the center’s rafters, where they dangle for a moment or two and then are sent in a free fall toward the floor below.

This one is not a sound choice for those averse to heights or death-defying thrills.

There’s also a nice blend of classic carnival rides, from a giant slide to the Tilt-A-Whirl to the Yo-Yo.

Show manager Rob Attewell said great care has also been taken to consider those — insert the name of your mom or dad here — who are not fans of thrill rides.

To cater to the whole family, Attewell said, the popular Beach Street area is back, where roaming performers from Eric Haines’ one-man band to balloon artists can be found.

The Sea Lion Splash Show is back again, and once again, the seating arena has been expanded to accommodate some 1,000 guests.

“The sea lion show has been so popular we have had to expand the seating every year,” he said. “The demand to see this show has been unbelievable.”

A newcomer this year is Tyzen Master Hypnotist, who combines comedy and hypnotism with guests becoming stars of the show.

Other shows sprinkled throughout the amusement park’s run include:

• Roberto the Magnificent, who combines juggling and stunts.

• Thriller BMX bike show with high-flying stunts.

• Bengal Tiger Encounter, featuring a show of big cats.

• Zuzu Acrobats with a high-energy acrobatic routine.

Also look for the Butterfly Encounter, where guests can get up close and personal with butterflies, and appearances by Jungle Terry, who is bringing a variety of creatures and critters for guests to interact with.

Attewell said the park has purchased extra equipment for its Bubble Soccer area, where guests of all sizes and ages can play soccer while running inside a giant inflated bubble.

“This was really, really popular last year,” he said. “The kids had a blast.”

Each year, Attewell said, they try to swap out some of the rides and shows for new ones.

“We want to mix things up.”

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©2017 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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