Featured Photo #14 – The Unsung Hero of Your Park’s Coaster Lineup

Featured Photos

Sidewinder at Hersheypark - Vekoma Boomerang

Step Outside of Your Enthusiast Box For a Moment
Are Vekoma’s Boomerang  roller coasters unappreciated? Sure, they’re short shuttle coasters that can get pretty rough, but think of their upside. Think about all of the people who got their first looping experience on one of these theme park staples. There are plenty of smaller parks that can’t afford to build a large looping coaster, but they do have a Vekoma Boomerang to offer some brief thrills. Plenty of kids and roller coaster novices have looked up at Zoomerang at Lake Compounce or Boomerang at Elitch Gardens or Sea Serpent at Morey’s Piers and said, “I can ride that.”

Heck if I were to build a park, well, once I build a park after hitting the lottery that is, I’d consider installing a Vekoma Boomerang with Carolina Cobra’s open restraints. They minimize the much maligned head banging making the little ride pretty darn enjoyable.

This picture was taken back in the Spring of 2006 on one of my first trip after starting the blog. It’s the Sidewinder at Hersheypark. I remember it being a little smoother than other boomerangs that I’d ridden.

What’s Your Take?

What’s your take on this photo, Sidewinder, and Vekoma Boomerangs in general? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.


  1. Sidewinder did seem pretty smooth when I rode it last year. My wife's first backward coaster and it was hilarious watching her face and hearing her scream when we were going backwards!!

  2. They would be exceptional coasters if the restraints weren't so hard and there was no headbanging. I think these are worse than arrow loopers, because going backwards hurts alot. Ive only went on the sidewinder, but im sure, except for Carolina Cobra apparently, that they are all rough? Its a guess. And at least arrow loopers offer a fun ride with all those loops. But, boomerang coasters are good for a first looper because they don't look as intimidating as some larger coasters do (especially dive machines).

  3. Being towed and released on these coasters is as thrilling as it gets. I don't know, I just get an amazing ride each and every time that I ride those.

  4. The best part of a boomerang is easily the first drop. At TGE, if not everywhere else as well, you have to wait, or as some would say; "Be Tortured" waiting for the actual drop. It's relativeley steep and high, so the effect is rather nerve-racking.

  5. Back in the late eighties/early nineties when the Boomerang first came on the scene, it truly was a substantial addition to ANY park. Just recently I overheard someone in line for Flashback at Over Texas say it was the best ride in the park. While I may not think they're the best thing out there these days, I'll still hit 'em up everywhere I find one, especially if more of the new trains are rolled out like in Carowinds.

  6. Vekoma is that one show thaat they keep replaying every day at noon with new episodes once a month.

  7. Before I start, this is a very cool picture. The ride? eh…

    Now, I have to ask, was this pic taken while the ride was stuck upsidedown? Cause if not, then you might have captured history! lol. The empty train speaks a thousand words. The sidewinder has more downtime than a copy machine. I've been to HersheyPark probably 9 or 10 times over the past 2 years (its close to home) and I swear I've seen this rust-bucket stuck once per trip while standing in line for Storm Runner.

    I'll pretend to give Vekoma its due for… uh, hmm… Parks could save money and replace these rides with the Tequila Chug! You'll finish just the same: dizzy, sick, and with a pounding headache.

  8. I just saw on Screamscape that Sidewinder will be getting the new open restraint trains .http://www.screamscape.com/html/hersheypark.htm

  9. The surprise Hershey had with the new restraint system going on Sidewinder…(ie. Carolina Cobra)…will make it amazing!!

  10. I actually just rode my first one of these: the Zoomerang at Lake Compounce. It was not that rough; I didn't have any problems with headbanging. I actually thought it was a pretty entertaining little ride. Being pulled backwards slooowly up the first lift is genuinely unnerving.

    After Boulder Dash and various waterslides, I wasn't quite up to tackling the 1920s stylings of the Wildcat, but a Vekoma Boomerang seemed about right. It was probably a little late in the day for those positive g's, though.

  11. I love boomerang coasters. I’ve rode on the sea serpent and it was fun. They are a little rough but overall they are a great experience to me.


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