Canobie Lake Park
Canobie Lake Park
Canobie Lake Park logo.svg
Slogan Just for fun
Location Salem, New Hampshire, United States
Coordinates 42°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
Opened August 23, 1902 (1902-08-23)
Operating season May- Late October [1]
Total 50+
Roller coasters 4
Water rides 4

Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire. Originally opening as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake on 1902, the park most prominently featured botanical gardens. The park declined in popularity after the automobile became the most popular mode of travel in the United States, but three local families now run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England region.

Canobie Lake Park's age has resulted in a mixture of attractions from different time periods. One of the park's oldest attractions is a wooden roller coaster named Yankee Cannonball, which dates back to 1936, and is one of the most notable features of the park. The Canobie Corkscrew was originally built in 1975 for the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois, as the "Chicago Loop". Arrow Development designed the Canobie Corkscrew, and the company was known at the time for building roller coasters with multiple inversions. The ride was relocated to Canobie Lake Park in 1987. The steel coaster named Untamed is a more modern variety of ride, known as a Euro-Fighter, and has various inversions unique to modern roller coasters. Canobie Lake Park's age and history have inspired author Stephen King to base parts of his novel Joyland on the park.


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] The amusement park has opened every summer since then. In the park's early years, it 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 USD $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 passed away 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.[5][4]

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.[6] The park was also used as a filming location for the 2013 film Labor Day, based on the coming-of-age novel Labor Day by Joyce Maynard.[7]

Rides and attractions

A view of the Canobie Corkscrew roller coaster
The Canobie Corkscrew roller coaster
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",[8] 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 1975-1979.

Other thrill rides in Canobie Lake Park include Starblaster, an S&S Double Shot. The Starblaster was opened in 2002, replacing the Moon Orbiter. The park also features a rotor ride named "Turkish Twist", and a shoot-the-chutes ride named "The Boston Tea Party". Canobie has one of the few dark rides in New England, named "Mine of Lost Souls". Passengers board a mine car and are transported into the depths of a dark mine, which begins to collapse. Another flat ride at Canobie is the "Psychodrome", a 12-car 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.

The park once had a simulator ride named "USA Missile", built early in the Space Age by John Taggart and Sam Daugherty.[9] 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.[10] It has since been closed down, and was left standing but not operating.

In 2011, the park added Untamed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter 320+ model.[11] 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 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.

The park added Equinox in 2012, 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.[12]


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.[13][14] 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, The Village, Head Hunters at Cannibal Lake, Cannibal Island, Demons of Darkness, and Virus.[15] The park hosts performances from impersonators of various celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Tim McGraw.[16]

List of rides

Untamed at Canobie Lake Park.
A view of Untamed's lift hill.
The Caterpillar ride at Canobie Lake Park.
The Caterpillar ride.
The Canobie Corkscrew at Canobie Lake Park.
The Canobie Corkscrew, in its original yellow-and-black color scheme.
Name Ride manufacturer Ride type Description Year added Refs
Thrill rides
Canobie Corkscrew Arrow Development Steel roller coaster A steel roller coaster with two corkscrew inversions. Originally a yellow and blue color scheme, the ride was repainted in 2012.
Pirata S.D.C. Pirate ship
Psychodrome Eli Bridge Company Scrambler An indoor scrambler ride with flashing lights and sound effects.
Starblaster S&S Power Double shot A launch tower ride, opened for the park's centennial.
Turkish Twist S.D.C. Rotor
Untamed Gerstlauer Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter A roller coaster with three inversions, located near the Jackpot Casino. The ride's construction led to the removal of the U.S.A. Missile attraction, which was standing but not operating.
Wipeout Chance Rides Wipeout
Yankee Cannonball Philadelphia Toboggan Company Wooden roller coaster 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.
Family rides
Antique Carousel Looff/Dentzel/Stein & Goldstein Carousel
Antique Cars Arrow Development Car ride N/A
Blue Heron N/A Boat ride A boat ride that takes guests for a 20-minute trip on the lake.
Boston Harbor Patrol N/A
Canobie 500 Arrow Dynamics Race cars
Canobie Express Crown Metal Products Train ride A train that runs through the park, around Castaway Island, and along the lakeshore. It runs on 2 foot narrow gauge tracks. N/A
Caterpillar Harry Traver Caterpillar ride A family flat ride.
Crazy Cups Philadelphia Toboggan Company Teacups
DaVinci's Dream N/A Swing ride
Dodgems N/A Bumper car ride
Giant Sky Wheel N/A Ferris wheel
Kiddie Dragon Coaster Zamperla Children's roller coaster
Mine of Lost Souls Sally Corporation Dark ride
Over the Rainbow Zamperla Balloon ride
Rowdy Roosters N/A Flying Scooters N/A
Skater Zamperla Disk'O
Sky Ride SkyTrans Manufacturing Chairlift N/A [20]
Twist & Shout Sellner Manufacturing Tilt-A-Whirl N/A
Wave Blaster Zamperla
Zero Gravity Battech Enterprises Round Up Replaced a similar Round Up ride.
Water rides
Boston Tea Party Hopkins Rides Shoot the Chute
Castaway Island WhiteWater West AquaPlay RainFortress
Policy Pond Log Flume Hopkins Rides Log flume
Tall Timber Splash WhiteWater West Industries Water coaster

Children's rides

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

Retired attractions

Name Ride manufacturer Year added Year retired Notes
Bowling alley N/A N/A N/A 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 N/A
Replaced with the "Moon Orbiter".
Equinox KMG
A twisting, spinning and flipping ride. Removed due to mechanical issues.
Fascination N/A N/A N/A Replaced with the "Jackpot Casino".
Figure 8 roller coaster Frederick Ingersoll
House of Seven Gables N/A
N/A A walk-through haunted house.
Jr. Roller Coaster N/A
Kosmojets SDC N/A N/A Replaced with "Wipeout".
Matterhorn SDC N/A
Replaced with a concession stand "Hotdog Diner".
Moon Orbitor N/A
Replaced with the "Star Blaster".
Ocean Trip SBF
Replaced with Boston Harbor Patrol
Paratroopers N/A N/A
Replaced with "Skater".
Petting Zoo N/A N/A N/A
Rockin' Rider S.D.C.
Originally called Galaxi at Canobie before being rebranded/renamed; Replaced with "Xtreme Frisbee".
Round Up N/A
Replaced with "Zero Gravity" (Round Up)
Roller skating rink N/A N/A N/A Used to house ScrEEEmfest haunts
The Swamp Pretzel
N/A A dark ride that was replaced with the Can Alley game and employee center building.
Swimming pool N/A N/A
Removed during the construction of a larger main entrance.
Tiki-Maze S.D.C. N/A
Formerly the Crystal Orbiter, on broken motor-driven platform.
USA Missile N/A N/A N/A
Vertigo Theatre N/A N/A
Replaced with Autobahn to make room for "Wave Blaster".
The Whip N/A N/A N/A Was replaced with Matterhorn, then Equinox, until the latter ride was removed.
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.
Xtreme Frisbee HUSS
Removed due to mechanical issues.


  • On July 27, 2001, five people riding the Yankee Cannonball roller coaster were injured when two of the ride's trains collided.[23][24]
  • On July 1, 2014, a family of five attacked police officers after they were told they could not carry weapons in the park.[25] Three of the family members were charged with felony riot.[26]
  • 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.[27]

See also


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

External links

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