By: Arthur Levine, Special for USA TODAY
Everything is bigger in Texas. Even its water park rides. At a height of more than 81 feet,Schlitterbahn Galveston Island opened Massiv, the world’s tallest water coaster in late June. What, you may ask, are water coasters? As the name suggests, the popular attractions borrow elements of water slides and roller coasters (and take some inspiration from log flumes as well).
Riders in one- or multi-passenger rafts careen around water slide-like tracks. Blasts of water propel the vehicles through uphill sections, while gravity takes care of the rest. Like a roller coaster, passengers experience G-force-induced thrills including “airtime,” the sensation of rising out of your seat, as the rafts crest a hill. Unlike a roller coaster which typically includes a mechanical lift hill, riders have to tote themselves – and for Massiv passengers, their rafts – up to the highest point of the attraction. At Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, that means schlepping ride vehicles up 123 steps, or over 81 feet.
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