As the fourth and last stop of my Houston CityPass day I drove to Galveston Bay to visit the Kemah Boardwalk. The Leisure Center, consisting of a small amusement park, hotel and a variety of restaurants, is completely owned by the Landry’s Group, so you can try out many of their established brands here. The Boardwalk itself has been in existence since 1998 and at that time already offered a small selection of rides. As time went by more and more attractions moved to Kemah, followed by the construction of the wooden Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster in 2007.
The amusement park offers a great mix of typical American rides, many of them from Larson International and Chance Rides. In addition to the park railway, you can ride a merry-go-round, a Tilt-a-Whirl, an observation tower, a Giant Loop, the Pharaoh’s Fury swing ship, the interactive Aviator ride and the free fall tower Drop Zone. Especially the latter one is a real challenge, because you don’t know when you’ve reached the top of the tower and therefore fall down without warning.
It is an extremely solid mixture of rides that are really a lot of fun, especially in combination with a visit to a restaurant or a longer walk along the promenade of the park and through the neighboured Kemah including psychic reading – although I cannot really recommend a visit to the steak restaurant Saltgrass Steak House.
Luckily, right next to it is the wooden coaster Boardwalk Bullet: A gem of the Gravity Group engineers and built by Martin & Vleminckx. On an area of only 1 acre they built a 3236 ft long roller coaster with a height of almost 100ft. The ultra-compact layout promises an extremely wild ride through the framework of the supporting structure.
After a somewhat longer safety check, whereby first the belts, then the bars and finally the track is checked via visual inspection, the ride can begin. After we have left the siding behind us we immediately go down a little dip, whereupon we catch the lift chain. Arriving at the starting altitude we quickly increase our speed and immediately make a turn before we – accompanied by the finest ejector airtime – plunge to the ground on a steep gradient. Immediately we rattle deeper and deeper into the frame in a right turn and race over smaller bunny hops. Back under the open sky we make a turn directly on the promenade. Over hill and dale we make our way up to the second highest point of the layout. Once again without any contact to the seat we are pulled down once more. Below the turning curve that we just passed, we race through the beams of the wooden roller coaster once again. A row of bunny-hops leads us under the first turn, whereupon we dive under the station. In a right turn we follow the course at the beginning of the ride, before we enter the support structure one last time in a left turn. Here we now race across a multitude of hills across the structure. After another right turn we reach the braking section of the layout, whereupon the wild ride soon comes to an end.
The Boardwalk Bullet is a really awesome wooden roller coaster with fantastic ride characteristics, a layout that is almost impossible to see through and a never ending ride through the dense structure. The airtime and the whole pacing of the ride are simply perfect, so a visit to the Boardwalk is definitely recommended.
The Kemah Boardwalk is a great amusement center at Galveston Bay. Especially as a conclusion to a long day in Houston, the visit is highly recommended. A ride on the wooden roller coaster Boardwalk Bullet is a lot of fun both before and after a visit to the restaurant – the rides on the classic American rides anyway. So come here if you are in Houston anyway. The Space Center Houston is just around the corner.
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