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Devil's Den

Devils Den

Click, click, click, it the Blue Streak? The Kiddie Coaster? No, the only other ride at Conneaut with a chain lift is the darkride, the Devil's Den.
FlamesNot many darkrides these days have a chain lift hill, because not many "gravity" darkrides are still in operation. Conneaut Lake Park in Western Pennsylvania has preserved theirs for over three decades.
Built in 1968, most of the ride has stayed the same. Originally called the Devil's Den, it was renamed Dr. Moriarity's Wild Ride in the 1990's. For the 2001 season, the original name returned. The facade of the building has been painted to give the illusion of a red and gray brick building. The eyes of the devil now stare over flames at the oncoming riders from above the lift.
Devils DenThe freshly painted red and yellow handrails and supports now match the cars, giving the ride a whole new look.
Since the ride is gravity driven, the cars have no motors and there are no brakes to control the speed. The pull of gravity makes for a speedy ride, different from the slower, motor-driven cars commonly found in other darkrides.
Back when darkrides were more common, some of them had two sets of "dips"; one in the front of the ride where the car came out of the dark, and another in the rear of the ride, in the dark. Devil's Den is one of the few remaining dark rides with a dip; most other parks removed the dip and replaced it with a flat section of track. This was commonly done to avoid collisions, since a stuffed animal or other item dropped on the track would slow or stop the car, causing the next car to "rear-end" it.
Devils DenThankfully, we can still enjoy the coaster-like drop at Conneaut. After that drop, the ride lasts only 45 seconds, making it one of the fastest dark rides you'll ever experience. But if the darkness scares you, that 45 seconds can seem like an eternity.
As you await your ride, you watch the rider ahead of you board a small, single seat car. The ride operator pushes the car through a door and around a bend. The car slowly climbs the lift hill, and as it gets to the second level, the car swings outside for a moment before it turns back inside and plunges into the dip, back up, and disappears into the Den.
Devils DenDevils DenYour turn now...have a seat! Your car is pushed around the corner, and you jerk unexpectedly as the car engages the lift chain. Devils DenDevils DenAs you ascend, you encounter the famous "gum wall", so watch out for those bees!
Up you go, then outside and around the bend. Suddenly, the world drops out from under you and down you go.
As you climb the next hill, you approach the tiger, which seems to leap right at you.
You swing to the right then the left at the lion, and then you are encompassed in total darkness.
...but not for long!
As you plunge into the dark, your eyes strain to adjust quickly to see what you're in for. A monster in a graveyard.
You rush past; the car taking turns every few seconds. Tortured souls greet you at every corner.

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Medusa waits your arrival.
A ghoul lurks nearby.

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Death bides his time.
Monsters lurk at every turn.

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The "old boy" himself awaits your arrival inside.

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Where once the stunts didn't move or "pop out" at you, (some of them are only inches away from you) and many things are backlit or illuminated only with black-light, forcing your mind to fill in the blanks with the details you could not quite see, today better lighting reveals that the stunts are working once again.
Devils Den
Screams follow you, and you may find a few scary sounds coming from your own mouth!
You encounter a huge painting of an escaping gorilla, and as you pass down the final stretch, you go around one last bend and return to the light.
Some enthusiastic ride operators enjoy welcoming you back in an often surprising fashion, so be prepared!
You have survived, and hopefully enjoyed, your journey through the Devil's Den. It has frightened, thrilled, and entertained guests for 33 years and still remains popular. The detailed paintings throughout the ride were done in-house, and though not many specifics are known about the stunts themselves, many are probably original gags. (A few things have been added recently.)
If you haven't been to Conneaut Lake lately, make it a point to get there...the Devil's Den is waiting!