Attraction Spotlight: Tom and Huck’s RiverBlast

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Tom and Huck’s RiverBlast is a Mack Splash Battle themed exquisitely to the exploits of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The ride is located right in the heart of SDC in an area that was formerly called Tom Sawyer’s Landing, which was a massive play area with slides, gigantic bouncy nets, a kiddie coaster, a couple rides, and lots of other play amenities. After the creation of The Grand Exposition in 2006, the park made a few logistical decisions to remove the aging rides from the landing and the Splash Harbor water play area and create a new high capacity attraction that combined elements of water play and a family friendly ride experience. When RiverBlast finally opened in 2010, it was the largest and most expensive SplashBattle attraction to date, and has been lauded around the world for its excellent theming.

 

Construction

Construction on RiverBlast began during the summer of 2008, when walls suddenly sprung up around the rides and play area of Tom Sawyer’s Landing. The Landing had seen better days at this point and a refurbishment of the area was due. A large section of the ropes area had been closed off years prior, the petting zoo had been moved and consolidated to the Homestead area (partly due to hoof-and-mouth disease issues of the time), and the Run-Away-Ore-Carts kiddie coaster had just been replaced due to age with the new Grand Exposition Coaster on the other side of the park. The Balloons, Carousel, and ropes were all sorely missed, but in the years since this project each of these attractions has made it back into the park.

RiverBlast was intended to open in 2009, but unfortunately the great recession of 2008 threw a wrench in these plans. HFEC, as a privately owned company, has always been very careful and calculated with the way it manges its money, and in order to ensure that they wouldn’t have to cut back on staff during the downturn the park made the wise choice to delay work on the attraction for one year.

 

Ride Experience

RiverBlast’s ride experience is fairly uniform: the “ride” itself is merely a slow boat ride on a small raft through a slowly moving channel. It’s what happens on either side that makes RiverBlast such a fun and wet experience. Each seat is equipped with a crank-powered water gun which riders use to activate targets and battle with other water cannons manned by spectators on the shore. With all the hectic water antics going on, it’s easy to miss a lot of the intricate missouri river theming that really sets this ride apart.

 

Further Reading

 

Photos

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