Small Parks of Texas: Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Pleasure Pier, and ZDT’s Amusement Park

Sean: Last week we made a quick trip to Texas, just in time before major attractions around the country started closing. Our trip to Texas featured 5 parks, 3 of which were considered small. These Small Parks of Texas all have their own major coaster:


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Galveston Pleasure Pier – Iron Shark (Galveston Island, Texas)

Our first park was the Galveston Pleasure Pier! Despite the pier being relatively new, as it opened in May of 2012, it definitely has a classic feel to it.

The ticketing system was a little weird, but it made sense. You have to purchase admission onto the pier ($10) and then ride tickets in addition to that. There was quite some staff on hand to help orchestrate the process.

We hit the pier on a very foggy afternoon, which was a pretty awesome experience.

The pier has quite a few different rides on it, including some favorites like a log flume, Larson Loop, StarFlyers, swinging ship, bumper cars, ferris wheel, etc.

The star of the pier, however, is the Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter by the name of Iron Shark!

The 100 ft. tall coasters has lapbar restraints and features a 95 degree vertical drop and three inversions. In addition the coaster’s narrow layout made for some really fun transitions.

Iron Shark’s unique trains run very well on the coaster, making the experience quite comfortable. I think my favorite part is the rapidness at which it maneuvers the rather small layout.

We find airtime in the strangest places sometimes:

The coaster’s finale is a quick sort-of-vertical loop into the brake run, which is suspended high above the water. We really enjoyed Iron Shark.

Kemah Boardwalk – Boardwalk Bullet (Kemah, Texas)

Next up was Kemah Boardwalk, an amusement establishment also located on the water, and owned and managed by the same group just 20-25 minutes away from Galveston Pleasure Pier. The big draw here? A massive high-energy Martin & Vleminckx creation: Boardwalk Bullet.

Boardwalk Bullet is 96 ft. tall and has a stellar 92 ft. drop that is the start of one of the best paced wooden coasters out there. The ride’s relentlessly twisty layout is filled with moments of exceptional airtime.

It’s hard to photograph the majority of the ride, but the 3,236 ft. long ride makes all the magic happen in the space of just 3 helices. Amazingly compact, and truly unique. There are no bad coasters in this region of Texas.

ZDT’s Amusement Park Switchback (Seguin, Texas)

Closer to the San Antonio we find yet another excellent coaster, the world’s only full-circuit shuttle wooden coaster: Switchback!

Seguin, TX’s ZDT’s Amusement Park is also home to some flatrides, indoor attractions, go-karts and water slides. Naturally the real star is the Gravity Group wooden coaster that starts of as a regular coaster, and then hits a backwards spike and does the majority of the track backwards!

The park is also home to an awesome special event space, where you can grab a bar stool and look at the coaster!

Don’t forget that ZDT’s is also home to plenty of other small attractions:

How the wooden coaster works is fascinating. The first drop runs through the final brake run (open brakes), the coaster runs its course forwards then backwards and gets slowed down back on the bottom of the first drop. The ride’s switch track will then move over so the train can transition back into the station. Before the next train rolls of the lift that switch is reset. Switchback is a perfect solution to a space efficient family thrill. And with this awesome spike, we finish this quick report:


Thank you for checking out this Small Parks of Texas trip report! We’ve been launching away with new articles, as chances are you may be stuck at home. So check these out:

4 Replies to “Small Parks of Texas: Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Pleasure Pier, and ZDT’s Amusement Park”

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