The wild mouse is a type of roller coaster consisting of sharp, unbanked turns that are navigated by single-car vehicles. Generally, wild mouse roller coasters are small in size and have no inversions as riders are thrilled by quick changes in direction. These characteristics have led to the Wild Mouse being very common with travelling fairs. Many amusement parks also operate permanent installations.
Although they are not wild mouse roller coasters, wooden spinning Virginia Reel roller coasters had layouts similar to that of a Wild Mouse roller coaster. These were built during the 1910s and 20s and the last installation, located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, closed after the 1982 season.
The first known Wild Mouse roller coasters existed in the late 1930s and were made out of wood. Both B. A. Schiff & Associates and Miler Manufacturing mass produced wild mouse roller coasters in the United States with flat steel track. Wooden wild mouse roller coasters were also built in Germany and some were exported. In 1957, German manufacturer Mack Rides built their first wooden Wild Mouse roller coaster. Starting from the 1950s, the Allan Herschell Company built Wild Mouse roller coasters. As well as standard-sized roller coasters, Allan Herschell built larger "Monster Mouse" models (also available was a "conversion pack" which converted a standard model into a Monster Mouse) and smaller "Mite Mouse" models.
By the late 1960s, the number of new Wild Mouse installations in the United States had fallen dramatically with the concept almost extinct by the 1970s. Since the first tubular steel roller coaster, Matterhorn Bobsleds, opened in 1959, new, larger roller coasters began to be built by Arrow Dynamics as well as Pinfari and Schwarzkopf. By 1975, the first modern inverting roller coasters opened, again taking the focus away from Wild Mouse roller coasters. However, in 1971 the first Japanese built Wild Mouse roller coaster opened, and a handful more Japanese wild mice were built in the following years.
The number of new Wild Mouse installations began to rise in the late 1980s. Several years later, German companies Maurer AG and Mack Rides introduced portable Wild Mouse models, the first of which opened in 1996. Both were a success and many other companies subsequently introduced Wild Mouse roller coasters. Reverchon introduced the first spinning Wild Mouse roller coaster shortly after which has seen great success in travelling fairs.
Wild Mouse roller coasters are now very popular with new installations continuing to open around the world.
All wild mouse roller coasters feature tight, unbanked turns. Travelling round these turns gives the impression that the car will fall off the track and also provides strong lateral g-forces. Many wild mouse roller coasters feature a series of tight 180-degree turns and straight sections running parallel to each other. These are called "switchbacks" and usually occur immediately after the lift hill.
Following two closures in the last five years only three wooden Wild Mouse roller coasters remain: Wild Mouse at Luna Park in Australia, Crazy Car Coaster at Wisata Bahari Lamongan in Indonesia and Animal Coaster at Jawa Timur Park 2, also located in Indonesia. The last wooden Wild Mouse in the northern hemisphere, Wild Mouse at Blackpool Pleasure Baech, was demolished in 2017.
- History - Mack Rides (Wayback Archive)
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