Virginia Reel

Virginia Reel
Park The Virginia Reel was an older type of coaster characterized by spinning circular "tubs" that zig-zagged down a flat-bottomed track.
First Virgina Reel (1908)
Oldest in operation None
Latest Virginia Reel (1947)
Designers/Builders William Strickler, Henry Elmer Riehl, George W. Long
Type Wooden Spinning Side Friction

The Virgina Reel was a wooden spinning side friction roller coaster type. A total of 10 were built, none of which exist today. Although one ride, of a very similar design to the Virginia Reel survives, at Joyland in Great Yarmouth. Named "The Tyrolean Tubs" this is as near as you will ever get to one.


Virginia Reels used a side friction-like track resembling a trench. Instead of big hills or banks, Virginia Reels featured many unbanked turns and switchbacks to spin their tubs as much as possible. Near the end of the ride were a few helices and a relatively steep drop into a tunnel.

The tubs had inward-facing seats built around the perimeter, spun freely on their chassis as they traveled around the track.


The Virginia Reel was designed by Henry Elmer Riehl, who named the ride after his daughter, Luna Virginia Riehl. The first Virginia Reel was built in 1908 at Luna Park, Coney Island, where Henry Riehl was superintendent.

A similar ride around the same time, the Tickler, consisted of curved rails and posts forming a zig-zag route down an incline surface. Wheeled circular tubs freely rolled and spun down the incline, guided by the rails and bounced about by the posts.

The last Virginia Reel was the Virginia Reel at Pleasure Beach Blackpool.

The modern equivalent of the Virginia Reel is the Spinning Wild Mouse.

In the early 1990s, Arrow Dynamics offered a modernized "Virginia Reel" roller coaster, however it was built with steel rather than wood.[1] A prototype was constructed at Arrow's facility in Utah, but none were built.


  1. "New Steps to a Great Old Dance!". Arrow Dynamics.
Roller coaster types