The Caterpillar

The Caterpillar is a circular ride with the cars following a track. The track is undulating meaning it has humps in it. There is a continious string of cars around the entire track. The ride was generally operated quite fast and produced a fair amount of lateral force.

Once the ride was up to speed, a canopy would rotate over the cars to enclose them. This was quite popular with young couples. While covered, there was usually a fan that blew air up into the cars at one point on each rotation.

The Caterpillar was once a very popular ride found at many amusement parks. Today, there are only a few left operating with reports of a few being in storage.

Bland's Amusement Park1 - Tipton, PA

Camden Park - Huntington, WV

Canobie Lake Park 2 - Salem, NH

Idlewild Park 2 - Ligonier, PA

Myrtle Beach Pavilion 2 - Myrtle Beach, SC

Valleyfair! - Shakopee, MN

1 This ride is inside a building
2 These rides have the operating canopy

Thanks to Dave Fischler for information on Hyla Maynes and the prototype photograph.

 

The Caterpillar ride was designed by Hyla F. Maynes of New York.

The rides were manufactured by several companies including:

  • Traver Engineering
  • Allen Herschell
  • Spillman Engineering

The companies or in some cases the byer, buyer paid a royalty to the inventor, Mr. Maynes

The following is a partial list of parks that  had Caterpillar rides

Carsonia Park - Reading, PA
Chippewa Lake Park (SBNO) - Cleveland, OH
Conneaut Lake Park (1927-1970) - Conneaut Lake, PA

Crystal Beach Amusement Park - Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada
Fontaine Ferry Park
-  Louisville, KY
Geauga Lake - Aurora, OH
Glen Echo - Glen Echo, MD
Great Escape Fun Park (Story Town) - Lake George, NY
Idora Park (until 1984) -  Youngstown, OH
Kennywood Park (in storage) - West Mifflin, PA
Kings Island - Kings Mills, OH
Knoebel's - Elysburg, PA
Lakemont Park - Altoona, PA
Meyers Lake Park - Canton, OH

Norumbega Park - Newton, MA
Oaks Park (until 1980s) - Portland, OR
Olympic Park - Maplewood, NJ
Palisades Park - Fort Lee, NJ

Paragon Park - Hull, MA
Playland - Philadelphia, PA
Playland Park - Rye, NY
Riverview Park - Chicago, IL
Rocky Glen Park - Moosic, PA
Sans Souci Park - Wilkes Barre, PA
Steeplechase Park - Coney Island, NY

West View Park
(1924) - West View, PA
Wildwood by the Sea - Wildwood, NJ

(SBNO) = Standing But Not Operating

[Caterpillar cover open] lftarrow2a12.gif (879 bytes) Canopy Open  The caterpillar ride has cars riding on an undulating track. There is a continuous string of cars around the entire track.
[Caterpillar cover closing] lftarrow2a12.gif (879 bytes) Partially Closed  After the ride is started, a canopy rotates over top of the riders. Only a few rides still use the canopy.
[Caterpillar cover fully closed] lftarrow2a12.gif (879 bytes) Fully Closed The result looks like a caterpillar, hence the name. This was once a very popular ride and a major attraction at many  parks.
[Caterpillar cars] lftarrow2a12.gif (879 bytes) Close-up of cars and canopy system

The ride featured here is still operating (with the canopy) at Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA.

[Caterpillar prototype by Hyla Maynes]

uparrow2a12.gif (882 bytes) The Prototype - The photo above is an early prototype of Mr. Maynes Caterpillar ride. All the riders are relatives of the inventor.

2000 Joel W Styer. All rights reserved. Updated Tuesday, January 13, 2004
RideZone is not affiliated in any way with the above Amusement Parks or manufacturers