Checking Out Big Rivers Fairgrounds

Since fall 2021, I'd been patiently waiting for Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures to open their coaster and flat rides. Although this "park" had a tiny footprint and amusement ride collection, I had an awesome experience.


I spent an afternoon here by myself from 1:30PM-5PM. There were very few people in the park, so every ride was a walk-on the entire time. It was a nice experience after dealing with some heavy spring break crowds at Six Flags Over Texas a month ago. Big Rivers was mostly a waterpark, but branched out over the last few years. Now it includes mazes, animal encounters, obstacle courses, and some dry rides in an area called the Fairgrounds. This name is perfect, as except for the paved walkways, it felt very similar to fairs I visited in my childhood. On the day of my visit, there were only 7 rides completed and operating. Only one or two could pass for thrilling in my opinion. More rides were under construction, but they looked to be for young children.


Rolling Thunder is currently the park's only coaster, and appeared to be the most popular ride there. It offers very different experiences in SBF Visa's traditional spinning cars and the hamster wheel. I rode 16 times in the "180" seats and 5 times in the "360" seats. As a sidenote, all seats rotate 360 degrees, just different directions (horizontal vs vertical), so the mathematician in me fought the urge to correct the ride operators about the misleading car names. Each cycle on this coaster had four laps, so I circled the figure eight track a whopping 84 times during my visit. Rolling Thunder is now my most frequently ridden coaster both in a day and all-time. Now for the actual ride experience: Starting with the hamster wheel, this was a neat gimmick to help bolster a ride collection that's really tame. The OTSR is heavily padded, and for good reason. Each time the coaster turns, riders' heads get pushed into the padding. Each lap features one complete loop and one stall. I preferred the rear-facing seat in the hamster wheel. On one of the laps in the forward-facing seat, the stall lasted from the bottom of the downwards helix to the top of the hill. I don't think this is supposed to happen, and on the next cycle I was flipped upright after starting to feel woozy and did not go upside down again. While having the hamster wheel provides a better experience than the regular seats, I appreciate having the option to pick. The front car (farthest from the hamster wheel) is my favorite as it gives some forces on both helices. The other cars slow down significantly before climbing uphill. The seats were comfy enough, but I kept my head forward to avoid some mild bumpiness. I have Rolling Thunder ranked based on my favorite seat, but even with the flips it doesn't come near my top 100.

Other Rides

I rode 4 of the 6 flat rides, skipping the two intended for kids. My favorite was Spindletop, an inverting frisbee, which I rode 3 times. I got a tiny bit of airtime on the pirate boat, Lafitte's Fury. I rode at each end for maximum thrill, but this ship was smaller than some others I've ridden. Neither the flying scooters ride nor the Wisdom Tornado were thrilling.

Food & Merchandise

I did not purchase anything while at Big Rivers. Several people were enjoying pizza, popcorn, and drinks.


One day admission to Big Rivers cost $18 online with tax and fees. This price included other activities at the park, but some aerial attractions (like the zipline) were an extra charge. Parking was free. Paying less than $20 for an afternoon of fun was a really good deal, although it would probably take some additional thrill rides for me to justify another visit.


These photos were taken by me. Please credit this website if used.