Up, down, all around! 2016 is a banner year for innovation in the coaster world. Whether you've got a toddler or a tween, the thrills (and smiles) will be coming fast and furious. C'mon, throw your hands up for the summer's newest rides!

By Christina Vercelletto
Courtesy of Cedar Point/Facebook

Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City, CA

As if one needed an excuse to hit the West Coast's just-opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter: This cute coaster sets you in a car led by a Hippogriff. Ideal for kiddies, the ride has twists and turns but no steep drops. The first outdoor coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood, it's like the foam on your Butterbeer! (Height requirement: 39 inches)

Lightning Rod at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN

Good old Dolly does it again, this time with a down-home wooden coaster with cars that look like actual cars—replicas of 1950s hot rods, complete with flames. Riders travel nearly three quarters of a mile and swish down a mountainside at 73 mph. (Height requirement: 48 inches)

The Monster Adventureland, Des Moines

Say hello to the only coaster in the Western hemisphere where riders experience a "negative-G stall loop." That means you come into a loop-dee-loop at a slower speed than on most coasters, which triggers a feeling of weightlessness. The 2,500-footlong track includes ten such "air time" moments. Monster, indeed. (Height requirement: 48 inches)

Valravn at Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH

This massive playland in the Midwest holds several global records, including "the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world." That would be the new Valravn, with a 223-foot pinnacle, a top speed of 75 mph, and cars with no floors. Leave your flip-flops at home! (Height requirement: 52 inches)

Family Fun


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