Six Flags Over Georgia announces big change to popular ride

AJC's Tom Kelley takes a tour of Six Flags Over Georgia's new water park Hurricane Harbor with the help of fun expert Reagan Horne. (Video by Ryon Horne/RHORNE@AJC.COM)

Six Flags Over Georgia is turning things around on the popular Great American Scream Machine -- the roller coaster will run backwards when the park opens on March 10.

Six Flags Over Georgia has said the change is for a limited time. Six Flags has grown tremendously since the Scream Machine opened in 1973, adding newer, taller and faster attractions that flip riders upside down and plunge them down vertical drops. But the historic wooden coaster is such a staple. This marks the second time Six Flags Over Georgia has turned the seats around – the last time goes back to the early 1990s.

One of Six Flags Over Georgia’s most recognizable rides, the wooden Great American Scream Machine, is seen in this vintage photo. CONTRIBUTED BY SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA

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Part of the roller-coaster renaissance of the 1970s, the Great American Scream Machine put Six Flags on the thrill-ride map. The Scream Machine made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1974 as the longest (3,800 feet) and highest (105 feet) coaster. It still holds its own against more modern machines.

Last year, Six Flags Over Georgia said goodbye to one of its iconic wooden roller coaster, the Georgia Cyclone. Since then, Six Flags has announced that Georgia Cyclone is being converted into Twisted Cyclone, with new smoother-riding steel track and a wilder ride that will take people upside-down three times.

An early-morning ride on the Great American Scream Machine.


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Reporter Tom Kelley contributed to this article.