A type of roller coaster
, commonly thought by those on the ground to be a kiddie
ride. With a deceptively innocuous appearance, the wild mouse provides more thrill
s than most bystanders would expect.
Wild mouse coasters commonly have a very small footprint on an amusement park's landscape, making them popular among smaller parks. They are also more easily dismantled than larger coasters, and so they are also popular at county fairs and similar itinerant festivals. They are neither very tall nor very expansive, and deliver all of their terror on a very narrow track. They may be wooden or made of steel (the latter is more common today), and the wild mouse's chief features are hairpin turns and short, sudden, often steep drops. The ride's size requires passengers to travel one car at a time, rather than in trains - four-person cars are the most common, with two riders in the front row and two behind. The hairpin turns are made more exciting by the wheels on each car, which are positioned closer to the rear than on a traditional coaster. Because the front of the car travels past the turn before the wheels go around the corner, the riders get the sensation that the car will fall off the track - a sensation heightened by the fact that the turns frequently lack guard rails.
The wild mouse ride gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, but its origin is up for debate. In Europe, coaster manufacturing company Pinfari built a wild mouse (probably steel; no one is sure) in 1954, and another (of unknown origin, though probably German) appeared at a 1955 Oktoberfest. Although the Mack GmbH company claimed its wooden wild mouse was the original when it was installed in Canada in 1957, the first of North America's wild mouse coasters was imported at least a full year earlier. Today there are more than seventy wild mouse rides operating throughout the world, most with steel tracks. Both wooden and steel versions of the wild mouse can be created in Roller Coaster Tycoon.