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Carowinds Gives Roller-Coaster Fans New Thrills

World's largest giga coaster, Slingshot ride new to a 17-ride lineup; park's overall look also updated throughout.

Thrills are reaching new heights at Carowinds amusement park south of Charlotte this summer—in the form of a giant hornet. With other Carowinds updates and a Cabela's outfitters store recently opening nearby, Fort Mill, S.C., promises to be one busy suburb of the Queen City this summer.

Carowinds’ $50-million investment includes the addition of Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, to its large ride lineup. Simulated as the flight of a daring hornet, Fury features an ascent of 325 feet and an 81-degree drop before riders are twisted about a series of hills and curves. The ride immediately drew raves from riders once the park opened for the summer March 28.

“We are making history here at Carowinds, and creating another reason people can be proud to live in the Carolinas," said Mike Fehnel, Carowinds vice president and general manager. "The opening of Fury 325 gives Carowinds two of the 10 tallest rollercoasters in North America.” Fehnel also was referencing The Intimidator, a ride that's inspired by racing legend Dale Earnhardt.

Also new at Carowinds this year:

—A parking toll entrance with 900 additional parking spaces, designed to improve traffic flow and complement a new, 8.2‐acre, main-entrance plaza;

— A SlingShot ride later this summer that will catapult thrill‐seekers nearly 100 yards into the air, providing them brief weightlessness and then rotating them head over heels;

—The Carowinds’ new executive chef and culinary team revamping dining options throughout the park, focusing on all‐time Carolina favorites and adding more than 45 menu items;

—Taste of the Carolinas, an event that runs Saturdays and Sundays, April 18 through May 17. Guests can eat, drink and experience the best of what the Carolinas offer during the signature food festival.

A Cabela's outpost has opened across from Carowinds in Fort Mill. (Courtesy Cabela's)

Opening recently, meanwhile, just across from Carowinds near the I-77/Fort Mills exit, was a 104,000-square-foot Cabela's. The new outfitters store comes with some of Cabela's signature design features, such as rustic log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, an aquarium, an indoor archery test area and dozens of museum-quality wildlife displays.

There's also a full-service boat shop—convenient for those going to nearby Lake Wylie—and an in-store deli.

Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd., Fort Mill, 704.588.2600; all single-day tickets $41.99 each (kids regular price) if ordered by June 19

Cabela's, 1000 Cabela Drive, Fort Mill, 980.337.2600

Fury 325 at night
The hornet-inspired Fury 325 at night (©Carowinds)