Flying Swings

One of the oddest (and perhaps most dangerous) attractions to ever call Lagoon home was probably the Flying Swings. My assumption is that it didn’t last long. When the Julian Bamberger Fountain was installed in 1965, the ride was just west of it (about where Space Scrambler sits now). But it might have been on the east side of the Midway when it opened. The number of seasons it operated at the park is also unknown, but it was listed in a 1972 newspaper ad.

When people talked about this ride, the lore always included something like, ‘I heard one time the door fell open and the guy slipped out halfway. When the cage swung down, it sliced off his legs against the base.’ This could be true, since you had to plant your feet and grip the sides of the cage with your hands in order to make the Swingin’ Gym work. The ‘cage’ was basically a steel floor with stamped-in no-slip grip. The sides were something akin to super-high gauge chain link fence or something. Think in terms of ¾ size factory freight elevator and you pretty much have the box. Anyway, if you lost your grip during the ride, you got tossed to the floor and it truly was difficult to get up. Mix in an incorrectly latched door and you’re gonna have real problems.

To stop the Swingin’ Gym, the operator would pull a mechanical cable attached to a brake that essentially hit the underside of the cage. Same principle as dragging your feet to stop yourself on a swingset. Very basic stuff, all of it. Man, was it beautiful.”

Excerpts from those who experienced the attraction Edit

“…most people just scratch their heads when I attempt to describe this ride to them. Basically, there was a small row of cages. The cages hung by two (or was it four?) arms, and the arms had little counterweights at the top. The riders would move back and forth in the cage (no restraints), and the car would swing higher and higher (all the time staying level), until it went over the top. It was fantastically exciting, and I’d do it over and over with my mate. The problem was the cages would keep going once it went over the top, flinging exhausted riders about the cage, resulting in scraped knees and elbows if you didn’t hang on. There are still several operating in Europe.”


“They were not electrically powered, but the riders moved them by moving from one side of the cage to the other. The riders stood, and if they could get enough momentum, the cage would make a complete revolution. The cage stayed parallel to the ground. I was very young, but I remember my sister going on it and thinking, that looks like too much work.”