Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
It’s not too late to support our Spring Fundraiser! Make your pledge of support today!

Silver Dollar City will officially open the new Fire in the Hole on Saturday

Fire in the Hole sign at Silver Dollar City (photo taken March 27, 2024)
Michele Skalicky
Fire in the Hole sign at Silver Dollar City (photo taken March 27, 2024)

The iconic SDC attraction was rebuilt at a new location in the park.

A new, old ride will officially open to Silver Dollar City guests this weekend.

Fire in the Hole closed last season at its old location, and the theme park in Branson spent $30 million to rebuild it in what used to be called Fireman’s Landing and is now the Fire District. It's the largest investment for a single attraction in Silver Dollar City's history.

Fire in the Hole was built in the 1970s, a time when Duane Marden who runs the Rollercoaster Database, said parks could construct their own rides. Fifty-one years later, it was getting more difficult for Silver Dollar City to find replacement parts and make repairs.

He said now there’s no problem with maintenance, and the ride meets all current rules and regulations for safety. But he said, "what I find just after riding it, that I was really surprised with, is you can ride this today and not miss the old one so much because, how many times do you have something, 'oh, this replaces the old one,' etc., and you're kind of like, 'no, I like — the other one felt better. The other one,' whatever the answer was, you don't feel that on this one."

Sound of ride

The giant mural that graced the wall at the location of the old ride, is now framed and behind glass at the new one. The ride tells the story of the vigilante group, the Baldknobbers, which burned down the mining town of Marmaros. It stood where Silver Dollar City is today and was the inspiration for the park’s theme. Grandpa is still hanging out a window in his red long johns with his wife telling him to get his pants on. But everything is updated.

Brad Thomas, president of the Silver Dollar City Company, said it was important to park administration that they keep the ride much the same as it was.

"Our research clearly showed that it was our number one — we call it a sacred cow — that part of the Silver Dollar City experience that people would say, 'please don't ever do away with it,' " he said. "And so, as we started looking past the older version, we knew we needed to keep a lot of those features."

Thomas said they wanted to keep the ride family-friendly, so they didn’t choose to make the roller coaster aspect faster or steeper.

Paul Drabek with American Coaster Enthusiasts, said he’s glad the theme park decided to rebuild Fire in the Hole, and he thinks regular visitors at the park are, too.

"You have the old one, but this one is — you know, it's brighter, you can see the scenes better, there's more, you know, special effects," he said. "You used to tell the story — they don't detract from the story, they enhance the story."

The newly-built Fire in the Hole officially opens to the public on Saturday, March 30, after a soft launch in the last few weeks.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.