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Great America readies Kiddieland icon Little Dipper
By Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

Ride mechanic Mike Curry works on one of the Little Dipper roller coaster cars at Six Flags Great America. The vintage wooden coaster, a Chicago tradition for more than 50 years, was acquired from Kiddieland Amusement Park.

 

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Jeremy Condron, left, of Creative Kingdoms, works with other electricians on the new MagiQuest attraction at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. MagiQuest is a live-action interactive game powered by a "magic wand."

 

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/10/2010 12:00 AM

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Construction workers have begun reassembling the pieces of the historic Little Dipper in its new home at Six Flags Great America.

It joins MagiQuest, an interactive play area, as two new attractions being unveiled this season at the Gurnee theme park.

Park officials purchased the Little Dipper roller coaster during a November auction from the closed Kiddieland Amusement Park in Melrose Park.

"We are extremely excited to bring the Little Dipper to Six Flags Great America," said Jenifer Savage, the park's director of communications. "Not only for the historic value it has for people in this area, but also because people are excited to see it live on."

Once the Little Dipper was purchased, Six Flags crews dismantled it at Kiddieland, then moved it to Gurnee.

Savage said the Little Dipper's new home in the Yukon Territory/Looney Tunes National Park has been cleared and drilling for the supports is beginning this week. The goal, she said, is to have the ride up and running in June.

The Little Dipper, designed by Herbert Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1950, is a family-friendly coaster that features a three-story tall lift hill and has a figure-eight track running 700 feet in length.

It has been honored with the ACE Coaster Classic award by the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

MagiQuest, a new interactive play area where people use magic wands to interact in a storybook tale, is also under construction in the County Fair portion of the park. Savage said the goal is to have the attraction completed when the park opens April 24.

"But, as always, due to unpredictable weather, we can never totally confirm the date attractions will be completed," she said.