Howdy Micechatters, time for another Designed to Thrill! This week I’ll be covering recent construction on Gold Striker at California’s Great America. Enjoy . . .

As many Bay Area amusement park goers know, Gold Striker is scheduled to open sometime in May at California’s Great America. This new GCI coaster has faced an uphill battle since the beginning; complaints from local businesses about noise pollution, disagreements between the City of Santa Clara and Cedar Fair, the future 49er’s Stadium and financial woes have all played a factor in delaying the build of Gold Striker.

The ride will completely change the landscape of Great America and should bring big crowds this summer. Great America has been raising hype for Gold Striker by posting updates to their Facebook page which include photos and video of the ride’s first test cycles.

Great America is still keeping the public in the dark regarding a specific opening date but the excitement is building in the Silicon Valley. Great America and the San Francisco 49er’s have joined together to auction off the first rides on Gold Striker with proceeds going to the 49er’s Foundation and Operation Care and Comfort. Bids can be placed HERE.

Let’s check out the progress of Gold Striker through the following photos by Morgan Richardson.

The Mt. Rushmore area and one of the last reminisces of the Great America Scenic Railway have been removed to make room for this portion of the ride.
Gold Striker will completely change the look of Great America’s iconic entrance
The former pond and Wizzer foundations have been replaced to support the coaster
Construction moves quickly
The station
Trucks in front of the new Gold Striker Gifts store
Landscaping has begun at the entrance of the ride

Here we see the new entrance (and sign) for Star Tower
New sign for Gold Striker Gifts
Workers keep busy constructing the new entrance to Gold Striker
The old IMAX Pictorium can still be seen behind the main lift
The new Gold Striker Gifts (formerly Carrousel Souvenirs) is still receiving its new paint job. This will be the first new photo op ride to be installed at Great America since Psycho Mouse.
New landscaping
The new Star Tower sign has got to be one of my favorite additions to the park this year
The sign for the queue entrance is almost done
Great America has released a wonderful picture of the fantastic construction crew that has been working non-stop on Gold Striker
The handsome new Gold Striker trains
Another view from the back


And that’s the Great America Gold Striker wooden roller coaster. Any of you planning to bid on one of those first rides?

I’ll be back soon with more from the Northern California parks. Let me know if you have questions or requests.



  • Stomper622

    Thanks for representing us here in NorCal!!

    Will you be reporting on the new Cirque Dreams Splashtastic show that is set to open at Discovery Kingdom soon?

    • Spacepainter

      I will definitely be making my way up to DK soon and you can bet I’ll be covering Splashtastic!

  • eicarr

    Keep up the needed NorCal updates!

    Glad Matt Ouimet is overseeing Knott’s and Great America and hope he also brings back to life family oriented attractions like he’s doing south at Knott’s. Crazy that I enjoy Cedar Fair’s other local park Gilroy Gardens more these days(not a roller coaster or waterslide fan).

  • Leofoenget

    Thanks for the update. Did they totally remove the beautiful merry go round or just move it? It looks like the Grizzly IMO. Hopefully they moved the merry go round to the huge open field in the middle of the park by the Demon

    • DuckyDelite

      I was wondering the same thing. Is the double-decker carousel gone from the entrance? That would be very sad. However, looking at the picture again, I’m wondering if this is being shot from across the entrance pond instead of from the entrance. It looks like the coaster will be on the right side of the entrance. Does this mean the IMAX theater is gone?

      • Spacepainter

        Carousel Columbia is still there, the photos were taken from the left side of the pond. IMAX is also still there, the coaster was built around IMAX and Star tower. 🙂

  • Gregg Condon

    Thanks for the update. Hoping to get over to CGA when I’m up there for the SF Marathon in June.

    Leofoenget, the Carousel hasn’t been changed at all. It’s not close to the new coaster. It’s the Sky Tower that’s close and it hasn’t moved. It will reopen with the ride. It could already be open.

  • I love this column. So refreshing to see something new. Thank you for keeping us up to date on Nor Cal parks and attractions.

  • Haven

    Love the modern take on very old school traditional wooden coaster car design! Congratulations Great America on the addition of a great new epic attraction. May it bring you many years of reliable service and happy faces.

  • richboi117

    Saw a commercial last night and had to rub my eyes and scratch my ears! A new roller coaster at Great America?!?! So excited and happy. The park has been sleepy after GA removed Stealth. Haven’t been down there in a few years, but I hear they got rid of Invertigo as well. EEK. but Gold Stricker looks like an excellent addition!

    Who knows! Maybe after the new ball park is open, the area will become more of a resort than an amusement park!

    • Leofoenget

      After the stadium opens, the park is going to be a nightmare!! There is no way they are going to be able to share parking, plus the traffic is going to be unbearable. You can see the stupid thing from all over Santa Clara and it’s ugly. I didn’t vote for it but here it is. If it causes too much trouble, I won’t renew my GA season passes. Who needs the hassle.

  • javalos1991

    Seats look comfy!

  • wallaceproject

    It’s good to see Great America open with a new additional coaster, and a mighty fine one at that. For years that park has struggled with bringing new thrilling rides, but it looks like they have found a winner. I used to work there years ago and wished for a new coaster. Wish they would demolish Grizzly and put another cool, steel coaster there. I can’t wait to visit the park and ride Gold Rusher.