Park Review: The Surprises of Six Flags St. Louis

Park Review: The Surprises of Six Flags St. Louis

A Park That’s More Than Its Reputation

For as long as I’ve been into theme parks, I’ve heard nothing but disappointing reviews for Six Flags St. Louis.

I get it; the park’s coaster lineup has essentially come to a standstill for the past 20 or so years. With no major coaster additions in quite some time, the park usually gets overlooked among coaster enthusiasts. That makes sense when compared to other American regional parks; it’s hard to stay relevant that way when other parks like Cedar Point are constantly adding headlining coasters year after year.

Needless to say, Six Flags St. Louis doesn’t have the best reputation out there. Silly me—I believed everything I’d heard about this park.

I recently visited the park for my first time in July 2023 and had a wonderful time, to my surprise. Here’s why I think Six Flags St. Louis is unfairly underrated and why it’s worth a visit if you’re in the Missouri area.

The Park as a Whole

A Historic Site

Appreciating Six Flags St. Louis is easier if you know its history.

Six Flags for the past several decades has acquired existing parks and added Six Flags branding to what’s already been built. The St. Louis location, however, was the third and final original Six Flags park to be designed and built by the company. Opening as Six Flags Over Mid-America in 1971, this park still has the bones of a traditional Six Flags park.

Vintage Vibes

I was hoping to see hints of those classic amusement park vibes lingering in 2023; I was delighted to find some of the vintage Six Flags influences, architecture, design, and attractions are still alive and thriving throughout the park.

This isn’t to say the park is outdated. It has a nice balance of retaining its roots with modern touches that give it a thrilling pulse. Now, I won’t pretend Six Flags St. Louis has the same magical charm as a place like Disneyland Park, but it still has its quaint spots—such as its Main Street area: 1904 World's Fair.

I admit, most everything up until this point has been my personal biases—expecting a timeless atmosphere and all. However, the park has much more going for it than that.

A Pleasant Park

My trip to Six Flags St. Louis was made even better thanks to the team members running the park. For the most part, everyone was friendly and enthusiastic to help. Even the ride operators were on top of their game, moving the line along as quickly and safely as possible. Despite one-train operations on most of the coasters, I never waited more than probably 20 minutes all day for any of the rides; you can’t get much better than that!

About the park at large, it felt very much like a well-cared-for garden. The pathways were designed with the idea of encouraging guests to wander and explore the entire park; that was a pleasant experience with beautiful landscaping everywhere. Seriously—the park was full of lush flower beds and pots with healthy, thriving arrangements. The colorful variety was honestly impressive and a pleasing little boost to my day. It made a positive difference to me, and I can only hope Six Flags continues this in the future.

The attention to landscaping made this amusement park really feel like exactly that: a park. Even though I could’ve spent all day enjoying the visuals and ambiance of Six Flags St. Louis, the main appeal—of course—is its attractions.

The Ride Collection

I’ll admit—Six Flags St. Louis doesn’t have the strongest ride lineup, but it still has enough to make a day out of it. Starting off easy, the park has nice kids’ areas with a variety of attractions and some feel-good Looney Tunes theming.

Six Flags St. Louis also has a few good flat rides, ranging from the thrilling Catwoman Whip to the vast Missouri views as seen atop the 200-plus-foot-tall SkyScreamer.

As for the dark ride offerings, the park no longer has its original boat dark ride from the ‘70s and later decades. It does, however, have the impressively immersive Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. This interactive dark ride has many installments across the Six Flags chain, but it’s still one of the best you can find at a regional park. With some animatronics, a super storyline, and eye-catching effects, this action-packed journey is worth a shot.

Of course, Six Flags is known for its coasters; so, how are the coasters at the St. Louis park? Well, the options are hit-and-miss. Let’s talk about them, loosely listed in order of my personal preference.

The Major Coasters of Six Flags St. Louis

Rookie Racer

This is going to be the park’s long-overdue newest addition. It’s still under construction, but it should be a hit with families and kids.


If you’ve been on an old-school looper, you likely know what to expect from Ninja. This ride is just as violent as the name suggests. It’s an intense coaster that is pretty skillful at attacking your neck and crushing riders into their seats. Ninja stumbles—or slices, if you’re optimistic—through its four inversions. It’s an intense experience and great for fans of these types of coasters, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

River King Mine Train

You can never go wrong with an old Arrow family mine train. This janky little jaunt through the Missouri woods has its calm turns and dips, leading up to a dramatic final drop that sends the train barrelling through a darkened tunnel. These types of coasters are always an unpredictable time that never fail to make me smile, and River King Mine Train is no different.

Batman: The Ride

This is one of the more commonly cloned coasters out there, but that doesn’t make it any less thrilling. These attractions are usually decently themed to the grungy municipals of Gotham City, and that's the case with this installment. The dank Batcave setting is a nice start to a solid inverted coaster that’s as impressive as Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting gadgets.

The Boss

The Boss is a dream come true for any gluttons for punishment out there. This massive wooden coaster dives around the hilly terrain, soaring high above the park and rumbling low to the ground. With no shortage of potholes and intense moments, The Boss is a long coaster that is engulfed by the thick woods around it. Wooden coasters thrive when they’re out of control, and The Boss is just that—for better or for worse.


Taking a spin on Pandemonium is a must at Six Flags St. Louis, especially for families. It’s a relatively smaller coaster that may seem skippable, but this smooth ride has a twist that makes it more than worthwhile. This spinning coaster makes great use of this ride style, taking riders into downward spiraling helixes and backward dips that will leave a smile on anyone’s face.

Not to mention, this ride used to be called Tony Hawk's Big Spin. The trains still look like little skateboards, so appreciating this ride is even easier with that in mind!

American Thunder

I love a good wooden coaster, and this one packs a little punch with every banked turn and abrupt airtime moment. American Thunder is as fast as lightning through its compact layout, weaving in and out of itself at full force the whole way ‘round. For a wooden coaster, American Thunder is pretty smooth as it rumbles at a brisk 48 mph. Don’t let the low stats fool you—this coaster is just as thunderous as the others.

Just like how Pandemonium used to be themed to Tony Hawk, American Thunder also has an interesting retired theme: the one and only Evel Knievel.

Screamin’ Eagle

I’m a sucker for classic wooden coasters. Screamin’ Eagle has been at the park for nearly 50 years, thrilling riders on the out-and-back layout that’s hidden in the woods. Over the past several decades, Screamin’ Eagle has nestled closely over the terrain for a historic ride experience that still holds up. The track is like a string pulled high above the hills and rolling perfectly across the natural mounds of the earth. The train races through the airtime-filled layout, flying over every board at high speeds along the terrain until the final brakes. With thrills from yesteryear, Screamin’ Eagle is a must-do for all wooden coaster fans.

Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast

Six Flags isn’t usually known for its world-class theming; the chain in recent decades has delivered on intensity with bare visuals. Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast delivers on both: theming and thrills. This 218-foot-tall coaster has an enticing facade, moody queue, and a Mr. Freeze animatronic looming down on the train before the neck-break launch—not bad for a coaster that reaches 70 mph.

The ride itself is even more impressive; you’ll find yourself losing your breath, losing your sense of direction, and losing your voice all in a matter of seconds. Launching backward and turning upside down over 100 feet in the air is a sensation not to be missed.

This coaster is only one of a few in the world, making it the clear headlining attraction at Six Flags St. Louis. Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast is cool, chill, icy, and all the other punny sub-zero adjectives you can come up with.

A Worthwhile Park

Six Flags St. Louis exceeds its modest reputation, in my opinion. That just goes to show you—don’t take someone else’s word for it; get out there and try it out for yourself, no matter what you’ve heard about it. Throw all expectations out the window and just have fun!

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