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The latest attractions across the nation are more death-defying than ever
Goliath may have cost millions to build, but it doesn’t look very sturdy. From my hotel in Gurnee, Ill., an hour north of Chicago, I can see it: 15 stories tall and constructed of wooden beams that, from a distance, appear as spindly as toothpicks. When it opened in June at Six Flags Great America, Goliath broke three world records for wooden roller coasters: the tallest drop (180 ft.), the steepest drop (85 degrees) and the fastest speed (72 m.p.h.). Steel roller coasters eclipse these figures, but many amusement-park purists swear by the rickety charms of old-fashioned wooden rides. The look is dangerous—like it could collapse in an instant. For adrenaline junkies, there’s no finer catnip.
When I get …