On February 5, I went on a field trip with my AP Physics class to the Punahou Carnival to study two physical properties through examining a particular carnival ride.
After my team and I had finished our calculations, we had some extra time to explore the carnival and go on some rides. Besides the It’s A Small World ride in Disneyland, I have never been on an actual carnival ride so I was very eager to ride one in the time I had to spare. After waiting for my teammates to finish their lunches and attempting to convince them to return to the carnival grounds, my classmate Cassidy Wada recommended that I try the Zipper. From where we were, the Zipper just looked like a fancy Ferris wheel in the distance. It wasn’t even moving so I foolishly accepted her challenge before seeing the Zipper up close. The ride had twelve caged capsules that rotated freely at four revolutions per minute while the capsules were moved by some sort of conveyer belt.
By the time I got up close to the Zipper, the rest of the group besides Cassidy had opted out of accompanying me on the ride. The thirty minutes of waiting in line (which I have been told is short) did not help either as I continued to see the rotations and hear the screams of middle school children. After a “pep” talk from Cassidy and HBA chaperone Robert Lockridge, I reached the front of the line and it was my turn to enter the fray.
Upon entering the capsule, I felt like I was trapped in a prison (well it’s was a cage.) My palms were sweaty. My arms felt like spaghetti. The ride started to spin slowly at a pace that I could handle and then the axis shifted sending us face forward towards the ground. It rotated clockwise about four times as far as I could tell but my eyes were closed for half the time. Then it began to rotate counterclockwise. The counterclockwise rotation wasn’t so bad because I couldn’t see when we were about to hit the ground. Again and again, my body would rise to the bar as I was turned upside down, and then it would hit the seat as I got turned right-side up again.
When we were finally able to exit the capsule, my hands and legs couldn’t stop shaking. In fact, my body wouldn’t stop shaking till we left the carnival thirty minutes later. At that moment, I felt that I had experienced enough carnival rides for the day and abandoned Mr. Lockridge and Cassidy to get a strawberry smoothie. I had felt a combination of fear and joy. I was happy that I finally went on a fun and crazy ride but since my body reacted poorly, I wondered what would happen if I went on a roller coaster. Would my body shake for the entire day? Would I damage my vocal chords again from screaming non-stop? I’ll never be certain until I try it for myself.
In conclusion, the Zipper is an amazing and exhilarating ride that I will definitely try to go on next year. Although four rotations per minute may sound slow, it feels much faster inside the capsules. I recommend not eating lunch immediately before this ride as a full stomach will probably empty itself all over the cage. I also saw middle schoolers wearing their backpacks on the ride probably so they wouldn’t flop around like a chew toy in a dog’s mouth. If you are on the slimmer side, I would recommend you do the same.