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Fantasy Island's Wild Cat going to Russia
News Business Reporter
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The old Wild Cat roller coaster is being dismantled and will be replaced by a new ride at Martin's Fantasy Island amusement park on Grand Island.


A roller coaster that has graced Grand Island for 35 years will soon be shipped abroad to delight Russian children and their parents.

Martin's Fantasy Island is replacing its Wild Cat, a 60-foot steel coaster, with a new ride that it will probably call the Crazy Mouse. The Crazy Mouse is similar to the Wild Cat except that the cars also spin as they travel along the track.

"The Wild Cat has been around a long time," said Martin DiPietro, amusement park owner. "We thought it was time to replace it with something new and a little different."

Fantasy Island started dismantling the Wild Cat on Tuesday and hopes to finish in 10 days. The manufacturer of the Crazy Mouse, Zamperla, will refurbish the Wild Cat and ship the coaster to Russia. Representatives from Zamperla were at a trade show Wednesday and could not be reached to comment.

The Wild Cat is at least the second roller coaster in the region to move to a new location.

The Comet, which operated for 43 years at Crystal Beach, Ont., is now at the Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom near Lake George.

The coaster sold for $210,000 at an auction when Crystal Beach closed in 1989. The 90-foot coaster sat in storage for 41/2 years at Martin's Fantasy Island. Great Escape reconstructed the wooden-frame, steel-rail coaster at a cost of $3.5 million. At the time, Fantasy Island and Great Escape were owned by the same company.