A Tilt-A-Whirl

Tilt-A-Whirl is a flat ride similar to the Waltzer in Europe, designed for commercial use at amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals, in which it is commonly found.[1] The rides are manufactured by Larson International of Plainview, Texas.


The ride consists of seven freely-spinning cars that hold three or four riders each, which are attached at fixed pivot points on a rotating platform. As the platform rotates, parts of the platform are raised and lowered, with the resulting centrifugal and gravitational forces on the revolving cars causing them to spin in different directions and at variable speeds. The weight of passengers in these cars (as well as the weight distribution) may intensify or dampen the spinning motion of the cars, adding to the unpredictable nature known as chaotic motion.

Physicists Bret M. Huggard and Richard L. Kautz came up with a mathematical equation that approximates the motion of the Tilt-A-Whirl.[2]

This ride is similar to the Waltzer ride commonly found at British and Irish fairs.


Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926 at his Faribault, Minnesota, home.[3] In 1927, the first 14 Tilt-A-Whirls were built in Sellner's basement and yard. Sellner Manufacturing opened its factory in Faribault and the ride debuted at the Minnesota State Fair.[4] More than a thousand rides were eventually built. Some of the rides produced in the 1940s and 1950s are still in operation.

The earliest Tilt-A-Whirls were constructed of wood, powered by gas motors, and featured nine cars. Modern rides are constructed of steel, aluminum and fiberglass, and are powered by seven small electric motors, and has seven cars.[5][6]

In 1995, Tovah Sellner took over Sellner Manufacturing after the loss of her husband Bruce Sellner; her daughter Erin Sellner joined her in 1998 and the two of them ran the business together.[7]

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls

Modern Tilt-A-Whirls cost in excess of US$300,000 to purchase. A Tilt-A-Whirl package comes with a choice to employ either the famous domed tipkarts (which were introduced back during the 1930s), or Waltzer-style open squat podkarts having headrest bars (that option was introduced by Sellner Manufacturing in 2003).

The oldest operating Tilt-A-Whirl is a 1927 model, traveling with Tom Evans United Shows in the US Midwest. Between six- and seven hundred Tilt-A-Whirls are in operation.

Conneaut Lake Park in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, still has its original Tilt-A-Whirl from 1949.


Name Park Opened Closed Details
Tilt-a-Whirl Adventure Park USA Unknown Open Open-topped cars. Cars have desert scenes painted on them. Ride also referred to as Rattlesnake.[8]
Tilt-A-Whirl Adventureland (Iowa)
Open [9]
Tilt-A-Whirl Adventurer's Park (Brooklyn, New York) Unknown Open [10]
Tilt-A-Whirl Alabama Splash Adventure
Open [11]
Tilt-A-Whirl All Star Adventures (Wichita, Kansas) Unknown Open [12]
Tilt-a-Whirl Amusements of America (Showman) Unknown Open [13]
Tilt-a-Whirl Arnolds Park Unknown Open [14]
Tilt-a-Whirl Bay Beach Amusement Park
Seasonal [15]
Tilt-a-Whirl Beech Bend Park Unknown Open [16]
Unknown Bell's Amusement Park
Tilt-a-Whirl Belle City Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open [17]
Tilt-a-Whirl Belmont Park Unknown Open Includes ice cream-shaped ride vehicles.[18]
Tilt-A-Whirl Bertrand Island Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-A-Whirl Big Rock Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin' Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Blue Sky Amusements (Showman) Unknown Unknown
Tilt-a-Whirl Boblo Island Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-a-Whirl Bowcraft Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Tilt-O-World Buckroe Beach Amusement Park Unknown Closed
Unknown Bushkill Park Unknown Closed Purchased by and refurbished by Eldridge Park.
Tilt A Whirl Butler Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open
Tilt-a-Whirl Camden Park Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Camp's Amusements (Showman) Unknown Open [19]
Twist & Shout Canobie Lake Park Unknown Open Relocated from Palisades Amusement Park.[20]
Tilt-a-Whirl Carousel Gardens Amusement Park Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[21]
Tilt-a-Whirl Casino Pier Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[22]
Tilt-a-Whirl Castle Park Unknown Open [23]
Linus' Beetle Bugs Cedar Point
Open Previously known as Tilt-a-Whirl. Named after Peanuts character Linus.[24]
Tennessee Twister Dollywood
2004 [25]
Tilt-a-Whirl Elitch Gardens
(Denver, Colorado)
Unknown Unknown Seen in video footage dated 1980.[26]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Kissimmee) Unknown Open [27]
Tilt-a-Whirl Fun Spot America Theme Parks (Orlando) Unknown Open Open-topped cars.[28]
Tilt-a-Whirl Funtimes Fun Park
Open Originally at Geauga Lake.[29]
Turkey Whirl Holiday World & Splashin' Safari Unknown Open Includes turkey-shaped ride vehicles.[30]
Turtle Twirl Story Land Unknown Open Includes turtle-shaped ride vehicles.[31]
Tilt-a-Whirl Lagoon Amusement Park
Tilt-a-Whirl Land Of Make Believe Unknown Open
Tilt-A-Whirl Long Park Park, Geneseo, NY, West Side of Conesus Lake 1950 1990 Tilt-A-Whirl Ride was sold at the Long Point Park Auction of the rides by Norton Auctioneers on September 1990. Not sure where the ride went from there as the newspaper's report listed many errors pertaining to the rides new owners.
Shark Frenzy Pacific Park
Open Includes shark-shaped ride vehicles.
Tilt-A-Whirl Seabreeze Amusement Park, Rochester, NY Unknown Open
HARLEY QUINN Wild Whirl Six Flags Over Georgia
Open Previously known as Harley Quinn Spinsanity.
Tilt-A-Whirl Tilt Studio (Katy Mills Mall, Katy TX) Unknown Open
Tilt-a-Whirl Thomas Amusements (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) Unknown Seasonal [32]
Tilter Valleyfair! 1976 Seasonal Previously known as Tilt-A-Whirl. Originally installed near the end of High Roller rollercoaster next

to the Giant Tilt Ride. It was moved next to the entrance of Wild Thing rollercoaster in 1996 when that was built.

It was moved again in 2014 underneath the figure 8 portion of Wild Thing with the installation of the

Route 66 area.[33]

Giant Tilt Ride Valleyfair! 1976 Closed This was the only Super Tilt model of Tilt-A-Whirl ever manufactured by Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. It

featured 14 cars in two rows and was strangely placed right next to Valleyfair!'s other Tilt-A-Whirl ride.[34]

Tilt-A-Whirl Waldameer & Water World 1964 Open [35]

Incidents and accidents

On September 22, 2018, a Tilt-A-Whirl operated by Thomas Amusements in St. John's, Newfoundland, malfunctioned when two of the cars crashed into each other causing the top of one of the cars to fall off and on to the platform. No serious injuries resulted but some of the passengers suffered minor injuries.[36]


  1. ^ Rides for Amusement Parks, Carnivals, and Fairs – Made in the USA Archived 2006-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Kautz, R.L., and B.M. Huggard. 1994. Chaos at the amusement park: Dynamics of the Tilt-A-Whirl. American Journal of Physics 62(January):59.
  3. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (2019). The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Built Them. Running Press. ISBN 9780316416474. Archived from the original on 28 September 2023. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. ^ says, Tami Schluter (2018-09-16). "A Spin Through History In The 'Birthplace Of The Tilt-A-Whirl'". Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  5. ^ McDonough, Doug (2011-01-25). "Larson International acquires Tilt-a-Whirl manufacturer". Plainview Daily Herald. Archived from the original on 2020-08-03. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  6. ^ "THE TILT-A-WHIRL™ – Larson International". Archived from the original on 2020-07-21. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  7. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl Factory". American Profile. 2005-05-01. Archived from the original on 2022-09-30. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  8. ^ "Outdoor Attractions – Adventure Park USA". Archived from the original on 2020-08-08. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  9. ^ "Adventureland Resort". www.adventurelandresort.com. Archived from the original on 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  10. ^ "Rides & Attractions". Adventurer's Park Family Entertainment Center. Archived from the original on 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  11. ^ "Park Attractions | Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure". www.alabamasplash.com. Archived from the original on 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  12. ^ "Go-Karts, Miniature Golf, Bumper Boats, Video and Redemption Games and more! - All Star Adventures". www.allstarwichita.com. Archived from the original on 2020-07-14. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  13. ^ "Amusements of America - Carnival & Amusement Rides: Tilt-A-Whirl". www.amusementsofamerica.com. Archived from the original on 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  14. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl". Arnolds Park. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  15. ^ "Tilt-a-Whirl". City of Green Bay. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22. Retrieved 2023-09-18.
  16. ^ wdd. "Family Rides". Beech Bend Park. Archived from the original on 2020-07-11. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  17. ^ "Our Midway | Belle City Amusements Inc". Archived from the original on 2020-07-08. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  18. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl". Belmont Park. Archived from the original on 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  19. ^ www.mwdwebdesign.com, Matt's Web Design-. "Tilt-A-Whirl". Campy's Amusements. Archived from the original on 2020-07-15. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  20. ^ "Twist & Shout | Canobie Lake Park". www.canobie.com. Archived from the original on 2020-07-17. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  21. ^ "Rides in Carousel Gardens Amusement Park". New Orleans City Park. Archived from the original on 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  22. ^ "casino-pier-breakwater-beach-bwb-attractions-tilt-a-whirl". Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach. Archived from the original on 2023-09-28. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  23. ^ "Castle Park - Rides & Attractions". Castle Park. 4 September 2013. Archived from the original on 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  24. ^ "Linus' Beetle Bugs - Planet Snoopy | Cedar Point". www.cedarpoint.com. Archived from the original on 2020-07-03. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  25. ^ "About Dollywood". www.dollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  26. ^ "Elitch Gardens - 1980 - Super 8 footage". www.YouTube.com. Archived from the original on 2022-11-12. Retrieved 2022-11-12.
  27. ^ "Tilt-a-Whirl-TEMPORARILY CLOSED". Fun Spot America. 2015-04-20. Archived from the original on 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  28. ^ "Tilt-a-Whirl". Fun Spot America. 2015-04-18. Archived from the original on 2020-06-30. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  29. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Tilt-A-Whirl 2018". YouTube.
  30. ^ "Turkey Whirl". Holiday World. Archived from the original on 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  31. ^ "Turtle Twirl". Story Land. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  32. ^ "ABOUT US - Thomas Amusements | amusement park | rides |family activities | Newfoundland". Archived from the original on 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2020-08-29.
  33. ^ This information complied from actual park maps, a Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. advertising postcard and from working and visiting the park during some of the actual changes.
  34. ^ This information compiled from actual park maps and a Sellner Manufacturing Company, Inc. advertising post card.
  35. ^ "Tilt-A-Whirl | Waldameer Park & Water World". waldameer.com. Archived from the original on 2024-01-02. Retrieved 2024-01-02.
  36. ^ Newfoundland, CBC (2018-09-22). "Minor injuries after Tilt-A-Whirl malfunctions at Thomas Amusements, say police". CBC NL. Archived from the original on 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2018-09-24.

Further reading