My dad recently took my cousin, Kimberlee Robinson, and me to Carowinds. The catch: We had to write a review for

Not a bad deal, I suppose.

Overall, the park still has the same flare and fun we loved when we were younger. This year it features a new ride called the Carolina Cobra, but more on that later.

For teens like us, the park is a fun, safe place to kick back and enjoy the day. The staff was friendly and helpful, and young like us. We felt right at home, and each ride left us ready to jump on the next one.

After a string of gorgeous spring days, we arrived on a wet, dreary Sunday.

We started with the Borg Assimilator, now painted blue and yellow and renamed the Nighthawk. It was still as awesome as it was our first time on it years ago. Riders lie on their backs while this coaster takes you high above the park, back down to the ground and upside down in spirals. We score this ride 9 out of 10.

We next rode the Vortex. This was not the most comfortable ride, especially for men, we imagine. Riders must stand, straddling what looks like a bicycle seat, as the coaster soars through spirals and up-and-down slopes. Close to the Nighthawk. We gave this ride 8.5.

Next came the Ricochet! I loved this one. On this coaster, riders are seated, but don’t think it’s some kiddy ride. Ricochet is all about hairpin turns. It takes you close to the edge of the tracks — so close you think you might fly off – then snatches you back at the last second, just like a ricocheting bullet. The only bad thing: I kept crashing into Kimberlee, and that did hurt a little. We give this ride 9 for fun and excitement and 7 for comfort.

Next was the Carolina Cyclone. This wasn’t a major ride for us. Riders are seated as the row of cars goes under and over hills and upside down in spirals. We rate this one a 7.

Someone had advised me not to ride the Hurler – too bumpy, too jarring, they said. And, just as I was warned, the Hurler was bumpy and irritating. I also worried that I’d hit my head on the seemingly low beams that hung just above. However, the coaster did live up to its name; in the end I wanted to hurl. This old-style coaster was not our favorite. Overall, we rate it 6.5.

I didn’t ride the Carolina Cobra, the park’s newest coaster, but Kimberlee did. The hurler had gotten to me. (My dad dropped out after the Ricochet.) The Cobra takes riders 125 feet into the air then drops them down into three loops, then does it again…backwards. This ride is sure to have your heart racing. It gets a 10.

We didn’t have time to ride everything we wanted to write about. The weather was just too yucky (and dad was still nauseated).

Now for the negatives.

Carowinds isn’t cheap. Visitors are hit with a $10 parking fee before they enter the park. The food was good but it cost a lot. We ate at the Jukebox Diner. A small basket of chicken tenders and fries cost $8.45. Our total tab was nearly $50, and we didn’t eat that much.

Oh, and if you’re a vegetarian, the Jukebox Diner is not for you! The only non-meat thing on the menu were the fries.

The park has a variety of ticket deals. Visitors can save money by buying online at A one-day pass purchased online costs $36.99. The park also offers a “Twilight Ticket” for $25.99 online. Special rates apply for seniors and young children.

As with any amusement park, be ready to battle long lines. But if you want to avoid those, do what we did and go in the rain and on a Sunday.

But never mind the few negative things. Carowinds is still a great place to have fun if you’re a kid… or even a kid at heart.

Editor’s note: Day Trippin’ is an occasional series featuring quick, summer getaways. Next we visit the Georgia Acquarium in Atlanta. Email to submit your own review or to suggest a destination.

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