Hersheypark’s iconic sooperdooperLooper celebrates 40 years of turning riders upside-down

DERRY TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. - As we celebrate our nation's birthday, Hersheypark in Derry Township, Dauphin County has something extra to celebrate.

It's a significant anniversary for one of the park's iconic attractions.

Turning 40 is a major milestone in nearly everyone's life, and turning riders upside down for 40 years is Hersheypark's one and only sooperdooperLooper.

Hersheypark director of ride operations Laura Woodburn said "not only is it the Fourth of July, but it is also the birthday for the sooperdooperLooper."

Woodburn shares some fun facts about the park's iconic ride.

"In 1977, the sooperdooperLooper was the first looping coaster on the east coast. It was only the second of its kind. There were lines for hours back when it opened up, and we still have a lot of riders today," Woodburn said.

Times have changed, and so has the look of the ride.

"The track at that time in 1977 was white, right now it's blue, but it still has that pop of those orange trains that our guest really love to see as it climbs through the tree tops," Woodburn said.

Affectionately called the Looper, it's a roller coaster that riders of all ages also call something else.

Seven-year-old rider Jeffrey Woodruff said "awesome."

Nine-year-old Joshua Woodruff said "it was really, really awesome. I just loved it. It was so cool."

Jeffrey and Joshua's father Aaron Woodruff said "it was awesome. I mean it's a great kid ride. Jeffrey, who was really scared of the Comet, which is a wooden roller coaster, real bumpy. He loved this one."

Many riders of the classic coaster can't leave without getting an equally iconic "I Survived the sooperdooperLooper t-shirt, but Looper t-shirts and souvenirs almost carried a different name for the ride.

"Was almost named Merry Derry Dips, but it was decided that that wasn't quite as much fun and spunky as the ride itself, so sooperdooperLooper was born," Woodburn said.

Many have a favorite part of the aptly named sooperdooperLooper.

"My favorite part, was because of the loop and the whole thing," Jeffrey Woodruff said.

"The loop, definitely, the loop," Joshua Woodruff said.

"If they could sit here and ride it over and over again, we'd never leave right here," Aaron Woodruff said.