Ride Review: Gravitron


Gravitron – Skelly’s Amusements

If there is one thrill ride that is so common that just about every medium to large fair has one, then Gravitron is it. Gravitron is a ride manufactured by Wisdom Rides and is basically an updated Rotor ride. The ride debuted in 1983 and quickly became a hit on midways due to its high thrill factor and ease of transport.

The ride is stylized as a UFO and goes under three general names: Gravitron, Starship 2000, and Alien Abduction. The outside features quite a bit of lighting along the side panels and on the rotating platform – which I’ll just refer to as the UFO. The ride originally used turbo lights but newer models are generally outfitted with LEDs. Artwork varies but it’s typically space or alien related. Gravitron models sport a light board below the “Gravitron” signage that flashes the word “Thriller.” I have seen it say different things, however (such as the show’s name.)

The ride can spin to a maximum speed of 24 RPM and rotates via a tire drive that runs along a rim on the underside of the UFO. The ride is extremely portable and can fold down onto a single 48 foot trailer. 

The interior of the UFO has multicolored lights running along the ceiling sweeps and typically has a couple of speakers blaring music. The roof of the UFO is simply adorned with a canvas and the walls are made up of 45 individual panels that riders stand against. In the center is the operator’s control booth, immune to the G forces.

Inside of a Gravitron

Interior of Powers Great American Midways’ Alien Abduction

The Ride

Starship Gravitron

Starship 2000 themed as Starship Gravitron

First you board the UFO and stand against one of the padded panels; the panels are angled so riders kind of lay back onto one. The ride op closes the hatch and the ride starts to spin…and spin…and spin some more until the riders are stuck to the wall.

On an old Rotor type ride, the floor would mechanically lower upon reaching a sufficient speed. On Gravitron it works a bit differently; at a certain speed the panels slide up the wall due to the centrifugal force pushing on the tilted panels. Since the riders are on the panels, they rise up as well!

Other Info

A racked Gravitron awaiting assembly

A racked Gravitron awaiting assembly

DoD3 ProTip: Don’t ride this if you have sunburn!!

I went on the old Gravitron ride at Morey’s Piers many, many years ago with sunburn on my face, and man oh man did it hurt when my face was being pushed back from the G force!


Here’s some Gravitron photos

And a video of Blue Sky Amusements’ Starship Gravitron


  • Jumboshrmp says:

    These aren’t banned in Florida. I have seen several different models here, including ones named Gravitron (Amusements of America), ones named Starship 2000 (Hildebrand Rides), and even a newer Starship 3000 (Reithoffer Shows).

  • DoD3Brian says:

    Revised, thanks for the heads up! I wonder where I originally saw that bit of misinformation…

  • katey says:

    theres a new one cald alien obduction i love it it is so fun XO

  • Aytakk says:

    Love the Gravitron! First rode one in the mid 80s when I was 9. I took my autistic son with me on it when he was 8 and he loved it. Apparently autistics like the feeling on rotors/grravitrons so I tested the theory and they were right.

    A word of warning for the more heavy-set people out there. I’d gained a fair bit of weight since riding one before I rode one a couple of years ago. It made me feel a little short of breath while it was going and you feel those G forces even harder!

    I still plan on riding it at this year’s Adelaide Show anyway.

  • Mike says:

    I’ve loved this ride ever since I was a kid. I always have loved to turn upside down and sideways on the wall in these things. Want to up the ante on the thrill factor? Then doing the very thing mentioned above is what you should try. You will impress everybody else on the ride and cause them to get a kick out of you (in other words you will be the life of the party). You better make sure the operator is cool with it before you try it, though. Often times, especially nowadays the more fussy operators make you stay upright and will often bark at the beginning of the ride: “No going upside down!” When the ride has an operator like that, those found breaking the rules will usually be seriously warned, and the ride can be stopped to kick the offending riders off if the operator deems it necessary. So I guess just make sure the operator is chill and in a good mood before you go upside down.

  • travelsonic says:

    I’m one of those assholes who actually managed to sit “upright” on the wall, even STAND on the wall while it was spinning, and it is fun as hell to do so long as you re-position yourself in time when it slows down. Danger I laugh at it [especially as someone who grew up with Action Park in Vernon, NJ :D]

  • ultradude306 says:

    Just uploaded a video of a gravitron at a local carnival. Hope you enjoy.


  • sonic the hedghog says:


  • Cora Sponds says:

    This is the only ride where I feel it’s doing something very bad to me internally. Something just seems so wrong about it.

  • GRAVITRON DUDE!! says:

    I was the Pilot of this ride from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Morey’s Pier Wildwood, NJ 1986, 87 & 88 which was the 1st one in the country! It was refreshing to see it in Stranger Things and brought back MANY, MANY very good memories from my youth. Miss you April(John & Roy M.)! Metal Heads ride for free! Yes, that was me 35yrs ago.
    I had know idea I was actually Piloting the VERY 1st 1 until this article! WOW, BLOWN AWAY!!!
    gravitrondude@gmail.com ANY pictures anyone has from those years at that location would be much appreciated, Thanks! JG (Eagles, Flyers, Phillies & 76’ers for life!)

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