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Go for a Thrill Ride at Coaster Camp

By Karli Morello

Has your child been a roller-coaster fanatic since the time they were tall enough not to fit under the measuring stick at the front of the line? Do they come sprinting off the ride with their hair a wind-blown mess and in ten words or less, enthusiastically tell you all about the 15 second thrill ride? Then it sounds like your child qualifies for a summer full of messy hair at ThrillCoaster Tours summer camp.

ThrillCoaster Tours is headquartered in Woodbridge, NJ and was founded by self-proclaimed “roller coaster enthusiast”, Ira Gordon. Seven years ago, Gordon was asked to come up with a business proposal and he immediately thought of sharing his love for roller coasters and what better way than to travel the country in a luxury bus with kids who have the same interest? “I always said when I was younger, that if I had the opportunity, I would do this.” An accountant by Autumn, Winter and Spring and a ThrillCoaster Tour director by Summer, Gordon takes kids ages 12 to 16 on three tours each summer and enjoys every minute of it.

The groups travel on a luxury bus equipped with a bathroom and DVD players and they stay in Marriott hotels as they travel from park to park. The itinerary is thoughtfully set up so the kids are never left without anything fun to do. One day is a designated driving day where they travel to each park. In that same day, the group will go to a Dave & Busters, ESPN Zone or play games like football and Frisbee. The next day they will spend at one of the amusement parks on the tour. They are served breakfast at their hotel and lunch in the park. The group will leave the park for dinner then go back until the park is closed. No time is wasted on these tours and every waking minute is filled with thrills!

“From the time they come on the tour, their [tuition] pays for everything except souvenirs,” explained Gordon. He travels with the kids on three tours; one from June 28th to July 11th, then August 1st to August 6th then finally August 8th to August 15th. “I take a three week break so that the kids who go to specialty camps can do that before or after they want to join a tour,” Gordon said.

Gordon has two children of his own and has been touring for several years and knows that parents may feel a little uncomfortable before learning more about the safety of their children. “I have two kids and the last thing I’ll do is leave me kids with someone I never heard of. I talk and meet with parents and make them feel comfortable.” There is one chaperone for every six children throughout the entire tour. Gordon said that even though the age range spans a little wide, he has seen a 12 year old become best friends with a 16 year old. “They bond together with amusement parks and their love for roller coasters.”

For more information on all three tours in 2010 and to register, visit


Karli Morello is a local freelance writer.