Shrill Ride

Please keep your feet inside the ride and place both hands over your mouth.

Screaming has been officially banned at the Scandia Family Fun Center in Sacramento, Calif., including on the now misnamed ride the Screamer, after park owners bowed to a disgruntled local community grown weary of the constant shrieking of neighboring thrill seekers.

The amusement park, which bills itself as a venue for wholesome family fun, features a mini raceway, bumper boats and a pair of miniature golf courses.

Built in 1977, the park sits directly off Interstate 80, a major route that slices through Sacramento on the way to San Francisco.

Type A mini-golf personalities aside, the Screamer is the most likely place at the park where an adrenaline junky might unleash a holler.

The whirligig attraction is a pair of two-rider baskets at either end of a long steel structure perched on a 168-foot tower. As a motor spins the steel cross-structure, the baskets also swivel.

The ride holds only four people at a time, but that hasn't soothed the nerves of people who live near the park. Residential neighborhoods are within about 2,000 yards of the park, according to a Google Earth map.

On top of the noise, neighbors also complain about the tower being an eyesore, particularly when lit up at night.

The ride, which debuted earlier this year after receiving approval at the county level, is described on the Scandia Web site almost in the terms of a dare: "The Scandia Screamer is a high impact thrill ride designed for anyone over 48" and under 275lbs who has enough courage to engage in the 3 ½ 'G' force, 65 mph ride."

"This is a one-of-a-kind thrill that will have you begging for more."

Just don't beg to stay on the ride if you let a yell slip out.

The park has a zero-tolerance approach to enforcing the no-screaming policy, which took effect less than a week ago.

Scofflaws face the wrath of ride attendants, who are instructed to stop a ride when someone's enthusiasm bubbles into an outburst. The screamer must get off the Screamer and go to the back of the line.

"If you feel like you might make noise, cover your mouth like this because if we can hear a noise we're required to take you off the ride, so it's aggressive," said Steve Baddley, Scandia's general manager, in a television interview. "We believe we're taking every effort to make this a really mutually-beneficial relationship between the business owner the county and the residents."

This good-neighbor policy runs counter to a thrill-seeking culture.

Hope Brown, president of the Florida Coaster Club, visited Scandia last year as part of the group's West Coast tour. She hadn't heard about the new no-screaming rule -- but said the group may go back during their October trip just to see if it can really be enforced.

"They'll be stopping all day to throw people to the back of the line," she said.

She also said the park may face some financial hardship due to the rigid policy.

"I think they are going to have a problem," Brown said. "They don't have a lot to rides as it is."

They also may have to rethink the park's "It's a Scream" catchphrase.

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