GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Thousands of people have flocked to Green Bay to take a ride on Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster.
And Thursday, the city received some national recognition on this 35th anniversary of the death of the King of Rock and Roll.
The TripAdviser Web site named Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay as one of the nation’s “Top Elvis Attractions.” That was after the city spent $3.8 million to buy and rebuild the Zippin Pippin roller coaster, after it was taken down from a park that closed in Memphis.
It took a year for Green Bay officials to get it ready. And when the Zippin Pippin opened last summer, it attracted two-and-a-half times the number of riders they expected – about a half-million in all.
TripAdviser said Elvis rode the Zippin Pippin only a week before he abruptly died from a heart attack due to prescription drug abuse. He passed away at his Graceland mansion in Memphis on August 16th of 1977 at the age of 42.
He had performed only twice in Wisconsin in his final years – both times in Madison. His last show was in late June of ’77, less than two months before he died.