Roller coaster lover John Ivers says he never had much opportunity to visit amusement parks. So he found a novel means of enjoying the rides, building two of them in his backyard near Vincennes, Ind., using scrap metal and parts scavenged from the shop where he works.
Ivers' first coaster, The Blue Flash, features a 20-foot hill and a loop. After he built it, Ivers said, "I realized my grandkids were just toddlers and couldn't ride this. It's pretty much an adult ride. So, I had to build another coaster that they could ride." The result was Blue Too, a kid-friendly coaster, on which Ivers said he actually took his time and did a better job.
The project couldn't have been easy: The Blue Flash, which was built more quickly, took Ivers almost two years of work. But it seems to have paid off enormously. In fact, it sounds like Ivers' home has become something of an attraction. "We've met so many people because of it," he said, "which, you know, I never thought about all that in the beginning. I didn't build it for that. It was just something unique to have fun on, for the kids and grandkids, and this turned out to really be something special."
Ivers' roller coasters are an especially appealing backyard modification, but here are a range of other unusual projects that have made news on AOL Real Estate:
• An English homeowner spent 13 years digging a mine below his backyard garden as an exercise in historical understanding.
• A pilot in California wanted to build a helipad in his backyard so he could operate his chopper business from home, but was denied permission.
• A private equity executive who owns a former residence of Richard Nixon's irked the neighbors with his constant renovations, including the installation of a backyard hockey rink.
• A Portland, Ore., homeowner used a salvaged claw-foot bathtub to craft an outdoor spa for a fraction of the usual price.
• A landscape architect and ordained minister in Tennessee built a 10-story, 10,000-square-foot treehouse at God's urging. Featuring a chapel and an indoor basketball court, "God's treehouse" took 11 years to complete but cost only $12,000.
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