The Hour Detroit camera crew visited Belle Isle Aug. 26, joining other Detroiters as they flocked to the now-famous giant slide that was thrust into the national spotlight after videos of children bouncing roughly down it went viral.
We wanted to be on hand as the slide re-opened after park workers had removed some of the wax that gave the slide it super-slippery surface that sent several riders airborne, some landing so hard they bumped their heads or lost their belongings. One rider lost a shoe.
This time, things went much smoothly. We even took a ride ourselves—no bumps, all shoes accounted for.
We weren’t alone. By the time the weekend was over, more than 4,600 people would brave the slide, more than double the amount the first weekend it was open.
Hour’s digital development specialist Luanne Lim says there was a mix of excitement and fear as she, the Hour team, and other Detroiters prepared to brave the slide.
“It was a fun kind of fear,” she says.
The slide has gotten so much attention that we weren’t the only people with cameras there. Local rapper Gerald Allen, known by his stage name Gmac Cash, was also there shooting a music video for his viral hit “Giant Slide.” He and the slide had both been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“It’s a gift. I go to the studio and come up with the song just like that,” Allen says, snapping his finger. Born in Detroit, Allen says he rode the slide frequently as a kid—and still has the friction burn marks to show for it.
His videographer’s camera drone circled overhead, capturing aerial footage of riders holding onto their burlap bags as they plunged down the ride. The video debuted on YouTube Monday.
Digital creator Risse Dionne was also in attendance—a video she took of a rider losing his hat has amassed 16.4 million views on Facebook Reels, as of Monday.
A native Detroiter, Dionne still remembers the first time she visited the attraction—about 40 years ago with her mother and aunts.
“We’d be here for hours. (I’m happy) to see this generation being able to come out and enjoy it,” said Dionne from Belle Isle. She noted, “It’s not dangerous if you follow the instructions.”
Sandra Whittler took her great-grandson, a first-time rider who saved up $11 in hopes of going down the $1 attraction “11 times.” Whittler says she first rode the slide in the 70s.
Built in 1967, the slide reopened earlier this month for the first time since 2019. It became a national news story after online clips of rider wipeouts went viral. It is open through Labor Day from Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You must be at least 4 feet tall to ride.