The day I found Flying Turtles was a day that changed my life forever. That might seem like an extremely dramatic statement to make about a mere toy, but once you try one, you'll understand exactly what I mean.
It was the early 1980s and my brother and I were little kids. One day we went to an indoor "kids' zone" type place where they had smooth concrete floors as far as the eye could see, little stop lights, race tracks, and Flying Turtles. It was literally as if the heavens had opened and showed us the best toy ever. I'm pretty sure angels were singing.
Now I'm 34 and my brother's 32. We still have our original Flying Turtles (they only came in brown back then), and not too amazingly, we still play bumper cars with them (more like smash cars), tool around the garage, down the driveway, into the road, and back around again.
You might be thinking "Wow; why on Earth would an adult be acting like a fool on a kids' toy?" The simple answer is that it's not a kids' toy, but the best toy ever. Everyone loves Flying Turtles, young and old alike.
They are the world of toys' best kept secret. Every kid should have one of these. Every adult should buy their kids one of these so they can ride them themselves.
What They Are
Flying Turtles are a quality, American-made "sit-skate" ride-on toy that can glide and zip on a hard, smooth indoor or outdoor surface by swinging the handlebars from side to side. They have a polyethylene seat, powder-coated steel handlebars, and super fast wheels with sealed bearings.
When seated, you are two inches off the ground. It's such a smooth, easy ride, and you're so close to the ground, it feels like you're flying!
Flying Turtles work on tile, linoleum, wood, concrete, and other mostly smooth indoor floors; asphalt, sidewalks, cement, roadways, and other mostly smooth outdoor surfaces. Wheels will not leave scuffs on indoor surfaces and never wear down.
Speaking from experience, my Original Flying Turtle has lasted through 29 years of hard use and still works like new. By hard use I mean we would (and still do on occasion) go at full speed and bang into each other repeatedly, play chicken, do Turtle jousting, etc. Our Flying Turtles still work just as well as when we got them nearly three decades ago!
We never maintained them, never cleaned them, never oiled the wheels, and pretty much ignored the poor things. They've been through rain, sand, dirt, oil, and you name it. They're the ideal toy in that you can use them hard (as kids do) and they're so well made they're completely unaffected by the roughest use. I've never found another toy that stood up to this type of abuse for going on 30 years. They're insanely cool.
Video: Old and Young Love Flying Turtles
Awards For The Flying Turtle
- Dr. Toy Gold Seal Best Toy Award
- Dr. Toy Best Classic Toy of 2005
- Top 10 Toy by Parents Magazine
- Parents' Choice award winner
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio gave the Flying Turtle the Gold Award (its highest award)
- National Parenting Publications: Gold Winner
- Dallas/Fort Worth Child magazine: Publisher's Choice Award
Who Can Ride Them
- Kids, teens, adults, and grandparents all love Flying Turtles. I've never met anyone who didn't instantly get hooked and turn into a kid again. It's so fun that dignity, if there was any, becomes absolutely 100% meaningless.
- Recommended for kids aged 4-12. However, tons of teenagers and adults use them as well. There's really no "age limit" whatsoever. Everybody can ride a Flying Turtle, and I've never met anyone who didn't fall in love with the experience. After all, they're the best toys ever.
- Recommended for weights of 150 pounds or less. However, I've had plenty of heftier friends ride my 1982 model, and nothing bad has ever happened. I swear these things are made of steel (oh, wait, they are!) I see this as more of a liability thing on the part of the manufacturing company. Use your own judgment, but in 29 years I've never even heard of any issues.
Video: Kids Love Flying Turtles
How They Work
- Sit on the middle of the seat
- Place feet on the handlebars
- Grip the handlebars
- Swing the handlebars from side to side
"The front wheels of the machine are connected to the handlebars by a lever, in such a way that they are located behind the axis of rotation of the steering column. This means that a torque applied to the handlebars will cause a lateral friction force by the wheels on the ground, a force parallel to the axle and perpendicular to the direction the wheels are rolling. If a component of this force points to the back of the car, the reaction force of the ground on the car (by Newton's "action/reaction" law) points partly forward and accelerates the car. This is the force that drives the car forward and it ultimately comes from the force you exert on the handlebars (magnified by the lever advantage, which is 2 or 3 for the Flying Turtle®.)" -- Mason Corporation
Links, Cost, And Where To Buy
- At Amazon.com a Flying Turtle will cost you $100.00
- Buy Flying Turtles: Buy From Amazon
© 2011 Kate P
unicornblogger on March 01, 2015:
LOVE The Flying Turtle! It's so fun to zip around the toy store on it.
Easy-tasty-recipe on February 05, 2015:
Today is a happy day. Cause I found this toy. Have never heard of it before.
Thanks a heap :)
Jo Miller from Tennessee on December 30, 2013:
Why have I not heard of these? I'm a grandma. I should know these things. Are they safe? I see helmets used in some photos.
modgirlok from Oklahoma on February 19, 2012:
I remember those! I wish I had one right now. It's a beautiful day to unleash your inner child.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on January 07, 2012:
Oh, these are definitely available in NZ: just order online!
Wow, I wish my elementary school had had these! What fun.
Thanks for the comments! :)
SmartAndFun from Texas on December 28, 2011:
My kids' elementary school has some of these that the PE teachers get out from time to time. My kids love them and they were the only thing they asked for from Santa several years ago. So Santa brought us two of the green ones! Every kid that comes over wants to ride them. We are lucky because we have concrete floors, so in the winter I let the kids ride their flying turtles all over the house! Great hub idea!
natures47friend from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand. on December 19, 2011:
Wow...I wish we had those in NZ....everyone here is into skateboards, wiggle boards and scooters...Up and awesome.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on December 17, 2011:
Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad so many have admitted to loving this toy themselves. :) Though I love my old brown one, it'll be nice to get a more colorful one some day!
Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on December 12, 2011:
Fun toys for everyone! I think I can still enjoy them with the kids, I just have to make sure I don't fly without them, funny me! Thanks for bringing these fun thoughts back!
videogameviking from California on December 12, 2011:
These are great toys! I remember riding them quite a bit, at a skating rink, when I was younger.
Elena from London, UK on December 11, 2011:
Oh, I love them and wouldn't mind giving them a go when no one is looking. lol
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on December 10, 2011:
You're right about grandparents - even great grandparents - loving them. My George fell in love with them when we were shopping for his great-grandson a present one year. I was tempted to get one for George!
Derdriu on December 10, 2011:
Faceless39: What a fun tribute to an innovative toy which has become an ageless, rollicking classic! The exciting videos and the pretty pictures give persuasive reasons for trying a friend's flying turtle if not buying one's own.
Thank you for sharing, etc.,