of your average themer! And what a great time was had by all!
After a day and a half at Kennywood, it was time to move on to other things. My
sister and I headed north under threatening skies toward Conneaut Lake Park.
The drive from the interstate to the park is an interesting one, and I always
think I'm doing it wrong, but we made it there relatively easily.
We arrived at Conneaut at around 12:30 and paid the very reasonable admission
price of $13. The first thing I noticed was that the park seemed to be in much
better condition than it had been on my first visit in 1996 (I think it was
'96...the first year it reopened after being closed awhile). The crowd was also
much larger than on that last visit. It was good to see that people are coming
and enjoying the place.
We began our day by just jumping on whatever rides we came across. The first
ride was the Ferris Wheel, a ride which both my sister and I refer to as
"Fierce Wheels," since we're both deathly afraid of them. Still, we braved it
since it was a walk-on. Next, we got a nice whirling on the Tilt-a-Whirl and
spun some more on the Paratrooper. A relaxing journey on the train revealed
some excellent views of the Blue Streak, so when the train returned to the
station, we knew it was time for a few spins on the coaster.
My God! I guess my memory of this coaster was not very good! In line, I loved
watching the light-up board that showed the train's position on the track, and
the operators riding the running board from brake lever to brake lever. For my
first ride, I hopped into the back seat, expecting it to be little rough and
tumble, but not quite expecting what I got. The tunnel on the way to the lift
is excellent. As we crested the lift, I pulled out my camera, expecting to snap
a quick picture, but found myself instead being YANKED from my seat and into
the lap bar. Whoa! I don't remember that kind of air on here! Up the second
hill we went, and again, a big YANK down the second drop! At the bottoms of
these hills, I was also thrown forward into the lap bar, making me feel like
I'd gone a couple of rounds with the champ. Up the third hill we went, and YANK
up and out down the third hill! I was cracking up with laughter at the fun of
this airtime and my folly of thinking I could actually take pictures on this
thing! The coaster slows a little as it approaches the turnaround, but the
return run seemed faster than the last time I rode it. After the turnaround,
there's a nice lateral slam in the front cars when you hit the left turn that
takes you to the return hills. In the back, I got an unexpected moment of
airtime on one of those return hills, something I don't remember getting on my
rides a few years ago.
The Blue Streak is not a coaster that will suit everyone's tastes. It can be
*** and a little bone-jarring. If you're not a fan of ***, I highly
recommend sitting in the middle seat of any car. Stay away from the axel seats!
My sister learned this the hard way, and for two days after riding in that axel
seat, she swore that her internal organs had all squished together into a small
section in her right side! ;-) This ride suits my taste very well, though, and
I thoroughly enjoyed every trip I took on it. It did start to get to me after
awhile, though, and I doubt I could marathon on it if I had to sit in the axel
After a few rides on the coaster, we just started wandering around. Conneaut
has a most wonderful and unique midway area that could be just GORGEOUS with a
little TLC. How many parks still have their original dance pavillions? Oh, how
I would love to see this section of the park lovingly restored to its former
glory. It's pretty now, but with some paint, it could be fantastic.
Since we were down the midway a bit, we decided to take the "Ultimate Trip," a
ride I didn't realize existed on my last visit. It's yet another indoor
Scrambler with lighting effects, but the paint job and the radio music make it
well worth the trip. I love these things. They're hilarious! I believe we heard
a Fleetwood Mac and a Led Zepplin tune on our ride...a bit of a change from the
AC/DC usually heard on these things.
We then wandered some more and took a look at some of the classic kiddie rides
they have. We were jealous that we couldn't ride some of them. Leaving the
kiddie area, we decided to give their Twister a spin. We were hoping for some
incredible spinnage, but left the ride disappointed. We didn't get much
whirling at all, and that makes rides like these rather boring.
We were disappointed to find "Dr. Gum Wall" ;-) closed. I really wanted to ride
that again since I have no real memory of it. We had hoped that the operator
was just on a break, but it was down the entire time we were there.
I think the only other thing we rode was the Flying Scooters. I happened to
board them just as a strong wind and a bit of rain kicked up, so I got a pretty
good ride. There was no snapping going on, but the car bucked around a bit
anyway because of the wind.
It was strange. I think we had only been there about 2-2 1/2 hours, but it
really felt like a full day there. We decided to bid Conneaut goodbye and start
heading toward Waldameer.
I don't know about any of you, but I REALLY like Waldameer. I think it's
absolutely charming. No, they don't have a big coaster or a major thrill ride,
but the rides they do have are downright fun! It's also a very clean,
family-oriented park that can provide a whole day of fun for everybody. It's
yet another place that makes it easy to relax, kick back, and have a good time.
Sherry had won two free ride passes from some contest, so we got to do the
whole thing for free! Thus, two parks in one day cost us only $13. Even if we
had had to pay, I believe regular admission is only $14.99...still a great
Waldameer has a nice selection of rides, including two dark rides; a
ride-through and a walk through. We went on the Paratrooper, Skyride, Fierce
Wheel, Carousel, Sea Dragon, Spider (twice...it was a good one!), Tilt-a-Whirl
(FANTASTIC...one of the best I've done), The Whacky Shack (ride-through dark
ride), and Pirate's Cove (the walk-through fun house).
Waldameer DOES have a coaster, the Comet. It's a typical Jr. figure eight
woodie, that provides a nice trip through the trees. The only mar on this
otherwise fine day was during our second trip on the Comet. Here, we witnessed
a child, WITH HIS FATHER, standing up during the entire ride. Gee...how DO
amu***t park accidents happen?
A trip on the train was also a bit of a black mark on Waldameer. The train
takes you past the dumpster (with plenty 'o bags 'o trash), and the amu***t
ride burial ground. Clearly visible in the burial ground are some old coaster
trains, parts for a Flying Coaster (aka Kangaroo at KW), and metal umbrella
table-toppers. Get a fence! Give us something pretty to look at on the train
ride! The train ride is pretty long, though, and does have a nice tunnel near
the end (which you come out of ~just~ before you pass out from carbon monoxide
posioning from the diesel engine).
They have a nice log flume at this park, which we also rode. I like the thunder
and lightning tunnel, and it provides just the right amount of "wet." Wet
enough to cool off, but not so wet as to be miserable.
Throughout the day, we had fun listening to all of the people participating in
the Karaoke session in the middle of the park. It was hilarious. We also had a
lot of fun playing their games and winning silly little prizes.
For a treat, we decided to get butterscotch ice cream sundaes. Let me tell you,
these things were fantastic! It's pretty rare to find places that actually make
the butterscotch ones anymore, and these were simply wonderful. I highly
This day, like Kennywood the two days before, was just what I was looking for
in this vacation. We took it slow, had a lot of fun, and experienced a variety
of rides. If you can make it to western PA, be sure to give a few hours to
these parks. You won't regret it.
Up next: An evening at SF Darien Lake
Comments are always welcome,