It was just a couple years back that a road trip took me to some of New England's larger amusement and theme parks, and while I loved all those rides and new experiences, there was still plenty more that the area had to offer.
Taking that into consideration, this year's pilgrimage once again took us North, only this time the goal was to visit the smaller parks that the region has to offer.
|Welcome to the Great Escape!|
It was the dream of Charles Wood to open a park that told the cherished stories of his childhood, and it is said that his idea for Storytown was kicked off by a visit to Knott's Berry Farm.
|The park's roots are still visible with displays such as these.|
With Storytown having much more to offer than just displays, the park switched gears and re-branded themselves as The Great Escape, a name that better reflected all that was available to guests.
|Sasquatch will blast you up or down - your choice.|
Interestingly, many of the Great Escape's rides also had previous lives in other parks. Take for example Sasquatch, seen above. The S&S Power combination tower stands 200 feet tall, one side blasts riders up, the other downward. The attraction once lived in Louisiana at Six Flags New Orleans, but was moved North after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.
|Frontwards and backwards thrills on the Boomerang|
The Storytown area also is still home to many older rides, such as a Cinderella meet and greet, the Grand Carousel, the Storytown Train, and Thunder Alley - a 50's style car ride.
|The Steamin' Demon greets visitors at the entrance.|
The coaster turns riders upside down three times, once in a vertical loop and twice in a corkscrew. Designed by Arrow Dynamics, it is one of their Loop & Corkscrew designs, several of which are still operating around the world. The Screamin' Demon currently has a bright orange, yellow, and blue color scheme that helps attract even more attention.
|Kidzopolis' bright colors draw families in.|
Located in the park's former Jungleland section is Timbertown, a large shady area that has eight different children's rides. The area is themed very nicely and has a wonderful rustic feel, complete with a large sprayground area that's super popular with kids.
|Beat the heat at Splashwater Kingdom.|
The photo above looks out over the lower section of Splashwater Kingdom, with Paul Bunyan's Bucket Brigade in the foreground. The structure features a giant tipping bucket, several slides, and lots of ways to keep guests busy.
You can also catch a glimpse of the park's wave pool, named Lumberjack Splash, in the background. The 25,000 square foot pool features waves that the whole family can enjoy, neither too tame or wild.
|Plenty of slides await visitors.|
|New for 2012 is Alpine Freefalls.|
There's actually two different experiences contained within the Alpine Freefalls. One slide, named the Cliffhanger, features a Skybox launch area, where the floor literally drops out from underneath riders. They then plummet down a steep slide into a long run out area.
|Bright colors are used on the Alpine Freefalls.|
In 1994 Mr. Wood decided to make a huge addition to the park, and to do so he purchased the Comet coaster from Crystal Beach in Ontario, Canada, when it closed. Moving a wooden roller coaster isn't an easy task, so to help the transition the ride was rebuilt at the Great Escape using a steel support structure.
|The Comet races over many small hills during its course.|
The Comet reminded me of Knoebel's Phoenix, another Schmeck design, and that's a good thing! The coaster was running smooth and giving plenty of nice pops of air when we visited, a true testament to great design. The Comet is one ride not to miss if you visit the Great Escape.
|A wintry ride on a summer day!|
The ride's entrance is seen above, and most of the course is obscured by tall trees that have grown in around the track. Well I should say trough, as the individual cars run freely through the trough during the ride.
|Racing down the mountain on Alpine Bobsled.|
|Up the sixty four foot lift hill.|
|Welcome to the wild west!|
The theming of the area is quite nice, and features plenty of Western themed facades on the buildings. It is home to the Desperado Plunge, a large log flume ride that heads out past the now deserted wild west town the train ran through.
|From outside the ride not much can be seen.|
|Love the theming on the ride!|
Perched on the edge of Ghost Town, the ride has some nice theming surrounding the course, and the trees that were originally planted have grown in wonderfully, further obscuring much of the ride.
|The double helix is an exciting finale to the coaster.|
|The Great Escape's skyline.|
If you're ever headed near the Great Escape it is a great place to take your family, with a current mix of attractions that offers a little of something for everyone. I will be interested to watch and see which direction the new Six Flags management takes the park in future seasons, too.
Our road trip didn't stop at the Great Escape, so watch for our next park soon!