Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Remember Dinosaur Beach?

I do! Dinosaur Beach Adventure Theme Park was located in Wildwood, New Jersey, on the former Hunt's Pier. The park opened in 1996 and had a short run, closing in 1998.

The park, which was a million years in the making, ha, was opened by the same family that operates Steel Pier in Atlantic City. It featured an assortment of rides and attractions, with light dino theming. A highlight was an actual little river rapids ride that was on the pier. Raptor Rapids was an Intamin ride and opened in 1985. This page has some wonderful photos of it in action.

The Long Neck River Log Flume was added to Hunt's around 1970 and was a compact flume due to the pier's limited space. The owners of Dinosaur Beach added some light theming and some dinosaurs along with the name change. When Morey's eventually purchased the pier they decided to donate this flume to Arnold's Park in Iowa.

Escape from Dinosaur Beach was a Sally darkride that opened along with the park. Guests entered the Atlantic Research Institute and whadda you know, all heck breaks loose. The 10,000 square foot dark ride cost $1.5 million and was built in only 6 months. I think it's building is used for storage now, I have not heard what happened to the ride and it's props.

Probably the jewel of Dinosaur Beach was the Golden Nugget Mine Ride. It's still standing, but plans to move it seem to have stalled. The ride is a combo of wooden coaster and dark ride, built in 1960 by Philadelphia Toboggan Company. You can get all the historical pictures you could ever want here and here. Morey's said they planned to move this ride to another pier, and I even remember a survey about interest in a reopening, but alas, it still sits unused.

Finally, we have a map of the park. There was a Master Blaster water slide built over top of the river rapids as well. I have no idea what happened to that either.

A spinning Wild Mouse coaster was also added to the park in 1997 before it closed. It was moved by the owners to Steel Pier after Dinosaur Beach closed.

Phew, okay, that's enough. If anyone has answers to the where-are-they-now of some of the rides I mentioned, please, let me know!


Unknown said...

I miss this park, but I miss Hunt's Pier even more. This park caused the loss of the Whacky Shack/Hunt's Horror Bill Tracy dark ride because they didn't want to keep it. The Whacky Shack opened in 1964 and closed after 1994 and was removed early 1996. It was retitled Hunt's Horror in 1989 after that side of the pier was destroyed (Flyer coaster, train, mini cars, Jungleland, and Skua Pirate Ship. I loved the Golden Nugget, rode it between 1980-1983, and 96-98. I hope it reopens. I rode most of the old Hunt's rides back then between 1980-1983. Did you know Hunt's Pier's former manager Vincent Kostek passed away June 2006? He was manager between 1957-1985. Bud Hunt passed away March 1991. Bud sold the pier fall 1985. Bud's granddaughter Kristen has a website www.huntspier.com

NewsPlusNotes said...

Thanks for all the info! The huntspier website looks good, too. I'll have to check it out once it officially launches.