Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Where's Wally Bear?" Part 1

This is the first in a two part series of NPN's look back at our recent trip to Waldameer Amusement Park. Don't forget to check out Part 2!

Sabrina and I made the relatively short drive from the Conneaut Lake area up to Erie where the last stop on our trip is located: Waldameer Park.

Waldameer Park dates back to 1896... as if the photo above didn't make that perfectly clear! Anyway, that means the park has been open for a really long time! The park still stands strong in its traditional roots, for instance it's not a fully gated park and picnicking is still encouraged!

While visiting we were able to sit down with the park's President, Steve Gorman, and pick his brain a little about the park. Many thanks to him for taking the time from his schedule to speak to us on one of the park's busiest days of the summer.

Waldameer is another one of Pennsylvania's parks that is packed full of old school charm. The grounds are kept beautiful, and the mix of landscaping with traditional and modern rides, games, shops, and great food combine to make a wonderful Amusement Park atmosphere.

The park has the slogan "We're not that same little park anymore!" on their website and that's the truth. Waldameer has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, and Mr. Gorman pointed out that they are very much in the transition phase from a smaller park to a much larger one right now.

We started our day by checking out the park water area, Water World, and taking some shots. Although it was another scorcher the day we visited our busy schedule did not allow us time to partake in the splashing fun.

Water World seems to have quite a draw at Waldameer. The water park has a nice selection of slides and attractions, including the relaxing looking lazy river seen above.

The popularity hasn't gone unnoticed by park management either, as Mr. Gorman expressed their desire to be able to expand their offerings in the future. A lot of very exciting sounding attractions are on the park's radar, but they'll have to remain top secret for now.

The problem with expanding? Land. As it stands now, they're faced with either removing water attractions to add new ones, or they must acquire more land to use for parking. It's not something the park has given up on though, so we'll call it a work in progress.

Here she is in full! How I've gotten thus far into the report and not mentioned the park's amazing location is beyond me. Waldameer is located just outside the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, right on Lake Erie. It directly overlooks the lake, and so the view from the taller rides (and especially Ravine Flyer II) is just incredible.

The Comet is the park's mid-sized family friendly wooden coaster. Opened in 1951, it was designed by the famous Herbert Schmeck and built by PTC.

It's situated in a wonderful wooded area of the park, so photographing The Comet can be tough. I have to give credit to Sabrina for the majority of the photos in this piece as I was slacking that day!

The Comet still uses skid brakes which is always a treat to see in the park this day and age. It's a zippy little ride that makes a great 'first' coaster for kids. The grown ups at the park really seemed to love it, too! I know I did.

The Whacky Shack was a special treat for me on this trip. The classic Bill Tracy dark ride was everything I hoped it would be and more! The old gags were all there, the shrinking door hallway, the giant rat, spinning tunnel, and plenty more.

If the ride's long line, longer than many of the park's big thrill rides, is any indication, I'm not the only visitor to Waldameer who loves the Whacky Shack.

Here's a nice shot showing off two items. One, the crowd. We happened to visit on what Mr. Gorman said was probably their busiest group outing day of the year. Might sound odd, but I like when I'm at a park and it's busy, it adds something to the atmosphere. Second, that big drop tower is named X Scream and it does not mess around. It's intense!

The park added the Ravine Flyer III long before the Ravine Flyer II ever opened. The kiddie coaster was manufactured by Miler, and has a neat location situated atop one of the park's water features, complete with fountains. An adult is needed to ride this one, and while we are truly kids at heart I don't think that qualified us for riding!

I love parks that still have sky rides. Waldameer's is happily still taking guests for a scenic trip across the length of the park.

Thunder River, the park's log flume, was another attraction we were sure not to miss. The ride features two drops, the larger of which can be seen above. Just watch out for guests activating the water bombs as you make your way back to the station!

It also has this awesome tunnel that's 100% filled with mist, and also features lightning and thunder to add to the experience. It's very well done and adds tremendously to the ride experience.

Stay tuned for the second part of our look at Waldameer, coming soon!


Unknown said...

I LOVE THE WHACKY SHACK!!! It is my favorite ride Waldameer has to offer!