Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Camden Park 2004

We all know that West Virginia is "wild and wonderful". What you may not know is that it also has an amusement park! This week we take a peek inside one of the less publicized traditional parks in the U.S.

Camden Park has quite a claim to fame. It features not one, but two roller coasters built by National Amusement Device. Big Dipper (pictured here) and Lil' Dipper are two of the only NAD coasters still in existence, and both still utilize their original, distinctively NAD trains.

In case you missed the note on the cover, this park has been around for a long time. It has called Huntington, WV home since 1903!

In 2004, Camden Park debuted a new educational attraction called "Savage Ancient World" which allowed families to explore the environment in which the last American dinosaurs lived. The exhibit was housed in a building next to the Big Dipper and ran from the end of May through mid-August. Based on the few Camden Park brochures I own, it appears that the park features a different exhibit in this building each season. It's like having a mini-museum right inside the park!

Here's a sampling of the special events offered in 2004. Of course, with it being the Halloween season and all, my attention immediately was drawn to the Halloween Spooktacular. [Insert mini Halloween Spin here. Don't mind if I do!] This event was in its sixth year in 2004, and it sounds like it featured many of the same attractions as today's version.

Now I can't speak for 2004 on this, but one item of particular note on the 2009 Halloween Spooktacular web page is that the park's Haunted House is "specially tricked out for the season". First, nice use of the phrase "tricked out". Second, while that's freakin' sweet and all, those of us who fall into the "history buff" or "dark ride enthusiast" categories would argue that this ride is tricked out year-round...with a chain lift! That's right: In addition to those classic NAD coasters, Camden Park also features one of only two remaining gravity-powered Pretzel dark rides in the country. (Our friends at Conneaut Lake Park operate the other one.)

This map would have afforded me the perfect opportunity to talk about the rest of Camden Park's classic rides. But unfortunately (though somewhat humorously), I have become way too distracted by the graphics. Some of them are just...interesting. I still haven't figured out what kind of ride the "Magic Rainbow" is, nor do I understand why the Caterpillar is on fire! Why, Camden Park? Why would you do that to your Caterpillar?! I've heard of sprinkling salt on a slug (another VERY mean practice which I do not condone), but this is ridiculous.

[Note: Further research revealed that the Magic Rainbow is actually a round-up, and apparently these days it's called "Bull's Eye". Wow, how in the world did I not put two and two together...]

When you've had your fill of Camden Park, you can check out these other wild and wonderful West Virginia attractions.

Earlier this year, I stumbled upon a reprint of a Camden Park "100th birthday" feature that originally appeared in the Herald-Dispatch back in 2003. I've been waiting for an opportune moment to share it, and now seems like as good a time as any! So this week, I shall leave you with this special treat. Be sure to check out the photo galleries--They contain some great shots, including some in black and white!