Monday, March 1, 2010

Aerial Antics: Jungle Jack's Landing

Jungle Jack's Landing, along with Zoombezi Bay water park, were at one time part of the former Wyandot Lake Amusement Park. Sort of. I mean, they sit on the land where Wyandot Lake was, but not much from that park is still standing today. Here, I'll show you!

Here is the former Wyandot Lake Amusement Park with a considerable amount of it already removed. I would have loved to have a more complete image, but they are no longer on Bing. Wyandot was owned for Six Flags for a while, but was never a very large park. It featured one family wooden coaster, some water rides, a selection of flats - ya know, the usual.

After Six Flag as a company began to have troubles, they started selling parks like hotcakes, and Wyandot was one of them. You see, the massive (and rather neat looking, I might add) Columbus Zoo is located directly next door to the park. The Zoo has never been shy toward adding unique attractions, even pushing the limits of the typical 'zoo' experience often. With that, Wyandot closed after the 2006 season, and officially became part of the Columbus Zoo.

And after some careful planning, the Zoo announced Zoombezi Bay water park and the Jungle Jack's Landing amusement area, to be built on top of what once was Wyandot Lake park. Above you can see that transformation underway - very little of the original park was saved. The wooden coaster, a small lazy river, and a water play structure were the larger items spared from the bulldozer.

And all that hard work paid off, as seen here. A brand new, world class water park was built, and a small - but poised to grow - amusement park were born.

Zoombezi Bay was a showcase of the latest and greatest (I use that phrase too much) in the industry - just check out this slide tower! You have a little of everything mixed in there: speed slides, bowl slides, rafting, take your pick! Nice colors, as well.

And here's that sliver of the park that hearkens back to Wyandot Lake times. The Sea Dragon, a classic John Allen designed ride, still thrills families today. It was opened back in 1956 and built by PTC. The park was smart to have saved the ride. That's the lazy river I spoke of earlier that they also saved running underneath the coaster.

Plenty of new rides were added to Jungle Jack's as well, such as this log flume named Jungle River Falls. The park also has a nice selection of rides for the whole family - classics like a sea dragon and scrambler, along with children's rides like a jeep safari and mini-teacups.

If you want to peruse all the changes the park has seen, Bing's aerials are available here.