Friday, August 13, 2010

A Trip To New England's Family Theme Park - Part 2

Editor's Note: This is the second part of NPN's look at Lake Compounce. If you missed the first section, check that out here!

Continuing our look around Lake Compounce's beautiful grounds it would be a shame to overlook the water park that is included in the pay-one-price admission.

Splash Harbor has developed from a small water area into a full fledged water park over the last decade or so. It's now one of Lake Compounce's main draws, and as you'll see in these photos even a rainy day didn't stop people from taking on the slides and pools!

This is the lake that makes it "Lake Compounce"

The water park is situated right along the lake from which the park takes its name. This gives Splash Harbor a really unique setting that works really well for a water play area. Guests are even able to swim in the lake and relax on the sandy beach. Several of the water slides also empty into the lake, a great way to avoid digging a catch pool!

They're just relaxing in the rain!

Did I mention that Splash Harbor is really pretty? Lake Compounce has found that a water park does not need a tropical theme - or any theme really - for it to be easy on the eye. The lazy river, named Anchor Bay, snakes around the landscaped grounds, and also winds under some of the slides.

In the background is Lights Out, a dark water slide that's themed as a lighthouse. Another pretty unique water slide in my book!

A slide so big it has to be called Mammoth

There's plenty of slides to be had at Splash Harbor - the park has been adding more as the years pass by to help handle the crowds. Above is Mammoth Falls, a huge water slide that can seat the whole family at once!

Among the other attractions are a wave pool, large children's area, as well as a water play structure themed as a huge ship. In the background of the above photo are the Tunnel Twisters, some of the most recent slides added.

If all goes well with some road relocation plans I'm sure we will see Splash Harbor expand even further in the coming years.

Down Time is something a ride wants to avoid - not here!

Back on dry land, (or as dry as it could be on this day) there were a few more attractions we needed to check out. Down Time is a massive freefall tower that actually blasts riders toward the ground. The ride has some really interesting wacky clock theming, too. Fun little touches like that can be found all over the park.

Down Time can be seen from pretty much all over the park - it stands close to 200 ft. tall. While we didn't get to take a spin - or fall I should say - on it while visiting, I'm sure the view from the top is just spectacular.

Fried Bats sound yummy

Lake Compounce has a great assortment of food for patrons as well. Case in point, Fried Bats! Cheese steaks, slushies, funnel cakes - the traditional food is there, but they have a wider variety than that. You can also get tacos, burritos and more at La Fiesta, and we had a meal at the Croc Pot Cafeteria. The Croc Pot offers a huge selection of both hot and cold meals, but remember - no need to pay for soft drinks as they are free!

Alright, time to cover Boulder Dash. This wild wooden coaster has a reputation for being, well, awesome. It's been voted the #1 coaster on Earth several times, and in several different polls. The coaster is popular and has a following, the say the least.

Up into the woods with you!

The ride takes place totally on the side of a mountain. That mountain is both covered in dense trees and some massive natural boulders unlike anything I've seen before. Combine a speedy coaster with those and you get Boulder Dash.

The lift heads up the side of the mountain and into the trees. Riders waiting in the station can watch the train disappear up there, only to have to come roaring past a minute later. No one can see what happened in-between, which only adds to the excitement.

In reality there is a small turn at the top of the lift and then a huge, 115 ft. curving first drop down the side of the mountain. It's intense, and that should have served as an indication of what was to come.

Oh, and I did I mention that it was raining when we were at the park? Well one of those occasional heavy showers was over the park when we took a spin on Boulder Dash. The ride was running wet, and that means extra speed.

The train pops out for a bit but then heads back up to the trees

So down the first drop we went, and then we felt the rain drops. They kinda sting when they hit you at 60 m.p.h. Still, that was a mere distraction from the intense ride that unfolds. The train whips past the station, and quickly climbs its way back up the side of the mountain and into the woods.

My camera couldn't catch the train as anything but a blur

From that point on the rest of the 'out' stretch of the coaster is a bit of a blur. I know the speed did not let up at all, the rain drops kept falling, and my bum left the seat more times than I could keep track of. You climb, then drop, climb, drop - repeating for what seems like forever, and at the end you're only halfway through the ride!

When you do hit the turnaround you gather even more speed as the train takes the final stretch home filled with big bunny hops like those seen above. The air-time here is intense, Boulder Dash means business when it comes to that. When we finally hit the brake run at what still felt like 60 m.p.h. I had to take a minute to ponder what just took place. I think I actually needed recovery time!

Boulder Dash is an incredible ride that you have to experience first hand to understand. It's really that good.

Time to slow down on the park's Trolley

Since we were in a post-Boulder Dash haze I thought it would be a good time to slow things down with a trip on Lake Compounce's Lakeside Trolley. This is an original piece, dating back to 1911 when it carried passengers to the park from New Haven, CT. Trolley Parks are a huge part of the American amusement park history - in fact Trolley companies are responsible for starting many of our favorite parks.

It's neat to be able to actually ride on something that played such a vital role in the park's history. Major kudos to Lake Compounce for operating this wonderful piece of history.

Wet 'n' Wild adventures await

The Trolley deposited us at the very far end of the park, where the catering area and two additional attractions are. One of those is seen above - the Thunder Rapids Raft Ride. This raging river takes boats through plenty of rapids, water falls, and other devious ways of soaking riders. And on a rainy day, well, what's the difference!?

And here is the only attraction that was closed on our visit due to the weather - the park's Sky Ride. It takes you 750 ft. up the side of the mountain on a trip that lasts about 25 minutes. If I figured the view from Down Time was amazing, I can only imagine how things look from up there.

Another neat feature that the park started this year is Text2Ride. A virtual queueing system, guests can purchase credits that allow them to send a text on their mobile phone to a code that will give them a specific time to partake on their favorite attractions with no wait.

Many parks offer "skip the line" programs as well, but this one lets you decide how much you want to spend, and how many attractions you want to use the system for. This flexibility allows every budget to participate, which I think is a smart step.

And with that we've finished our look at Lake Compounce. This park really sparkled for me even though the rain. It's the perfect place to spend a day with the family - not too big, not too crowded, with just the right mix of traditional and modern rides, all with a water park on top!

Thanks again to Sara for showing us around, and be sure to check out the Lake Compounce website for official information if you plan to visit.