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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Conneaut Lake Park, June 13, 2015

This weekend we visited Conneaut Lake Park, and as always, we had an awesome time. We made the trek up from Pittsburgh to spend a relaxing afternoon at the park. The slow but steady improvements at this park show on every visit. This is our first visit in 2015, but even last year over a period of weeks you would see improvements. The park looks cleaner, more rides are in operation, and the rides are running better than ever. One of the best things about Conneaut Lake Park is that you can have a relaxing day at an amusement park for an all day ride wristband rate of only ten dollars. On the second Sunday of each month the park sells the wristbands for only 5 DOLLARS and on some days they even let grandparents ride with their grandchildren for free. The pricing is great for a park with some excellent rides and natural beauty. 
 While the Flyers are being rehabilitated, and the train getting closer to operation, the Tilt-A-Whirl has been fully restored.
 The beautifully wooded midway of the park. You really feel like you are in a forest when you visit the park. Many of the trees appear to be pushing a century old. More on that later in this post.
 Onto the Tumblebug! Boy was this thing really powerful! This is one of only two Traver Tumblebug rides remaining in operation, with the other being the Turtle down at Kennywood. This Tumblebug rides like the thrill ride it was originally designed to be. The airtime was great, and if you did not hold on, you were tossed around the circular car. 
 Us getting ready to ride!
As has been the case since 1938, the Ed Vettel designed Blue Streak rules the park. This coaster rides better and better with the full rehabilitation work that Lenny Adams has put into the ride. The backseat airtime on this demon is as good as any out there. Normally the first drop packs the strongest punch of airtime on the ride. On this visit the first drop packed as much ridiculous ejector airtime as it usually does, but the second drop packed an even more powerful punch. I probably rode this about a dozen times, and got to meet Brian Lyautey.

As I was mentioning earlier about the age of the trees, Blue Streak is a pretty tall coaster in the 77-80 foot range. Normally there is a set stat on how tall a coaster is, but different sources state different heights for the ride. Anyways, notice how the trees have a good 25 to 30 feet on the coaster? That puts these trees as high as 110 feet. I believe these are oaks, and that puts these trees as more than a century old. I am not sure if they were planted when the park was opened, or if they were there before the park opened and kept. There is a very good chance that these are old growth trees. There is a confirmed old growth forest in one of the game lands near the park. There is a good chance that these may be old growth as well. If they are or not, they really are beautiful trees.
 Here you can see the moment right before the train crests the hill and you feel like you will get launched to the moon.
Boom! Blue Streak is such a phenomenal ride. With this, I have ridden four of the five remaining coasters with NAD trains, with the other three being the Kennywood Thunderbolt, and the Camden Park Big and Little Dippers. The only one left for us to ride is the Rye Playland Little Dipper.
 The park's T.M. Harton carousel is a real stunner. It is also one of the only things left intact of T.M. Harton's legacy. He built this in 1905 and in 1906 he opened the famed and sorely missed West View Park near Pittsburgh. The Blue Streak coaster is also one of only two coasters remaining designed by Ed Vettel, the same guy that designed the Bobs and Racing Whippet coasters.
 I love the murals of historical scenes around Conneaut.
 Next up was the Devil's Den. I helped with restoration of this a few years back. I am glad to say that the park has improved the scenes quite a bit, even since last year. It is really looking great. This is one of only a few Gravity fed Pretzel Darkrides remaining. Another can be found down at Camden Park.
 Home of one of the best entry warnings in the business. Now that is my kind of safety spiel warning! 
 Conneaut Lake is Pennsylvania's largest natural lake. The beach area looks great. We will have to get back later in the summer and do some swimming.
 And one more ride on the Tumblebug! I highly recommend taking the time to visit this natural and historic gem of a park for a relaxing and affordable getaway. 

5 comments:

  1. I am so glad to see that the Park is open still/again. Even though I no longer live in the area, I will always have warm memories of the many, many years I spent lots of days at the Park, first as a child and then with my own children and grandchildren. Thank you for your lovely report. I'm hoping to visit the Park when I come to PA in August.

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  2. Makes my heart happy to know this nostalgic park is open again this year!!!!

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  3. Makes my heart happy that this nostalgic park is open again this year

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  4. Thank you for such a good article and photos. It's wonderful that the park has come alive for another generation to enjoy.

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