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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Conneaut Lake Park Trip Report, August 2018

Visiting Conneaut Lake Park is always a pleasure. Annually, since the park reopened, the monumental task of revamping the park has steadily continued. This effort is immediately evident upon entry to the park. The rides have steadily been revamped and reopened, buildings have been painted, and the crowds have soon followed. The crowd that we saw on this visit is one of the largest we have ever seen at the park, which is excellent for the park's continual future outlook. 
The park's century-old T.M. Harton Carousel serves as the heart of this classic amusement park. The ride is both aesthetically pleasing to see, and the carousel organ is the park's figurative heartbeat, setting the tone for the enjoyment of the park. The only improvement would be if they could figure out a way to get the ride's ring machine operational again. The unit remains and it would be great if they could get it running again. 
Blue Streak is the park's most popular ride and has stood as the landmark coaster at the park since it was constructed in 1938. I will tell you more about Blue Streak later in this article. I kept the photos chronological in this article instead of bunched together by ride. 
The front of the park has an excellent trio of flat rides, with a Paratrooper, an authentic set of Bisch-Rocco Flying Scooters, and a Tilt-A-Whirl. The laid back nature of this park is really what keeps us going back. The flat ride collection is very good for park of its size. It rivals that of much larger parks. 
Tilt-a-Whirl time!
Paratrooper time! There is something so relaxing about these rides.
Flyers time! This is probably the finest set of flyers outside of Knoebels that I have experienced. These offer more play than most of the flyers out there and have the ability to be snapped on windy days. 
After getting in a few rides, we decided to head over the waterpark for a few hours. We ended up riding the waterslides a few times and then marathoning the lazy river for a few hours. 
The park has also made a concerted effort at landscaping this year. There are hanging baskets and beautifully manicured gardens throughout the park. This beauty, in addition to the park's natural beauty of being located within a a forest of trees that largely appear to have been deliberately planted dating back to the founding of the park in 1892. The secondary old-growth trees at Conneaut Lake Park are a large part of why this is such a nice place to relax.
The food vendor this year at the park is a definite improvement from previous years. I had an Italian sausage sandwich that was pretty good. Brit had chicken fingers and fries, which were not that great. There were more options for sweets, including candy apples, ice cream, Dippin' Dots, and more. 
Multiple events were happening at the park. There were a number of birthdays and picnics in the many groves at the park. The pier in front of the hotel played host to a wedding, and the hotel was utilized for the reception. The classic Hotel Conneaut serves as an excellent place for weddings and other events. 

We won a bunch of stuffed animals on this visit!

The Devil's Den is a Pretzel Dark Ride that is in the midst of its 50th anniversary at the park. This ride somehow gets better on each visit to the park. The cars really flew through the ride course on this visit, with some airtime and strong laterals. There are also a number of really new and fresh tricks and gags throughout the ride.
Kiddieland has a really fine collection of classic kids rides, including this family sized Herschell carousel.
They even had real ponies on the Pony Track!
As I mentioned earlier, they have really done a great job with landscaping and gardens throughout the park. The area around the carousel is especially beautiful. 
It is always such a treat getting to ride this beautiful and one-of-a-kind carousel, the last remaining unit by T.M. Harton, who founded the long lost and beloved West View Park near Pittsburgh. A number of their carousels were installed throughout Western PA and Northeast Ohio. 


Now for some Blue Streak!
We always work to always be honest with our reports. I have ridden this coaster every year since the park has opened, and on this specific day, the valley at the bottom of the first drop, and the last two airtime hills on the ride showed that they could really use some work. Additionally, the airtime was either non-existent or very muted as compared to previous years. As recently as last year, every single hill offered airtime.

The areas that appear to have seen track work in the last year, specifically the first and second drops, ran smoothly but only one of the rides on this visit gave a little bit of airtime. The valley following the first drop was rough and the train shuffled a good bit through it. Up until the second to last airtime hill, the train just meandered through the course. The last two airtime hills had the jackhammering feeling of the train going over a washboard. My best advice for this season is to not ride on a seat with wheels underneath. The single bearable ride of this visit was in the second to last row, away from the wheels.
Now we head for a ride on the Bessemer and Lake Erie Miniature Train. This Herschell manufactured train ride offers a trip through the woods of the park and around the bulk of Blue Streak's structure, providing awesome views of the train flying by.
The new track work on the second hill is evident in this picture.
Blue Streak's train heading out of the turnaround.
You really see how Blue Streak just flies through the woods when you take a ride on the park's miniature railroad. 

Now for more rides on the flats in the front of the park!
Overall, we had a very nice day at the park. While Blue Streak could use some work and the Tumblebug was closed for the season, we still had a great time.

They have a really good Groupon deal going for two all-day wristbands for either the rides or the waterpark for only $12.00.  It is good through September 3rd.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear that the park is surviving. This was our vacation in the 1950s, and probably the escape from Pittsburgh for my parents.

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