Purchasing of our 2020 Roller Coaster Calendar & Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Book

2020 Coaster Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Options

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Lakemont Park is Back!

The return of Lakemont Park is something that we have eagerly anticipated. After they closed with no warning after the 2016 season, it was not exactly clear that the park would be coming back. Prior to closing, we often ended up making the short drive from Pittsburgh to Altoona to go ride Skyliner over and over, and ride the park's many great rides. After the park said they were "closing for a season for renovations" and then did not reopen for multiple years, we certainly were skeptical that the park would ever open again. In the way the park went out with no warning, to say that we were skeptical and upset is an understatement. This skepticism was alleviated when we saw the two new mini golf courses after walking through the gate. 
The basketball courts with Leap the Dips in the background. Leap the Dips is still a work in progress.

Additionally, much of the field that sat between the mini golf and former flat rides is now a large basketball court that plays host to the local youth basketball league. 
There is also a new volleyball court and batting cages. These additions could have largely been possible within the old configuration of the park, but in a backwards kind of way, the space that was occupied by the flats is now largely vacant, meaning that someday it could be possible to add new rides back in those spots.

This latest incarnation of Lakemont Park is certainly great for a fun summer afternoon and it better integrates the local community with the park. While it is difficult losing rides like their old Chance Skydiver, Eyerly Spider, Eli Bridge Ferris wheel, and more, there are plenty of rides interspersed with fun (and truly active) activities to keep you occupied and get your blood flowing. There was a lot of foot traffic within the park than there was prior to the closure. With the addition of another flat ride or two, such as a carousel or a Ferris Wheel, and possibly some midway games, the park will be just about perfect. 
The Rabbit Hole Mini Golf Course occupies the site of the old mini golf course. The Keystone Falls Mini Golf Course occupies a space adjoining the the old mini golf course and runs over to where the Ferris Wheel was located. Both of these mini golf courses are brand new and fun. 
A view of the Keystone Falls Mini Golf Course
Looking over towards the 4x4s kiddie ride, the classic Arrow Dynamics Tin Lizzy Antique Cars, Go-Kart Course, and my favorite ride in the park, Skyliner, the park's outstanding Philadelphia Toboggan Company and John Allen classic. I really missed this classic coaster and it is running great right now, which is surprising considering that the only visible new lumber is in the valley after the first drop and the adjacent track in the after the turnaround. It is running as great as I remember it ever running. The entrance into the first turnaround in the front car has the strongest pop of airtime on the ride and frankly, one of the strongest pops of airtime on any coaster. The backseat offers more overall airtime moments than the front, with a really good pop of airtime on the first drop. You are basically out of your seat from the entrance into the first drop, all the way down the drop. 
The park's classic Arrow Dynamics built, Tin Lizzy Antique Cars Ride, is still intact and a ton of fun. The cars seem to have new motors in them and are running extremely fast. They were fast enough that they were actually exciting and thrilling as opposed to just relaxing like car rides usually are. Surprisingly, it was almost reminiscent to Kennywood's Auto Race prior to it getting slowed down, an experience that I have never felt on this type of ride.
The authentic road signs have always been a nice touch to the ride.
The park's classic Herschell Little Leaper was moved over closer to Skyliner. 
Everyone getting ready to put away their loose articles prior to dispatch. I love the new paint job that they gave to the train.
Is this the only coaster that is adjacent to a ballpark? 
You can even see the airtime that the rear of the train is getting in this view. You can also see the little bit of new lumber that the coaster has received. It is a shock to me just how smoothly the coaster was running.
The front seat was not occupied at the moment in this specific ride, but note the airtime that the riders in the front car are getting as they are entering the turnaround.
I am the one raising my hands in the back!
We probably rode it about twenty times throughout the day. It was seriously hauling.
Leap the Dips is still a work in progress. We can't wait until the world's oldest coaster is up and running again.
It is kind of depressing going down the midway area where the flat rides were. The main upside is knowing that it is possible for them to add more flats and other rides back. Most of the new additions are in areas that were fields prior to the closure, which makes me hopeful that we may see some rides come back at some point.
Back to Mini Golf!
And the park is a surprisingly good birding spot.
Brit playing some mini golf
And hitting in the batting cage....
And back for some more rides on Skyliner!

The park is still a work in progress in its reopening. The train ride, Leap the Dips, and water slides are still in the midst of restoration, but I have to say that we really enjoyed our afternoon at the park. Additionally, the pricing structure is really good. They have a ticket system for individual rides and attractions, but the park's all day pass is a really good value. The only attraction not included in the pass is the batting cages. The all day pass includes Skyliner, the go-karts, antique cars, paddle boats, and unlimited mini-golf. That is a value that is tough to match when it comes to just about anything. For coaster lovers, Skyliner is an underrated gem and well worth going out of your way to visit. Overall, we highly recommend checking out Lakemont Park.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Visiting Conneaut Lake Park, July 2019

For us, it is not summer without taking at least one ride up to Conneaut Lake Park. This laid back park has been slowly, but steadily on the upswing since it reopened in 2010. This year, thanks to contributions from the American Coaster Enthusiasts Preservation Fund, Blue Streak's train received brand new wheels. Additionally, the park debuted an adult sized Ferris Wheel, and a child sized one. 

Our day was largely spent floating around the Lazy River for the afternoon, strolling the midways, riding their nice flat ride collection, and riding the rails on Blue Streak, the park's legendary mayhem machine.
 It is awesome to see the midways lively again. The park always has crowds on the weekends, something that many people have worked countless hours to build up. The revival of the park, especially over the last six years or so, has been really remarkable. 
 They seem to make the Devil's Den better each year, with more gags and and non-stop action. The gravity fed carts also move so quickly that you feel lateral g's on each of the ride's many tight turns. 
 The games midway. They have added a few new games in the last year or two, and this midway feels more connected to the main part of the park with the addition of the Ferris Wheel near the lakefront.
This part of the park was once the most underutilized section. It is extremely scenic, with a view of Pennsylvania's largest natural lake, and a beach and docking area for recreational boaters. They just added the new docking area, though it would be nice if they could make it go perpendicular with the shore instead of horizontally across the end of the beach area. 
The view from the Ferris Wheel
 The beautiful Hotel Conneaut celebrates 116 years of hosting visitors on the shores of Conneaut Lake.
 The Boardwalk and Beach area.

 Conneaut Lake Park's beautiful TM Harton Carousel, the last remaining carousel of its kind. This beautiful machine is more than a century old and we ride it every time we visit. 
 One of the finest parts of the classic Blue Streak coaster is how it is just surrounded by the woods. Many of the trees predate the coaster's construction back in 1938. They are also believed to predate the Scenic Railway coaster that previously occupied this site. Hurtling through the woods on a Blue Streak train is a wild and out-of-control experience that is vastly different on each individual ride and in each row. For controlled mayhem, ride in the second to last row. For absolute mayhem, ride in the backseat. It is sure to be one of the most intense coaster experiences that you will ever have.
 The park's Travel Tumblebug is one of only two remaining units of its kind, and it is the fastest by far. Ejector airtime is sure to be had once this thing gets fully rolling. It is probably our overall favorite ride at the park, amongst the park's small, but great selection of rides.

 We spent most of the afternoon floating around in the park's lazy river. 

 Did I hear you say that you wanted more Blue Streak photos?
 The exit of the ride's turnaround. This is a pretty wild spot to experience in the last row of the train.
 At least one, if not all three, of the first three hills are sure to provide some serious ejector in the last row of the train. Not quite as strong as it was a few years ago, but it is still pretty solid.
 The paratrooper is always a favorite of ours.
 As is the Tilt-A-Whril
 And the park's flyers. These have received some love recently, with a new paint job and a seemingly faster and smoother ride than before. They were already fun, and now they are really good and snap-able.
 Brit getting ready to fly!
As always, we had a blast at the park. If you have not visited this park, you need to check it out if you want to have some nice and relaxed summer fun. If you have visited the park, what are you waiting for? Get back and check out the improvements and enjoy the park's many classic rides.

For more information on visiting, check out their website at www.newconneautlakepark.com