Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Camden Park, Huntington, WV Memorial Day Weekend 2015

After spending the day at Kings Island, we decided we wanted to check out Camden Park. We had heard nothing but great things about the park, and we really wanted to check it out. Two of the five remaining coasters with National Amusement Device (NAD) Trains, are at the park. The other three remaining coasters that run with fully intact NAD trains are the Kennywood Thunderbolt, Conneaut Lake Park Blue Streak, and the Kiddie Coaster at Rye Playland. Camden Park's two coasters are two of the last four remaining coasters designed by NAD, with the other two being the Kiddie Coaster at Rye Playland, and Montaña Rusa at La Feria Chapultepec Magico in Mexico City, Mexico. 

Below you can see the park's Big Dipper. The rolling stock on this coaster is a single NAD Century Flyer train. As to be expected with these NAD Century Flyer trains, the ejector airtime towards the back of the train was awesome. This is a zippy and fun little ride that offers more airtime and thrills than coasters twice its size.
As is the story with many parks, this park opened as a trolley park around the turn of the century in 1902. An Adena Indian mound lies undisturbed within the center of the park that is estimated to date back to 1000 BCE. A number of other mounds once existed around the Huntingdon area that were all disturbed and destroyed when people wanted to develop their sites. This is one of the few that remains intact.

The first thing we checked out was the park's Haunted House. This is one of two remaining Pretzel Gravity fed darkrides in operation, with the other being the Devil's Den up at Conneaut Lake Park. Hopefully this will soon be one of three if Bushkill Park reopens as planned. All I can say is that this is one of the best darkrides out there and that it truly runs like a roller coaster. We were flying through this and the lateral forces were strong. The gags were lots of fun. Some p
We rode everything in the park and had a delightful time. The next ride was the Paratrooper. The laid back experience in the park is exactly what we love in parks. We could just relax and take in the park. No large and rowdy crowds, no one hounding you to spend more money at the park. It was great. That evening was easily one of the best we have ever had in a park. 
 The park has an excellent selection of flat rides, including this Hrubetz Round-Up named Bull's Eye
Here is the park's newest ride in action, the Rattler. This Zamperla Mini-Discovery, Pendulum ride is a ton of fun. It seems like the smaller the pendulum ride, the more intense they become. While this does not offer the height of Zamperla and Huss's giant pendulum rides, it seems to offer a more powerful ride for you are constantly reaching the end of the arc of the ride.
The Rattler is an awesome ride.
Disorienting view looking at both of these rides spinning at the same time.
Now onto the Big Dipper! An awesome ride with some great pops of ejector airtime towards the back of the ride. 

The carousel is a 1925 Spillman unit that had its wooden horses replaced with decent Herschel aluminum horses at some point. It is a fun carousel. I always love seeing Spillman and Herschell works.

The park's set of Modern Larson Flyers was not in operation that day.
In the center of the park they had this stage all set up with a decent band playing. The placement of the stage allows for the music to be heard throughout the entire park. It created a really festive and relaxing atmosphere. Instead of having a park band providing entertainment, they host local bands, providing for a genuine musical experience on top of the fun of the park.
After riding the Scrambler we decided to ride the park's Mangels Whip. This Whip is all around spectacular. I always love riding Mangels Whips, but this one is different from all of the others I have experienced in that there is only 15 feet or so between the two wheels. Instead of having that moment to take a breath after going around the flywheel on the ride, you are almost immediately on the next flywheel. Add into this that the ride is run faster than many of the other rides of its type, this ride experience is awesome!
That raised area behind the Whip is the Adena Indian Mound. It is heavily grown in.
We will take a look at some comparison shots to several other Mangels Whips.
You can see how much longer a typical whip is. The length between the flywheels is significantly shorter on the Camden Park Whip, and it runs much faster as well, providing for a much more powerful ride. You really cannot go wrong with a Mangels Whip though for they are always fun.
Dorney Whip
 Kennywood Whip
Sidetracking a minute, you may notice that I often mention in my park visit reports that a park has something that is "the best,  or "my favorite." I usually find at least one thing in each park I visit that is remarkable and I seldom feel like I have experienced a bad day at a park. There is something really special about Camden. It is a nice and accessible small park with a great selection of rides. 

Here you can see the Swan Boats and the Tilt-A-Whirl
The park has a nice little train ride that makes a small circle through the park.
The park's log flume is very nice.
This is one of the last handcarts attractions remaining. Rides that emphasize physical activity are great for the kids. I recall when those four wheel Jeep toys were very popular I asked my parents for one and they said that I can deal with and will be better off riding my bike around. They were right. It is great to see these old rides that have that same emphasis for the little ones. 

The park has a great assortment of kid rides, making this a great place to take a family.
The park also has this old sky ride named Skyliner. I am not certain of the manufacturer of these old sky rides. Does anyone know? 
The park also has a nice miniature golf course.
A view of the next coaster on the agenda, the Little Dipper. 
This is one of only four remaining NAD designed coasters like the Big Dipper across the park. This design was duplicated for multiple parks when it was produced, and now it is only two of this specific design, with the other being located at Rye Playland on Long Island in New York, a bucket list park for me that was featured in the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks, and often talked about during Mad Men.

Overall, I highly recommend visiting this old park. All of the rides are great, and the atmosphere is very relaxing. This is a great place to spend an evening. It is less expensive than going to the movie theater at only nine dollars a person. This park encompasses everything a community amusement park should. It is affordable, the rides are great, the food is inexpensive, and there are a number of great activities to do. The park's two rare NAD coasters are excellent, the park's rare Gravity Pretzel ride is world class, along with the Whip, which I believe is the most powerful that I have experienced. 

Everything about this park is great. We had as much fun on that evening as we have experienced in any park and I highly recommend making a visit. 

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