Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Missing Oak Park Man Needs Medication


I know this isn't amusement park-related, but it's a dire situation and very important to me. Please help us find our missing friend.

Evan is a sweet, caring, talented person; lots of people are very concerned for his safety. If you know anything, please contact the Oak Park, IL police department at 708-386-3800. Thanks. And thanks in advance for your prayers, good wishes, white light.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tumble Bug!!!!!!!


Did you know Conneaut Lake Park possesses one of only two operational Tumble Bug rides in the US of A?  It's a rollicking, tumbly coaster-type of a ride.  Chances are you've never experienced it, as it's so very rare, so here's a recent video of the vintage ride in all it's upsy-downsy glory!

Ben and I rode it in early June of this year and it's officially in my list of Top 10 Best Vintage Rides for my book.  What makes it so very special, aside from it's rarity, is that it's a great option for those of us who intrinsically love coasters but, for a variety of reasons, may not be up to riding them anymore.

Tumble on, Bug.  Tumble on...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where have the Kiddieland Rides gone? Read and learn!

Mercy buckets to Jill Chukerman-Test for sending me a "heads up" on this Chicago Tribune photo essay on the whereabouts of the beloved Kiddieland rides.

Just a little bragging rights here: I gave the gentleman at Nelis' Dutch Village the info about the auction of the Kiddieland rides and he bought the pumper cars, which now are enjoyed at his park.  I look at the photo here and get just a little misty.

Next up on my roadtrip: a visit to the reborn Santa's Village Azoosment Park to revisit two of these transplanted rides!

BTW: When I win the Powerball, after taking my Dad on a trip around the world and buying Ben a Borsalino, I'll be purchasing the German carousel, oh yes I will.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back Out. No Fair. Will Pout Now.

I wish I could say I threw my back out while riding the Boulder Dash, the world's highest-rated wooden rollercoaster.  It curves along the dips and highs of the Lake Compounce hillside.  Ben rode it; I sat quietly with a twist cone because of my back.  Which I threw out the night before while bending over to wash my face.  I was washing my face and my back caved in, making the last two parks visited for my book a real physical chore.

But did I have a sack o' fun?  You bet I did!  Connecticut houses two wonderful vintage parks, Quassy and Lake Compounce.  Quassy's small-but-true, set near a lake where you can ride paddleboats, enjoy a host of vintage rides, or try your luck in the arcade (I was aiming to win the ultra-cool Quassy glass tumbler decorated with carousel ponies and stamped "Quassy", but, due to my physical limitations, was only able to win enough for a sippy cup and some candy.  Yes, I'm the proud owner of a Quassy sippy cup and, in a way, that's cool, too).

I couldn't have planned it better to visit Lake Compounce last, because it literally encompassed the best of so many of my favorite park attractions in one, easy-to-navigate place.  Listed as "The Oldest Amusement Park in the Country", it opened in 1846 and has kept growing since then. Besides the aforementioned coaster, it's home to an historic carousel, a scenic train ride, and an honest-to-goodness antique trolley!  My favorite bit of fun had to be the sky ride that takes you up so high, you can nearly touch cloud wisps.  I think I heard some angels tuning their harps, that's how high we went.

More to come, plus photos.  But right now, I have to get up and move around to help heal my back.  "It just isn't fair that this happened at all" says the squirmy kid in me.  But the older and wiser kid is very grateful I was able to enjoy these two classic parks...and witness the creation of the Biggest Cotton Candy Mountain in the World.

Tune in soon for photos, because seeing is believing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Maine is awash with green and pine and slickness.  It's been raining all night and into today, and the forecast basically promises rain throughout the day, into the evening, through tomorrow, maybe even bridging into Wednesday.  I'm used to rain and it really doesn't bother me because Earth needs a drink.

But not on the day when I'm visiting my 40th park for "The Cotton Candy Road Trip", the last of the forty: Palace Playland in Orchard Beach, ME.  Palace Playland is also the farthest park north and east that I'll be visiting.  We traveled 5 hours yesterday from Rye Playland to get here.  It's a big deal.

And it's raining.  We'll definitely visit, but, due to the weather, won't be able to get the full Palace Playland experience.

So it's a very good thing I've decided to play Big Kid with All the Toys.

Remember when you were a Little Kid and it was time to leave the amusement park and you cried and whined and your parents said, "Well, when you're grown up, you can come back and stay as long as you'd like"?  Well, I'm grown up, but I'm still a kid - hence a Big Kid.  And I have All the Toys now (i.e. my own schedule, a charge card, and a driving desire to see more parks).

So this Big Kid is making her own rules.  Who says a book about 40 parks has to cap at 40?  No one.  I've got All the Toys and I can play as long as I like.

Keep tuned for more info about my slightly longer Road Trip, because I'm totally willing to share those really cool toys with you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rockin' it, old school.

I can hardly catch my breath after the amazing onslaught of history, charm, grime, magic, wonder and hope I encountered today.  I'm tired, I'm spent, I'm slightly tipsy after a glass of pinot grigio.  What I will tell you is this:  I'm rolling along through the last leg of my Road Trip, on the East Coast, where I'll tackle 9 parks (yes, you read that correctly) in less than a week.

What have I seen so far?  The sweetness and childhood hope of Storybook Land.  The perfect summer evening at Gillian's Wonderland (and some might fine coconut macaroon ice cream).  Keansburg Park's embrace of the old and new. And Coney Island's cornucopia of Wonder Wheel, red hots, red hot mamas, freak shows and amazingly sad/happy/glittery/seamy history.

I'm going to sleep well tonight.  Very well.  Because I'm Cotton Candying again, winding down this tremendous journey, and collecting some of the most incredible, heart-wrenching stories yet.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Grab the Brass Ring!


How cool is THIS!  From August 1 through 7, folks who ride the Looff carousel at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will win a prize if they catch the brass ring!  Haven't you always wanted to actually say the phrase, "Hey!  I grabbed the brass ring!" and not have it be a metaphorical statement?  Now's your chance!

We rode the Looff last year and it's truly one of the most amazing carousels you'll ever see.