Having passed Adventure Park USA—an F.E.C. with a Schwarzkopf figure-eight coaster similar to Wildcat at CP—on our way out west last month, we were determined to return someday. Somehow, the four of us found our schedules magically aligned again, and the plan was set in motion.
Adventure Park USA is located not too far from Frederick, MD to give you some reference off of exit 62 of I-70. The FEC has a wide variety of things to do like two miniature-golf courses, two go-kart track (one for kids, and one that is a slick track designed for the big kids) rock climbing wall, paintball, Laser Tag, bumper boats, ropes climbing course, moonbounce, and a huge climbing apparatus for the small children set. Think of the local Chick-Fil-A/McDonalds activity area, and multiply it times three or more.
The day we picked to go just happened to be their second anniversary as well, and they were having a ride-all-you-want special on The Wildcat from 10-5pm for only $10, which we missed due to someone's work schedule. They were also promising fireworks later on.
Arriving at the park around 6 p.m., we had to first buy our card to put credits on for $1. I was looking over the options and they had something called the Lucky Seven where you could take in seven attractions (excluding the paintball range). So for $30, three of us sprung for that option, while Matt missed that option in another line and got a lower-priced one instead.
First up was The Wildcat, the controversial "Will they let them keep it up, or will they make them tear it down?" coaster after the park installed it without permits. For those who may not remember the controversy, the park claimed it didn't need permits because it was portable, while the town council claimed it did. Well, sensibility won in the end and we have a Schwarzkopf in Maryland!
We broke up in two groups to ride—me and Bryan rode with another couple, while Matt and Jon rode in another car. I've got to say that the ride looks immaculate compared to the track we saw last year sitting in the parking lot on our return from BeastBuzz. It has a great paintjob and the cars look brand-new as well. Not bad for a ride on its fourth site, as it dates back to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For all I know, I may have ridden it back then!
Strapping on the seatbelt for two, and pulling down the lapbar, we climbed the same kind of thin lift-chain at Cedar Point—the one that doesn't look like it'll hold the car's weight. At the top of the lift, there is a small dip before the turnaround to the first drop. One thing that shocked us all was how smooth this thing is in comparison to Wildcat at CP. It never had that out-of-control feel that you do at the ending of CP's version, but it is a 54-meter version (44', 3") versus the 65-meter version (50') at CP.
While I never rode it at William's Grove, I can't imagine it was in as good of shape as this, although perhaps someone could tell me otherwise. This is a nice family-coaster that is a great starter for the little ones.
We next moved onto the Blazing Trails slick-track go-karts and it was fun, but they didn't particularly go all that fast, but we got many laps. Back inside the main complex, we hit up the climbing wall, and it was not that easy. I didn't know that I was starting on the intermediate side in the middle, and was having trouble even getting started. We all eventually made it to the top of this one though. The expert side though on the right defeated us all and it just got to be physically exhausting. Miniature golf anyone?
APUSA has two eighteen-hole courses. We chose to do the Thundering Falls course because it looked cooler. With four of us playing and the challenges getting increasingly difficult, it took us about an hour to finish the course. It's nice to see that they have the 19th-hole challenge shot where you shoot up a ramp to land in the center to win something—although what you won I didn't see in print. Jon was closest as he got his ball to go right between the fireworks obstacles, but it bounced right out again.
One thing that kind of confused us the whole time was why there were multiple places to hit your ball in on some of the holes. Some of the holes would have as many as three holes, with one being red. Often we were aiming for, or finishing off our rounds in the red pocket.
After we finished, we saw a sign off to the right of where you picked-up your clubs that explained why there were red pockets, and supposedly an orange pocket as well (which none of us remember seeing). The red pocket was actually a penalty pocket as you were supposed to take two-strokes off and add a penalty stroke or something like that. The mysterious orange pocket was to deduct a point, I believe. Why there wasn't a sign that explained that before you started the golf-course itself I'm not sure, so we just went with what we scored.
We went back inside to get something to eat, and the prices weren't too bad on the food. There were a multitude of meal-options and the burger combo I got was pretty good tasting and not at all like a fast-food burger. It wound up costing me $6.10 as I had to upgrade to a medium drink. I found that kind of weird as most combo meals at any fast-food restaurant start with a medium drink. They were probably trying to appeal to the family's though with the small drink.
I saw a guy who I'm pretty sure is the owner come through and tell the food workers that they were to close down at such-and-such a time due to the fireworks. We had wanted to go play Laser Tag, but they told us that everything would shutdown for a period while the fireworks went on.
So we went into the arcade to play some games. Bryan and I managed to play one unusual game where you have a "shotgun," and have to shoot at huge dartboard-like targets mounted on a wall from a long distance. There were two rows and the number of targets that would light-up would increase and their distance started to spread as well.
We then started having problems with our cards, as the machines that took the cards instead of tokens started going into bypass mode. Yes, we are being forced to watch fireworks:)
At around 9 p.m. the fireworks started, and the show was pretty good. I was just hoping it was short, as we still had credits left to burn. The show, which was pretty good, lasted around fifteen minutes. All right everyone, back to West World Laser Tag! Since Laser Tag is done in sessions, we had to wait for the 9:30 p.m. session. We were let into a room with small church pews where we were briefed on how the vest worked, and how our gun worked. The young man made sure to repeat at least four times "No running."
After strapping our vests on and being armed, we were told to memorize our gun's number which showed-up in our gun's score readout. I have to admit, I didn't really know what was in store, or if I'd be any good at this. After letting us out into the first floor, we were told that the game had begun and let the mayhem ensue!
The layout of the area was really cool, western-themed (like the park), quite dark, and under blacklights. It was an incredible amount of fun to run around and fire at people and have them fire back. The only bad part was the five-second delay every time you got shot. It got even better when I found the ramp to the second floor which had even more maze-like corridors, and found even more special targets to shoot (I'll keep it a mystery as to what those are). The balcony overlooking the first floor became even more fruitful towards my score of a respectable 3400 which tied me for fourth place.
It was kind of odd to me that at the end that they called out everyone's number and handed you a slip with your score and stats on it, plus all the other player's scores and the number of times you hit them and they hit you. It was kind of like being back in high-school again. According to the slip, the game's duration was ten-minutes, but it somehow felt much longer.
Running out of time, we went back and hit up The Wildcat again and we all rode in the same car. It was still a great ride. It was 9:55 p.m. according to my watch, and we went back to get another ride, and the op lets a little girl through to ride by herself and says that it's the last ride of the night thinking that we had the last ride of the night. We didn't get what she was saying at first.
She tells us that according to her card-scanner, she was offline and could take no more riders. That was really lame. So I did the math in my cellphone and figured out that the three of us who chose the Lucky-Seven option left about $4.30 in their pockets as that expired that day. So we all justified it by saying that it was the cost of the fireworks show:)
I think we all had a good time, and it was a nice diversion from going to a traditional themepark, but it did seem a little bit pricey. But then again, thinking about it, if you priced out all those options separately at most themeparks, it probably was a bargain. The FEC is very well kept and clean, and hopefully they'll expand some more in the future. I was kind of surprised to see only two outdoor rides for kids—a small carousel, and a teacups ride. It looks like there was a third ride (or will be?), but the concrete pad is empty. *** Edited 7/15/2007 10:45:20 PM UTC by Intamin Fan***
Man that makes me wish Williams Grove was still up and running. I really miss the Twister ride, Fun House, and even the sketchy Cyclone. Good times!
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