Camden Park advice

Saturday, July 11, 2009 2:02 AM
DantheCoasterman's avatar

My brother is playing in a baseball tournament in Ashland, KY next weekend, and after doing a bit of research on RCDB, I found that a little place called Camden Park will only be about 7 miles away.

I visited their site, and I'm not really sure what to think. I have a few questions that I would really appreciate being answered.

-The park is open till 10pm on Friday and Saturday, but only 7:30 on other days. Does this park get crowded on weekends? If so, is experiencing the park at night worth the extra waits?

-How are the coasters? They both seem pretty small, but the trains look very cool.

-Admission is discounted by $10 on the weekends if you visit after 5pm. Will this allow for enough time to completely experience the park?

-The site doesn't provide a description of many of the rides, so I took a look at the park map to see what all they have. Does Camden have a pretty good selection of rides? I'm really interested in the Sky Diver ride, as well as the Whip and Rainbow.

-Does the park have any hidden gems? (I know it isn't very big, but you never know...)

Answers to the questions above, as well as any addition advice is GREATLY appreciated!


Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:42 AM
KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

I've never been to Camden but from what I hear the Whip is not to be missed. It is one of only 2 that run at full speed. The other one is at Rye Playland.

I guess you can consider Hot Cat a "hidden gem". One of only a handful of caterpillars still running (no canopy though).

Both coasters run NAD trains. The only other coasters I know of are that have those are Kennywood's Thunderbolt and Rye's kiddie coaster.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:46 AM
Morté615's avatar

Well as someone who worked there this year I can answer your questions.

Crowded is not really a word I would associate with Camden Park, the busiest it has ever been (which you will probably never see) has waits of 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour for the 3 biggest rides (Big Dipper, Log Flume, and Haunted House) So crowds are not really an issue.

The park is slowest as the day begins, picks up around 2PM, and slows down around 7 on those days, so the night time bits are usually walk on rides and with everything (sorta) lit up!

The Big Dipper is a lot of fun, just don't look too closely at it :) The Little Dipper is fun also just remember that it is a Junior Coaster so keep your back off the seat through the ride.

I would say that on the average day 3 hours would get you through every ride once, and probably more than once.

The Wiki for Camden Park has a lot of info on the park and it's rides. This year the Sky Diver is not operating and is slated for removal, so that ride is down. Usually though the maintenance keeps the rides up and running very well. IF you are in to Spin and Pukes, check out the Spider right as you enter the park, it is the best operating Spider I have ever been on. The whip is a classic and extreemly fun while the Rainbow (now known as Bulls-eye, with a new paint job) is fun but personally not for more than a ride or two.

As for hidden gems, well lets see the park is built around an Adena Indian Mound. Take a walk past the Hot Cat and keep on going past the Discovery Center and go through the picnic area. Its a beautiful walk and gives an interesting view of the Big Dipper from the other side.

Any other questions please feel free to ask, I have worked there a few times, and currently staying just a few minutes away, so I can answer pretty much anything.

Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design:

Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:49 AM

I visited the park a couple times last year. It's a cute, dingy, charming, old, little park with lots of character going for it.

We were there on a Saturday and a Sunday. The Saturday was quite busy, with waits on many rides of twenty minutes or more. Sunday, in contrast, was an absolute walk-on all day long.

I'm guessing that, even with it being busy, you could get through the entire park after 5:00 on a Saturday...but you might not get many re-rides if you need to do everything. The park does light up nicely after dark, so IMO it's worth seeing.

Don't miss: both coasters (L'il Dipper is surprisingly fun and Big Dipper is a cool woodie), the dark ride, the flume ride, and the shakiest/scariest sky ride I've ever been on. The putt-putt golf course also has some neat hillbilly theming.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:35 PM
LostKause's avatar

I live about 40 minutes from the park. When Camden is not busy, one can easily do everything in the afternoon/ Evening when admission is discounted. It is definitely worth a visit, if just for the atmosphere and classic rides. There is enough rides there to keep you busy for at least a few hours.

The entire park itself could be considered a hidden gem.

Some of the rides are pretty scary due to them seeming unsafe, but I still have no worries about their safety. The semi-large Ferris Wheel wobbles, the Sky Lift shakes, and the Big Dipper is rickety (but a lot of fun).

Some of my favorites there are the Flying Scooters, which are much larger than the snappable versions, the Whip, which is furious and unrelenting, the haunted house, which is pretty short but a fast, dark romp in the dark, and the Log Flume, which is quickly becoming a rare and unique style of ride.

They have your usuials, like the Tilt-A-Whirl, a nice Carosuel, and Scrambler. Hot Cat is a unique semi-enclosed catipillar. Magic Rainbow is your standard round-up. The train is not a full sized, steam or coal train, but is still a lengthy and fun ride around half of the park.

Camden park packs a lot of fun into a small space. If you are passing through the area, I reccommend a visit.

My only complaint is that I don't think admission is worth $21. That's a very high price for what the park offers. I think that they get away with that because it's the only amusement park within many hours drive.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:38 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Camden Park 7/19/08

(this is that "no reason to repeat myself" thing in action :) )

Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:21 PM

I might add that the Haunted House is one of only two gravity Pretzel dark rides in existence (the other being Conneaut's). I can't say I remember all that much about it, but it is worth riding just for its uniqueness.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:50 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

What Gonch and LK said. :)

I can't really think of anything else to add except the Whip is one of the best Whips you will ever experience! It's insane!

The Little Dipper is actually one of my favorite kiddy coasters. It has quite a punch to it. The Big Dipper isn't half bad, and you just might get a surprising little boost of ejector air at some point. ;) The Haunted House is cheesy as hell but it's hysterical to see! Actually the whole park is kind of cheesy/quirky, but you will see rides that you rarely see anymore. The arcade is pretty decent for a small park.

The flyers are pretty good, and I have managed to snap a few times, when the ride ops didn't know what I was doing. ;)

The whole park is a gem, and it looks 1000 times better than it did several years ago. Once they demolished the Thunderbolt and got rid of all the overgrown weeds around the log flume it looks MUCH nicer!

The new miniature golf course is also very nice-looking.

I have been there on weekends and it usually doesn't get busy until much later. It won't take you long to explore the park and do everything you want to do. I would just get there at opening and beat the crowds (if any.) It gets much more crowded whenever they have bands playing (if you can call them It's worth the trip regardless! Have fun!

You will have a blast and be supporting a classic traditional park! A lot of them are operating on a wing and a prayer nowadays. I don't know Camden's financial situation but they seem to be doing much better in recent years!


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Saturday, July 11, 2009 5:57 PM
Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:11 PM
LostKause's avatar

coasterqueenTRN said:
...The Little Dipper is actually one of my favorite kiddy coasters...

I ride it more when I am there than Big Dipper. I love that little ride.

...The arcade is pretty decent for a small park...

I haven't been to the park this year yet, but I recently wrote an article about their new additions, and they told me that they added to the arcade this year.

The whole park is a gem, and it looks 1000 times better than it did several years ago. Once they demolished the Thunderbolt and got rid of all the overgrown weeds around the log flume it looks MUCH nicer!

I remember how run down the place was in my childhood. It has improved a lot. It's still not perfect.

I liked the tall grass on the log flume. It helped to hide the ride from the rest of the park. Too many snakes caused the park to use the weed eater. I wish that they'd plant some trees and bushes along the ride path.

It gets much more crowded whenever they have bands playing (if you can call them

Their are three style of music that exist in WV, bluegrass, country, and good music.

I don't know Camden's financial situation but they seem to be doing much better in recent years.

I remember hearing rumors for many years about the park's inevitable closure, back when they did seem to be struggling. Nowadays, the park doesn't seem to be struggling at all.

Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:58 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

^I agree! I couldn't be happier. :) I was sure it was going to be closed down at some point.

I agree the log flume area could use some trees big time! :)The last time I rode that thing before all of that was cut out I remember seeing poison ivy, bees flying around, and tons and TONS of weeds that were hard to duck on those boats.

I heard snakes were a problem, as well as hornets and wasps nests. I actually remember them walking around using Raid or something like that. People were complaining about those nests and I don't blame them! It definitely looks 1000 times better! Hopefully they will keep it that way and add some landscaping.


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:04 PM
Saturday, July 11, 2009 9:10 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

Camden makes quite a nice profit. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see another mid-sized woodie or small steel coaster added to the lineup in the next few years.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:04 AM

Camden has really turned around from the years when they had to sell the Yo-Yo to make payroll...

My advice:

1) Visit Camden Park. It's worth going.

2) Do not watch the top of the second hill on Big Dipper as a train goes through that small dip.

3) Do not wear white. The maintenance crews have grease guns and they are not afraid to use them. :)

4) If you can handle it, DO ride the Spider. Camden Park has the #1 best running Spider I have ever ridden (Holiday World's Midnight Ride is a close second).

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:54 AM
DantheCoasterman's avatar

Thanks for all the great advice.

It's really disappointing to hear about Sky Diver being on the way out, as that was the ride I was looking forward to the most. (But I guess I'll get over it. ;))

The only complaint I have about Holiday World's spider is that its cycle always seems VERY short. Does Camden run longer cycles on their Spider?

I noticed in one trip report that an operator at the Tilt-a-Whirl told them to sit it car 5 for a *special* ride. Anyone care to explain?

And one more for now (which I can't believe I forgot to ask about in the first place), what are the best seats on the coasters?


Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:03 AM
LostKause's avatar

Dan, any seat on the Little Dipper is fine. It's not the kind of coaster that provides great thrills, but I still absolutely love it. I like the back of Big Dipper, mainly because of the second drop, which seems to be only about 30 feet, but gives you crazy air.

Moosh, I envision that a nice mouse would sit in the large area that the Skydiver sits now. It would look great from the parking lot too!

Or what about a nice jr out-and-back woodie behind the swan boat lake?

I always have this dream, ever since I was a ten-year-old, that the park expands over the river, and grows to over twice the size. There is a lot of empty land there; you can see it if you look at the park with Google Earth. They could build a new parking lot on the other side too, and have a second entrance, or just make the original lot for employees only.

This area really needs a larger amusement park. The closest parks are about 3 to 5 hours away (KI, CW, KW, HW, DW). I think that their are more than enough people who live near Huntington and Charleston to make it worthwile for someone to build a big park, or for Camden to expand.

Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:22 PM

My family's from Ironton and when I was a kid we went to Camden all the time. I remember the Turnpike and the train ride that had stations near where the log flume is now. The courses for both rides went way back, down toward the river, maybe around a lake?

I revisited the park for the first time a couple summers ago, and only had an hour or so. I was irked at first to have to pay POP price, but I actually got quite a few rides in. The Big Dipper (which seemed to have magically shrunk in size!) the Whip, and the dark ride were the highlights. Little Dipper was new to me, those baby NAD trains are a gas. I was also amazed at how much the park hadn't changed a bit. Some of the rides were different, sure, but the layout of the park was the same, and the decorations on most of the buildings the same as then. Gone was most of the flash, though - painted signs existed where neon once lived, especially on rides like the Dipper. But it sure was a blast from the past for me, and I had a brief but great time.

Also worth mentioning is the fabulous roadsign marking the entrance to the park. They just don't make em like that anymore. I bought the tshirt with the image of the sign on it. I've heard that a lot of the neon on it no longer works, and is too expensive for the park to repair, (LostKause? Tina?) but it sure was great to see it again in the daylight.

I say go, Ashland is just up the road, and for whatever reason, you'll always remember your day there!

Monday, July 13, 2009 8:03 PM
LostKause's avatar

I have no info on the sign and it's disrepair. That sign, however, is the one thing that stands out the most in my childhood memories of the park. It's an icon.

Monday, July 13, 2009 10:39 PM
Morté615's avatar

Yeah most of the neon is burned out on the sign, and custom neon like that is expensive to repair, and operate. Mostly they never bother to turn the sign on anymore, even though every now and then if you drive by you may see parts of it on.

If they are going to keep the sign, but not fix the neon, I think they should at least put some floods on it to light it up at night. Even without the neon it looks really cool.

Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:39 AM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

The sign is one of the first things I remember as a kid as well. I don't remember if I have ever seen it lit up or not. It would be cool if they could repair it to its former glory, though! Like LK said, it's definitely an icon!

As far as adding another coaster I was thinking of a (spinning) mouse as well. It would totally fit the park! :)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:28 PM
LostKause's avatar

Just like DelGrosso's spinning mouse...Seems an awesome fit! I would love to see it in that huge wasted space where they have Skydiver now. That ride has such a small footprint, that if they wanted to keep Skydiver, they could put it almost anywhere else.

That would put a new coaster right near the entrance, and people could drool over it while standing in line to enter the park.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 1:11 AM
rollergator's avatar

I'd prefer a THBS (or other non-mouse spinner) since the layout of Little Dipper already sort of replicates a mouse. Nothing wrong with the Reverchon-type rides, they get good spin when you load properly...and given the park layout, you've probably made the better selection, LOL.

Of course, you can never go wrong with a KMG Afterburner or other swinging-spinning ride and a nighttime admission to draw people like moths to the pretty lights...even at Knoebels during PPP, with so much "unique to the park" to do, Fandango always seems to run pretty close to capacity ;)

Wait, was this thread advice for people going to Camden, or advice for Camden itself? :)

Last edited by rollergator, Thursday, July 16, 2009 1:15 AM

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