Camden Park, Huntington, West Virginia, USA
I've been wanting to go to this park for a very long time. There are 2 ACE classics, and I tend to really love parks with unique stuff and charm.
Travis was nice enough to meet me at the park (LostKause - well, he had a cause that day!) It was all last minute - and I was bummed b/c had I had more time, I would have posted on CB - would have been nice to meet up a group of Coasterbuzzer's including Tina and Chuck, whom I don't think live too far from the park. Next time! And I definitely want to get back to this park, this year if possible!
Right away, I was hit with an incredible amount of charm! To the left of the entrace, there is a little stage with a band playing "Do you wanna dance?" (not the Ramones version, that was the first thing I thought of, but rather a very sweet summery island version). The band was there for the next few hours and kept the music coming, that was so cool!
I think the first ride we took was the Haunted House. Travis informed me that this is in fact a roller coaster! Complete with lift, drop, and totally gravity run after the lift. The ride scared the heck outta me, so Travis and I sqeezed in that little car every time. I was not about to ride alone (Travis did take one solo ride later). It's like a wooden wild mouse in the dark, with plenty of screaming popping out stuff. And a rubber hand sticking out from the wall in the dark, brushing you as you rolled by. The end of the ride has a ride op both scaring you and stopping the car with his hands! Very cool. I had no clue a dark ride could be this good. I am now a 'dark ride enthusiast'. Where are there more of this type?
The Big Dipper was built in 1958 by NAD I believe. It has that Kennywood Thunderbolt 'lumbering' feel to it, complete with flexing cars. It could use a little TLC, but by no means was it in ill-shape. I loved the ride, it's short and sweet. The tunneled turn around was great, fast, with the classic *squish your partner* feel (or Mooshed feel, if you like). The original NAD built Century Flyer was in impeccable shape. Save for the last seat (bummer!) which had it's innards removed (maintenance perhaps?).
The Little Dipper was one of the most beautiful, well maintained classic rides I have every seen. Built in 1961, also by NAD. The cars were suprisingly roomy (Travis and I did squish in the front for one ride, that was a fast ride!). I have pics and videos of 3 kids in the back seat! So great to see a park let 3 in a seat, these days.
The rest of the park was great too - a nice old fashioned sky ride (this is where the rust was more plentiful than paint, however, everything operated just fine). An old caterpillar ride (no 'cover' though) named the "Hot Cat," an old ferris wheel, a new Flyer, octopus, train ride, flume... a few more things. A classic Whip!
I really had a GREAT time at this park, partly due to my trusty tour guide, Travis. The park seeped FUN; I wish I could have this much fun at the big parks, but I just don't :( The dark ride is worth the trip alone.
I was sooo darn tired from my trip (previously was in GA for a few days) that I wanted to leave the park a little early to eat. We ate at Sheetz (something we don't have in Chicago).
Can't wait to get back to this GEM of a park. Would be nice to have a little get together of local Coasterbuzzer's/Enthusiasts. I could just see a bunch of coaster/dark ride enthusiasts taking over this place. It's a little slice of heaven!
Edit - and here is the day in pictures:Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:59 PM
IIRC Billy, Conneaut's dark ride (Devil's Den) is the same kind of ride.
Hot Cat is totally awesome - love the fact that they simply re-worked an existnig ride to make something really unique.
Big Dipper is a real classic...LOVE those trains.
Sheetz - just gotta have my MTO... :)
^Whats IIRC and MTO?
IIRC - internet shorthand for "If I Remember Correctly"
MTO - Sheetz slang for "Made To Order"
^Ahhh... Thank you :) I always IIRC was something to do with a web forum.
"Sheetz slang" = awesomeness.
Devil's Den, Hawnted House, Dante's Inferno from old Coney, etc. only "count" as coasters if you throw your hands up during those huge drops... ;)
I had a lot of fun, Billy. You made me realize what a gem of a park we West Virginians have.
I think a lot of the rides were recently refurbished. I recall hearing the Hot Cat operator mumbling something about how the ride has been running really good ever since they rebuilt it, or something like that. Most of the rides there seemed to be almost brand new, even though I know they have been there for decades (the park is 108 years old, and still kicking). I noticed a lot of black grease on the moving part of the rides.
The Haunted House had a lot of new paint and stunts. The four cars that the ride uses had some crazy-looking decal on it depicting wood slats, monsters behind the slats, and lots of blood. The new facade, while looking nearly the same, was much more colorful and attractive than before. Now, on the inside, there are stunts or scenes at every turn, with one awesome moment of pitch darkness with strange voices near the end. It is a lot of fun, and is the best ride in the park, in my opinion. Here is an interesting news article about the recent redo of the ride.
Every time I visit Camden Park, I am always met with short lines and a small crowd. I think that the admission price is a little too high (at $22 per person), but Billy pointed out to me how much of a bargain it was with the short lines and great rides that they do have.
Something that I noticed this trip is how incredibly nice the employees were. I told the girl at the main entrance that I searched McDonald's for coupons, but didn't find any, and she gave me and Billy one. Billy was carrying around a drink and his hat, and every ride operator reached out for it as we passed by and placed it where he could retrieve it upon exiting the ride. Employees, if they had the time, were very easy to talk to, and most of them were happy and enthusiastic.Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:37 PM
^You bet they were really cool, Travis! Cept the spinning boat tub thingy guy, he was in a foul mood! The park is great, I can't wait to get back. It would be great to be there at night. Parks are always better at night, I mean - I enjoy them more at night :)
"Sheetz slang" = awesomeness.
They have Burgerz, Baglez and Pretzelz; Coffeez and Wrapz; Friez and Chicken Stripz, they give people jobz making Sheetza Pizza. It gets kind of silly after a while, but it tastes soooo good.
^It's ok I figure, not where near as silly or annoying as "have a six flags day."
Definitely 'Shlang'. You know what their new chicken wings are called? Swings. I kid you not. Man I love sheets. And there's even more shlang when you work there (Thought I can't say I miss working there).
You sure they're not Shwings? To go with the Shmuffins?
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