Indiana Beach - 8/25/03 (First Time!)

Associated parks:
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 7:32 PM
After a night of camping in Michigan and a 2 hour drive, we arrived at the south entrance of Indiana Beach a little before 2pm. We were shocked to discover the parking lot was almost completely empty. I expected sparse crowds on a Monday in late August, but not THIS sparse. Maybe it was the extreme heat or the fact that school had started for many, but very few people were in attendance.

Walking over the suspension bridge provides an excellent view of this cute little park. Several of the rides and attractions are creatively arranged or stacked on top of one another, making the most of the limited space. After paying the obligatory $2 entrance fee, we all purchased the unlimited ride passes, priced at an extremely reasonable $17. My friends Chet & Matthew decided to spend and extra $3 for access to the water slides - a wise decision that I kind of regretted after spending just 20 minutes in the blazing sun.

Most rides were a walk on, with trains frequently dispatched half full due to low attendance. Actually the only coaster with any wait was "Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountian", which normally lasted only one or two cycles due to 1 train / eight passenger capacity. What follows are my ride reports & overall impressions.

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COASTERS:

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GALAXI:
This is the oldest coaster in the park. It's age and head choppers make for a rather unsettling ride, but it's ultimately not all that exciting. The most interesting thing about this ride is that it is surrounded by water slides.

- Laps: 1
- Seat: Front
- Grade: C+

TIG'RR:
A classic Shwarzkopf Jet Star. Intense, fun, and a little rough. It was actually the scariest ride in the park due to the fact that it has no seat belt or lapbar installed on the very open bobsled style cars. Like Galaxi, the ride passes perilously close to the supports, but I found this to be a bit more exciting.

- Laps: 2
- Seat: Front
- Grade: B-

HOOSIER HURRICANE:
A CCI Out and Back from the mid 90s with a classic feel, this gorgeous coaster runs almost the entire length of the park. My favorite parts were the dive under the suspension bridge, and some fun views of various attractions, including a turnaround over a minature golf course. The ride provides some decent pops of airtime

- Laps: 4
- Seat: Front/Back/3rd row/6th row
- Grade: B+

LOST COASTER OF SUPERSTITION MOUNTIAN:
This has to be one of the strangest coasters I've ever encountered. Located mostly within a building which once housed a dark ride called "Superstition Mountian", this coaster features trains consisting of 2 connected 4 seat coaches running on a very twisted wooden track. Riders have the option of facing forwards or backwards for the duration of the ride, providing a completely different ride experience in every car. The back coach gives a more intense ride, while the front allows for a better view of the hilariously cheesy theme characters. The journey begins with a greeting from an animatronic skeleton miner during the ascent up a bizarre elevator lift. The cars bob & weave over the course, making sharp turns and surprise dives over the Antique Autos ride and in and out of the mine themed building. Generous amounts of padding make what could have been a painful ride extremely comfortable. An excellent family ride that provides more thrills than you'd expect.

- Laps: 4
- Seat: All (2 front, 2 Back)
- Grade: B+ (But 'A' for originality)

CORNBALL EXPRESS
This little CCI coaster is the surprise gem of the park. It might not be the tallest, fastest, or longest woodie in the world, but it certainly proves that size doesn't always matter. The first drop is wicked and the drops and dives twisting though Hoosier Hurricane and over/near other rides were wild. It was marketed as a family coaster, but should satisfy most thrill-seeking enthusiasts. Take a back seat ride for maximum airtime.

- Laps: 5
- Seat: Front/Back/Various middle rows
- Grade: A-

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OTHER RIDES

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DEN OF LOST THIEVES
This is an interactive, pirate themed dark ride. 2 riders get to shoot targets with laser tag style guns, making the various characters and objects move. A score is tallied, making the fairly silly experience a lot more fun.

- Laps: 2
- Scores: 210 & 400 (Won both times)
- Grade: B

DOUBLE SHOT
This is tiny S&S Shot Tower that stands just a little over twice the height of its neighboring "Frog Hopper". The only other similar ride I've experienced was the significantly larger "Power Tower" at Cedar Point. While PT blows this version out of the water, the quick jolt of air and the sensation of being slammed into the restraint is still quite shocking. The ride gives a great, but brief view of the surrounding area.

- Rides: 1
- Seat: Facing toward the park
- Grade: B


ROCKY'S RAPIDS LOG FLUME
Just a simple log flume, featuring a tunnel covered with riders' gum (ewwww). Fairly boring and not much of a soaker, but the drop's close proximity to Cornball Express is kind of interesting.

- Rides: 1
- Seat: Front
- Grade: C

FINAL THOUGHTS:

We left the park around 5pm... 3 hours was more than enough time to do everything that we wanted. My friends even managed to get at least 1 ride on every water slide. The park itself has a nice, old fashioned feel to it. The ride staff mostly seemed bored and unfriendly, but who could blame them (did I mention that this day was scorcher). Anyone working inside a well air-conditioned gift shop or restaurant was pleasant, however.

I'd highly recommend Indiana Beach for families on a budget, especially those who don't want to pay full price for seniors or small children who won't ride. I probably won't be scheduling another trip anytime soon, but if I lived less than an hour away I wouldn't mind visiting more often.

There doesn't seem to be much room left for expansion, but considering how creatively they've placed other coasters & rides above, through, and around existing attractions, I'm sure they'll figure something out. After installing 3 great wooden coasters in 10 years, a modern custom steel coaster seems like the next logical step (perhaps twisting around the space near the Double Shot).

OVERALL PARK GRADE: B


*** This post was edited by djgreghaus 8/26/2003 11:43:25 PM ***

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 8:07 PM
Nice review. This is definitely one park that I would love love love to visit. I even modeled an RCT park from it.
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