Indiana Beach - Thursday, July 31, 2014

VTFanatic330's avatar

This is another park that's been on my list for a long time. Considering all the management turmoil, figured I should get there while it still exists. The rural drive from Sandusky to Monticello was full of corn. Google Maps ended up routing me to the back gate. While waiting to buy a wristband, I saw this sign. Welp.

I knew Dragon Wagon hadn't opened yet, but the other two....sigh. Oh well, I drove all the way out here already, may as well make the most of it. Being at the back gate, I found myself immediately at Steel Hawg. The 111 degree drop felt no steeper than Maverick or Fahrenheit despite the semi-large stat difference. Seeing inversions on this type of track is interesting. The inverted drop gives decent hangtime.

Up next was the Jet Star, Tig'rr Coaster. Much faster than it appears, some intense lateral forces on the helixes. Two trains in operation. The only one left operating in North America, but how long will that last even? Continuing on, I headed for the eccentric Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain. Rode once forwards and once backwards. Very fun! Not rough in the traditional sense, all the quick drops and turns bounce you around a lot -- in a good way -- the semi-enclosed train (netting) heightens the experience. Walked through some cobwebs going down the exit ramp....ew.

Taking some time now to walk around, I wonder what this place looked like in its prime. There's potential here, but it definitely feels run down. Out-of-the-way rides such as the carousel and ferris wheel "felt" closed if it weren't for a ride op sitting there. Weeds and peeling paint abound. Many of the shops and arcades had signs saying "Yes, We're Open!", is it so bad that people assume they're closed? According to a postcard Hoosier Hurricane's track used to be yellow -- far from reality. The trains on transfer tracks for Hurricane and Cornball Express are tucked away, probably intentional, the exterior look of Cornball's in particular was sad to see. I did see two sets of mechanics working on Hurricane. Not sure what the ride below is.

A few of the otherwise standard flats are built next to water. Or in the case of Water Swings, they swing over the water -- more terrifying than any Windseeker or Star Flyer. The sound of unlubricated metal chains creaking where they attach to the seat doesn't help. Moving on...."try our new Grand Carousel!" of the "new" run-down carnival rides. Carnival origins or not, a slient carousel is just wrong. Hell, an iPod plugged into a speaker playing the stock music from RCT would be something at least. Would've been a better investment than this misleading sign.

Rode the bumper cars, and then went to Den of Thieves, a custom target-shooting ride. One of the best I've ridden. The track is long, and shooting targets reveals props -- with other targets, so you can rack up combos! Why don't the Sally Corp. ones do this? Their flyers, Air Crow, also fly over water. Speaking of the crow, he's everywhere. I heard they tried to phase him out at one point. Why? Homegrown mascots like the IB Crow, Kozmo, and Holidog can offer so much personality. Final ride was the Skyride, where my feet scraped over foliage on the way up.

I wanted to continue with my unexpected Fascination parlor tour this trip, but no one else was playing inside. Ate one of the "famous" Pronto Pup corn dogs on my way out, was decent. I chatted with the person working the ticket booth for a few minutes, apparently Cornball and Hurricane have been running some this season but sounds like they've been down for a while. The ticket booth workers didn't know about the closed rides until they got to work in the morning and saw the same sign I did. She was very frank and made no attempt to hide her disdain for current management -- "nobody's in charge". One of the "new" carnival rides this year sat on a flatbed truck in the customer parking lot for quite some time. According to her the management company is far more interested in the campgrounds than running rides. I don't at all regret visiting -- but it's disappointing seeing the decay firsthand, let alone missing out on the two woodies. I doubt my path will ever take me here again, but even if it did there may be nothing left, which would be a shame.

Last edited by VTFanatic330,

"We need more 'Bort' license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of 'Bort' license plates."

slithernoggin's avatar

I've always enjoyed my visits to Indiana Beach, it had a quirky charm that appealed to me.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

eightdotthree's avatar

I adored the park when I visited years ago. Sounds like it's a real bummer now.

sws's avatar

What? No Dragon Wagon?!! I'm so out of here!

This sounds sad. I haven't been there in several years (prior to the sale), but this gives me no desire to return. Sad. Really sad, as the park had a lot of potential.

That's a shame. My wife and I were talking about Indiana Beach this afternoon. I mentioned how, from what I've read, things weren't looking good for the park. It sounds that things are even worse. The last time I went was shortly after Morgan took over. It didn't have the same feel as a visit from a few years prior. They had painted the slides complex but a fair amount of the rides were not operational.

Tommytheduck's avatar

This bums me out. We were actually planning a trip there this coming weekend as we pass nearby.

Sounds to me like the CBE and HH will still be down?

I'd like to visit again. I'd like our son to experience the park. I'd like to wait until the signature rides are open, but perhaps it's now or never. Gonna have to look into it a little more perhaps.

I haven't ridden Steel Hawg yet, but El Loco in Vegas was a huge surprise for me. I absolutely loved it!

Last edited by Tommytheduck,
koolcat1101's avatar

I feel bad for you...but at least you rode steel hawg

VTFanatic330's avatar

Tommy, my gut says CBE and HH would still be down, but if nearby I'd personally stop anyway. If this helps -- I'm not sure if a wristband is truly required for admittance. After 3 PM the back gate closes but the one person (who I talked to) was letting people in and just directing them to the other ticket window inside, asking if they wanted to ride, eat, or just walk around.

"We need more 'Bort' license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of 'Bort' license plates."

Tommytheduck's avatar

Ended up going to IB yesterday and I'm happy to report that both Cornball and Hoosier Hurricane were up and running. HH was closed until about 2pm, and was listed on the sign, but the ticket girl told me she was confident it would open later.

Overall, I wasn't as disappointed in the overall condition of the park as you were, VTF, but I can see where you're coming from. The crowds were light, and we did everything we wanted to do in about 5 hours, which was great for us, as we're not really "all day" park people, and it was extremely hot, humid and uncomfortable.

LCSM was running a single train, and repeatedly getting stuck on the midcourse. In fact, while we were waiting in line, we observed 2 MX guys stationed up there. But they left before our ride, and we ended up getting stuck for 5-10 minutes, before they came up, said "all right, we'll release you" and we continued the 2nd half. When we got back, they loaded the train again and sent it on it's way. I was a little surprised, as I've not seen a park operate this way with a knowingly defective system. Perhaps this was the reason for the single train ops, as it's a very small train, and a long ride cycle. An hour or so later, we were eating at the taco stand next door and my son commented that he hadn't seen the train in a while, and it was probably stuck again. 5 minutes later, it returned, and they just kept on going.

Steel Hawg (my only new credit) was kind of a letdown for me. Boogie, however, loved it! After how much I absolutely LOVED El Loco in Vegas, Steel Hawg kinda sucked. Although El Loco does have better layout, they are actually pretty similar. It was the restraints that did it. Compare VTF's picture above to this:

SH's restraints were just cumbersome and uncomfortable. The ride itself was clunky and overbraked as well. It's like SH was the prototype, and EL was the final design. Which it probably an accurate statement, really.

But not to dismiss the park. We had a great time with the short lines and all the re-rides we could handle.

But where are these Bumper Cars of which you speak? While we weren't looking for them, we never did see them. And I thought we covered the entire park, with a great aerial view from the Skyride too. Oh well, probably for the best, as it would have added another hour to our time there. Our son is obsessed with Bumper Cars. And while I like them too, 10 rides in a row is enough.

Last edited by Tommytheduck,
VTFanatic330's avatar

Thanks for the update Tommy, glad to hear you all had a nice day. I will say the run down vibe I got was mostly towards the back section, the boardwalk areas felt nicer. Maybe crowd flow was a factor, without CB and HH running when I visited few people were back there.

The bumper cars are the building to the left of the waterslide complex, behind the speed slides. Light yellow siding and a red roof, if I remember right.

"We need more 'Bort' license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of 'Bort' license plates."

I was there a few days before you were, and will be writing up my trip report shortly - but for our visit, Splash Battle, Falling Star, Music Express, Hoosier Hurricane, and of course the Dragon Wagon were down.

Operations were very poor – Cornball was doing one train every seven/eight minutes and had two rows roped off. Ops were dispatching the train and sitting down for a chat until it came back - and only after the platform was empty did they fill the air gates for the next ride. LoCoSuMo was likewise on one train operation (and I know it has two - I remember seeing them both). Den of Lost Thieves had only two cars in use.

The park is a shadow of its former self – and it's a real shame.

rollergator's avatar

Richard Bannister said:

The park is a shadow of its former self – and it's a real shame.

Easily one of the top-5 parks in the country. What a gem it was!

I absolutely loved Indiana Beach. It was so unique and very beautiful at night. I haven't been since 2007 because of the horrible reviews since the new owners took over. I used to include it into our SF:GrAm trip. I've actually delayed that trip every year since 2012 (for X-Flight) because I didn't want to pass by IB. Due to the addition of Goliath, I'm not waiting another season.

I read almost all of the reviews on Trip Adviser about IB in the last couple of years. The only positive ones sound like a bad advertisement.


Sounds like you had an awesome theme park trip. I especially enjoyed your WOF and Schlitterbahn reports as I was just there a few weeks ago.

I would like to ask you a favor. I'd love to take a road trip like your with my kids but I always wonder how much time ya'll end up driving between parks and the logistics of driving, hotel check in times, etc... I would love to see some sort of overall trip itinerary if you have the time to post one up.


Last edited by lk2500,
VTFanatic330's avatar

lk2500, sure, send me a private message or e-mail (click on my forum name) and I'd be glad to tell more.

"We need more 'Bort' license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of 'Bort' license plates."

Timber-Rider's avatar

Wow. The best coasters closed? I would at least hope they gave a discount on a ride pass. I guess if it was warm enough, i might have bought a combo pass so I could at least enjoy the water park.

But, I'm sure that had to suck.

I didn't do it! I swear!!

Notice, please, in the trip report there is a pic of a sign that says due to certain ride closures the day was buy one, get one free day. That seems like a discount.

Tekwardo's avatar


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