Nellie Bly opened in the early 1960s and initially reminded me a lot of
Little A-Merrick-A. It's a very small park that caters mostly to the
kiddie set. While definitely not a new park and not immaculate by any
means, it is definitely cared for. I was somehow expecting something a
little rougher and shady. As you enter the park the first thing you see is
their carousel, tilt-a-whirl, and the ticket booth. We purchased a book of
40 tickets for $29. Not quite sure what to do first, we wandered the park
and took some pictures. The ride line up is primarily kiddie rides, but
they do have a wet/dry slide with a double dip, a train ride (DDM), a fun
house, a walkthrough haunted house, a scrambler, Eli Wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl,
bumper cars, a strange swing ride named the Whirlwind, and a nice miniature
golf course. They also have a petting zoo. I haven't seen a petting zoo in
a park in a long time (I think I might have seen the one at Knott's right
before it closed), but it was a really nice addition to the place (think
goats, rabbits, llamas, and chickens).
Time to ride, and of course our first stop was the kiddie
coaster. A standard oval Miler Kiddie coaster that is nicely hidden by
bushes and trees and inexplicably named the Tater Bug Terror Coaster - it's
a surprisingly good little kiddie coaster and runs incredibly smoothly - I
think they gave us three laps. We hit the frighteningly fast Eli Wheel- which
probably gives some very nice views of the surrounding area especially the
Verrazano bridge, but we were a little preoccupied with taking pix and
holding on. We did the walkthroughs - the Haunted House had one stunt at
the start that got me, but the rest of it was very weak and very short.
The fun house didn't have a lot to begin with, but it did have a really nice
spinning tub exit. Dave rode the Tilt-A-Whirl and looked to get a good
ride. We had a nice round of mini-golf (Dave won as usual), it's a really
nice course that has obviously been taken care of over the years even though
it was still recovering from the rain of yesterday. The wet/dry 'Super'
slide had a pronounced moment of airtime on the double down and I managed to
get a little wet, but Dave stayed completely dry. We rode the odd
swings called the Whirlwind - it looked like a Wisdom Twister with 2 person
swing-cars mounted to it - odd but fun. We probably spent just under 2
hours there, and that's really all you need - but if you're in the Coney
area it's fairly easy to swing by and get at least the coaster credit and
enjoy a little bit of kiddieland history.
With still some time to kill before having to meet Mark, we decided to walk
over to Coney and at a minimum grab a bite to eat. It's about a 2-mile
walk from Nellie Bly to the Coney Island amusement area. Coney was having a
good day with lots of crowds. First up, I grabbed some corn on the cob at
Pete's Clam house. After I had wolfed that down, I looked up at the sky and
some very menacing clouds coming our way - this was not in the forecast.
We wandered around and took a few pictures and I made an effort to record
the El Dorado autoskooter's auto-spiel (I'm going to have to make another
attempt as I never got the most important bite: "bump - bump - bump your
The threatening clouds moved closer, and I talked Dave into riding the
Zipper so that I could get some videotape footage of him doing the
'Flare-flip' - He had some very good flipping at the beginning, but had
slowed down before the backwards cycle. About halfway through the
backwards cycle he got about 25 flips in a row and I figured that was it,
but right before the end of the cycle he had a series of about 18 extremely fast successive flips in aprox. one rotation of the ride - Very Impressive! - I'll try to figure out a way
to post the video once I've digitized it. After a quick bathroom and water
break we raced for the subway station just as the skies opened up into a
monsoon with lightning and thunder (again not in the forecast).
After the hour subway ride back into the city we emerged out of the subway
back into beautiful blue skies and sunshine as if no rain had ever fallen.
We walked to our meeting spot for Mark and a little after 5, we were on our
way to Long Island (the worlds largest parking lot). It was good seeing
Mark as I hadn't seen him since Memorial Day weekend and Dave hadn't seen
him since April so of course there was a lot of catching up to do which made
dealing with traffic not quite as bad.
Adventureland is about smack in the middle of Long Island, along a strip of
big box stores. I had seen a few pictures and I had heard good things, and
I had just finished reading Rob Ascough's TR -but for whatever reason my
expectations were really low. First off, it's actually bigger than I
thought it was going to be. It's on an incredibly narrow track of land,
but once inside you really don't have that sense. Secondly, it's an
incredibly landscaped and built up park - lots of trees, flowers, tiered
building fronts, water features, and nice brick pathways. The place has a
real charm to it, and to top it off, it has a really nice selection of well-kept and unique rides. Having Mark as a guide was great as well, as he grew up going to the park and was well versed in it's history.
Adventure Flume: All three of us rode the flume first. It's a very
interesting flume and in layout reminded me a little of the portable
Reverchon models but larger. The lift hills remind of the ones you find on
some contemporary Shoot the Chutes and is far more comfortable than some of
the conveyer lifts I've been on. The drops are good, but it's not the kind
of ride you're going to get drenched on. Mark and I rode a second time
right before we left and I was able to note more of the theming which is
really nice, plus it has a really nice lighting package.
Hurricane: the only Hurricane I'd ever been on was the model that used to be
at Rye and I have no remorse over that rides demise. I was intrigued to see
what it would be like without the nasty head restraints and w/o Rye's
nasty kink in the track. My first ride was in the last seat and it was
okay. It was definitely better than the one at Rye, but I just wasn't sold
on it. A ride later on in the night, I appreciated it a little more. It's
a very intense coaster for it's size and it has some really interesting
elements. The absence of the head restraint makes it far more tolerable,
and it's a good thriller for a park this small and it's got decent capacity
Ladybird Coaster: A really nice Zierer junior coaster - it runs very
smoothly and is a really good introductory coaster for the little ones.
Again Adventureland makes it extra special with really nice theming and a
Surf Dance: I didn't really know what this ride was and I'm still not sure,
but I'm sure the mediocre program we got would have disappointed SD Chris.
Of course, the fact that the skies opened up and poured rain on us as soon
as the ride started and completely stopped the minute the ride was over
could have something to with it. I hope I can get to try one of these
again with a good operator and without the rain, but I really don't know
what to make of it. I didn't hate it.
Top Scan: I rode it once - outside seat - very short, powerful program.
Didn't hate it - didn't love it - not really sure what to make of it. I
think I was getting a little tired by the time I rode it, but I didn't find
it overwhelming or nauseating. It is definitely a very intense ride for the
park so I can understand the short cycles, but I would like to see it
operated by a madman. I know people love the ride, but I think I'll stick
to Zippers and out-of-control Top Spins.
Haunted House: Very very weak and very oddly placed air-jets - but a lot
of potential - it's a great space and track, it just needs some good stunts
and theming. The outside of the building with the vomiting man and
spot-light skull are it's strongest points.
Alligator Run Jet Ski (Zierer Wild Water Rondell): I'd wanted to ride one of
these since I first saw the pictures of the one Legoland. They are an
awfully lot of fun and if you want to get wet - you have the option. It's
kind of like a combination of the whip meets flying skooters on water. I'm
a big fan of rides you can control so this is a real winner in my book.
Tilt-Tower - It looks like a Moser drop ride but it tilts back and forth as
well. I haven't seen the topple tower in action, but I'm imagining that
this is a miniature version. Very strange and amusing.
We also rode the train, Ferris wheel, and swings (I sat the swings out).
We had a quick dog, knish, and corn-the-cob during our visit, as well as
some really good ice cream. Mark and Dave also won me a stuffed frog in
one of those 'frog and hammer' games---awww! Dave, even found an
Adventureland shot glass. There is something very complete that
Adventureland offers in a park experience, and it really caters well to a
wide audience in a small space. I'm glad that I finally made it and I hope
to make it back soon.
Thanks for reading.
Long Live the Saturn 6 & B&B Carousell!
Jim 'jimvid' McDonnell
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