Parc Safari (07/08/06): a park reborn

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To situate you: Parc Safari is an animal park with some pools, a drive through safari, an unusual animal exhibit and a bunch of classic rides. It is located 30 miles south of Montreal, QC. It is just a 5 miles from the US border. The park is roughly 2 hours north of Lake George, NY.

We got to the park at 9:40 am and paid our admission (where the parking booths would normally be, like Idlewild does). Admission is normally 31$ per adult, but with a CAA/AAA card, admission is 24$. Good deal! We proceeded to the fun drive through safari. Fun, but was missing animal variety... Still, a nice effort!

We then proceeded to the park, where we were greeted with a nice african street that serves as the park entrance, shop, restaurants, etc. Pretty nicely done. We stopped at the main restaurant, where we had ok, nothing unusual hot-dogs and burgers. Prices were correct... 24$ for 3 combos and a poutine (Quebec speciality: french fries, cheese curds and gravy).

While the rest of my party were exploring the shop, I checked out the ride area. Wow... It was like stepping in a time machine. What happened is that in 1982, after Montreal's Parc Belmont closed, they bought most of their rides, except the coasters and dark rides.

They had a few old kiddy rides and 5 gems in particular:

"L'araignee", which is french for Spider, is an Eyerly Spider that was spotlesss. Showroom condition! It ran great and gave a long cycle!

Rock o Plane: Once again, spotless condition for this awesome ride. Long cycle and you could pretty much do what you can with your cage. Vibrant colors too.

La Grande Roue: It is a 60 some feet tall, cable driven ferris wheel from 1923! Nice view and it felt so different from the standard modern wheel.

The Giant Swing is a weird wave swinger type ride... It was setted up on a wooden platform that required 4-5 stairs to get on. The structure just starts to spin and doesn't lift or do wave! Wasn't too impressed, but the 39 inches height restriction meant kids that can't do a Wave Swinger could have fun too.

The final one... "Les Toucans Volants", which is french for Flying Toucans. It is a Bisch-Rocco Flying Scooters ride with 10 tubs. The motor was converted to electricity, so it got up to speed fast and the fin/wing was unrestrained. The result? A flying scooter ride that was better than Knoebels! I rode it like 6 times and in the morning, we got 3-4 minutes cycles on it. Easy to snap and you got great snaps. Employees I think were ignorant on snapping, so they didn't say anything and their only rule was not to make the tub do a 360... Easy enough, thank you! Wow...

The rest of the park consist of a downhill river that you ride in a tube and a few pools/interactive areas.

It has a few shows and as for the animal exhibits, it has a long deer trail and an elevated walkway that lets you see Hyenas, artic wolfes and monkeys.

The tiger/lion area was rebuilt last year and the main feature is a glass tube that goes THROUGH their pen! We had a tiger snoring away against the glass... we could almost touch him! Wonderful addition and they do a mini show where the tigers are fed and interact with the tubes.

We had a great day.

Now, you may have notice there wasn't that many rides and animals... The reason why is that the park went bankrupt a few years ago. Unusually... the park director at the time decided to bail out the park and by doing good investments, like rebuilding the entrance, adding the glass tunnel, adding a water play area, business is booming and they're actually turning a profit now! In 2002, they rearranged the rides area, rebuilding and repainting the ones that were salvageable and removing the beyond-help ones, like the bumper cars... that only 2 cars left! The result for the ride area is a nice carnival area with brightly colored rides. They also introduced a 2$, cover all upcharge for the rides, which is a good idea, since that helps pay for the maintenance of those fragile rides.

Thanks for reading.

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