My wife, our 2 sons (3 years, 2 months) and I headed down route 128 through Ross around 4:00. It’s hard to imagine an amusement park amongst the humble scenery of Ross, but eventually the beautiful sight of white coaster supports pops into view. The parking lot looks smallish but apparently big enough for the job. Four dollars later we were parked and ready to explore Stricker’s Grove. We strolled through the entrance and past the covered food area, basically several grills cooking up burgers, hot dog, and corn-on the cob. More on the food later.
The main entrance plaza was not much to look at, but a right turn revealed the “main midway”. What a beautiful sight: in one long, layered field of view was a carousel (in a cool brick enclosure), ferris wheel, several spinning flat rides, and the previously mentioned white coaster wood in the background, all punctuated by a canopy of trees. Just from memory, the midway seemed about the size of a football field. Or imagine a mini version of Coney Mall at KI. The trees proved to be quite valuable and great relief from the 90 degree heat. The ride arrangement today is an all access wristband for $12.95, or $1 dollar ride, good for everything except for the Tornado coaster (2 tix). My 3 year old son Ian and I splurged on the wristbands and we all headed towards our first ride, and my first coaster of the year, the Teddy Bear.
Now Ian has become a coaster nut already, having conquered the Taxi Jam, Beastie, and Boa Squeeze. He lost his eligibility for the Beastie this year, but there were no such height restrictions here. The Teddy Bear is just fantastic. No, it’s not a thriller for us grown-ups, but I can’t think of a more ideal kiddie coaster. It’s big enough to look and feel like a real coaster (and not some jerky metal thing that might fit in my small backyard), it has a nice drop and headchopper, and it ran like a magic carpet. Short, sweet, and fun. Ian was all grins on this one, and of course I was too. And to top it off, it was a 0-1 train wait. So we rode again. More smiles all around.
I treated Ian to the flying Eagles at KI on their final day last fall, and was delighted to discover a set at Stricker’s. Not much new to say on these, just one of the best flat rides ever. They seemed smaller than KI’s but still fun. Again, 2 rides in a row.
At that point I could not resist checking out the Tornado, the white wooden coaster and signature attraction. It amazed me that there was really no height restriction if an adult rides along. I asked Ian if he was game and he nodded, not really sure what he just agreed to. After a 1 train wait, we were seated. It was nice to see single position bars again, and even nicer to see seat belts to hold Ian down nice and tight. The Tornado is maybe the quintessential coaster. Not too big or small, not too fast or slow, not too intense or mild. Just a fun coaster ride that has enough charm, dips, turns, and even a great pop of air ¾ of the way through when I didn’t expect. Like the Raven, this coaster is an overachiever when considering its size. The bright white and red paint and smooth ride suggest that the Tornado is well taken care of. This is a great “next step” coaster for kids too big for the Beastie but not yet ready for the big leagues. For grown-ups, it’s a smile inducing romp. I could ride it all day long. Anyway, Ian was tense on the big dips but again had an ear-to-ear grin when our train cruised back into the station.
After the Tornado we met up with my and sister and brother in law and their 2 kids, and my parents. It was time for some kiddie rides. Again, no lines to speak of, and great fun on the kiddie whip and tumblebug. Dinner was next. At the sole food “outlet”, $4 was good enough for a burger, potato salad, chips, and corn-on-the-cob. Just like what you might get on a family picnic.
We hit the rest of the rides and re-rode our favorites. By 7:00 the Tornado sported a 3-4 train wait, the longest line in the park. Well, the Ferris wheel may have been longer but that doesn’t really count since they are slow loaders. We called it a day, and our whole group was so impressed that we all plan to return in August. It would be nice to not be restricted to 2 or 3 days a season, but that’s the only complaint I have. Their business model of catering to private parties obviously is successful for them.
All in all, I’m so glad we finally got to check this place out. We had more fun in 3 hours here than whole days at some bigger parks. The atmosphere brought back childhood memories of not having a care in the world. The ride collection is well balanced and well maintained, and I challenge you to find a better value. Every city should have an amusement park like this. Thanks for reading. *** Edited 7/8/2005 12:39:02 PM UTC by *** *** Edited 7/9/2005 1:58:38 AM UTC by buckeye brad***
It was my first time as well, and I had the pleasure of sharing it with a group of close friends. I also watched as my friend's son got his "first" credits on the Teddy Bear, Flyers, and a few flats.
It was a VERY laid back kind of day, and I probably ran into you and your family (the park is freakin' smaller than Camden Park! lol) several times, especially on the Teddy Bear since Mattie kept wanting to ride it over and over and over......and over....:-)
So you didn't stick around for the fireworks? It was WELL worth it. :-)
I too enjoyed Strickers with Tina and others and even though Im local and would make all three public days if I didn't work weekends
Tina, The fireworks were better than previous years. For some reason the last two years were not that good.
We rode the 2 coasters and the flyers. It was our first time on flyers, and so we decided to study some other people on their rides as they got their flyers high along the trees. Watching a few times, and then actually doing it worked great. They were tons of fun and I would love to do them again. We chickened out though on doing the whip and the turtles, because they were just so small. We would have really stood out as oddballs.
I was so surpised at the park at all of the people with roller coaster t-shirts on at the park. It was great that this little park pulls so many enthusiasts there.
I have one odd comment about the park, and that is about the bathrooms. I don't know if there was more than the one set up towards the front, but it was like going out back at an old gas station to use the rest rooms. It was very strange. But then, once inside, they were all re-done. There were new tiles on the floors, new stalls, and immaculately clean. It was just a little freaky at first finding them, and how they seemed from the outside.
One small issue we had there was that you needed to wait behind those getting tickets at the Tornado in order to show your wristband to proceed to the ride. It did some extra time onto our wait, but it just seemed like an inconvenience.
The funniest thing happened though when we returned from our trip. I was talking to a coastering friend who has parents that live near Cinci. I mentioned our trip on the 4th, and he asked me if they had two woodies at Stricker's? It turned out his parents lived up the road from there, and he passes it all of the time on his way to visit them. He was always curious as to why the park was closed. Now he knows. And with all of the positive things I have said to my friends about the park, it seems we will have a larger group next year on the 4th (and we will stay for the fireworks).
**One additional note: it was very nice that they allowed people to actually tape their rides on the coasters. We saw at least two people on our rides taping in the front row. . *** Edited 7/8/2005 7:11:40 PM UTC by ltlbat***
My group probably ran into you and your husband as well. The park is so small you pretty much get to know everyone right away I suppose. :-P I was the one with the green Legend T-shirt (about 5'4, brown hair, medium build) hanging out with about 4 hunky guys. ;-)
*** Edited 7/8/2005 8:25:58 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
I worked at Strickers back in the 80's. Helped build the RR tracks and I can't tell you how far that park has come since then.
Up till two years ago the Mens restroom was old rotten troughs.
That Hall that the Restrooms are in the end of is used for banquets, Wedding Receptions, Meanest Man contest, Well, You name it.
Chuck, who says the park host two and sometimes three company picnics a week.
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