After weaving through four hours of the slowest traffic imaginable and passing the CDC Thrift Store (Care for some used Anthrax or Ebola anyone?) we pulled into Indiana Beach’s south parking lot at 4:15. In my opinion the south lot is the only way to enter Indiana Beach because you have to cross a suspension bridge over to the park. The view is wonderful with the whole park as a huge panorama before you and Bond really enjoys the bouncy bridge. After paying our $6 for the three of us to get in we ran into CoasterJulie and Darin Boltin and his two boys we got our wrist bands for the evening ride session. Here’s another perk to being a member of ACE because we got our ride bands for half price so admission and passes for the three of us ended up being just $30. Not bad for a evenings full of rides.
If you’ve never been to Indiana Beach you have to because it’s an experience. It’s hard to describe what makes this park so special but I’ll try. Knoebels is the embodiment of the best traditional amusement park; Holiday World is the best theme park while Indiana Beach is the embodiment of the seaside amusement park. I know it’s hard to call IB a seaside park but it has that feel. The boardwalk, the rides squeezed over and around other rides sometimes three rides deep, the cheesy kitschy tiki idols, the smells, the crowds and the whole Bowery feel to it just makes it special. It’s something to be experienced in person.
First stop was the train which takes you under the Hoosier Hurricane and at the edge of the peninsula over to Kiddieland. Once there we headed over to give Air Crow, Indiana Beach’s new for 2004 flying scooter. Air Crow is built like many things at Indiana Beach on a pier over Lake Shafer. It was a fun ride but unfortunately Air Crow had no action to it at all. What makes it a decent ride to hit is it’s placement as you swing out over the lake which makes for a nice effect.
It was supper time and while Julie, Darin and his boys opted for tacos the three of us headed for the Pronto Princess where Carrie had corn dogs (There’s more than corn dogs in Indiana!) and onion rings while I opted for the BBQ sandwich and fries. The cool thing about the Pronto Princess is that it’s actually a boat and you can climb up the spiral staircases that hang over the side of the boat and eat on the top. Up there we had some nice views of the park as well as had a good seat for the parks stunt show.
After meeting back up Carrie, Bond, Darrin and his boys headed for the cars while Julie and I got our Cornball fix. Cornball is a weird little coaster that can only be described as Legend Jr. Its fun to ride but the single thing that keeps it from being one of the best coasters out there is the fact that it only really performs in the front seat. In the front you get oodles of airtime but if you sit anywhere else you get a smidgen of air. Julie and I ended up getting a couple of Cornball Express rides before the rest of our group got back from the cars.
It was time to let the boys play around in Kiddieland and Bond wanted to ride their car ride but after getting close to them he got scared so he watched while Darin’s two rode. Bond actually used to love riding anything but two years ago SFOG’s children’s swing that went extremely fast scared him and now he sticks to rides he can control like cars or bumper boats.
Tig’rr was hovering over us and with Julie and I having a soft spot for anything Schwartzkopf we headed up for a ride. Just a quick note for those who haven’t been to IB their space is so limited that Tig’rr was actually built on top of one of their picnic pavilions and restaurants. Tig’rr rocked as usual. In my opinion this model of coaster which is a Schwartzkopf Jet Star packs the most thrills per acre of any coaster on the planet. Its just insane how much track is squeezed into about 3/4 an acre footprint. One thing I thought I’d never see of a Jet Star is six people in one of the cars well it was done and if the riders weren’t related before they are now because they were packed in so tight.
Carrie and Julie wanted to go play Fascination so all of us guys headed back to the cars because after all of the years that I’ve been coming to Indiana Beach I had never been on them. The cars at Indiana Beach are unlike any other cars that I know of because the roadway is built over the lake and intertwined around the train, Lost Coaster and Frankenstein’s Castle. It’s cool looking to the side of your car and just seeing water. We headed down to the Fascination Parlor where Carrie had already won several games and us guys joined in. Darin had never played so he and his boys took three lanes and Bond and I each had a lane and in the end Carrie won two more games.
We had to go for a ride on Indiana Beach’s other coaster the Galaxi. These production coasters aren’t the greatest but Indiana Beach has taken fantastic care of theirs and in the back seat it gives insane air down its first two drops.
It was down to Indiana Beach’s insane Double Shot which is by far the best of its kind anywhere. I know Holiday World had theirs tweaked to work more like IB’s this year but it still doesn’t even come close. First off IB’s Double Shot weighs you and launches you straight off from the ground where HW’s lifts you up, weighs the load, fills tanks and then after a minute of being up launches you. I really like IB’s launch program better and I’m curious if it can work a little more people through the lines than the one at HW due to its launch program?
Next was Bond’s favorite ride the Sky Ride. Indiana Beach’s Sky Ride goes from one end of the park to the other. At the far end of the peninsula is the Ferris wheel which also gives a great view of the park.
From there those of us brave enough to give it a try hopped on the Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain (aka: LoCoSuMo). My only other time riding this coaster in 2002 was less than impressive because of extremely rough transitions in the track make it a painful ride even with all of the padding in the train. This year my impression is that it’s actually kind of good. A lot of work has gone into smoothing out the rough spots to make it a ride able coaster. A bunch of theming has been added since it’s opening season as well which really helped. In general I’d hop back on it for a ride or two each visit.
Next was the Den Of Lost Thieves dark ride. It’s a fun dark ride where you have guns and can shoot at the scenery to get it to do things but the problem is that my guns were malfunctioning as well as the ones in Darin’s car. I do miss though when this was just a dark ride because they actually had the front of a Peterbuilt truck in there and you’d come around a turn and it’s horn and lights would come on scaring the **** out of even those who knew that it was coming.
It was time for a quick Hoosier Hurricane ride. I like the Hurricane for the least because it’s built on the edge of the lake and has a nice layout. I got a small bit of airtime on the first hill after the drop but what’s frustrating is that even though it has speed all the way through its course it fails to give any airtime on hills that feel like they should. The Hurricane comes so close to giving air, you can feel it getting close but unfortunately it never comes.
With Julie and Darin needing to hit the road we started working our way back to the suspension bridge. On the way we went for a spin on Indiana Beach’s Yo Yo and Falling Star. Being ten thirty and the park closing at eleven the three of us headed onto Bond’s favorite ride for a trip out and back on the Sky Ride before calling it a night.
We ended up getting out of Monticello at 11:20 pm and pulled into the driveway at 3:10 am and outside the slow drivers on the way out and the fog on the way back we had a fantastic trip to Indiana Beach. If you’re interested I did put a few pictures from the evening up on my Blog over at:
I’ll get to do an update to my Indiana Beach section in a week or so over at Negative-g.com and I’ll let everyone know when the pictures are up.
Paul Drabek *** Edited 8/2/2004 4:57:46 PM UTC by Paul Drabek***
I'm trying to convince my wife to take a weekend trip with me to IB, but the 5-hour drive and a day full of coasters doesn't exactly appeal to her. I promised her a night at the Indianapolis Westin if she came along. ;)
IB is a great park. Being that I only live 1.5 hours away and have only been there 3 times, I need to slap myself silly. :) *** Edited 8/3/2004 12:34:34 AM UTC by Chitown***
I also prefer CornBall's front seat, but to me the back is best for the twisting 1st drop, the lake/headchopper hill, and the drop out of the helix.
The Beach spent the last 2 off seasons tweaking LoCoSuMo and, yes, it is much more ridable and enjoyable. Did you notice the new mountain tunnel on top?
IB now has 2 suspension bridges: the newest being in Frankenstein's Castle.
Glad you had a great time.
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