Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Carousel Round-Up

I've ridden a lot of carousels, though they often differ in quality; the best machines have well-maintained paint jobs and a working band organ. There are also the rare few that allow you to try and catch the brass ring to win a free ride. I had seen this feature at Knoebels before, but I got to visit another ride with a ring machine last year! The Cass County Carousel in Logansport, Indiana is a squeaky-clean National Historic Landmark that also has an operational 1999 band organ.
The ride was carved by the staff of Gustav A. Dentzel, America's most renowned carousel carver, in 1902, although some figures date back to 1885. It was located at two other area amusement parks before arriving at its present home in 1949. Below you can see the ring machine.
The lion is the Dentzel trademark, and a similar figure can be found in most of his other works.
Like this one at Kennywood!
We were driving through Logansport to our hotel, and I had no idea that this stand-alone ride even existed until I saw the town's welcome sign said "catch the brass ring." That got me excited! Luckily, it was still open, and you can't beat $1 for a ride!
 I like the design of this ticket booth.
To add a little extra to this post, here's a look at the Knoebels Carousel Museum! Knoebels is proud of the fact that their museums are free! (They also tout free parking-free admission-free shows-free picnic facilities!!)
Knoebels is proud of its history, and they started this carousel museum in the early 90s to show the evolution of carousel carvings over time. It's completely unique to Knoebels and one of my must-do attractions when I visit the park.
These are all orphaned figures that have been collected by Knoebels over the years. Sadly, it's usually more profitable to auction off a carousel piecemeal than to sell it as a package.
The large scenic panel (the same style can be seen on the Cass County Carousel) came from West View Park, the amusement park 10 minutes from me that closed in 1977.
Knoebels has two amazing antique carousels and ten band organs. Attached to this museum is a gift shop with some of the best amusement park merchandise I've seen. By the way, when I went to Knoebels last year (pictures from 2019), I caught the brass ring for the first time, probably because my dad and I were two of the only people riding!
Carousels are some of the best rides at an amusement park when you stop to enjoy them, and of course, both young and old can appreciate a classic merry-go-round. It just makes it all the better when it's a classic ride with its original artistry intact.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Six Flags America

I got to visit my first Six Flags park in November! I was supposed to start with the best - Magic Mountain - but I ended up going to Six Flags America, located east of Washington, DC and sometimes called the "worst" Six Flags park. But due to it being the most dead I've ever seen a theme park, I had a great time! I can't complain about getting 20 rides in three hours, even if the park is a little shabby in areas. The overcast sky added to the slightly-eerie atmosphere.

Here we see Six Flags visitors streaming in for a day full of fun!!
The S'mores fire pit was not yet in operation, sadly.
This was a weekend between the Christmas and Halloween events, and it was funny seeing the decorations mixed together in places. The western area becomes the North Pole for Christmas. In the background, you can see Mind Eraser, which is literally the worst coaster I've ever ridden.
The uniquely-themed "Rodeo" was my first Break Dance ride, though it ran really slow.
Who needs New Orleans Square when you have the epic MARDI GRAS section!!
It's complete with rides better than Pirates of the Caribbean, like RAGIN' CAJUN!
Wild One was a bucket-list wooden coaster for me, and it's by far the better of the two in the park. Surprisingly, this is the fourth oldest roller coaster in the world with an opening date of 1917. However, it was only relocated to the park then known as Adventure World from Massachusetts in 1986, so its claim to fame as a 100+ year coater is up for debate. (Six Flags rebranded Adventure World in 1999).
It's still a spectacular wooden coaster after 100 years!
Wild One runs through this rock structure that was theming for a former flume ride. (The drop went through the skull's mouth.) The funny thing about the flume is that Six Flags didn't spend the money to remove the trough, so you clearly see it inside the mountain when on Wild One!
Looney Tunes Movie Town looks to have some parts that haven't been touched since 1999...
Areas like this have given Six Flags America its bad reputation, but they are improving bit by bit.
This Sunday in November was the last day of the season for the park's three major steel coasters.
I had ridden the two indoor "clones" of this launched coaster, but I think I liked Joker's Jinx more! These rides are nicknamed "Spaghetti Bowls" for their closely intertwined track sections.
The park's star attraction is Superman: Ride of Steel. I can't complain about as many rides as you want without getting out of your seat on a coaster like this.  
The coaster that turned out to be my favorite in the park is Batwing, a flying coaster, which means that you're lying facedown for portions of the ride (and on your back for others, like this loop). I had never been on a flying coaster before, so I have a feeling that the gimmick will wear off once I ride more.
I love Cedar Fair parks, but only a Six Flags park opens for the heck of it in November even though they won't make any money! An $80 season pass gets me into every Six Flags park in the country, too, so I can appreciate the "discount chain" - especially after dropping more than twice as much for a Cedar Fair pass that includes fewer parks! I look forward to visiting more Six Flags parks this summer, but I'm guessing it'll be hard to beat having the place to yourself!