Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Coney Island OH 2005

Coney Island (OH)
July 4, 9, and 30, 2005

This summer, Mom and I decided to purchase summer tickets to the Cincinnati Pops.  The Cincinnati Pops performs their summer series at the Riverbend Music Center at Coney Island.

Coney Island was, and still is a traditional amusement park.   While it is true the park may be smaller and less grand than it was in its golden years, make no mistake Coney Island is still a fine traditional amusement park.  The park offers great swimming, tennis, miniature golf, and other athletic pursuits, group picnic grove, an excellent concert facility and a couple dance pavilions. On the rides side, the park offers a collection of classic amusement rides.

While it is true I went to Coney Island three times this summer for the three concerts, I only explored the amusement rides area once.  The trip to the amusement rides area is all this trip report will cover.

We arrived at the park around 5:45 and parked for free by showing the parking attendant that we had tickets for this evenings Riverbend show,  (Parking is normally $6).  We opted to park at the far end of the park, which meant a long walk from the parking lot to the rides, but a very short walk from the concert venue to the car after the show.  We walked to the rides area and I stopped at the ride ticket booth located next to the Python.   $5.95 later I had a nice patriotic themed wristband.  (Okay, I guess now you know I rode rides on July 4th)  Coney has moved away from ride tickets, now you either have a wristband and you can ride the rides, or you don't have a wristband and you can't ride the rides.

I started out by going over by Lake Como to ride the Tempest.  Tempest is a fairly rare ride by Watkins  It consists basically of 4 octagonal cages, each seating seven people.  The ride is mounted at a sharp angle, so that all four cages rotate around on the main boom, then at either end of the main boom is a shorter boom with a tub at each end. So you have the main boom spinning all 4 tubs around the ride center, while the two sub booms are spinning the tub pairs around in smaller circles, and did I mention that each individual tub is swivel mounted and so can spin freely as well.   It’s a spin ride lovers dream.   I boarded the ride, where I noted some changes have been made.  The big change is that the old Americana pink/teal paint job is gone, the ride is now mostly green, but more importantly the seatbelts have been replaced.  The ride used to have some seatbelts that were so short that I could only ride in about half of the seats.  They have all new belts on the ride, and this time they went with retracting seatbelts.  In  other words, it seems like they did a nice overhaul of this ride this year. I enjoyed Temepst so much I took two rides on it.  

I next took a ride on the Scrambler mainly because it was there. I looked around  Lake Como where it looks like there is a nice collection of classic rides including a Herschell helicopter, a Spin-A-Ree, Frog Hopper, Eli Ferris Wheel, and both adult and children's bumper boats.  

We continued up past the games of skill area and the Bob Evan's children's play village.  (Okay its really called Kidtown or something like that, but one of the prominent buildings in the play village is a Bob Evans restaurant look alike.  Continuing out tour down what was the old midway in the golden years, we pass a Carousel that is definitely not from the golden years  (The original carousel sits up at PKI), instead it looks like a totally ordinary Hercehll portable merry go round.  Next to the carousel however, in the area that held the Spin-A-Ree for a long time, then the Frog Hopper, now sits "The Scream Machine".  "The Scream Machine" is a Moser Spring Ride.  The Moser Spring Ride is generally marketed and used as a children's freefall/bounce type ride, which is actually quite similar to a Frog Hopper.  But don't tell Coney Island that as they are really marketing "The Scream Machine" with t-shirts for sale and all.  The Python rollercoaster doesn't even have t-shirts for sale.

I felt compelled to take a ride on "The Scream Machine", especially since the local carnival that has one has posted a 150 pound weight limit on theirs. It seats 10 people, 5 facing each way with OTSR's. You go up to the top and you bounce back down, then up, then down, then up, sometimes you bounce short distances, sometimes you seem to fall the whole way.  It’s a really nifty ride.

We continued down the midway, and next came across the Tilt-A-Whirl where I took a ride.  I am happy to report I got a very Whirly Tilt-A-Whirl ride.  We next passed by the mini golf course and came up to another ride cluster. In this cluster there are a couple more children's rides as well as a Super Round Up and a Trabant. I took rides on both the Super Round Up and the Trabant, then took a walk through the 'rain room' which is a misting station.  Coney Island has set up a few of these tents which contain misters, walk through one and you instantly feel a bit cooler.

Continuing on our way to the next ride cluster, I forgo both the giant slide, and the "Fire Engine Ride"  The fire Engine Ride is a cleverly themed trackless trolley ride where they take kids for a ride through a more sedate area of the park in what looks like a fire engine.  I think they even loan the kids little firemen helmets for the ride too.  Also in this area is the parks bumper cars, and according to their ride safety decals, they come to us used from Ontario, Canada.  It’s a fairly ordinary looking portable bumper car arena except it does have the divider down the center of the floor, so you are supposed to drive around in circles like a Dodgem.  As has been noted, Coney Island attracts the nations worst bumper car drivers, which helps to make the ride more frustrating for us skilled bumper car drivers. Yes, I took a ride on the bumper cars.

After the bumper cars I headed around to the last ride cluster, where I took a ride on the Pepsi Python, which is a little portable steel coaster, like something you would see at a fair.  The ride uses two two-car trains, but the have not used the back seats of the trains in several seasons now, which means you have effectively two 6 passenger trains.   I wonder if they would be better running 4 individual cars on this ride. The ride is noteworthy for all the wrong reasons.  The cars are ugly with their really tall headrests and the really tight lapbars, then the first drop has a gut wrench and a pull out that is just way more severe than the rides profile suggests.  It doesn't get any better as the ride is a rough violent ride.  I understand they bought this ride used, and I have to wonder if its old owner was thinking "I'm glad to be rid of that piece of junk"   After my ride on the Python, I closed up with two half-rides on the Flying Bobs.  You seem this park operated both their Flying Bobs and their Trabant in a weird manner.  They run the rides forward for a cycle, unload, then run them backwards for a cycle, unload, then forwards again.  

After my Flying Bobs rides, I note wehave less than an hour before the concert starts so we take the nice shortcut path that runs from right next to the Giant Slide to Riverbend.



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