Lady Bug Tamer
For my three hundred sixtieth coaster I decided to pull a 360 degree turn. While I visited Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada for the first time in late May, I purposefully skipped their kiddie coaster. It was symbolic to hold off until the 360th spot became available. If my parents had taken me as a child to Marineland, chances are the Lady Bug Coaster, then called the Tivoli Coaster, would have been my first coaster. I desired to take this special ride back to my childhood. How fitting to hop aboard the Lady Bug Coaster for the first time at #360. I guess you can say I’m a romantic rider.
North Tonawanda’s Enchanting Carousel Kingdom
By Stephen Cravak
Nestled amongst tree-lined avenues of a Buffalo suburb, resides a hidden gem. A testament to human passion and preservation stands a relic of America’s industrial past and its continued pursuit of amusement. When on Thompson Street in the heart of North Tonawanda, your eyes need to be peeled for a red brick complex built in 1915. Inside its crimson walls organs serenade and horses run wild. You will enter not a re-creation, but a true representation of the past. Welcome to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.
The museum has been treating visitors to a merry-go-round of insight into the area’s rich contributions to antique carousels and children’s ride production. The building served as the primary facility for the Allan Herschell Company.
Hop aboard living history!
According to Carousel historian and collector Charlotte Dinger, Allan Herschell was born in Scotland in 1851 later emigrating to Buffalo, New York. After seeing a carousel in New York City, he was determined to begin building steam-operated merry-go-rounds. His first company the Armitage Herschell Company was unable to survive two fires and economic downturn. Herschell’s passion for carousels led him to continue on by joining forces with his brother-in-law to form the Herschell-Spillman Company. It’s not surprising that it was a mere 2 years after Herschell’s retirement that he jumped back into the carousel business. Founding the Allan Herschell Company, the fourth carousel producer in North Tonawanda, Herschell competed against the Spillman Engineering Company, who conveniently removed his name. Continue reading
Canada’s Wonderland opened its gates on Friday, April 27th from 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Sneak Preview Night, an exclusive event, gave season pass ticket holders the chance to experience the park over a week before the general public on opening day Sunday, May 7th.
All rides were operational except for Windseeker, Sledgehammer and for weather related reasons Timberwolf Falls, and White Water Canyon. Likewise Splash Works was closed as was the new for 2012 Dinosaurs Alive up-charge attraction. It makes sense that the park would wait to open Dinosaurs Alive when they can command $5 a person. Regardless, Canada’s Wonderland didn’t treat its coveted guests as mere guinea pigs. A majority of visitors were there with one objective: ride Leviathan, the park’s new $28 million scream machine. The park did an exceedingly efficient job handling the crowd. In fact, the gates were and rides were opened at 5:15pm, before the advertised opening time. Officials escorted molded the crowd into lines and then escorted small groups through the Medieval Faire section to the Leviathan queue. In addition, most rides operated to capacity and supervisors were out throughout the night checking in on guests to ensure a pleasant filled night. The only major error park officials made was by not striking a deal with mother nature, for by the end of the night temperatures had dipped well below 40 degrees fahrenheit.
Even the chilling weather couldn’t stop park goers from taking full advantage of the minimal wait times. Especially on Behemoth, which during the regular season can see wait times exceeding an hour, was a walk-on Friday night. Some guests didn’t even have to exit the ride. It’s typical park policy to make riders exit the station and re-enter the line, but on Friday night, all bets were off. “Before we cruised back into the station I just crossed my fingers that no one was in line for my seat,” said one rider.
Overall, Canada’s Wonderland looks to be in great shape for the 2012 season when it will host millions of eager thrill seekers.