blueeowyn: (Default)
Finally fully written up. 8 parks, 2 other attractions, 60 coasters, 11 carousels all in 11 days squeezed in between when the parks opened and when I had to leave for a conference (going after the conference wasn't an option because of family obligations).
The days of fun )
blueeowyn: (carousel annimation)
Kennywood Park www.kennywood.com

We wanted to start with Racer but it was closed so we started with the flume. I liked the various physics questions and discussions on the signs as you went through line. Chris got wet but I only got damp. Then off to visit Thunderbolt (http://www.rcdb.com/id122.htm) which is a truly unique coaster. You leave the station and DIVE into a ravine ... the lift hill is actually one of the last things in the ride. The laterals are pretty intense (to the point that they require 2 riders in a bench and that the larger one sit on the 'outside' so no one gets too squished (however, I should remember to be careful of where my keys are. Poor Java got a bruise.

Our next stop was another 'mine ride' that isn't. This is actually a cute little dark ride with very amusing and silly skeletons. Then to one of the classic rides in the park, the Turtle. Very nostalgic feeling ride and fun (you are in round cars that are joined together ... each car is attached to the center of the ride by an arm. The track is circular with hills and the machine moves forward and backwards to get the momentum to get over the first hill w/out needing too much horsepower. Some air but mainly just plain fun.

Then we went mega coaster and visited Phantom's Revenge (http://www.rcdb.com/id123.htm) which has the twist of the 2nd drop being MUCH longer than the first (it goes into the same ravine as Thunderbolt and actually dodges those tracks. I am very glad they got ride of the horsecollars. We got the 1st seat and is quite sweet until the back section. That area works best (for me) with my back curled a bit. However is is still so much nicer than it was as the Steel Phantom.

Then we headed off to Exterminator (indoor themed Crazy Mouse) - no line to speak of, no seatbelt use (they are there but not used), 2 people should sit together lots of sliding. Good ride. Our next stop was another classic ride, the Noah's Ark which is a Fun House. They have redone it a bit since our last visit (or at least we encountered things that I didn't remember). There is a vibrating floor (both a side-to-side section and an up-and-down section. Some bridges, some cute effects, the tilting of the building makes going up (or down) stairs interesting but once you get the hang of the timing it is better. The laser picture effects were nice and I liked the 'sinking ship' section. Very fun and cool.

By now we were hungry so we stopped for lunch and it was quite good food and we saw a fair amount of the pirate diving show which was reasonably well done. Then we visited Cosmic Chaos (new ride this year) and I wasn't sure about this one (there are certain movements that I do NOT handle well. However, when we were in the portion of the ride that didn't bother that part of my brain it is a complete and total blast. It is basically one of those roller-skate/surf-board rides but larger, circular and much spinnier. Facing out with nothing under your feet adds to the experience.

To let our lunch settle after the Chaos we took a spin on the 1926 Dentzel Carousel which had a major renovation a few years ago (as in they re-did some of the gears on the machine as well as renovating the horses). I am glad that apparently the 'tradition' of putting your feet on the forelegs of the horse has died down.

Then to another classic ride (yes, this is a major theme of this park) the Kangaroo, it is the ONLY one left. Period. We rode it twice (without being asked to exit the ride). For those of you unfamiliar with this ride, it (like the turtle) has a circular track that the cars go around. The unique part is that it goes up a hill that has an abrupt drop (90 degrees) but the springs in the arm of the ride allow it to 'bounce' down. You get a nice pop of air as inertia has you continue upwards a bit before gravity takes over (in the most friendly way possible). Whee!

Over we went to Racer (http://www.rcdb.com/id121.htm) and it was open! This fabulous ride is another truly unique one. Built in 1927 it is described as a Moebius and it well fulfills that description, twin tracks (sort of) that are connected. You leave on one side of the station and return on the other. It can run 4 trains into a single station (2 sides) on a single track. It is COOL, so we rode it twice (once on each side). It is also fun but wasn't as airy as I remembered. Then to the grandfather of the park, the Jack Rabbit (http://www.rcdb.com/id120.htm) a 1921 continuously operating (seasonally anyway) true terrain classic coaster. Does it have huge air? No, but it has everything you want in a classic ride (skids, no ratchets, no dividers, simple yet fun layout, maximum use of terrain, lots of up and down but I think the highest off the ground you get is about 15 feet. Another 2 times through the ride.

Then we visited Garfield's Nightmare which is a redo of a redone ride. The last time we were here it was the Old Mill Ride which I prefer to the 3-D Garfield. However the dreams of things coming after Garfield are cute.

The dodge 'ems were our next stop and this was a weird set up. The didn't require you to wear the restraints? People didn't wait for the bell to start. And Java (in his infinite creativity) terrorized people by driving backwards and nailing people. We then looped the park again and hit Phantom, Thunderbolt, and Racer.

We had reached the end of our vacation and needed to hit the road. We had the option of stopping if we got tired but homeward we made it. Time to crash and rest since I was leaving on Saturday to go to a conference.
blueeowyn: (carousel annimation)
Geauga Lake www.geaugalake.com http://www.geaugalaketoday.com/
It is sort of ironic writing this now (in October) given that I know that the Geauga Lake we visited is officially gone (the rides are mostly still there but... I gather that the employees saw the writing on the wall (or at least some visitors did) since 2 of the rides had been removed/were being removed during the year. Anyway, it is a sad thing because it is (ok was) a fine park and quite fun. It did have its issues but they were fairly minor (the biggest one being the distance from the front to the back and the lack of easy way to get there.

On with the write-up.

We started with heading towards the Big Dipper (which wasn't running yet) and ended up with a walk-on ride on the Boomerang. Typical Arrow sit-down boomerang. Rough but not the worst I have been on. So we headed towards the Double Loop http://www.rcdb.com/ig237.htm which is another typical Arrow ride, in other words OUCH.

Then it was time to start having FUN! Our next stop was Villain (http://www.rcdb.com/ig633.htm) which is another hybrid style ride (steel structure, wooden rails) which had undergone a serious change over the winter. They even made shirts about it (and how the Travers shuffle was removed). The logo of villain was cool and the theming to get into it was nice (the ride op rocked as well). I loved the open front train (similar to the ones used on Lightning Racer. This coaster is FAST with some major air, good turns and fabulous pacing. I loved it.

Our next stop on our circuit of the park was the Raging Wolf Bobs (http://www.rcdb.com/ig235.htm) which is an older style wooden coaster even though it was modern (opened 1988). We rode it twice once in the very front, once in the front of the last car. It feels fast (probably faster than it goes) and though it didn't have much air, it was fun. As it turns out, we were some of the last people to ride it, it derailed in early June and hasn't run since ... :<

The next stop was the Dodge'ems which while slow were a free for all and very nimble. FUN! We then visited the adorible Mine Train (Beaver Land Mine Ride - http://www.rcdb.com/ig634.htm) and while most of the time when you hear 'mine train' you think of tracks that look like something out of a mine shaft, this one is more of a train. The engine was there (complete with fake smokestack and Toot Toot horn). The tracks are open and swoopy. It is very cute, the front is an engine and the cars look more like train cars than some, each car of the long train is 1 seat you get at Train 'horn' as it comes into the station on each of the 2 circuits/ride. There was a girl on there who thought that one should scream on a coaster ... so (of course) I got into the mood and screamed like a banshee (much to Java's amusement since he wasn't in front of me).

Next (since it was hot) we stopped at Grizzly Run which is their white water canyon ride. The sculpting on the sides of the ride are beautiful (it really looks like rocks and the bear is QUITE nice) ... in fact a lot of the theming throughout the park was very nice. The ride was mostly OK but the water was GROSS (stinky, murky, yellow foam in places).

Then it was Pizza Time. It was a very tasty pizza (quite large, only slightly overpriced). Java took the leftovers to the car and we saw the Big Dipper (http://www.rcdb.com/ig236.htm) running, so off we went to visit it. This is a true classic coaster. Skid Breaks and all. Built in 1925 it shows what a true classic coaster should be. We took the front seat then ran around and took the last seat. The front rocked my socks in a major way. It had good air and reasonable laterals. The back was rough though. This fabulous ride had NO ratcheting lap bars (just the single bar well above your lap), skid breaks, skid trim breaks. SWEET!

We (stupidly) left that and went to Thunderhawk which is a Vekoma cookie-cutter Hang & Bang (to the point that Java pointed out the Hang part and the Bang part). Same ride as Mind Eraser, T2 and a host of other monstrosities (no, I don't like this type of ride, why do you ask?). The guy a few rows back asked for his nuts to be released and I completely understand the feeling (ok, not completely but...). Anyway they were refitting this thing with cameras on the back of the seats so that you can buy a video of your torture. Why the HECK Cedar Fair is keeping this and moving it (it is going to Michigan Adventure for 2008) instead of something GOOD is beyond me.

Our next stop was Dominator (http://www.rcdb.com/id632.htm) which was restyled from the Six Flag Days. It is a B&M Floorless ride. First half was very nice, 2nd half had a few too many abrupt changes. It is a Dominatrix teasing you with swoops and curves then beating on you.

Then we took the LONG walk around behind the Wolf Bobs to the back of the park (which is where the only part of the park they are keeping is located). We saw Dino Island II - looking for Tony the last male T-Rex on a deserted Island suffering from Volcano. Cute video intro ... reasonable motion sim (many of them are 'off' for my inner ear) - run just for us; very nice queue theming with dino calls, holding containers, etc. it was fun.

We then rode the Monster (another solo ride for us, promise by ride-op to stop if we signaled him) SWOOP and around, Swoop and around. Dizzy but cool. Then over to the Pirate ship swing ride (not an inverter ride) which is located next to more traditional swings. Rode the Henry VIII boat (well, Java is his brother-in-law). Like normal Zamperela swings this swoops and rotates a bit while swinging. Nice

Our next stop (and final one in this section of the park) was the Lego Racer 4-D movie. I found the sexy lego person a bit disturbing. The story a bit cheesy but cute and fun (I could have done with less water effects ... it was COLD).

Then we went back to the Bobs and got the front of the 2nd car which was nice (and shorter than waiting for the front of the front car). Then we were off to one of the hidden jewels of the park. The Carousel - and Illions 1926 masterpiece (http://nca-usa.org/psp/GeaugaLake/), gold manes and tails on several steeds, lots of jewels (even 2nd line horses); it needs some TLC. The neat thing is that this goes FAST... and to counteract that, the poles go through a sideways slot in the floor and as the ride goes faster, the bottom swings out a bit (about 6 inches) so that the horse is no longer perpendicular to the ground which makes for a much more stable ride from the riders point of view (still some sideways force at full speed on the outer horse ... yes the poles go out and different rates depending on which row ... or that is how it seemed to me). Very VERY cool. Yes we rode it more than once.

Back to Villain with 2 more rides in the front, enjoying the massive air, the sweet speed and smoothness where the flip flop (sharp bank left and right w/out a turn). SWEET

Then we went shopping. Among other things, I found a perfect shirt for me. I <3 Wooden Coasters (on the back with the word Wooden looking like wood). In a nice neutral brown. We decided to go for more rides (rather than photos) and did a race-walk to the dipper, get last ride of the night in the front seat. It was a good end ot the day. We then headed to the parking lot for our left-over pizza (nice and warm from the car and headed south for our last stop on the trip.
blueeowyn: (carousel lite)
Cedar Point - Day 2 - www.cedarpoint.com

The day started with us joining the stampede for Maverick (we run with the crowd, we are one with the crowd, we had to wait while some employees relocated a family of geese). The ride was fast, a bit rough and had some interesting restraints. The 95 degrees down was bizarre. I like the free T-shirt but wish that those of us who had Maxx Passes would have been able to get the sweatshirt as well. Unfortunately the shirts are white so have less use than others might have.

Then we headed up towards the front of the park to visit Wild Cat (I heart Anton, even without loops). Then it was time to take the sky-ride and enjoy some relaxing time and then visit the Midway Carousel all the way at the front of the park (pretty but needs some TLC). We decided to try Demon Drop and had that "what was I thinking?" moment as we went up. Loud sounds but not too bad a ride. My fear of heights wasn't too sure about this though. Then we stopped for a discount lunch (coupons are our friends) which ended up being quite tasty (I liked the pretzel dough roll). The theming of the restaurant was very cute (baseball bat pillars and such). Then aw shucks we were right next to Blue Streak with not much of a line so we took second seat.

We decided to stick out the line and ride Disaster Transport. I really don't get why the line is so long on this ride, the throughput must be insanely low for no obvious reason. It was a nice enough ride but I prefer Avalanche or Space Mountain. A trip to the arcade then ensued with much laughing and fun.

Then it was off to the races at Cedar Downs (racing Derby) and the Cadellac Cars (nice track layout) and aw shucks, we are next to Wild Cat. Giggle. I wanted to see the rest of the Train Loop so we took that back to the rear of the park (not as good scenery as from Mean Streak to Wild Cat). And we were right there next to Mean Streak. Such a hardship. Then off to the Red side of Gemini and out of the park. We had some driving to do and we had ridden a lot. We did some shopping for souviners and hit the road.

On the way to Cleveland we stopped and saw "Invisible" which was weird with nice scenery and rude kids in the theatre.

Then came problems with navigation. The road was closed due to a wreck so we take the detour and lose track of miles. Whose bright idea was it to have 480 have 2 exit numbered 23 onto Broadway??? Hmmm?????? We (of course) took the wrong one but eventually found the hotel and crashed for the night (after moving rooms since the first room's toilet was not functional).
blueeowyn: (carousel lite)
Hotel Breakers - http://resorts.cedarpoint.com/public/resorts/index.cfm?resort_id=2
We arrived in Sandusky just as the park closed having had a nice visit with Turnberryknkn et al. and driving to the point.

Hotel Breakers is behind the park between Corkscrew and the Lake. It is an older hotel with memories of its more grand times and retains quite a bit of charm even in todays hustle bustle world. In the wing we were in, there are no elevators (yes, the hotel is that old) and no electronic door keys. We each got a large key fob with the room number on it and a key. The room is not huge but is sufficient with a queen bed, small table w/2 chairs, small dresser, TV, and a luggage rack for the suitcase. The door sticks a little but it almost adds to the charm of the location. The bathroom has a step up to the toilet and shower (no tub). We settled in, explored the beach breifly (open until midnight), Java did some laundry and I passed out.

We did run into a few challenges with the hotel and when we mentioned them at check-out the staff was horrified and felt so bad (I was starting to feel bad for not telling them sooner). The seat on the toilet was a bit lose and when it slid sideways I got a blood-blister on my thigh from the pinch. They had also plugged the alarm clock into the wall-switch controlled outlet which turn the alarm off.

The hotel is sort of leggy in some ways with longish hallways leading from the center area. There is an internet friendly place, the pool, the entrance to the beach, an arcade, a laundry, and a few restaurants to choose from. There is beautiful old-looking glass in the windows and some stained glass pieces in the lobby. The lobby also has a television with Peanuts on for most of the day and the list of what rides are opening early for guests the next morning. Having Snoopy wandering around just adds to the overal ambiance and fun. He looks so cute in his nightcap.

Cedar Point - http://www.cedarpoint.com/

The next morning we were up fairly early since resort guests get into Cedar Point an hour before the GP. Not all rides are up (unfortunately) but it is still a chance to get in line early. We decided to wait on Maverick so we headed away from the stampede (it makes the running of the bulls in Spain look decorous almost) and headed to Millineum Force. We made good time (walking fast but not running), up the stairs, onto the platform, passed the back breaks where the ride-ops were still pouring water out of the weight dummies from the test of train 2, and onto the blue train. First ride of the day. WHEEE (we also got the 2nd ride of the day on that train), then off to Raptor which shut down briefly in the rain (paranoia due to Magnum probably), got a ride on that, and decided to head to the Top Thrill Dragster line. We got there about 5 minutes before park opening so we were in a good spot. We ended up near the back of our car. Waiting for the launch is a bit intimidating (to say the least) but it is VERY smooth and the twist is interesting and boy do you get a great (but brief) view of the park from 400 feet up.

By now the park was open (we got to see them shuttle lines in TTD to allow for the larger crowd. Very nicely handled. So we went to visit Corkcrew to get that over with (I am not a huge fan of Arrow Dynamics Looping steel coasters). But ended up in line for the Power Tower (a boingie ride where you are shot up as if on a released rubber band and bounced a bit before coming back down to earth). Another fine view of the park later and we headed towards Corkscrew. The Corkscrew treated me as I expected it to. The bucket seat-backs are not the same size as my back and end up pushing on my upper shoulders (not fun). The horsecollar puts pressure in weird places as well. However, it is a bit of history and worth 1 ride ... I guess.

We stopped by Magnum XL-200 (which is a ride I usually adore) and the line was 2.25 HOURS???!!?!?! Holy Bizarreness Batman. Why would a ride that is over 10 years old be running a line almost as long as the one that opened this weekend??! I found out later (a couple of days) that the reason was that Mags had a 'problem' on Saturday. One of the trains ran its breaks and hit another train in the station (bad train, no biscuit). This meant that both of those trains were removed from service to figure out what happened and do any repairs. This left one train on circuit when they re-opened (no chance of another train bump if there is only one on the tracks). This left a LONG line. *sigh*

So, we continued on around the park and ended up at Gemini (red side) which is a wood structure, steel rail hybrid coaster. As the name implies, it is also a twinned coaster but unlike some it isn't a true twin. The tracks are slightly different lengths so that one side will always win. It does share the trait of the Kennywood Racer that the tracks are next to each other so that the coasters will pull ahead/fall behind depending on who is on the inside of a particular turn. The only mirroring is the final helix. However it is fun and packs some nice air-time in (though I could use a little less in the lateral department). The weird thing about this ride is that it rides like a wooden except for its eerie silence. The wheels just whisper on the rails and if the riders are quiet, all you hear is a gentle swoosh as you go around the circuit. (Bit of trivia, the style is Arrow's Special Coaster Systems - like this Steeplechase in the UK http://www.rcdb.com/ig795.htm?picture=2

We stuck our noses in the general direction of Maverick and decided that the line wasn't worth it and headed to the Cedar Creek Mine Train. They were still getting her warmed up (slowly opening more and more of the train). This is a true mine-train feeling coaster with lots of turns and dips. The track structure looks more like what you would imagine a mine exit would look than some. Giggle. Then since we were right there, we hopped on the antique cars that are next to the Mine Train. We decided that I would drive and we appreciated the nice scenary and covered bridge. The goose hissing at us for getting 'too close' was such a realistic touch ... of course since it was a live goose, I was very careful to be prepared to stop if it did something stupid.

Then we wanted to head to the other side of the park and decided to take the train. This was a good choice, I didn't remember how much scenary and automatrons they had. The rearing skeleton horse was cool, the puns were bad but the ride was fun (and a chance to sit and enjoy the scenary. That is one nice thing about this park, the 'family' rides are mixed in with the 'thrill' rides and while there are kiddie sections (2 of them) there are things you can do with kids/family all over the place.

Next stop was Mantis. The people smoking in line were very annoying and the water around the ride was seriously gross (why do people throw their trash on the ground/in the water instead of in a trash can ... it isn't like there aren't a good number of trash cans on the property. I managed to get a pretty good position in the restraints so I didn't get beaten up too badly but the G-forces were pretty intense.

Off to Iron Dragon which unfortunately needs some TLC, it was dragging a bit on some of the sections (I could hear the rumble of the not quite perfectly aligned tracks). Sort of like how some wooden coasters will squeal when they need minor re-tracking? Or how some will 'walk'. Still a nice ride and one of the few Arrow types I enjoy. And it is one of the few suspended coasters left (they are a bit of a maintenance nightmare from what I hear).

Next stop? Wild Cat - I heart Anton Schwartzkopf. He made the most fun coasters. They aren't huge, they aren't world record setters but they are just plain FUN! Up, down, around, a little air here, a little air there, here some air, there some air, everywhere a little air. This rides like a galaxy and I do love them (and miss the KD one).

By now we were hot, tired, hungry, and a bit cranky (sorry Java). So, we headed off-site to Damons for Ribs. YUM! The first time Java had ever seen me really chow down was when we went to Damons in 2000. I was very proud of myself for finding it without any directions. It was nice to sit and relax. We watched the boats in the marina and the people going to and fro getting ready for the summer sailing season. Then it was back to the park.

We hit the dodgems (WAY too loud in the music) and made the stop at Cedar Downs. This is the last Racing Derby in this country that still races (one of two that exist at all). What is a "Racing Derby" you ask? Well, it is a carousel ride with horses posed like an old English print (legs outstretched), the poles come from below and are fitted into long slots (maybe 4 feet). As the ride turns, the horses move up and down (like most carousels) but they also slide forward and back within their slots so that they 'race' past each other then fall back and surge forward again. http://history.amusement-parks.com/racingderby.htm gives some history on the ride type (and some diagrams).

Then aw-shucky-darn we were right next to Blue Streak I guess we will just have to ride it. Oh the pain and suffering. This is a truly classic coaster and runs like a dream. Her job is to give you a smooth ride and good air. She has done this for many years and I hope she continues for many more. I do regret that the arcade (and former dark ride) next to her is now gone. After that, we tried the Calypso and I managed to survive it and still be able to walk. However, I needed to recover on Blue Streak.

Then it was off to the Kiddie Carousel for another break. This time on a bear. We then wandered over to Wicked Twister which I wasn't sure if I would like (I don't do well on the whole going backwards thing. However, it was VERY fun so we did it twice then wandered to the Arcade that had some vintage games (Pac Man, Galaga, Ms. Pac Man, Centipede, etc.).

Back towards the exit to the hotel and a stop by Gemini for a ride in the rear of the Blue side. It was a bit rough and we headed out having had a very full day in the park. The buffet dinner at the hotel was reasonable but not great. Then back to the park again (have I mentioned that we appreciated being able to walk to the park from the hotel? We did.

We stopped by Mags and went ahead and rode it. It was rougher than I liked and much rougher than I remembered. We decided to head to Mean Streak which I remembered as being much rougher and more jerky than Grizzly on Grizz's worst days. I don't know what side of the bed that coaster got out of that morning but it was running FINE! We rode it, ran around, got back in line, and rode it again, then one more time for Good Measure. Front seat and flying free. WHEEE!

Then we headed back to the hotel, I showered and passed out.
blueeowyn: (carousel annimation)
The plan for today was originally to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] turnberryknkn and some mutual friends to go to the May Faire in Michigan (www.mayfaireren.com). Alas the weather seemed to not agree with us. It was POURING when Java and I got up and it was not a warm day. While we can (and do) handle the cold/rain at Maryland; we have warmer clothes a shorter drive at the end of the day; more easily sorted out options for thawing out; and cloaks. We got an email from Turnberryknkn proposing scrapping the idea and it seemed like a good change.

So, we went up to Ann Arbor to meet up with the gang and have some food with them (lovely Greek run diner) and off to see Pirates of the Caribbean with them in garb (we had not brought any due to space). After hanging with them we headed east towards Sandusky. We tried to find a place to eat in Toledo and while seeing some sights that I have read about in [livejournal.com profile] missysedai's LJ; we failed on our food-finding roll and decided to head on out. Dinner ended up being Wendy's and Tim Horton's.
blueeowyn: (carousel annimation)
Bucket
So we enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel, packed up, and headed out. Muskegon is a small town with some very nice old buildings to look at as you drive down the road. We were driving along on a fairly major road and I notice some buckets in the road ... large buckets ... the kind you get 5 gallons of spackling compound in. One of them is in the lane to our left (standing up) and one in our lane (lying down rocking gently side to side). I see these as fairly major obstacles but Java just keeps driving and saying in a nice calm voice 'hey look, there is a bucket in the road' (or something to that effect). My internal dialog is going something along the lines of (yes! There is a BUCKET in the ROAD! In OUR LANE! Are you planning to slow down???? Swerve???? Do ANYTHING????!??!?!??!!!). However, after the soda bottle, I didn't want to over-react. Then BOOM we pulverize the bucket at around 45 or 50 mph (I wasn't driving so I don't know for sure). I do know that the bucket was no longer a bucket ... there were fragments of former bucket flying all sorts of directions. Java said something along the lines of 'What was THAT?!?' to which I answer 'A bucket in our lane'. That is when I realized that Java had only seen one of the buckets (he was busy trying to see if the one to the left contained anything). And I became rather hysterical with laughter ... completely and totally out of control. 'Here I thought you were so calm, cool, and collected about the bucket in our lane and you never even saw it, you were talking about the other one. However since I thought you were talking about this one, I didn't point it out ... but you didn't see it.' Lots of repetitions but I was howling, having trouble breathing, tears streaming from my eyes ... the whole nine yards. The bucket extended the crack in the plastic panel on the bumper (it had already been cracked by me hooking it on a cabinet and Christi mis-judging a curb), it pushed it around, popped a gasket loose and made a bit of a mess. The word 'bucket' for the rest of the vacation was more or less guaranteed to give me the major giggles. It still does sometimes.

Michigan's Adventure http://www.miadventure.com/

Michigan's Adventure is a beautiful park with lots of flowers even before you get in. They have no metal detectors and some of the most enthusiastic hand-dryers I have ever used. Rumor has it that the park was originally owned by the people who still own Indiana Beach (or also owned Indiana Beach) but was then purchased by Cedar Fair. The dry portion of the park is sort of horse-shoe shaped with the entrance on one branch (I'm calling it right) of the shoe (along the Shivering Timbers), there is a water park that you exit into from the bottom left of the shoe, stuff goes up the left branch and there is a ride (train) that creates a bar for the shoe (closes the top). In the middle of the shoe is a good sized lake with some very large fish.

As you enter the parking lot a HUGE wooden roller coaster runs freely along side your car (faster than we were driving and it was on its return leg). Then you see the Wild Mouse, park and go in. The people were very helpful about how to get our passes working even though they didn't have the scanner, it worked very smoothly. Parking wasn't too bad either (price or location).

We decided to start with the Michigan Wolverine. This coaster is reminiscent of Phoenix at Knoebels. The ride queue had some graffiti (which was surprising given how nice the people in the area seem to be). We took front seat (of course) and there is some nice air on this baby. Very smooth, quick and nimble. The 3 bench cars exhibit a lot more obvious flex and it is an interesting sensation to go into a tunnel with the car wiggling around you (just like Phoenix).

Next we went to visit the big coaster of the park. Shivering Timbers a CCI monster whose goal in life is AIR with the secondary goal of SPEED. Both goals are well achieved. Poor Java was looking at the park until I said "Shiny" looking at the track ahead, there was a wow from beside me and a whoop as the train took off running. Lots of bunny hops, double ups, big hops, little hops, nicely banked turnaround and then off and running again. The weird feature(?) of this ride is right after the turnaround when you are screaming forward at a quick clip and are near the ground it banks left then right without changing direction for no obvious reason other than to throw you left and right (I learned later that this is called the Travers Shuffle from a feature that Harry Travers put in his coasters) ... personally I would have preferred a hop. After coming back through the structure you race through a nice helix and back to the station. Wahooo. When you have ridden Shivering Timbers you know without a doubt that you have been on a ride.

To recover from this, we headed to the flume. It has a nice view of the park and has most of it up high so you can enjoy the view (most flumes take you up, drop you, run you around some curves, up higher and then the big drop, this one took you fairly high, gave an itty-bitty drop, ran you around curves waaaay up in the sky, then dropped you).

Our next stop was the Wild Mouse (from the rear the sign for the Wild Mouse looks like a collection of giant flip-flops). The nice feature of this one was the fairly extensive gardens in the middle of the ride. Flowers, trees, shrubs, etc. all nicely landscaped and trimmed. This mouse also had some nice banking so the turns were more swoopy and less thuding against the sides of the car. The mouse cars were very cute. The stapling by the ride op was not cute.

Then we went to the Corkscrew which has a nicely themed entrance (piece of scale replica loop that you go through). Unfortunately, it is a typical Arrow looper which means that I find it rough and uncomfortable. You do get a nice view of the baby go-carts from it. We later walked over to get a better look at the baby go-carts and they are NOT tracked (well beyond the normal tracking for a go-cart) and there are those little kids ... maybe 2-4 years old driving them around having a fine time.

After a lunch break (and the obligatory drooling by me at the vintage cars in front of the restaurant) we headed to the antique car ride which wasn't wide enough for both of us so we had separate cars. The steering was non-existent in my 50s style sports car but I was amused to have a sound-track piped in of music. The track also has several bill-boards scattered throughout which are amusing (advertising local attractions and some other Cedar Fair attractions). Then we wandered over to Zachs Zoomer and both get the giggles at the Zoom! painted on the back of the train (we call it getting the Zooms when the cats go tearing around the house singly or together ... look at each other and comment Zoom!). The ride was slightly rough but it was nice and basically a clone of the Beastie/Giggles Coaster at KI or Scooby/Ghoster Coaster at KD. We stopped by the skeeball place and Java got a 340 on the machine (unfortunately the ticket dispenser wasn't working right not that we needed a prize. We tried to feed the fish but they didn't seem too interested in eating though one did follow us back and forth for awhile.

We continued around the lake and took a quick ride on the Swan Boats which really aren't very nimble in the handling department but were fun (and we did manage to avoid the fountains). We watched the Shoot-the-Chute but it was too cold to get soaked (upper 60s). We also watched the White Water Canyon which was delightfully done, very nice path, good use of waterfalls on the turn out of the station, very nicely set-up guns to soak people with and what looked to be a nice ride throughout. However, it was cold enough I was wearing a jacket part of the time ... not a good time to get soaked.

We decided to catch the miniature train back to the Shivering Timbers area. You can tell they recently re-did the tracks so that it can act as a people mover from the Canyon area to the Timbers area because the white gravel on the old path is still fairly visible. The train ride was nice but somewhat boring ... more gardens and/or figures would be a nice touch though we did see an Oriole right next to the train. So we rode the Wildcat again and Shivering Timbers and decided to play mini-golf. There is a cute course near the kiddie go-carts and we had not played much on this trip and we both enjoy it. Java won by 2 so it was a close game.

Out to the car to get the camera and we stopped by the carousel for pictures (and rides). I have not been able to get information on this carousel (it isn't on the National Carousel Association Census) but I suspect it is a metal or fiber-glass replica. The paint jobs are exquisite with little scenes on many of the trappings. We then started hunting in earnest for the kiddie coaster and finally found it (at the bend of the horseshoe). It is a small, tire propelled type coaster and was cute. Then as we were running out of time we headed briskly to Shivering Timbers for a final ride (final ride of the day as it turned out). Somewhere in the late afternoon I did do some shopping and found a wonderfully cute T-shirt (the Peanuts crowd coming down a hill on a coaster) which meant that I could get a 2007 Michigan's Adventure shirt (with the Peanuts crowd) for $5. WOOT! Unfortunately, I couldn't find post-cards. On our way out we stopped at Guest Relations with comments (mostly good, the only bad was the stapling and lack of post-cards). We later received a nice letter from the park thanking us for our comments and included a 3-D postcard of Shivering Timbers.

Craig's Cruisers http://www.craigscruisers.com/

Once we were on the road again, we were happily heading down the road and discussing options for the evening (dinner, possible movie, games) when I saw a mini-golf course off to the right and pointed it out. So, we decided to hunt for it (hey, I can now say I've been to Wyoming ... Michigan). With a lot of help from the Michigan Map and only a few wrong turnings by me (I thought we were going south when we were going north); we found Craig's Cruisers which is a good sized family entertainment complex.

They have 2 mini-golf courses, a kiddie go cart track, an adult one, an indoor one, bumper boats, bumper cars (boats on wheels), climbing wall, games, buffet, etc.. So, we got the "buffet & 2 activities for $12" option (most mini-golf seems to be in the $5-$9 range/person). We have been talking about go-carts but tend to not do them in the parks (we pay to get in and ride, it seems strange to pay to ride again ... besides which a lot of the parks courses don't look that much fun.

So, we got some food and went to play mini golf. We chose the western course because it looked less crowded. There was a family of 4.2 in front of us and the two boys were having a lot of fun. They decided to let us jump ahead of them (which was very nice of them) and kept us from having the next group breathing down our neck. I had one of the best mini-golf games ever for me. I had minimal cases of "Eowyning" holes (unlike poor Java) and won the game by 4 strokes (Go Me!).

We wandered through the arcade and saw an amazing display of Dance Dance Revolution where the young man was getting combos of over 80 (the highest I saw was a 120 combo) and his feet were flying. Then we got seconds on the food (you have 3 hours to go in and out of the food area) while watching more SpongeBob (more interesting to us than the baseball game).

Then it was off to the indoor Go Carts. The floor is a lot like a bumper car floor so they slide some but it feels a lot like a very fast and nimble bumper car that happens to have a variable gas pedal and also has breaks. Zoom! One kid blew by me early on the first lap but didn't get very far ahead of me, I kept almost passing him on this one turn but I was trying so hard to avoid bumping him that I was losing position. I finally got good position and he bumped me and his friend ended up passing me. Oh well, it was amazingly fun. These are electric so they don't stink and they get a good head of steam going.

Then it was dessert (none of the food was memorable) and time to hit the road again
blueeowyn: (Default)
Indiana Beach http://www.indianabeach.com/

3.5 hours of driving brought us to Indiana Beach. A small park on a lake in Indiana. We walked across the suspension bridge (boing, boing, boing) to get to the park itself. We got there at around 3 and the park closed at 6 but the buy one, get one free POP plan was too tempting (we had planned on a different discount but hey, we weren't complaining). So off we went to find what we could find.

We started with the Splash Battle which is a submarine type ride where the boat goes on a rail and by hand cranking your 'gun' you can shoot water at other boats and/or targets on course. Apparently on a busier day, there will be lots of opportunities to shoot other boats and on a warmer day, the targets can be important because they negate some of the water elements of the course. Fun and I stayed mostly dry (Java got some from another boat).

Then to the first coaster of the day. The Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is an itty-bitty mine train with quite a few nice touches and twists. The first is that the train is 2 cars (2 facing benches/car with 2 riders/bench). The cars are very mine-train looking (as in real mine, not typical mine-train coaster cars). The 2nd twist is that the 'lift' is a british lift ... as in elevator. You go by a skeleton who says that even though he is dead, he wouldn't trust that elevator. Giggle. Lots of swoops and dives into and out of the mountain (beautifully done). There is a bear inside along with an oncoming train and some stalactites. The twists and turns are fast and sharp (the short wheel-base of the cars lets them get away with just about 90 degree turns, it is like a mouse gone seriously insane and escaped from Bedlam).

Next stop was the Cornball Express a hybrid wooden coaster (steel supports) that twists and turns around itself. It is fast, smooth, and some major air. AND it is 'classic' rolling stock in that the lap-bar is a single non-ratcheting so when the air hits, you go UP! WHEEE! We rode front seat for the first ride and front of next to last car on the second ride. Very, very nice ride. Unfortunately, they need to wait until a certain portion of the train was filled.

Then it was over to the Tig'rr (with Corny petting the Nice Kitty on the sign). This is a strange little coaster ... well unique anyway in that the lift chain is a linked chain (like most people think of when they think chain), the cars are single cars, riders in a line (similar to a flume). This baby rockets around in some very tight helices but is banked beautifully. After riding that, we headed to the Galaxi. I still miss the KD Galaxi (it stood where Shockwave is now ... both coaster deaths at KD were Darwins on the same footprint). Java had never ridden a Galaxi but he knew it was drawing me. 2 rides in the front seat (only people on the train), and off we went again. This has nice turns and some quick air. Ahhh, the memories were wonderful.

Then we headed to the Den of Lost Thieves, it is a dark shooting ride that had a maximum of 350lbs/car and we don't qualify so we rode separately. That did give me two guns to play with though which was fun. Unfortunately, I honestly don't remember any of the scores we got but it was fun picking up the gold and the targets were EVERYWHERE, the ride would go up a hill and there would be something on the roof as you went up, we looped outside and had a few out there as well. I get the feeling that this used to be a haunted house type of ride that got re-fitted.

After getting a snack, we headed to the Dodg'em ride. This is a one-way one but there are a lot of cut throughs in the center barrier and I made the most of them. I did lots of T-boning and dodging the traffic jams. One poor kid got nailed when someone got their car stuck in reverse (these cars were seriously nimble and quick. He wasn't hurt but he was shaken by the BOOM of the impact. I of course was giggling madly as I zoomed around trying to hit everyone at least once.

The next stop was the Hoosier Hurricane which is another wooden coaster on a steel structure. It is fairly long, fast, major air, with classic style restraints. We managed to score a ride in the front seat then front of the next to last car. They were running 2 trains but the 2nd train was full of weights instead of riders (inner tubes of something). Nice ride.

Aw shucks, right next to the Hurricane is a flume called Rocky's Rapids. So of we went again. We were unfortunate in our choice of boats. The ride was just fine until we came down the drop and hit the splash zone. Most of the boats slowed down immediately after the splash zone. Ours didn't get that memo and crashed into the concrete wall where the ride turns to head back to the station. OUCH! For a split second I wasn't sure I would stay IN the boat and I was a bit bruised and shaken up. We (of course) immediately reported it but in our daze hadn't caught the number of the boat. So we watched awhile and heard the THUD so we thought we knew which one, watched some more and sure enough, that one boat was NOT slowing like the rest. So, the ride-ops took it off-line. I assume they checked it overnight or pulled it or something (they let it keep going but didn't let anyone else ride it).

I wanted to ride something tame (I was seriously shaken by that jar) so we headed to the Merry-Go-Round and at first I thought it might be closed but fortunately, it wasn't. This is a 1950s Allan Herschell metal carousel and was a nice ride. Very smooth (which I appreciated. We then wandered through the games area and found Boom-Ball where Java won a felt flower for me (awww). Then it was time to do re-rides. We did Dodg'em again, last seat of the Galaxi, the Cornball Express (1st seat of 2nd car IIRC) and then the park closed and we had to leave. I was disappointed that they didn't have any shops open after 6:00 so I couldn't buy post-cards. We did get permission to go back on the bridge for photos which came out fairly well.

Then it was time to get back on the road and continue heading north. As we were driving along, a soda bottle hit the road in front of us and I swerved to avoid it (or at least try to). Java chided me saying it was only a soda bottle and wouldn't do much damage and he was worried that my driving would cause more damage.

Overall I think this is a neat little park. I love the water on all sides and the boardwalk feel to the park. I heard that the owners of this park used to own another park which we visited later in the trip.
blueeowyn: (Default)
King's Island http://www1.cedarfair.com/kingsisland
Today was a quiet day (by our standards anyway).

We went to Kings Island. The new coaster (Firehawk) will open on Saturday [MaxwellSmartVoice]Missed it by that much[/MaxwellSmartVoice]. Son of Beast is also still down (re-open date unknown) though that was not a surprise.

We started with a walk by the Son to see what there is to see, it is still massive and huge and while we miss seeing the loop, it doesn't look missing if that makes any sense (i.e. the coaster doesn't look incomplete without it). Then it was down the hill (and down and down and down) to visit Top Gun (suspended). We walked into the station and onto the car (front of a middle car). The ride is now sponsored by a company that gets to give a "sponsored by" note verbally while on the lift hill which I couldn't understand as we went by. Man this suspended goes fast. Very swoopy and swingy (and you get a decent view of Hawk's lift). Got back to the station and re-rode w/out leaving the car (w/permission).

Then it was up the hill to Delirium. We've ridden this type of ride elsewhere but not this one. The backwards and sideways portions were a bit rough on me but frontwards was WHEEEE! For those not familiar with Delirium, picture a pendulum that swings back and forth ... now at the bottom instead of the disk being parallel to the arm, make it perpendicular, now rotate the disk while the arm swings over a fairly wide arc (90 degrees total or more).

By then I was getting hungry so we went looking for food, decided the line at the first food place was stupid, and went to ride the mine train (Adventure Express). Fast, a bit rough, we both love the lift hill with the Aztec like gods threatening the train as it goes chugging up (I forget what they actually say but they are amusing). Next stop, Racer, front seat, second car going frontwards (back was closed). WHEEEE.

Then on to Subway for food, scrambler, bumper cars (these get a meh from me, slow and not nimble), and on to visit The Beast. 7500 feet+ of twisted terrain wooden track. I do wish that the new brakes were less enthusiastic but you can feel her pulling at her chains 'let me RUN'. We were in the frontish section of the train. Then a relaxing ride on the steam train (some of the scenery needs some TLC but I liked the fake tree stumps in the clearing), more drink, and Scooby's Haunted Castle. Java got the bad gun (301) I got the two good ones (750 and 930) - Preen. Then to the "fairly odd coaster" (aka Beastie aka Scooby's Ghoster Coaster) where they didn't want to let Java out (they relocked the bars before he got his open). Giggle at his on-ride picture of posing like an ape and move on to the carousel. The horses need some serious TLC (and the painters need to see pictures of real horses for paint patterns et al.) but still worth the ride. Another ride on Racer (hair loosened but not down, Racer failed to finish the job) and out to see a movie (Georgia Rules ... not great acting, script has some issues, more in a separate post).

Back to the park (theatre is across the street) and front seat, second car (line of motion) for Backwards Racer, 2nd car 2nd seat (twice) for frontwards, then walk by Flight of Fear (unreasonable line) and to the Beast to end the day. Front seat last car, then front seat front car. You really know you have ridden a big kids coaster on this one.

Shopping, dinner, and back to the hotel to sleep (and explore RCDB) for some info on various things.

One interesting note is that I think the only coaster at KI that we rode that did NOT require a seat-belt was the one that is designed to look like a automobile. I find this amusing, bizarre, and a bit annoying (most of these didn't need a seat-belt when they were designed, it is the CYA due to Darwinian people).
blueeowyn: (carousel annimation)
Holiday World http://www.holidayworld.com/

This is a small(ish) (ok, not really small), family owned park in southern Indiana. Santa Claus, Indiana to be specific. I had heard about it and its collection of fine coasters on the internet and was interested in visiting. Looking at the on-line info, it looked to be the coasters, a waterpark and not much else. While there isn't 'much' else at this gem of a park, it is so worth a trip if you appreciate a Good park experience. The park arose from a park that was called Santa Claus Land (I think) and had a (predictably) Christmas Theme which suited Santa Claus, IN. Now there are several holidays within the park.

We started with a brief walk through part of Christmas and enjoyed the decor of the shops (think gingerbread style architecture), the very large fir tree decorated with Gingerbread men, candy canes and garlands and betook ourselves to visit Halloween. Our goal was the Raven. Unfortunately, Raven was having trouble waking up so we watched part of the diving show (they are crazy, diving from 85 feet in the air into a 10 foot deep pool is insane). Granted that was the show-stopper but still. Anyway, our next stop was Legend. The theming was Sleepy Hollow with the headless horseman on the overhead sign. There was a line but not bad and you got an up-close and personal view of the coaster as it came screaming by you on the way back into the station. We sat front seat for our first ride on this beast. Legend is wooden and seriously twisted. She is a bit rough (we avoided axle seats) but a nice ride with surprising air here and there. I was giggling madly throughout this speed demon as we rocketed down the turning first slope, through the water park and weaving our way back into the station. I figured out why my right hip is a bit touchy, I was using my right leg to try to stay balanced in the car (yeah, riiiight). This ride has some major laterals (esp. to the left) but has a nice roomey feel (the seat dividers are open below the divider so there is room for little things like hips). We then went to the Free Pepsi stand (woot!) and to the Hallowswings (standard swing ride with very nice Halloween theming but not frightening), back to Legend (slightly further back) and to the flume. After riding the flume, I became convinced that Holiday World loves tunnels, Legend has several and the flume had a long one. We got to stop at the top of the drop and chat with the ride op up there.

Then we went to the Raven. Raven is a speed demon wooden terrain coaster that takes you flying through the trees (and some tunnels) and amazing speeds. She is a short ride (timewise) but well worth it. She is the smoothest of the coasters at the park and the entrance is classic Poe with the wrought iron gate and the name of the ride in iron overhead as you pass through the brick posts. You barely get to catch your breath on this ride as you rocket past the trees and along the rises and dips in the land.

The whole area is so well themed with Goblin Burgers, lots of orange, yellow, and black. Halloween type music playing throughout, a bell ringing when Legend leaves the station, a wolf howl at the top of the lift. VERY nicely done.

Then we decided to eat. Back to Christmas for some food and the prices are VERY reasonable and the food was good. The combos are the entree, fries (choice of shoestring or curly), and a small cookie. The sodas are again free. The pizza was good and I hear that the sausage & pepperoni Stromboli (more of a sub sandwich) was fabulous.

Then it was time to go visit the Fourth of July. We started in the glassworks shop (some very nice blown glass ... the chickens in multi colors were gorgeous) which also had a collection of antique toys in a museum and a lot of stuff on Abraham Lincoln (who grew up nearby). Artifacts from the time (and some replicas) to show what the time felt like. We probably could have spent an hour in there more than we did if we wanted to but the day was short and there were more things to see and do. We rode the antique cars and headed to the Bumper Cars(?). OK, these weren't cars. It was a mixture of bison and horses (palomino, bay, and grey) with a nice old-west mural on the back wall. Fairly nimble cars with very soft bumpers. FUN! Then the bumper boats, the Liberty Launch (launch up and bounce type ride), and to the Freedom Train which was the first ride in the park 60 years ago. Miniature train that goes around a kiddie area and passes a lot of storybook characters (Jack & Jill, Old Mother Hubbard, Jack and the Beanstalk, Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffet, ... cockleshells ... jack horner ... Red Riding Hood ... Humpty Dumpty ... etc.); rode the kiddie coaster (rough), Flying Eagles, and then to the River Rapids. Fabulous ride with lots of pretty rocks, very nice theming and you go through a flooded old-west type town. Then it was time to go to Thanksgiving.

I was perfectly willing to skip the TurkeyWhirl (tilt-a-whirl with the cars shaped like giant turkeys) which was cute, however, Legend was a must. She starts out as an amazing out and back. Wood on a steel frame and TALL. Then she changes into a twister of monster proportions. Lots of tunnels (5 I think) some seriously banked turns (3 at 90 degrees according to the specs) and speed, speed, speed, speed, speed. Did I mention she was twisting and turning at insane speeds? Then we went to the Gobbler Getaway which is one of those "shoot the target from a moving vehicle" rides but it (of course) had a twist of sorts. The 'guns' were turkey callers and went "gobble, gobble, gobble" when you shot them. They did make a different noise when you hit a target (and the turkey would pop up/out from wherever it was hiding). Chris wiped the floor with me. The final scene is a thanksgiving family sitting down with a stereotypical platter that opens to reveal pizza. Giggle. Back to Legend for another ride and up the hill to see some stuff we hadn't seen in America. In Thanksgiving we heard "Goober Peas" and "Turkey in the Straw" and some other tunes.

Salmon run is a kiddie ride with very cute fish and the indian canoes are another kiddie ride but the Betsy Ross Doll House is the original Santa Claus post office and is full of dolls. Some of them need some work but they have the presidents through Johnson and their first ladies (though we thought that Johnson was Nixon), representatives of the Koch family (The people who own the park), dolls from various times (cave man, Roman, Greece, Italian Ren, English Tudor, etc.), interesting composition (wax, apple head, peanut head, etc.), famous people (Henry VIII, Napoleon, Howdy Doody, Florence Nightingale, Jenny Lind, etc.); famous cartoons (Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Lulu, Houie, Douie, and Louie), from around the world (spain, italy, russia, etc.) and a nice collection of dolls from Laos in honor of those who served in Vietnam.

Then back for re-rides (we skipped the Monster and the Scrambler for more coaster time). 2 more on Raven, one more on Legend then race to the back of the park to get final ride on Voyage ... front seat. But aw shucks, the train was going out one more time, would we like another ride ... all we had to do was switch seats. That got a 'duh'.

We bought souvenirs, funnel cake, and wrote up the Guest Card and headed out.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend this park.
blueeowyn: (Default)
We started the day a bit lazy and watched "Ninja Warrior" (Japanese show where people try to get through a fairly intense obstacle course in a set amount of time) on the TV for a bit. Very amusing commentary and amazing strength/skill in many of the contestants.

Louisville Zoo http://www.louisvillezoo.com/
We spent several hours at the Louisville Zoo. I had heard about a fascinating exhibit that they built where they could rotate a number of different species through a set of enclosures and the stimulation of new space and evidence of other species (including predator/prey) helped keep the critters happy and healthy. Unfortunately, I think they don't do that anymore (or I was remembering the wrong zoo or at least cut it back quite a bit).

First we saw the carousel. PTC with fiberglass replicas of some of the original horses (though they were not at a one to one ratio ... more like they pulled molds of a few horses and scattered the copies. The outer row however is entirely new characters ... all sponsored by various friends of the zoo (and I gather they get to choose what goes there) and all are endangered animals. Lions, giraffe, gorilla, frog, butterfly... Very pretty but needing some TLC.

Then it was off to the live animals. We saw a herd of giraffes sharing space with a Ruppell's Griffon Vulture and Egyptian geese. Some ducks, canadian geese and peacocks also wandered in and out. The Rhinos and warthogs were sacked out in the sun/shade as was the ostrich. The Addax was very pretty (mostly white antelope relative). The Bongos were stunning (as always) ... they are a rich brown with white zebra type stripes and shared space with a crowned crane. The Asian elephant was out and one of the camels was convinced that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and was trimming it well (the giraffes trimmed some trees too). The lions were sacked out and one was doing the "stretch, grumble, snooze" routine. Didn't see much of the Zebras at first but later we did. These were mountain zebras with brown stripes and the stripes at the back are really wide.

The next big thing was the woolly monkeys. They were inside when we got there and I was commenting on how the keepers could re-arrange the ropes on the island to give them options. And out one came with a toy in his(?) tail. He climbed up a tree and investigated the toy a bit, another came out and plain monkey walking wasn't for him. He went on the railing ropes with his hands down the ramp from the inside option, then two-legged walked, then went rope climbing quite a bit. The one with the toy alternated carrying it with his hands and with his tail.

Gorillas weren't doing much but the Siberian Tiger was gorgeous. Then it was past the polar bear who was getting sprayed to keep cool. Then it was time to go back to the elephant house and see the baby. At 2:00 they put the baby out. Yes, they have a baby (2 months old) and he went out at 2:00. He is so cute! We got to see him dig a bit, drink from the water facet, try to get stuff in his mouth with his trunk (not very adept at that yet ... he kept moving his body instead of his trunk), climb on some rocks, walk under mother, try to push a rock taller than he is. Basically be your typical very young elephant.

Out to the car for a snack, then back in and we saw (in no particular order) some baby ducks, some young ducks, a few enormous tortoises, a miniature train garden, some arachnids, some snakes, a couple of regular alligators, an albino alligator, penguins, orangutan, Sumatran tiger, bats, fish, maned wolves (including a young one), flamingos, swans, puma, a seriously sacked out (on his back) snow leopard, storks, macaws, a sleeping rhea and some Guanacos (look a lot like llamas). Then we decided to head out since we wanted to catch a movie and see Heroes.

The exhibits we missed: jaguar, bald eagle, ocelot, and various Australian animals.

After we left the zoo, we headed west, watched Shrek 3, and went to the next hotel for Heroes.

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