Waldameer Park

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Waldameer Park
Waldameerlogo.jpg
Waldameer Park & Water World Current Logo
Slogan You're Gonna Love It!
Location Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Coordinates 42°06′31″N 80°09′20″W / 42.108691°N 80.155458°W / 42.108691; -80.155458Coordinates: 42°06′31″N 80°09′20″W / 42.108691°N 80.155458°W / 42.108691; -80.155458
Owner Paul Nelson
General Manager Steve Gorman
Opened 1896
Operating season May to September
Rides
Total 33
Website Waldameer.com

Waldameer Park and Water World is an amusement / water park in Erie, Pennsylvania located at the base of Presque Isle. Waldameer is the fourth oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania, and the tenth oldest in the United States.[1] The park is admission-free, with a midway, and covered picnic facilities. The roller coasters and other major rides require either the display of a paid wristband or the purchase of individual ride tickets. The water park operates an assortment of water slides and raft rides and is admission by fee only. The name "Waldameer" can be translated literally as "Woods by the Sea" in German.[2] Waldameer's operating season runs from May through September.

History[edit]

The park began as a picnic area called Hoffman's Grove. The Erie Electric Motor Company leased the park in 1896 and renamed it "Waldameer." The trolley car company extended service to its new park, making Hoffman's Grove picnic area a terminus on the line in the hopes of increasing passenger traffic.[3]

The park operates two classic dark attractions: the Whacky Shack (Built in 1970), a two-story ride, and the Pirates Cove (Built in 1972), a walk-through funhouse. Both were designed and built by the dark ride master Bill Tracy and his company, Amusement Display Associates of Cape May, New Jersey.

Waldameer sold its classic carousel at auction in 1988 for more than $1 million. A new carousel with sixty operating horses was obtained from Chance Manufacturing. The park owner intended to construct a new restaurant called The Carousel next to the Rainbow Gardens banquet hall, though this idea never came to fruition. A 10-foot giraffe and a jumping horse from the classic carousel were reserved from the auction to be used in the new restaurant. Part of the auction proceeds was used to erect four additional water slides—a speed slide, free fall slide, one-man and two-man raft sides—all built by Molded Fiberglass Company of Union City.[4]

For the 2007 season, Waldameer opened X-Scream, a 140-foot-tall drop tower ride. In 2008, the highly anticipated Ravine Flyer II wooden coaster opened leading to 20% increase in attendance, and the busiest season in park history. The coaster won the Golden Ticket Award for the best new ride for 2008. The 2009 season saw the extension of the midway south to coincide with the addition of a new Disk-O ride, Mega Vortex. A modern, "cashless" pay system called a Wally Card was introduced for 2010. A new family oriented area, The North End, located within the train turnaround, opened in 2011. The rides located in the area are the Flying Swings, S.S. Wally, and Wendy's Tea Party. New additions for the 2012 season included the Zamperla-manufactured Happy Swing (located in the Kiddieland area), a second train for the L. Ruth Express, a redesigned loading area for the Whacky Shack, and the requirement that all in-park transactions must be made with a Wally Card. Prior to the 2014 season, Waldameer will paint the slides in Water World, as well as add new decorative items throughout the park. Plans beyond 2014 include a water park expansion with a wavepool and a new children's area, as well as an amusement park expansion on the park's lakefront property.

Pavilion
Whacky Shack & Pirates Cove
Giant Wheel

Awards[edit]

In 2008 Ravine Flyer II was named "Best New Ride" and was ranked #11. Paul Nelson was also named "Person Of The Year" by Amusement Today in 2008.

Wooden Roller Coaster Rankings: by Amusement Today.

Ravine Flyer II: 6th

In addition, Waldameer's two Bill Tracy dark rides, Whacky Shack and Pirate's Cove, have won numerous darkride awards from DAFE.org. Both attractions have consistently ranked in the top 10 for their respective categories (Classic Darkride and Walkthrough).

Current rides[edit]

Roller coasters[edit]

Thrill rides[edit]

Gentle rides[edit]

Kiddie rides[edit]

  • Frog Hopper - Miniature drop towerS&S Worldwide
  • Big Rigs - Convoy ride - Zamperla
  • Pony Ride
  • Kiddie Wet Boats
  • Sky Fighter
  • Umbrella Ride
  • Lil Toot - Self-propelled Kiddie train ride
  • Happy Swing - Zamperla

Water attractions[edit]

Water World[edit]

Water World is a water park located in Waldameer Park. Established in 1986, and completed in 1992, Water World boasts 11 major slides, an Endless River, Heated Relaxing Pool, and Tad Pool children's complex with 4 smaller slides.

Water World slides[edit]

  • Awesome Twosome (Enclosed two-man raft)
  • Midnight Plunge (Enclosed two-man raft)
  • Bermuda Triangle (Three enclosed body slides)
  • Raging River (Large open-flume raft slide)
  • Wild River (Open-air one-man raft slide)
  • Free-fall Slide (45 ft freefall)
  • Speed Slide (45 ft freefall with "bump")
  • Presque Isle Plunge (Open-air body slide)
  • Lake Erie Dip (Open-air body slide)

Tad Pool area slides[edit]

  • Dragon Slide
  • Minnow Run
  • Hydro Tube
  • Otter Slide

Past rides and attractions[edit]

Past rides[edit]

  • Ravine Flyer
  • Hand-carved Carousel
  • Bumper Boats
  • Kiddie Bumper Boats
  • Old Mill / Mill Run (current Thunder River location)
  • Flying Coaster
  • Figure Eight
  • Eli Bridge Ferris wheel
  • Whip

Past attractions[edit]

  • Monkey Island
  • Boardwalk
  • Bavarian Hoffbrau
  • Waldameer Beach (located behind Rainbow Gardens closed to public)

Incidents at Waldameer Park[edit]

Late evening, August 8, 1938, the Ravine Flyer I failed to clear the hill following the bridge crossing Peninsula Drive. As the train continued to travel back and forth over Peninsula Drive, a woman became hysterical. In an attempt to calm her, her brother, rose out of his seat to calm her. He lost his balance, which resulted in the fall to his death in the middle of Peninsula Drive. The Ravine Flyer was shut down for further investigation which revealed no direct cause of the accident. However, the roller coaster was demolished as the owner's wife was devastated by the event. The Ravine Flyer I was finally replaced 70 years later in 2008 by the Ravine Flyer II in which Peninsula Drive was spanned again.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Scenic Byways Program. "Waldameer Park and WaterWorld". Federal Highway Administration. 
  2. ^ Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania. pp. 104. ISBN 0-8117-2671-1. 
  3. ^ Walling, Emory A (1928). Memoirs of Erie County, Pennsylvania, Bench and Bar. 
  4. ^ "Sale of Waldameer Carousel Brings More Than $1 Million to Fund New Water Park and New Restaurant". Erie Daily Times. 12 December 1988. 
  5. ^ ACE Coaster Classic Awards

External links[edit]