My husband and I enjoy going to amusement parks, especially the one located just an hour and some minutes away from us, Knoebels. No, we are not coaster freaks,( the people who can’t get enough roller coaster rides.) We do have friends like that, though. These days, we choose our rides carefully, going on the merry-go- round, both the steam and electric trains, the Ferris wheel, water boats and maybe the bumper cars. As teens, we went on nearly everything. The one that stands out in my mind is the mad spinning boxes that pin you to the wall with centrifugal force. I felt so helpless, just hanging there. So what did I do, I laughed through the whole ride.
Maybe it’s laughter that attracts people like us to amusement parks. It’s enjoyable to see other people having fun and forgetting about their troubles and problems. Getting older, though, has affected the way we ride attractions at the park. Even the Bible addresses this situation. ” When I was a child, I did childish things, but there comes a time when I have to put away childish things and seek new experiences,” even at an amusement park.- I Corinthians 13:11. Going on rides, followed the next day by a trip to the chiropractor, is best to be avoided.
Older people are not the only ones to change the type of rides they choose. Weight limits
and waist limits do not present a problem for us, but it does for some people. This warning appeared on a park’s website and is directed to “guests of exceptional size.” It reads: “Guests of exceptional size may not be accommodated on some of our rides. This may apply, but not limited to men who exceed 6′ 2″ or those who exceed 225 pounds, have a 40″ waistline or 52″ chest or females who exceed 200 pounds or wear size 18 or larger. Each person has different body proportions so it is not possible to list exact size and weight.” If a safety bar won’t attach in place because of a huge waistline, that ride may have to be scratched off a person’s ride list.
Do you know that there are more than 400 amusement parks and attractions in the United States and approximately 290 million people visit them yearly. The industry provides jobs for more the 600,000 year-round and seasonal employees. I’ve always wanted to go to Coney Island. My parents made it sound like it was an amusement park, but actually Coney Island (which is actually NOT an island, although it once was) is located at the southern tip of Brooklyn, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. While Coney Island itself is not an amusement park, it has amusement parks in it. I don’t think my parents ever got there and thus far neither have I.
Coney Island became an amusement resort as did many other towns along the ocean shore. These parks developed at a frenetic pace at a time when there was no running water at home and people welcomed a swim in the ocean. Other attractions began to develop, like hamburgers, shredded wheat, Cracker Jack, Juicy Fruit chewing gum and pancakes made using Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix.
Getting back to today, actually last weekend, we had been hearing much talk about the
newest ride at Knoebel’s, the “Flying Turns,” and how smooth it is. We had talked ourselves out of the Phoenix and the other coaster rides and although this ride is considered a coaster, it is more like the bobsled wooden roller coaster from the early 1900’s, so we were told. There is no track and it rolls down a U shaped wood trough that resembles a bobsled course. Repeatedly, we were told how smooth the ride is and guess what, we talked ourselves into trying it. Really though, there’s no just trying it. Once we were settled into the car we were committed and that was after waiting 45 minutes in line.
I will say it was an amazing ride. We were told it goes only 24 miles per hour but going through eight turns while being sideways on the wall, it feels a whole lot faster. Certainly we are old enough not to be influenced by what others say, but we listened, were tempted, and fell for it. Oh well, neither one of us needed the chiropractor the next day so we can say we survived the “Flying Turns.” although, one of us has a very sore rib. Now, we’ll return to our sensible way of visiting an amusement park. By the way, as we were sliding into one of those bobsled-like turns, I was aware of a flash of light, a camera had taken our photo. So, as they say, we have “proof of the pudding.” See below.