Pete's Labor Day Weekend Small Park Excursion

September 1 - 4, 2006

Yes, I can't stop seeking out new small traditional amusement parks! Since Rick could not go on this trip to North Carolina, I decided to skip Myrtle Beach & Dollywood, and just go to the small parks that I have not visited before. I could not believe there are three small parks within 8 hours from home that I have never seen!

On Friday, the first stop was Jeepers! in Concord, NC, with their infamous Python Pit roller coaster. There was also a Jeepers! in Gastonia, NC that closed this year. (One of 20 parks that have closed in 2006). Too bad I missed that credit!

On Saturday, I drove to Cherokee, NC. There are two small parks in Cherokee, Santa's Land and Cherokee Fun Park. Fun Park is a kiddie park with a Miner Mike roller coaster, which adults are usually not permitted to ride. During my visit, a small girl would not ride without her mother, so I asked if I could ride with her and I got my credit!!!

As you know, I have been to many small "Santa" parks, including Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH, Santa's Village in Bracebridge, Ontario, and Santa's Village in Dundee, IL. I am not a fan of Christmastime, but these are all beautiful traditional amusement parks, with many unique rides and displays! Santa's Land features Rudicoaster, a family favorite.

Santa's Land is only 42 miles from Dollywood, so there is no excuse for coaster enthusiasts to miss this park! Driving from Dollywood, you will also pass Ghost Town in the Sky, a western themed amusement park, that is only 30 miles from Dollywood, in Maggie Valley, NC. Ghost Town has been closed since 2002, and new owners will re-open the park in May of 2007. So next year, when you go to Dollywood to ride the new Mystery Mine Coaster, please support Ghost Town in the Sky and Santa's Land! You will not regret it!

On Sunday, I drove to Camden Park in Huntington, WV, to meet Tina, April, and Dave (Ride Man) Althoff for a very enjoyable day! Camden is Tina's home park. I haven't been there for nearly 12 years! Why did I wait so long to return? I kept riding The Big Dipper and The Little Dipper all day! April said she never saw me so excited! The park also has a great dark ride and many flat rides. The Sky Ride and Ferris Wheel were closed for the day. We all had a great time!

Being in small traditional amusement parks are always much more enjoyable for me than Big corporate parks. That is why I seek out small parks in my travels. In many cases, I drive past the big parks and don't even visit them! I have driven past King's Island four times this year and can proudly say that I haven't been to that crowded corporate park all year! The coasters at Kings Island are not as exciting as the small parks around it, LeSourdsville, Strickers Grove, and Camden Park! I will return to Camden Park soon! I will not wait 12 years this time!

Keeping the small parks alive,


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