Trip Report: Wonderpark
April 27, 2002
"What happened to the amusement park?"
This morning I had business to conduct in the Tri County region of Cincinnati, OH. Ater finishing up around noon, I decided that instead of going home, I would pop my head in up at Wonderpark.
So Mom and I drove up to Forest Fair Mall. We headed to where Time Out on the Court (by SEGA) used to be. I mean I assumed that the new Wonderpark would take up residence where the old 'amusement park' was. Here I was greeted by a sporting wear shop, TWO move theaters with a combined 18 screens of cinematic entertainment,
Anyway, after consulting a mall directory, and let me tell you this mall looks to have about a 10% occupancy rate, I finally find my way to Wonderpark. (It's on the lower level by Kohl's)
Wonderpark is, of course an FEC. For future reference the Wonderpark is open from 12-9 Sunday thru Thursday, and open till 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Which means, rideman, that we could have stopped by. There is no general admission charge, rides are on a pay-as-you-play basis with a wristband option available for about $12.
I first took a walking tour of the Wonderpark. As far as rides and attractions go I spotted:
* A kiddie ride with jungle animals that go up and down by moving a lever.
* A real small train ride that circles the kids treehouse
* Treehouse - a kid's climbing structure "particpatory play area"
* Boa Squeeze - a Roller Coaster.
Of course each ride does have a jungle themed name.
Don't be misled, everything here is clearly desinged with the younger than 10 set in mind. The rollercoaster sits along the far back of the arcade (as relative to the entrance, you would enter the park, turn left and walk as far as you can. the Coaster is positioned in such a manner that mall guests on either the upper or lower level can watch.)
I watched a cycle or two, noted there was no maximum height restriction, and noted that the ride requires 2 tickets. Guess what, ride tickets are sold back at the arcade entrance. A little backtracking, and soon I was holding two of the largest ride tickets I have seen. You know those computer generated tickets by BOCA that most parks use for their gate admission tickets, well Wonderpark uses the jumbo tickets as ride tickets. $2 later I had my two 'large' ride tickets. I walked back over to the ride, and noted that the line was now very short, and I was the 5th rider. Knowing this was gonna be just for the credit, I didn't hold back for a front or back seat, and instead noted that these future coaster enthusiasts in training are well on their way. Riders 1&2grabbed the front seat, 3&4 grabbed the back seat, I grabbed the seond to last car. Sat down, and had serious doubts as to weather or not the seating safety device would be able to properly engage. I mean the Boa Squeeze is just a Miler kiddie coaster after all. Much to my surprise the bar locked will plenty of room to spare. (Now how come I fit in this coaster better and more comfortable than I do on two of PKI's ADULT coasters!)
Before I knew it the ride started, its two trips around the track on Boa Squeeze. The track is all painted green, along with the walls and floor around it. A unique marquee sign has been installed and the train looks like a snake (big surprise there, right?) This is the deluxe model of the Miler Kiddie coasters as it has the helix and rides a lot like a mirror image Howler (HW). I mean I actually felt some laterals, the wind in my hair, it was great (for a kiddie coaster). In fact judged as a kiddie coaster it is marvelous, and its certsinly a fun ride. And let's fact it, you have to be a fun loving guy with no inhibitions or shame to ride a kiddie coaster, in a kiddie FEC surrounded by kids. BTW: The Boa Squeeze is my #189th coaster, its my new #1 in the indoor kiddie coasters category! :)
I then took a walk over by the Dodgems, I didn't ride but the arena was so small, and the cars so slow, I think I can safely say that PKI does NOT have the worst Dodgems in Cincinnati. I noted a couple oddities here:
*No stinger poles, but no obvious electrical contacts in the ground either
* Lapbars, yeah I know Dodgems have had lapbars for a few years now, but these were overhead lapbars that lower more or less like what you would find on a chairlift. This lapbar has a strap that comes down from the front center of the bar and egages with a buckle that come s up between the two seats to 'positively secure' the lapbar.
After checking out the mechanical amusements, I took a further walk the place features an eatery and several party rooms, and its own direct acesss to the parking ramps. The centerpiece of course is a large video arcade. The games operate off of cards.
At the end of one of the aisles of the gameroom is what has been dubbed the "Cedar Point Game" it looks like a large arcade machine, buts its really a 'personal motion simulator'. I sat down, inserted my card, watched 220 credits say "bye bye", then pressed the button for Magnum XL 200. Actual ride logos are used on the selector buttons. There are no passenger restraints, not even seatbelts, except for a grab bar, and a "Big Red Button" in case the action gets too intense. This thing was so BAD it was funny! I was LMAO the entire 'ride' on Magnum, not becuase it was good, but because of just how bad and cheesy this was. If Magnum ever runs this ROUGH, somebody put it out of its misery. Of course if doesn't help that the motion base was listing to the leftat a steep angle. May be an issue with tub balancing. Lets see Coaster Crazy in the left seat, and the right seat empty. Hmmmm....... And no airtime!
The rest of the arcade was your standard stuff, I did notice a small 'not thought through" moment on the ICE Ball machine. the directions say "Insert coin to slot on right", okay, they use cards but the card slot has been retrofitted onto the LEFT side of the alley. Yes, this was cuasing people confusion.
It's worth a run in for the credit, or if you have small kids, but then that's all that was promissed. And hey I had fun at Wonderpark, so they must be doing something right!
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