austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

See you at the Pleasure Beach

Something I never did, as a kid, at amusement parks: the games. I guess I never had the spare cash for games like that, and if I did I'd rather get, like, a magic kit or a giant wall-hanging park map. You know, something of lasting value. Even now it's hard for me to imagine playing the games, although I've done some. bunny_hugger has more of a history doing these things, and MWS too, and, well, that's how we got to a couple of the prize games. I'm not sure whether we played the roll-a-ball Racer game (instead of horses it's actually people in Racer roller-coaster-themed cars). Certainly MWS spent some time on the Bowler Roller, the thing with the bowling ball on a slightly inclined metal rail that you have to get to stop in the trough. He stuck it out, though, and won his prize: a plush Kennywood Arrow.

Somewhere around here we were getting dangerously hot. Except MWS, who was wearing some heat-resistant white shirt that slicked sweat away with uncanny ease. He'd encourage us all to try touching his shirt over the day, to confirm it was as cool as garments could be, and he only stopped when we did finally get the square ice cream that turns out to be more than just a local quirk, and he spilled a drop of chocolate on his chest. Still, the heat was a good reason to look for something we could do in an air-conditioned environment a while and that's why we went to the 4-D theater showing A (not The) Lego Movie. The story of that is the gang from The Lego Movie has to escape an evil amusement park they're lured to under guise of going to Lego World and fine, it's about what you expect for an amusement park 4-D experience movie. It's just weird to have your amusement park movie be about going to an evil amusement park when the characters meant to go to some other amusement park that isn't the one the movie's showing at.

We passed on the Bayern Curves ride in favor of the Grand Prix, the bumper cars I'm not sure we have been on before. And got to Sky Rocket, the roller coaster near the front of the park; we found a moment when the line for it wasn't bad at all. Somehow and I'm not sure how --- I have to go by my photos here --- we ended up split where bunny_hugger and MWS took the front seat and JTK and CVK the second seats in a car while I waited for the next train. I think there was some swapping around in lines as other groups tried to arrange their all being on the same train. bunny_hugger and I often ponder the point of that, as it's not like you can talk to other rows on a roller coaster. And here's the proof we mean it.

Anyway we went over to the Kiddieland, bunny_hugger explaining how Kennywood's was one of if not the first Kiddieland, as in a section of a park specifically gathering kids' rides together. And that four of their rides dated back to 1927(?) and the Kiddieland's opening, although one of them --- the carousel --- wasn't running just then. This is when we got and enjoyed the square ice creams that would spoil MWS's shirt. And we looked, again and again, at the Li'l Phantom.

It's the kiddie coaster, like the name and placement suggests. They've had it since 1996, although it's clearly cousin to the Li'l Thunder kiddie coaster that was the thing I could ride at Great Adventure when I was six and terrified of Rolling Thunder. bunny_hugger and I had been at the park several times, never riding it. It felt ridiculous to. But we also saw there were adults allowed on it, not accompanying children. The one constraint we supposed might be there, besides the sense that it's a little sordid to ride everything just for roller-coaster credit counts, wasn't there.

I'm not sure who pointed out, though. There were five of us adults there. There were five rows of seats. They fit one adult each. There wasn't a line. There wasn't apparently any restriction on adults riding. Why not all go together? And we did.

There's moments you know are going to be the high point of a day, maybe of a whole week or month, even as they're not even there yet. The five of us, here at Kennywood, in the early evening after a spectacularly successful Pinburgh and during a fantastically great trip to the park, riding the one roller coaster that bunny_hugger and I had never been on before here, that we knew was going to be one of those moments. I was giggling all the way along and I think this might have been the incident that inspired JTK to say ``I want to someday enjoy something as much as [Austin] enjoys everything''. (A curious echo of my own comment that I hoped to someday do something with the same intensity that our rabbit Stephen brought to chewing.) The ride operator seemed amused by us. Some people on the scenic railroad, puttering past while we were on our several circuits of the track, looked at us baffled. Maybe they thought we were riding ironically. I was in full earnest.

I can't say it's a fun ride, since like so many kiddie coasters it's a bit rough, especially on adult knees that are forced up against the lockdown bar axle. But it was fun doing, and when we were out we were all laughing and delighted and the kiddie carousel had an attendant and was running again. And at least I worked out that bunny_hugger --- who had ridden what we believed to be her 200th different roller coaster in March after the Women's World Pinball Championship --- had just ridden her 225th different roller coaster.

Trivia: Dutch records from 1610 record less-valuable tulips being sold ``by the bed'', a unit of exchange not (apparently) precisely defined. Source: Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions it Aroused, Mike Dash.

Currently Reading: The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock, Lucy Worsley. Yes, it implies a stretch of about fifty years starting 130 years ago, but it actually starts in the early 19th century and explores how murders came to be fascinating cultural artifacts.

PS: And then from our last full day a visit to a Colonial-era plantation house that's been, in structure, very well preserved from its origins and I forget just whose it was but looking it up would take effort I don't have the energy for so here. That stuff is somewhere in my archives.


Actual Colonial-era plantation for a family whose name I forget and that was in use as recently as the 1970s that's now an historical exhibit. The white gravelly spot in the lower right used to be another building, I think the guest house.


Apparently a feature of Gregorian mansions was ruthless symmetry. But the house only needed one door to the dining room, so there was a fake second doorway with brick wall behind. And vandals had damaged the fake door, supposing that the door that couldn't open and clearly lead to nothing inside the house must conceal something valuable. Good hypothesis, though.


Back hallway stairwell and a hook my father and I noticed. The guide said this was used as leverage for moving heavy stuff into and out of the house; there's a wide doorway just off to the right of the image.

Tags: charleston, kennywood, pinburgh 2017

Posts from This Journal “kennywood” Tag

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