When we got to Clementon Park the first thing we went for was the Hellcat roller coaster. This might threaten to make the rest of the park anticlimactic, particularly as they haven't got another roller coaster, but bunny_hugger had heard tell of the roller coaster suffering a lot of downtime, and it was running right then, and it would be unspeakable to wait for the ride to break down before going over.
Hellcat's got a nice homegrown-style logo, showing a cat-faced plane made of fire, suggesting the fighter plane that gave it the name. bunny_hugger noted the name is probably a better one for this roller coaster than its original J2 for Jackrabbit 2: the coaster has a lot of swoopy, banked, curving paths, suggestive of the way a fighter plane might fly, rather than the quick leaps that suggest rabbits. We were able to walk on the ride, and went for the back seat, to notice that everyone else was gathering around the front. ``Do they know something we don't about this ride?'' bunny_hugger asked. The ride is a bit rougher in the backseat than the front, but I don't think it's dramatically so. The front seat offers a better view, it's to be admitted, especially since the coaster dives very close to the edge of the lake and that's always a beautiful sight. We'd take quite a few rides on the roller coaster, and be glad for all of them.
The exit queue drops people off in the midst of the picnic pavilions, inside the space enclosed by the coaster. This is curious because there was a table and a park guard checking that people entering that area from the midway had the wristband indicating they were part of the groups that had reserved pavilions. We have no explanation for why there's a need to limit entry on the ground when you can get to the same place by going through a ride.
The most interesting ride besides the roller coaster, I think, was the Victorian Railway, which is a simple narrow-gauge railroad which does putter around some of the edge of the park, including the outside of the Hellcat, and past a number of statues of wildlife, elephants and bears and lions and zebras and, what the heck, a giant bulldog. It feels like the quirkiest and most personable of the regular park attractions.
Clementon Park also has a log flume ride that's apparently well-regarded as these things go. It's called King Neptune's Revenge, with your classic rotating-platform launch platform, and it's a nice, long ride much of it over the lake. It's also got a pretty steep drop that got us very well soaked. We staggered out of the ride, soaked pretty much up to our shoulders, bunny_hugger worse than me, and ran into a group of people considering whether to ride it. ``Learn from our sins in life,'' I said, not loudly enough; one of them pointed to us and said, ``See, you don't get too wet on this ride!'' I think he talked some of them into going on King Neptune's Revenge. Maybe.
Someday bunny_hugger may forgive me for trying out the Thunderdrop ride. This was a tower ride, and I thought it was maybe one of those that launch you to a considerable height. It ran the other way, though, bringing you up and dropping as we'd probably have known if I had paid attention to the name or if we'd seen a ride cycle. She's not too fond of drop rides, and dropping from maybe sixty feet down wasn't her preferred method of riding, but, she survived and this might have been a good taste of dropping considering something which would come in a few days.
Clementon Park has a cute little kiddieland, a bit hard to see because the access to it is behind some buildings including the gift shop, but the whole thing is enclosed so it's probably very attractive in drizzly days. That's got some normal little flat rides where kids go in circles and make buzzing noises; it's also got a Safari Train ride that putters around in a small loop, which made us think of the Safari Train ride at Casino Pier, the last thing we'd ridden before our wristbands expired.
The park has a Ring Of Fire, which goes in a tight loop and gives you a lot of time upside-down at low speeds, which bunny_hugger does not like as a ride. But she liked the ride T-shirt they had in the gift shop, and by the way who makes a ride shirt for a Ring Of Fire, and felt that she couldn't buy it in good faith if she hadn't ridden the ride. I found a park shirt that includes what looks vaguely like heraldic symbols on the chest, naming the park and the Hellcat ride --- nicely enough --- as well as one of the water park rides. The roller coaster was easy enough; we wouldn't get to this water park ride.
But we did go to the water park. We'd got there kind of late in the day, so we didn't have time to do very much, but we'd brought our swimsuits just in case we felt like it. What we did have time for was the Endless River, a lazy river ride. Getting into the inflated doughnut was the worst part for me, since I tried pulling my legs up through the middle and went tumbling over backwards into the water, which is one way out of the problem of the water being not quite warm enough to wade into. Also I bonked my head on the concrete base of the river, though not enough to do me any lasting harm, I think. While we drifted some packs of kids came racing past us, because they weren't at the age where you can just be lazy in a river-like fashion, and the water park officially closed so we missed the other attraction on my park T-shirt: Torpedo Rush. Based on the appearance of the thing it's a drop tower that ends as a water slide. It looks unspeakable.
Still, there was an hour or so between the water park closing and the main park closing, so we had the chance to wander around some more, take photographs, and get a few more roller coaster rides in. We closed out the park at the too-early hour of 8 pm (they apparently don't have many lights, which is rather like Michigan's Adventure in that way), with a last ride on Hellcat, and we wandered around taking pictures for only ten minutes or so. For us, that's pretty restrained lingering.
Trivia: James Madison sent his 1814 State of the Union report to Congress less than four weeks after the British burned Washington, after calling Congress into session two months early. He noted the United States wanted only ``peace and friendship on honorable terms'' from Britain. Source: Union 1812: The Americans Who Fought The Second War Of Independence, A J Langguth.
Currently Reading: Empires Of The Word: A Language History Of The World, Nicholas Ostler.