A look at the Monster’s dinosaurs

As noted earlier this week by Dee and Anna on the Facebook group, two dinosaurs have appeared on the grounds of The Monster roller coaster. They are very difficult to see from ground level.

You can see this velociraptor (?) near the corner of Chicken Shack:

Velociraptor (?) at The Monster.

Seeing it behind the barbed wire seems very Jurassic Park-ish.

If you go down a bit further, you can catch a glimpse of this triceratops (?):

Triceratops (?) at The Monster.

To get a better look, Dee and Anna took photos from the nearby Storm Chaser:

(Photo by Dee and Anna.)

The Sky Ride is probably an easier way to see them, so that’s what we tried. Traveling from the County Fair station, you can see them as soon as you get near The Monster.

Dinosaurs at The Monster, as seen from the Sky Ride.

Here’s a closer look.

Hello, dino.

And he has a friend…

Hello, other dino.

He’s ready for his close-up.

Marvelous!

Coming from the other direction, or by doing a technique called “turning around,” you can see his better side.

Is this your good side?
Yep. It’s a dinosaur alright.

Here’s a look at both of them.

Twice the prehistoric fun.

A friend of mine, Kevin, who works with magician Ben Ulin posted that he heard these dinosaurs were in storage at the park for awhile, and they just decided to set them out.

The Monster zooms by…

Very neat.

What other surprises are lurking in the park this year?

Raging River gets more rage

Facebook group member Joey Hayes  posted an update on Monday about the Raging River. This white water rafting ride recently opened for the season after a rehab. When it first opened, it was reported that some of the waterfalls were not yet turned on.

Waterless fall, earlier this week. (Photo by Joey Hayes.)

Today, Joey confirmed that they are back…

Waterfalls falling. (Photo by Joey Hayes.)
Waterfalls sorta falling. (Photo by Joey Hayes.)

I have ridden many white water rafting rides over the years, including the very first one that ever was built at Astroworld in Houston, Texas. I have often been quite lucky at staying dry while all the others in my raft got drenched… but these waterfalls put an end to such “luck.”

Thanks, Joey, for this update.

Dinosaur spotted at Adventureland?

When I just saw a reference to dinosaurs at Adventureland, I immediately thought of the Sinclair gas station dinosaur that used to be in the park near where the Frog Hopper is today.

Sinclair gas station dinosaur mascot in 1998.

But apparently that is not what was meant by Facebook group posters Dee and Anna.

They posted a photo today that would make a cryptozoologist giddy. It showed the twisted track of the Monster roller coaster with what sure does appear to be a dinosaur of some kind deep inside of it…

What do you see? (Photo compliments of Dee and Anna L.)

Is it April 1st again?

They took a ride on the Sky Ride Storm Chaser to get a better look.

(Photo compliments of Dee and Anna L.)
(Photo compliments of Dee and Anna L.)

It looks like we need to send out an exploratory team to see what is going on.

 

Adventureland Circus 2017

As mentioned in an earlier article, the circus is back at Adventureland. This year, it is being billed as Billy Martin Presents the Adventureland Circus. It is in a different tent than the one used in recent years by the Royal Hanneford Circus.

There is even a large Adventureland banner at the back of the tent:

Adventureland banner at the Adventureland Circus in 2017.

In addition to a nice new tent, the show also has a fancier lighting and sound system.

The ringmaster is Billy Martin and he has been there every year (as far as I know) since the circus first came to Adventureland in 1997. According to his website, he first got involved with the circus when it visited his town in New York in 1972. This eventually led to him joining the circus and becoming a juggler and ringmaster.

Billy Martin, ringmaster. And owner?

Based on a  very brief conversation with Billy, my understanding is that this is now his show, and is not connected to the Royal Hanneford Circus. It still features many familiar acts from past years:

Quick change artists.
Contortionist/aerial artist.
Amazing juggler!

There were also other acts that I did not recognize from last year.

Billy said that each of the three daily shows would be a bit different, and then during the season, other acts would be brought in to keep the circus fresh.

With the recent closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, it is becoming rarer to see this type of variety show. Be sure to check it out when you are at the park next.

The 2017 Adventureland Circus.

 

Corn Dog Countdown

Corn Dogs have been a staple of carnivals for as long as there have been corn dogs. According to the always reliable Wikipedia, the corn dog was patented in 1927 here in America.

I bet Adventureland sells a ton of these things! In 2007, the park even sold “I (heart) Corn Dogs” shirts (and you could save 10% on one if you brought in a receipt showing you bought a corn dog).

Buy a corn dog, save money on a corn dog shirt (2007).
I (heart) Corn Dogs shirt in 2007.

Rally Round was one of the places that sold corn dogs. Here is the old location from 2009, when they had recently introduced foot long corn dogs to the park:

Rally Round in 2009.

Prices have gone up a bit since then 🙂

Today, the park has normal corn dogs as well as foot long corn dogs, but at some point in recent years they introduced veggie corn dogs and corn brats, too.

In 2016, Rally Round (in it’s new location, which was formerly the Chicken Shack) promoted the veggie corn dog as new that season:

Rally Round offering new Veggie Corn Dogs in 2016.

A week later, they had a nice permanent sign:

Veggie Corn Dogs at Rally Round in 2016.

I’d never had a corn brat before, so I tried one last year. It was quite good.

Corn Bratwust at Rally Round in 2016.

Now I’m hungry. I’ll have to go see if any place in the park sells foot long corn brats or veggie corn dogs.

I’ll see you at Rally Round

 

Raging River’s new load area.

Joey Hayes shared these photos of the Raging River’s new load area today in the Facebook group.

(Photo by Joey Hayes)

The load and unload area for the two rafts now have air gates. According to desertions posted in the group, the unload gates open to let folks out, then the other gates open to let folks in. I’m still not sure if this is different than how things worked in past years, before the gates.

As previously mentioned, new foot switches are also installed that workers have to stand in for the rafts to deploy. Joey provided a photo of those, as well.

(Photo by Joey Hayes)

And, here is a look at what used to be a waterfall. I know some parks adjust the water level of their wet rides based on temperature, but it seems if this was working, the park would certainly have it on when the temperatures are as hot as they have been lately (90s!).

(Photo by Joey Hayes)

I rarely ride water rides due to not wanting to be wet and soggy walking through a theme park, but I expect I’ll have to give the River another shot – especially with the waterfalls being off 🙂

Thanks, Joey, for the report and allowing use of your photos.

American Puppet Theater

There’s a new children’s show at the park this season: American Puppet Theater.

http://americanpuppettheater.com

Based out of Chicago, Miss Green and her puppet friends present two shows at The Chapel each day.

American Puppet Theater at The Chapel.

On the stage, a small puppet theater is set up:

Miss Green and her puppet theater.

I grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and the puppets in the Land of Make Believe, but I have seen very few puppet shows in person. The show I caught featured two short stories.

The first involved a pirate and made references to the monster of Dragon Island. It was neat seeing the show customized for Adventureland. (For those who haven’t visited, Dragon Island is one of the “lands” of the park, where some carnival games are, as well as the Dragon roller coaster, Puff the Dragon and Himalaya).

American Puppet Theater pirate show.

The second show featured two friends and a tree:

American Puppet Theater.

Both shows are short enough they should work well with the A.D.D. generation of kids roaming the park these days.

If you stick around after the show, you can meet Miss Green and some of her puppets. She had a gift for the kid’s the stayed for this show:

American Puppet Theater meet-and-greet.

If you have little ones (or just like puppets), be sure to catch the American Puppet Theater this season, and tell Miss Green that ParkHopping.com sent you.

Miss Green of American Puppet Theater.

Raging River returns!

Yesterday, Facebook group member Toni Smith and Christian Gerald Evans reported that the Raging River has finally opened for the season – just in time for the hot summer days ahead.

Dee and Anna Lipscomb posted a few photos showing that new air gets have been installed in the loading area. Earlier reports say new foot switches were installed that will require multiple workers to stand on them to deploy a raft, bringing this ride up to date with more modern redundant safety systems.

Some earlier comments pointed out that there used to be some additional waterfalls that hadn’t worked in awhile, so hopefully someone familiar with the ride can go on it and give us a rundown of what’s new and changed.

Update: Christian reports they are still loading just one raft at at time. Some had hoped that the updated system might allow them to load two rafts simultaneously.

Until then … line up early! It’s going to be a hot weekend!

Meet the new Bernie

The park’s mascot, Bernie Bernard, had some work done over the off season. Visitors to the park this year will get to see his new look:

Bernie Bernard’s new look in 2017.

According to Alex Tigges, via a post in the Facebook group, this Bernie was  created by  Sugar’s Mascots of Toronto, Canada:

http://www.sugarsmascotcostumes.com

And Jennifer Curiel designed his new collar.

To compare, here is the previous Bernie:

Bernie Bernard in 2016.

Today’s Bernie is modeled after the cartoon mascot the park has been using for decades. You can find cartoon Bernie on the park guide, as well as on signs throughout the park:

Bernie Bernard in the park guide.
Bernie on a parking lot sign in 2016.
Bernie Bernard on a new 2017 sign. Notice the hand, rather than a paw.

In addition to the costumed character, the park also sells stuffed Bernies. I found this one at a merchandise cart near the Storm Chaser:

Bernie stuffed animal in 2017.

And even a Bernie hat:

Bernie hat in 2017.

This 2017 facelift was not his first, however. Bernie’s look has changed several times since the park opened in 1974. Here’s a look at his earliest (?) look, and some of the other characters he used to hang out with.

Old school Bernie. (Not my image. Post card scan. Not sure where I got this from.)

If you see Bernie in the park, be sure to tell him how great he looks this year!