Monday, March 30, 2009
Please Keep Your Hands and Feet Inside At All Times for this My Town Monday Post
Over the years many Amarillo businesses have used a variant of this slogan "Best selection between Dallas and Denver." Best selection, biggest showroom, lowest prices, you name it some one has used it in their ads.
I've always got a chuckle from this tactic because it's the geographical equivalent of saying you are the sanest person in the asylum. It's all about comparison and the towns between Amarillo and Denver ain't exactly metropolises. Wichita Falls barely cracks a hundred thousand, as does Pueblo, Colorado. Sure at 380,000 Colorado Springs is twice Amarillo's size but since it's only a tad over hour from Denver it is understandable that it would lose out on certain things to it's northern neighbor.
Once such place that has used this slogan off and on is Wonderland Park here in Amarillo. Wonderland is an amusement park. It has been a few years since I've noticed them using the betwixt Dallas and Denver claim to fame, so maybe they have slipped to being the second biggest. No one ever claims to be the second biggest. A gander at Wikipedia tells me Wonderland is the 3rd largest amusement park in Texas, but again, it goes agin a Texan's grain to admit to only being the third largest.
Regardless of it's rank in size, Wonderland has been an Amarillo mainstay for better than fifty years. It shares space inside Thompsan Park with the zoo, a disc gold course, a swimming pool, a 36 hole golf course, a couple of lakes, and ample playground and picnic space. I've always heard that Thompson park is built above the original city landfill, but my research turns up no proof of that.
Wonderland opened with three kids rides and was first dubbed Kiddie Land. But as it expanded to add attraction for all ages the owner Paul Roads borrowed from Lewis Carroll and changed the name to Wonderland. I have visited Wonderland all of my ,life but as of yet I have not spotted Alice, The Mad Hatter or The Cheshire Cat.
These days I venture to the park a few times a year to take my boys. The park opens next weekend and soon I will trudge out for my boys school night. I believe every elementary in Amarillo has a designated school night. a tradition that dates back to at least to the late seventies when I myself was a grade school boy.
I have fond memories of hanging out with my friends on coll spring nights, avoiding the teachers we didn't like, seeking out those we deemed cool, and riding the Himalayan or Hammer until we puked. Sadly the Hammer is but a forgotten memory as it was long ago taken down.
Wonderland has the required bumper cars, pirate ship, and log ride you find at most amusement parks. It has a few roller coasters, including the double looped Texas Tornado, which inexplicably costs extra.
I am of the belief that a hand stamp admission should enable park goers to ride every ride, and the fact that it does not is my biggest grip about Wonderland. The Texas Tornado is a decent enough coaster, though a bit jarring to the neck at the big turn, nevertheless it's excitement level is not worth the extra three bucks you have to pay every time you ride it.
The Fantastic Journey is another ride that costs extra. I have heard it explained that this haunted house is extra to discourage teenage couples from riding it multiple times and making out in the dark exterior, a supposed nod toward the park's family friendly environment.
Now I fear for the very future of Wonderland Park. No not because of the sour economy. No not because of a boycott at the non included rides. I fear for Wonderland because of their new ride -- a roller coaster to be called the Hornet.
The Hornet is new to Wonderland and Amarillo, but interestingly enough this coaster has a checkered past.
Originally dubbed The Nightmare, the coaster called Boblo Island Amusement Park in Bois Blanc Island, Ontario, Canada home. That park, which opened in 1898, closed down in 1993 to clear room for a marina and resort community.
From Canada The Nightmare/ Hornet made it's way to Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston, Texas where it underwent a name change and became an enclosed roller coaster called the Mayan Mindbender. But guess what? AstroWorld closed down in October 2005. One coaster/ two long standing parks suddenly closed and torn down.
If The Hornet brings the same fate to Amarillo's Wonderland Park it may come to be known as a jinxed roller coaster. Either way I will ride it sometime this summer and report back my observations. That is, I will ride it of the powers that be do not designate it too special for a stock hand stamp.
Links to other posts that collective form the thrill ride known as ... My Town Monday
Mary gives way to a guest blogger's memories of Olmsted Falls, Ohio.
Camera in hand, Lana Gramlich flits about her Abita Springs, Louisiana yard.
Jenn Jilks welcomes old friends back to Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Debra says goodbye to one of Village of Peninsula, Ohio's pillars.
Lyzzydee has a CLOSE encounter in Edingburgh, Scotland.
Patti Abbott lets The walking Man take us for a stroll through Detroit, Michigan.
Chris takes it to the bank in Hong Kong, China.
Linda McLaughlin glides gracefully through a post about a Los Angeles, California champion.
Barbara Martin ferries out a splash of history from Toronto, Canada.
Barrie Summy hauls in a whopper of a post from the depths of San Diego, California.
Cloudia's curative powers gives us a look at a Honolulu, Hawaii.
Gary Dobbs joins the MTM gang with a look at Gilfach Goch, Wales, England.
Take a walk through the park with New York City, New York's, Terrie Farley Moran
J Winter explores the Cincinnati, Ohio subway system, sort of.
PreTzel reveals the ugly side of humanity from the Iowa.