Are You Ready for Some Fun?

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On  May 9, 2015 one of my favorite ‘fun’ places in my life, Cedar Point

Amusement Park, in Sandusky, Ohio will be opening its entrance to families

thronging to rides, relishing in their memories and enjoying tasty treats.

Once upon a time as a teenager, I spent two summers living on Cedar Point

property. The freedom was exhilerating and helped prepare me for life in

college. All the ‘vices’ you could imagine were available and the ability to

get invited to ride on sailboats, motor boats and to beach parties was just

part of the excitement.

I lived in a dorm room with one roommate the first year, then advanced

to living in an older part of the Breakers Hotel. In this hotel room, we had 2

double beds and two occupants. I was so happy to be working under the Sky

Ride the first time, selling hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and beverages.

That year, I got the nickname of “Robin Red Pop.” I used to sip on it so often,

my lips were almost permanently red. This beverage tasted like strawberry

vanilla soda pop.

When I was interviewed the next time for my position I was being considered an

‘older, wiser college student,’ and was given the job to open and be a breakfast

server in the Breakers Hotel dining room.

My first time of going to Cedar Point, I was a little child. I was on the Carrousel,

which in the case of most older merry-go-round’s, was hand carved by crafts

persons. My Mom is standing next to me, I have pigtails and she has those old

style ‘pedal pushers’ on. We now call them ‘capri’s.’

When looking up the history of Cedar Point, I found the land jutting into Lake

Erie, surrounded on three sides with water was first a public park, where they

had the beach open, bath houses to change clothes and use the restrooms.

People would come to go to the beach, eat picnics, gather as families and

there would be company picnics, tickets were bought for individual rides and

not a ride stamp for all the hundreds of rides came about for some time.

The famous rides, food concession stands, the lovely and ornate gardens and

all the sidewalks, the river boat and train were not there all at once. They each

came about, slowly over the years.

There’s a lot of history to Cedar Point, I found out.

Here is a brief history and summary of the parts which interested me in my

research about Cedar Point.

In 1892, the first roller coaster was built. It was called the “Switchback Railway.”

In 1902, there were a few more rides and the newest addition was a “Figure

Eight Roller Toboggan.”

In 1929, another roller coaster came about.

In 1963- we skip ahead to my life and memories:

Cedar Point and Lake Erie steam-powered Railroad was built. The Mill Race

was one of our family’s most favorite ride. We were not allowed to ride the

roller coasters. I was only 8, my brother Randy was 7 and my little brother,

we called him Ricky, was only 5.

We would park in Sandusky, get on a ferry to ride to Cedar Point.The last

ferry ride back to Sandusky was always one where we would start to yawn

and my parents would try to keep us awake, pointing at the boats, stars

and other parts of Lake Erie you could see along the way.

When I later worked at Cedar Point, I would take the ferry to Sandusky, to

get my groceries and necessities. We didn’t live in Sandusky after third

grade, but I did work with some of my elementary school friends who were

teenagers like I was. They didn’t live in the dormitories, they lived on the

Main Land, would drive or take the ferry to work there. Amy was a ‘sweeper’

while Beth worked in food services like I did.

1964- I was nine years old and my Mom, my Aunt Amy, my cousins and my

brothers and I watched my Dad and Uncle Orrin ride the new “Blue Streak.”

Mom and Aunt Amy took turns taking us to the bathroom and getting some

snacks.

In this year, another great ride was ‘born’ or built: The “Western Cruise”

which was a boat ride filled with fun, danger and in the dark, some surprises.

It was later renamed, ‘Paddle Wheel Excursions.”

1965- Jungle Larry opened and this was an exciting area, where wild animals

were roaming in cages, but those same animals were placed in performances.

I was very lucky and blessed to be able to take care of the animals in the

nursery. In these days, with cell phones and cameras ready to take photos,

you would be able to see me holding a bottle of tiger’s milk for a baby tiger.

Jungle Larry’s African Safari was for those who did not get to go to the circus

or zoo, a wonderful adventure. In my childhood, I did not realize this was ‘cruel’

or hard on the animals. When I worked there, I often hung out with the glass

blowers in Frontier Town, along with the ones who trained the white baby lions

to love being held by humans. They still used their claws and sometimes their

pointy teeth on their caretakers.

1968- 1991:  “The Sky Slide”

A big time favorite, which is often available at fairs, but not nearly as tall. This

is a good place to go when you have just consumed your dinner, this will not

make your tummy go topsy turvy on you!

1968- The “Sky Ride” took you beyond the Main Causeway and out to the

place called, “Frontier Town.” The college kids who sang in the saloon and

the craftsmen and women were fun to talk to, interesting dancers at our Fri.

night employee dance. The Saturday night movies on the beach were a fun

and free entertainment.

1969- Antique Cars were exciting to be able to give your parents a ride.

The roads had those curbs and metal lanes to keep you on the road. It

was nice to be in big cars, compared to the little dragsters or cars in the

fair rides we sometimes went to.

1970- Sea Land and Kiddie Land were upgraded. The Oceanarium and the

performance arena where you could see seals and other water animals

perform were well kept and enjoyable to view.

Kiddie Land changed from being Berenstain Bears to Snoopy in a retro

move.

The 1970’s and 80’s held a slew of new rides:

Wild Cat, Dodgem #2, Calypso, Super Himalaya, Monster Ride, Bayern Kurve,

Troika, Corkscrew, Gemini, Demon Drop, Thunder Canyon, White Water

rafting.

1972- The Giant Wheel was an exciting addition. It is not as big as the London

Eye, but it is grand in its perspective of seeing distant Lake Erie Islands. This

was a romantic place to be ‘caught up on’ while the weekend fireworks went

off.

1980- Oceana- enlarged 1600 seat stadium where dolphins and seals were

performing to rotating audiences many times a day.

1988- Soak City replaced most of Frontier Town. Lots of water rides and my

own children, my brother and sister in law’s children loved this new section.

1991- A new roller coaster bigger than the others: “Mean Streak.”

1993- Snake River Falls, big drop and lots of water splashing.

1994- My growing kids (teens) scared me by riding “Raptor.”

(Jamie was 13, Carrie 14 and Felicia was only 9 so cried and could not ride.)

1996- “Mantis.” The people’s legs hung down while this wove around and

imitated a praying mantis on drugs.

1997- Chaos, another wild ride.

“Camp Snoopy” is still going strong and includes memorable characters

from the Charles Schulz comic strip, along with their images on rides.

2003- “Top Thrill Dragster” was one my son and stepson loved and were

‘thrilled to be on.’

2014, last Summer’s newest rides were:

“Pipe Scream” and “Lake Erie Eagles”

For the 146th Summer Season Opener kicking off Saturday May 9, 2015

the Hotel Breakers will be completely renovated. There are glass cases

with special memorabilia for all ages to look at. I have enjoyed going into

the Hotel to check out past renovations. I enjoy the gardens, the train

rides, the Sky Ride and the crafts that remain. I like to walk over to the

camp grounds to check them out, along with the beach.

When you come to Cedar Point in 2015, the newest ride will be 137 feet tall,

and you can travel 60 M.P.H. up and down on the “Rougarou.”

Do you have a local amusement park or one you used to drive to with your

friends in the summer time?

How do the local fair rides and festivals compare to the memories of your

special places you went as a child or teen?

Do you enjoy Disneyland, Disney World or Universal Studios?

I enjoy hearing about different experiences the post may have evoked.

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

38 responses »

  1. “Robin Red Pop”…I love that! I really enjoyed reading this post, Robin. When I was young, I loved roller coasters, the bigger the better. My sister and our friends used to go to Kings Dominion at least twice every summer. I remember the pedal pushers! That’s what my grandmother called them. Isn’t it funny how everything comes back in style? 🙂

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the ‘thrill’ of roller coasters, Jill. I have met several people who never wished to try them. I could not handle the round and round rides, especially if the floor dropped down, but somehow I loved the hills and speed of a roller coaster ride.
      Your grandmother and my Mom with pedal pushers on. Just smiling at that image for a second or two. Style trends do seem to come back around. I was looking at Redbook magazine and there was an actress wearing a blue and white checked dress which they mentioned could be worn to a picnic. This sounded just like how my Mom and Grandma M. may have dressed for a Sunday picnic in the ‘good, old days!’

  2. we always went to cedar point, it was the big park to us, a place of wonder and endless hours of fun. sometimes we’d stay at the old breakers hotel and meet our cousins there and stay until the park closed at night. my favorite ride was, and is, the blue streak. always terrifying but wonderful.

    • I am so excited about your experiences, Beth. It is always nice to know some more ‘fans’ of Cedar Point. The idea of staying at the Breakers Hotel with cousins along, also sounds like barrels of fun! The Blue Streak is my favorite but I have been able to ‘handle’ the Mean Streak, too. One of the best parts of the day, was heading towards a designated destination, where we would meet my parents. We usually chose “Ye Old Ice Cream Parlour.” (Not sure if this is its name but it had the red and white checkered curtains, chairs and tables made of white painted rod iron.) My parents would ‘treat’ us to one scoop ice cream in a cup or cone. It always seemed nice when I worked there to walk through the park with all of the rides and shops shut down, too. Quiet and calm reigned…

    • Some people are ‘fans’ of King’s Island and some like Cedar Point. My family never went to King’s Island but I had two exes from Cincy, who required my trying the place. I have been to K.I. three times; once with a girlfriend.
      When I turned the tables and asked each of my ex-husbands to try Cedar Point, it was surprising how they did feel it had a lot to offer. They made a point to continue this journey even after we divorced. My first husband and his wife stopped by my parents’ place in Vermilion, with my kids once in awhile, too. We all are close since we met while teens, my parents did not hold our problems against him. (Nor do I.)
      My Dad rode his last time on the Mean Streak in late summer of 2000, with all of my children, Rich and Susan’s children plus my brothers and I. (Never my Mom!!) We had a true family day celebrating together. This was on his short ‘bucket list’ since he had been on almost all the other rides over and over again for years, Colleen. Going up to Detroit with my brothers to see the Indians play there was on the list and they made the trip. (He passed away in Jan., 2001.)

      • What a wonderful thing for your family, for your Dad. I think my kids and other family members have gone to Cedar Pointe. I just haven’t made the trip myself. I’m not a parks fan. Truth be told, if I was to go, it would be more fun for me to walk around (see how much of a sweat I could work up) and watch people. Which would not be fun for anyone else who would want to go. I would want to watch people, not ride. 🙂 And I think it’s wonderful when divorce does not ruin people and relationships.

      • I laugh because my parents once they retired at 55 and bought their little cottage in Vermilion, they purchased season passes to Cedar Point. They would go for a half day to look at the gardens, ride the boat, train and Sky Ride. My Dad didn’t ride any fast ones unless my kids or my siblings and I were there. My parents liked to eat and listen to the different shows and my Dad or Mom would drive the antique cars. They exercised by walking the length of the place and sat on benches with different treats, sometimes twice a week! That was their ‘summer time’ splurge.
        Their retirement ‘goal’ was to go across the country during the other three seasons, in a Trans Van and see many of the states my Dad had not ever seen. This was 14 years before he passed away. He had a great time and no regrets.

  3. Loved Disneyland, Universal Studios (when I spent 3 months in California when I was a very young girl) – I was amazed at the magic, the tricks and loved Space Mountain! In Europe we didn’t have anything like this, so for me it was x-mas, Easter and Birthday the same day….Anyway, that was then. In the meantime there is Euro-Disneyland in Paris – and other amusement parks have come up. I always wanted to go to Euro-Disneyland, but so far haven’t made it…and I am not sure if these days I would enjoy Space-Mountain 🙂 I don’t know what happens with age, but I can’t take merry-go-rounds-and-ups-and-downs anymore.

    • Eva, so glad to know how much fun you had at Disneyland and Universal Studios! The fact you never made it to Euro-Disney may mean you wish to preserve those happy memories. I like how you described this as all the best holidays wrapped up together!
      I understand about round and round rides, but can still handle the ones which go up and down with curves. Age does change our equilibrium and I find my not liking traveling in mountains in the car so much. I cannot watch rides anymore, either where my grandkids want me to stand and wave, it makes me dizzy! Smiles!

  4. This is a timely one for me as we are headed to Legoland for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. Amusement parks don’t do much for me anymore, (other than making me annoyed and dizzy, ha, ha) but all for the kids, right? Anyway, Legoland’s a bit better than most but just a bit bummed that it’s going to be chilly this weekend. There’s a lot of water rides there.

    • I am sad, Marissa, about your weather report and hope it changes for your trip to Legoland. Hope the water rides will be in warm, dry weather and the adventure will be fantastic. Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your weekend!

      • Thank you for your kind wishes. It would be a miracle for the weather to change so drastically but you can never stop hoping. Either way, I’m sure it will be fun!

  5. This sure was a fun trip to Cedar Point. It reminds me of our Asbury Park in New Jersey, but it sounds much bigger.

    I love Disney World in Orlando. Disney Land here in California is fine but small and overpriced for what you get. A trip to Disney World, on the other hand, is worth every penny.

    Thanks for reminding me of pedal pushers — that is what we called them, my mother did and so did I!!

    • I am glad you enjoy Disney World, Beth. I did not realize that Disneyland wasn’t as good… I have been to Universal Studios but unfortunately the man I was dating at the time insisted I ride the wicked and wobbly Harry Potter ride. You are taken on a “broom ride” which warns you about it making people dizzy and nauseous on signs as you walk up and down the lanes to get there. I kept telling him I was not sure of this… Turned out when we got off, I admitted I had not looked at the visuals of whisking around corners and up and down around buildings. He laughed and told me he had kept his eyes shut, too. We went around like big babies, sipping on Sprite and nibbling on pretzels, watching all the ‘theatrical productions’ and enjoyed Aladdin’s show the best. We never got to try the ginger beer which some say it tastes sweet like vanilla ginger ale, in Harry Potter Land. And no other rides.
      At Disney World, the first time my children were young so it was all the easy rides, then took Felicia, who had two friends come with us, to there while 16 years old. It was a riot!

      • Disneyland in California is just the Magic Kingdom and so it a fraction of what is available in Orlando. It is fine but very pricey and has long, long lines all the time. For us, it is not worth a day trip, whereas I jump at the chance to spend a week or two at Disney World. :-))

      • I may someday make it out to California. I have not been West of the Grand Canyon, saw it on the Eastern side. My grandpa and his second wife lived in Arizona, so we traveled north to see deserts and petrified woods, not forests I don’ think… funny but we don’t have many photos of our trip.
        I would like to see so many places but will be content for now, living vicariously from my fellow bloggers and friends’ travels! 🙂

    • Did I comment back that I was happy to hear you remember pedal pushers and your mother and you wore them, too? This always makes me happy, reminding people and then, their sharing a moment of nostalgia, Beth, with me.

      • Oh yes, I really do love that term, pedal pushers. My parents used that term and of course, we all became familiar with the term capri pants, which, I assume, originated on the Isle of Capri off the coast of Italy. But hearing pedal pushers referred to in your post, reminded me of learning to ride a bicycle. I should write a post about that and my dad teaching me. It was a tragicomedy. Anyway, pedal pushers brought all that back, so thank you dear Robin! 😀

      • I am glad you added the possible origin of Capri pants, Beth. Thank you for this and also, yes, write about your first attempts of riding a bike. I had my Dad teach me, too. My Mom was the patient one who taught me how to drive, though! Smiles back at you and hope you have a marvelous Mother’s Day!

  6. Ahhhh Cedar Point…. so clean – and if you eschewed the new roller-coasters and rode the blue-streak – the first seat was great, but the last seat always seemed like it was flying off the tracks!

    • Definitely saw some danger in the Blue Streak especially when it had a mere bar to hold you in! I liked being in the second car in it, but my brothers loved the first car. I never rode in the back so am unable to say, but believe you completely about the danger of it!

    • I am glad you mentioned the park was ‘so clean.’ I always felt the gardens were lovely, too. The patterns and designs of the plantings were much more evident from the Sky Ride. What was the ride which spun slowly and took you high up into the sky, like the Point?) It will come to me, or I will have to check it out…

  7. I’ve never been to Cedar point, I’ll put it in mind to visit when I visit the states. Disney land is a must for my kids though. Lovely post my friend! 🙂

    • Seyi, I would say Disney Land and Disney World are much bigger and better than Cedar Point in many ways. No need to keep this as one of the ones you need to include. It is just a scenic place and hard to explain its attraction. I am sure there are online videos, though… I am so happy you plan to bring your children someday.

  8. I suppose just about everyone has been to a Disney Park. Our family was no exception. That is a vacation in itself. For local family fun, folks in Western Washington always look forward to the State Fair in Puyallup, WA. Yes, the town is named after one of the Indian tribes. Can you guess how to pronounce that? (All the non-natives get it wrong.) For three weeks every September they get about 1 million visitors, ranking it in the Top Ten fairs in the country.

    The fair starts right after Labor Day, so the kids are all back at school. It’s harvest time and the Grange Posts all have their county’s displays in mosaics of fruits and items grown in their respective locales. The most popular food is the fresh baked scones with fruit jam. You can smell them all over the fairgrounds. There are hobby craft displays, FFA livestock and farm animals that kids can pet.

    There is the grandstand for everything from rodeo events to live band performances. (I once attended a Beach Boys concert there.) And of course, there are the rides, many of them permanent fixtures. Like Cedar Point, it has one of those handcrafted carousels that has been kept in pristine condition. Can’t you just smell the onion burgers and the cotton candy? – Mike

    • Oh, yes! Fair and amusement food is so delicious smelling as the waves waft around you. I am one who falls for onion rings, gyros and funnel cakes. As a child, my favorites were caramel apples and cotton candy, Mike.
      I like your description of the State Fair in Washington, Mike! I also enjoyed all the details you shared. I am a big fan of the Ohio State Fair, too. I like our Delaware County fair and am so glad the prices for hearing great bands performing used to be so low, I saw the Beach Boys, America, Loggins and Messina, Three Dog Night…. Kenny Rogers…. more than I could name at the different fairs and festivals around here.
      Is it like the expression ‘y’all’ in the middle so it comes out like Pallup? Let me know! Smiles!

      • Puyallup is pronounced: pew AL up – (rhymes with ‘You Gallup’). It’s one of those Native American words that someone tried to spell in English since the Indians did not have a written language.

      • You are so right, Mike! Would never have guessed this word to be pronounced this way! ha ha! I am amused at such a ridiculous challenge for visitors and even ones who may know the state of Washington!!

    • Jules, I love that you are mentioning Jersey Shore Palisades Park, since I think I read about it lately or heard a news item about its history. I am so glad you mentioned the dates it used to be open years ago, too.

      I enjoyed Atlantic City where the rides required tickets and not an all inclusive price.
      I am so glad you included Hershey Park. I don’t live too far from this either. Good to know you are close to it, although you may not wish to go there. We do tend to outgrow amusement parks, but I love fairs and festivals, still! Smiles!
      Hugs to you and hope you have a special Mother’s Day celebration, Jules!
      Thanks so much for the link, too. I like old time parks!

      • Maybe it’s just because I never made a big deal out of any holidays’ that my Mother’s day isn’t all that special – (I have no great plans) because everyday is unique and special.

        Just to make clear Palisades it the park that closed. Hershey Park is still very much open.

        Happy Mommy’s Day to all Mommy’s and anyone who has ever been in the roll to care for anyone else. 🙂

      • I think Beth Byrnes went to the Jersey Shore and mentioned she remembered the “old” (and long gone) Palisades Park. If not her, I will not ever figure this one out, Jules.
        I was not clear in my comment that I had read about someone who had mentioned this place, not on my post but theirs?
        Anyway, thanks for letting me know that Hershey Park is open. I read the word, “close” to mean “closed!” I guess I was a little tired or something when I read this comment. Thanks for being informative and clarifying so I will go back to edit my comment and mention also it is still open!

  9. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    CEDAR POINT…ISN’T THAT THE PLACE WITH 2-3 STEAM ENGINES ON A PARK RAILROAD THAT IS THE ONLY (?) REMAINING RIDE FROM THE PARK’S ORIGINAL OPENING…? THEY WERE REBUILT FROM A COUPLE OF SUGAR PLANTATION LOCOS…AND IN FACT I BELEIVE ARE STILL LEASED FROM THAT PLANTATION IN LOUISIANA!

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