Sunday, April 11, 2010

CAROWINDS



Took the boys for their first trip to Carowinds, the large amusement complex that straddles the North Carolina-South Carolina border and is the largest park of its kind in the immediate area. The best way to describe Carowinds is as a carnival midway on serious steroids. Some of the monsterous rides are impressive and scary. The place was owned by Paramount, and since its recent sale the rides have been renamed and repainted, and the gigantic Intimidator has been installed. I would not let the boys on that machine yet, as the securing system looked too scary for me, but otherwise I let them ride on just about anything they qualified for. And luckily Chimo just qualified by the tips of his hair. Overall, it is geared toward satisfying the thrill passions of young adults. There is little sense of fun and fantasy, which I would have enjoyed, and no real display of music and art (the rides are accompanied by blaring rock and such). I like being able to mix thrill rides with entertaining ones (along the lines of Disney and Universal). Perhaps they had one, but a large playground installation would have been nice for tots. We were there from the opening of the gates until the park closed. Unfortunately, four rides broke down while we were in line. Twice we weathered the wait and mechanics were able to get the rides back on line relatively quickly. I also must compliment the cleanliness and attractivenesss of the park, and the overall pleasant and helpful manner of every attendant we came in contact with. And the organization seemed pretty good.

The most awesome ride I was willing to risk was Afterburn, and it was quite impressive. The boys liked Nighthawk (former Borg) the best, but they also enjoyed Carolina Cyclone, Goldrusher, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Ricochet, Thunder Road, and Woodstock Express (I also rode this one, and it reminded me of an old fashioned roller coaster). When I ride one of those thrillers, I want to be tied down with multiple restraints! :) None of us wanted anything near Drop Tower or Extreme Skyflier (ok, we are woosies). Oddly enough, the boys flatly refused to ride Southern Star (a Viking ship that does a full loop), but I did and enjoyed it. We all rode Scream Weaver. I paid extra so Joey could drive, with Chimo as passenger, the Thunder Go-Carts. We enjoyed Action Theater (featuring Sponge Bob), although if this was where they used to have the simulated NASCAR race show, I think I would have really enjoyed that. We rode the Skytower twice (though I wish I could have ridden up there at night). Boo Blasters was ok, and the boys rode the bumper cars several times. Rip Roaring Rapids was enjoyable, and you will likely get wet; forget about staying dry on Whitewater Falls! I was prudent and decided not to ride, and the boys were absolutely drenched (though they dried fairly quickly). ***[Adult side note: If I worked there, this is where I would want to be! ;) Can we say wet t! Yes, indeed!!]*** Boomerrang Bay (the waterpark area) was not open, but I would like to try it some time. Mostly I just rode the Bench Ride while the boys enjoyed the more daring ones.

Prices were a bit excessive for some items. I don't drink beer, but surely would have balked at the price, which I was told was something like $11 (perhaps it is a way to discourage overdrinking). A burger was near $10; four little wings, $5. The corndogs I bought the boys were nearly $6 apiece. I guess you come to expect that, but it still felt excessive. The games were anywhere from $3 to $10. Not many were taking advantage of the games. I bet they would have a lot more activity on those if they dropped the price.

If you go, take sunscreen. An extra shirt for each child might be good, if they get wet. Prepare to stand in line for long periods, of course, so wear comfortable shoes (though the attendants were efficient and the lines moved along pretty well, unless there were mechanical delays). It wasn't too hot while we were there, but I imagine it gets oppressive during the summer, so I suggest you hydrate well, and to buys drinks and use the water fountains frequently. One nice part of standing in line was that we met a lot of interesting people who were fun to chat with, both young and old. Overall, we had a really good time.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a blast, Jim. Glad you all had fun!

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