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Quik-Trips by Chadster: Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

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I went to Worlds of Fun for my first time about two years ago, but I was amazed at how good Prowler was. Don't know it's current condition now... I can imagine it's rougher... but it seems to be a very underestimated ride. Maybe not quite Top 10, but definitely Top 20 for me.

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Wow, great photos Chad! I enjoy World's of Fun a lot, it's really one of the nicer small CF parks. And I really find Kansas City to be a fun metro area, especially the power & light district and west-port areas. The Haunt photos are enticing me to schedule this park for next year, after all I could always use some more PROWLER!

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In May I visited the Great Lake States and along the way I made a quick stop in Columbus to visit the zoo that Jack Hanna made famous, the Columbus Zoo. Thankfully my timing was such that the new Africa section of the park had just opened, but what I wasn't prepared for was the giant hike that would be required to get to the new section. Pro Tip #1, take the free shuttle to Africa, it's not so bad walking back to the main Zoo area, but getting there, wow, now that was a workout.


The rides section of the park was at one time Six Flags branded along with the adjoining water park. The rides add-on was only $10 making the total admission cost $25 plus parking. Discount tickets are available at the local grocery store, but the savings amounts to about $2, hardly worth the effort unless you need to stock up on beverages of the adult kind.


Speaking of, Pro Tip #2: Beverages and snacks are allowed to be brought in, which is exactly what I did on this scorcher of a day with temps hitting the mid 90's. Ouch!


While the Zoo isn't the San Diego Zoo, it is a really nice zoo with friendly staff and tons of stuff to do. It's definitely not a place you'd want to come in, credit whore, and leave. I had originally budgeted 3 hours and ended up spending 4 hours. I could have stayed longer, but Cedar Point was calling my name


Welcome to Universal Studios! Erm, Welcome to the Columbus Zoo!


First stop, Asia!


But before you can enter Asia, you must pass through customs where you will learn about the different animals you will see. Except the middle one, it's extinct, you won't be seeing that one.


Whew, successfully made it through customs!


Nooooooo! My favorite store has closed!


This snake will not be eating me alive.


Caption Contest, or would you rather just hang out?


The set that Jack Hanna uses.


Om nom nom nom nom


Meanwhile we've made it through Asia and off to find some Dino's


Have I mentioned before that I like Flamingos? No, Yes, Maybe? Well I do. I also rather like the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas


One of these is not like the other, one of these is not the same


This 1914 Mangels Company Carousel was refurbished and relocated to the zoo and features the original wooden horses. It's included in your ride add-on wristband.


Also included in the wristband is this amazing float through dinosaur attraction.


"Humans. It's what's for lunch"


Before hopping in the boat, you are treated to a nice walking expedition where you can roam with the pre-historic creatures.


Manly Pose



I'm pretty sure the guy in front of me was making googly eyes with Rexy.


For the reverse POV enthusiasts.


I'm pretty sure I saw this guy featured on an episode of Dirty Jobs Australia. Or maybe it was a decedent. Something about a saltwater croc.


We're off to see the lizzard, the wonder lizzard of Oz




I don't see a lizzard, but I do see a dinosaur crapping out a human!


Boat ride's over, wake up ya'll


Over the river and through the woods to Africa we go.


The newest exhibit at the zoo, Africa! And I highly recommend taking the shuttle up. My legs are sore just thinking about that walk.


Clyde the Camel welcomes you


This is where all the action was today.


They've themed this area better than most.


Another customs checkpoint.


These planes are not used to smuggle drugs. They are purely for expeditions into the wild.


This cheetah will not be hunted today.


The land for the Giraffes to roam was massive. There were tons of other animals roaming the range as well, but I like Giraffes and didn't take photos of anything else. All in all, it's a fantastic addition to the zoo and certainly the animals appreciate it.


But it's hot outside, so it's off to get wet.


Splish splash I was taking a bath


They had a really cool on board photo system ;)


And flyers!!


If you are expecting a mild ride on a scrambler, well, they will deliver you one. Boooo


Wait, wait, this makes up for it!


Yes, yes it does.


A river runs through the coaster. A river that allows and serves alcoholic beverages ;)


Off we go!


On this junior woody that's begin well maintained.


And with that, I'll roll on out!


Overall its a very nice, well kept zoo and park. If you are in the area don't be 'that' guy who just credit whores the coaster. Spend 3-5 hours, you'll be glad you did.

Edited by chadster
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I will second your thoughts on WOF Haunt. We went last year and after having been to haunts at lots of parks (SFOG, SFMM, KD, BGW, SFStL, KBF, etc) I will say that WOF's haunt is by far the best one I have ever been to. While I don't care for the park that much due to no stand out rides (yes, even Prowler was just so-so), it is still a nice park with a kick ass haunt. Cornstalkers was amazing there!

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thanx for posting those pics of the coaster. It's nice to see it still in good shape. I have lots of good memories of it from back in the 80's when I l lived in Columbus, when the rides were basically a typical kiddy park attached to a zoo. Then there was the 90"s and the six flags era where the coaster was surrounded by the water park. That was really an odd configuration. It was also the first coaster my kids ever rode was back then.

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We go to the zoo perhaps once a week in the summer months as it has a good waterpark. The only rides remaining from the Wyandot lake days are the Carousel (which was relocated into a new pavilion deep in the zoo portion) the sea dragon and the scrambler, The bumper cars (cars only), an Elephant ride, the small lazy river that goes around and through the coaster and tilt a whirl. And the Tilt a Whirl came from Geauga Lake in 2000.


I don't know what they did to the scrambler, but it runs at about 2/3 of the speed it should and bumps along as it does.


Sometimes you get a ride op that will let you snap the flyers (which I'm really good at), other times they freak out, e-stop it or threaten to call security on you. (yes, that happened)

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^^I was not that guy! I did spend 4 hours at the Columbus Zoo this summer and really enjoyed the place.

While I'm sure there are people who have been 'that' guy, I just don't see how. Like you said, it's enjoyable and has a lot to offer. To me, the coaster was just a bonus as the zoo itself had been on my bucket list for a while.


The dinosaur ride looks hilarious.

It was certainly interesting, that's for sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a huge lover of the peacefulness of Botanical Gardens, and I have what some would consider to be a strange hobby. What happens when you combine the two? You get Gilroy Gardens, a perfect blend of amazing horticulture and rides.


What isn't the perfect combination? Your iPhone and a swimming pool. Yeah, that happened on this trip, and I wasn't even drunk. Stupid maybe, but not drunk.


History lesson!


Gilroy Gardens started out as Tree Haven which opened as Nob Hill Family Park to Michael Bonfante's Nob Hill Supermarket Employees in 1977. The famous Circus trees began making their way in in 1985 and in 1988 he added a few rides and changed the name to Hecklers Pass. But much like Strickers Grove, it was not open to the public. That would come in 2001 when the park opened up as Bonfante Gardens. The garden struggled over the years and in 2007 was renamed Gilroy Gardens and was purchased a year later by the City of Gilroy.


Today the park is managed by Cedar Fair, (which means your Platinum Pass gets you into the park, you'll need to pick up the tab on parking), as a non-profit carrying on the vision of Michael Bonfante.



So that's that, enjoy the tour of Gilroy Gardens and be sure to comment and let me know your thoughts on the park!


Welcome to one of the best landscaped parks in the world!


When you walk in the front gates you know instantly that its going to be a good day.


Looking down from the entry bridge I found a hidden carousel


This is great place to just sit and meditate


Moving along


Attention to detail is found on every bend



And then I stumbled upon Gil the Garlic and his sidekick Roy dancing for the crowd rolling in for the day.


Now I'm not sure, but it looks like she was making fun of them. Come on lady, it was cold outside!


The parks Grand Carousel looked stunning.


Before I explored more of the park I decided to get this out of the way.


And of course I took the scenic trail


I mean why not


But then I found a snake


And hauled out of there.


The train is a fantastic way to see the park


Trying out a new motion technique, I think it turned out well


As you can tell, there weren't a ton of people here on this cool May Saturday morning.


We took the tunnel and went into the greenhouse


More custom built waterfalls.



They had just started construction on a new water play area.


Everything is just so darned vibrant.



Out in the lagoon


You could grab a paddle goose and go for a ride




Anamatronic Vegetables, that's a first.


This is another great way to see the park


Soaring high above the earth. Well, maybe 15 feet.


Circus Tree!




These crazy raccoons were trying to blow up the mine train, bad raccoons, bad.


Speaking of the mine train


Let's go for ride


This isn't your normal boring queue line, nope, it's well lanscaped.


As is the exit.


What a fun ride.


As far as mine trains go, I have to place it number 1


Partially because of the surroundings


But mostly because it was badass.





The park features several different gardens to enjoy.





I wonder if this mushroom is mellow?


The car ride was pretty awesome, choose the type of car you want. I chose the 50's, apparently everyone else did too as there was a short wait.


Time to load up.


I've been on many a car ride in my time...


But much like the mine train...


I think this is my favorite.


A garlic hustler. One of only two hustlers in the U.S. The other is at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and themed to billiard balls.


Time to make like a tree and leaf. Get it? Ha ha.


Fantastic park with super friendly staff. I spent about 3 hours in the park, could have spent a tad longer exploring all the different gardens. It's for sure on my re-visit list. Check it out next time you are in Nor-Cal, park re-opens late March.


Be sure to comment. If you've been to Gilroy, what's your favorite thing there?

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A nice park with lots of rides for small kids. We actually went in the rain, but they still ran everything. The mine train is great, theming was awesome. The dragon swing shaped like a banana was the scariest swing I've been on, I swear I thought it was going to loop! Food is great, I hope they still sell the huge cinnamon rolls with icing, rivaled Dollywood's cinnamon bread. Of course the gardens are amazing too.


Great report, looks as if they have done some maintenance and the park looks better than I remember.

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