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Not to mention the all day pass includes the go karts.......that in itself is worth the 20 bucks. i took a family of four to a local FEC in Deep Creek Lake in Mayland and it basically was 2 kart traks, mini golf, and those flying saucer like bumper cars.....total spent was $160....and that was almost 5 years ago........

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For those who enjoyed Lakemont's Herschel Twister, please note it was sold to Midway Park, in additional to their Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel.




This vintage Upstate NY amusement park is a treasure trove of nostalgia

By Ngoc Huynh | nhuynh@nyup.com | Posted July 11, 2019 at 06:30 AM


Step back in time for some fun at one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks in the nation since 1898.


Midway State Park provides classic midway games, old-fashioned candy apple, and a vintage carousel that overlooks Chautauqua Lake. It's about about 8 miles from Chautauqua and located at 4859 Route 430 in Bemus Point. Originally established as a trolley park, it's the only amusement park owned by New York state.


Before Six Flags, Disney resort attractions, and Universal Studios, many Americans enjoyed trolley parks.


U.S. railway companies built these trolley parks, hence the name. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, they constructed the parks as a way to earn weekend business. Customers frequent streetcars and railways while commuting to and from work. However, fares collected for weekends were low.


To solve that problem, many rail companies placed the parks at the end of their lines to maximize profits. Typically built by lakes, rivers, or beaches, the parks offered swimming, picnic grounds, ball fields, and live entertainment.


Midway State Park was established by the Jamestown & Lake Erie Railway in 1898. The trolley went from Mayville to Westfield. Midway got its name because it was midway on the lake between certain spots for the ferryboats and tour boats.


Families could relax and picnic at Midway. The park had 500 feet of lake front, a sandy beach for bathing, dance hall, playing fields, and tennis courts. Patrons enjoyed baseball, boating, dancing and more.


Guess how much a round-trip ticket on the railway from Jamestown or Mayville to Midway costs? Back then - 25 cents!


Usually, one of the first rides at trolley parks is a carousel. However, the first ride at Midway was the Jack Rabbit roller coaster in 1924.


The current carousel was actually made right in North Tonawanda at the Herschell Carousel Factory. It's a 1946 carousel that was purchased by the park in 1968 when Owasco Lake Park in Auburn closed. There is an extensive collection of Alan Herschell rides onsite.


Aside from the carousel, children and parents can take part in a game of mini golf, take a spin on the tilt-a whirl, or ride the go-karts. There are also many kiddie rides.


According to the National Amusement Park Historical Association, about 1,000 trolley parks operated in the U.S. by 1919. As automobiles became more accessible and gained popularity, trolley parks began shutting down. By the 1950s, Disneyland became a phenomenon and Americans flocked to theme parks.


In 2006, the state purchased Midway to preserve for all time. It is operated by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.


Midway typically opens from May to September.


Hours: Depends, but typically opens from noon to 7 p.m. daily. Check the calendar. Amusement rides and the arcade are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Rides are closed from 3 to 3:30 p.m. for safety checks.


Cost: There is no admission cost. Fees are for rides and games. Regular weekend day fee is $16 for Wristband 42" and over while $11 for Wristband under 42." Regular weekday fee is $14 for Wristband 42" and over while $9 for Wristband under 42."


The train, manufactured by the Miniature train Company in 1955, came to Midway in 1958. Running around the exterior of the park at 15 miles per hour, passengers are greeted by cartoon cutouts such as Little Bo Peep, Mother Goose, and Ferdinand the Bull.


The train ride begins at the Chautauqua Choo Choo Train Station. After all the passengers are on board, the conductor blows the whistle and the 4 minute ride begins. The ride is a popular way for visitors to start their day as it provides a view of the most of the rides during the trip which helps to plan their day.


Any child will feel like a super star after reaching the top of this 24-foot climbing wall and ringing the buzzer. Vertical Reality built the wall and installed it at Midway in 2000. If the climber makes it to the top, they will be able see a broad view of the ride area. The best part is that there are three sides to the wall so even if one side is mastered there are two other sides to try.


Midway has recently purchased two historic rides that are currently being refurbished for installment in the park - a 1948 Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel and a 1959 Herschell Twister. They were purchased from a trolley park in Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA.


Currently, among the events that Midway hosts include a large car show every Labor Day. Also, the Chautauqua Belle Steamship makes scheduled stops at Midway’s dock, reminiscent of the days when the lake had heavy steamship traffic

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Midway has one of the best looking roller rinks I've ever seen. Too bad it's been closed to the public for awhile. But yeah, there's only one Twister on the road with a small show in Indiana, so this ride being re-opened in NY is a great thing.

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I remember the Twister as being an unique ride I have ever seen, and to learn that this ride will now operate in another park is great news indeed. I checked out the site and found this park is more in tune to kids and families rather than the riders and amusement park flyers, so if I ever go there I'll just ride a few rides, shoot some miniature golf, play some arcade games in the pavilion, and kill a few hours.

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I rode a Twister at Gun Town Mountain in Kentucky sometime around 2003. I remember it being one of the craziest flat ride experiences ever. The spinning was relentless in the best way—like a tilt-a-whirl on allll the drugs. Glad to see one of these lives on!

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We had a Twister come to us during our annual fair, The PNE, years ago.

Just loved riding it, and watching everybody freek out on it, LOL!

And I am pretty sure it was the Herschell one.


At the PNE, long time ago. Photo from Vancouver Archives.

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I was really excited to finally get to Lakemont this year - but just noticed on rcdb that Leap the Dips is still listed as SBNO, and upon closer inspection on the park's website, Leap the Dips is listed as not open (just for today though). I hadn't heard anything about it not opening and had just assumed this would FOR SURE be the coaster that was open this year with the rebranding.


Anybody have more information?? We'll probably still go anyways, but I've been trying to ride LtD for like 6 years now and each time it's never worked out.

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^^I was at the park a week or so back. Between my first visit in June and now, Leap the Dips looks much much better. Lots of fresh paint and seems like some general work is being done. I noticed a second car had been moved from the depot and yeah, it looks better than it did when the park was open a few years back. I would think they intend to open it this season. After all this work, I am sure they would be disappointed otherwise.


Skyline, on the other hand, needs a lot of work. It doesn't ride that rough. But I don't think I've been on a wooden coaster that looks this bad. It can't cost *that* much to give the coaster some fresh paint.




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Here's hoping for a quick reopening. I had the perfect day to go there over a month ago, but alas, Leap the Dips was closed. If TTD at Cedar Point doesn't reopen before next week, LtD could very well end up as my 100th coaster. That would be cool.

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We did end up going to the park a few days ago, and I have to say I was pretty impressed! It was very clean and generally not dumpy-looking. Skyliner wasn't necessarily smooth, but I thought it rode decently well and was a pretty enjoyable lap. Leap the Dips looked really great. Love the ride's old school station/entrance/stage thing.


I don't hate their pricing model at all, I thought it was really fair. You have to buy tickets for individual rides (you can't just buy 10 tickets and use them for whatever). For anyone with kids, each ride has a different policy in terms of how old/tall/capable you have to be to ride it alone or what constitutes a qualified "adult chaperone". For us this meant that we thought we could get away with our nephew taking our son on a bunch of things (it's also what we were told at the ticket counter), but this was not always the case and we ended up having to buy a few extra tickets that we didn't plan on. Would have just been easier for one of us to buy a wristband, and really $20 is not a bad deal at the end of the day. Especially considering that it includes mini golf, go karts, and the splash area.


I thought the place was great and love the small "city park" vibe. Seems like a super enjoyable and affordable afternoon for local families. Will definitely make the trip back when we're in the area and LtD is open again.

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^I agree with much of what you said. But there’s no reason they can’t just sell all tickets in $1 increments and then set the coasters at 3 tickets and the other rides at 2. And then if you want to have a special go kart ticket you could or it just be 6 tickets. In it’s current state, you have to pre decide what you’re going to do and buy those tickets. Which slows the customer AND staff down when they’re providing you with 8 different tickets. And then you need to find your specific ticket when you want to ride.


Knoebels is... much much easier. And I just go and buy a bunch of $20 books and let it fly. Lakemont is not encouraging spending, instead creating a barrier.

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