I’ve always loved the Ocean City, Maryland amusement parks. Childhood memories probably have a lot to do with that, but I’ve come to appreciate the stellar collection of Wacky Worms in a whole different way as a coaster enthusiast over the years. I haven’t been to any other boardwalk parks, so I have nothing to really compare to, but the Ocean City parks seem to be pretty good for what they are. I mean, there’s no major roller coasters that are actually any good, but there’s different stuff to enjoy here, like the excellent darkrides and carousel at Trimper’s Rides…. but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ocean City, Maryland is a pretty family-oriented vacation spot, so there’s a lot of amusements (kooky mini-golf, etc.) to appeal to everyone. But the real fun for me has long been in the amusement parks. I’ve never really been a “beach person,” so I would always look forward to the one or two nights when my family would hit up the parks. One that we would always spend a good chunk of time at was the Jolly Roger park at 30th Street, which is a park with mostly temporary rides that has been around for about a half-century. The highlights are a Schwarzkopf Wildcat that has been to both Cedar Point and Valleyfair, as well as the Flitzer that used to be on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. There’s also a train ride and two kiddie coasters. Adjacent is a water park and a whole separate go-kart park, too. On one of the first days of my family vacation, however, I just wanted to get in, get the new Flitzer credit, and get out, as I wasn’t sure how much park time I had; I would rather be at Trimper’s, anyway. Later in the week, I did get a chance to back and take some pictures, though. At the end of the boardwalk, there’s another park named Jolly Roger that sits out on a pier. I’ll be showing some pics of it later, but there’s another, better park at the boardwalk's end, Trimper’s Rides, which will be part two of this report.
I hadn't been here in four years, but the overall feel of the place has remained the same.
Going in! That pirate statue is one of those "Muffler Man" sculptures that you see all over the place, holding all kinds of objects. In this case, it's appropriately a sword.
Here's where you buy your "Passport to Fun." You can purchase individual points for the rides, but Jolly Roger really touts their POP band, which is probably pretty expensive.
The train is an old Herschell model; one of the few still around that I know of. I didn't take a ride, but I was glad to see that it was still in operation.
Himalaya, Spider, Ferris Wheel - a funny story about this Spider is that I rode it when I was about six years old not having any idea what I was getting in to. My parents didn't either... I still can remember how crazy whirling through the air on this ride felt back then!
Here's the Wildcat. It's been newly painted since my last visit. That sign on the lift was also new; it was sitting on the ground last time.
I don't remember this station covering, and the sick logo is included.
Running through its paces - These types of coasters are lots of fun, but I didn't feel the need to spend the money on a ride since I'd been on it before.
Nice Ferris Wheel here
I was surprised to see this interesting water-based kiddie whip.
But now the reason I came here: the new Flitzer, Barracuda!
I had never been on one of these before, and it was pretty fun and slightly frightening, as the small cars wound through the head-chopper-filled structure at what felt like high speeds.
These sweeping turns out front are by far the highlight.
The ride operator was talking our ears off about his credit card troubles; hey, at least they're friendly!
Wacky Worm chain trouble!
There's another kiddie coaster, this Miler model.
Wait... are you telling me that there's ANOTHER one of these spectacular places?! ;)
Trimper’s was founded in 1893 as a simple seaside hotel and has grown into a very interesting boardwalk park over the years. (Fun fact: it’s still owned by people with the Trimper name, making it the “oldest family-owned amusement park in America.” Pretty cool!) After getting off the bus that runs down OC’s Coastal Highway for my quickie visit to Jolly Roger, I got back on to ride to the end of the boardwalk and do the afternoon Trimper's wristband. At $28, it’s not cheap or overly expensive. It’s a good value for what it is, though; individual tickets cost $0.75 each normally, which sounds cheap… until you realize that rides cost 5 or 6 tickets on average, with the Boomerang taking 10. Not the best, not the worst. (For “best” pricing, we’ll be visiting Funland in Rehoboth Beach later…)
Walking up - It was before 3 at this time, which is when the outdoor rides open.
I really like these colored stripes on the building that fronts the boardwalk.
This sign is pretty iconic.
"Adult R" - whatever the heck that means, come and get it! (This used to say "Adult - Rides - Kiddie," but there have been renovations here recently, and I guess they just haven't put the letters back up.
Inside the carousel building. (We'll be returning here in part two of Trimper's photos.) It was nice to be here again, but this ride would have to wait because I purchased a wristband and walked back on to the boardwalk to ride my favorite Trimper's attraction...
Awesome facade; who doesn't think this bat is cool?
The cars are equally as impressive. For those who don't know, the Trimper's Haunted House was designed by Bill Tracy, who built tons of legendary darkrides at lots of amusement parks. This is one of only a handful left today.
"Old Mill" - the lady moves down the table, into the rotating saw! Pretty macabre... and this has been here since 1964.
...the famous Haunted House.
Watch out! The slats of wood create a bumpy sensation as you go over them, appropriate to railroad ties.
Here's a fun one of the front. At almost 5 minutes in length, this ride is very long. At a ride its size, it's to be expected that not everything is going to be working inside, but I did notice significantly more non-operational stunts than I had seen on my last rides four years ago. Among other things, the rotating barrel wasn't spinning. However, I did take a second ride-thru later in the week and found some things to be improved upon, most notably brighter, LED blacklights throughout. I guess the condition of this thing just depends on the day. Regardless, Trimper's Haunted House remains one of the best classic darkrides around and is a must during any trip in Ocean City.
Wait, but what's that in the background? Yes, it's none other than the park's own Vekoma Boomerang.
Yes, I did ride this. And no, I'm not that ashamed. Since this was my first amusement park back when I was two, I might've rode it then, so this was just an opportunity to "make sure." ;)
I remember not liking this one at all on my first ride four years ago, but I decided I’d give it a second chance.
Leaving the station, we began our backward climb. Spoiler alert - this was the best part of the ride. From the moment we started flying down the first hill to when we glided back into the station, the train was rattling over the entire track, creating a very rough ride. I literally can’t say much more than that; it was really that bad. Tidal Wave now ranks below the majority of the kiddie coasters I have been on. It is of note that this is the only Boomerang I have ridden to date.
Okay, but on the plus side, Trimper's has this cool, old-school Himalaya!
Interesting graphics on the backdrop
This was another new credit for me. It went around three times, and the pre-recorded safety spiel was totally awesome: "Welcome to the Wacky Worm!"
This is one WACKY picture.
...and right next to it, a world-class funhouse, Pirate's Cove. A lot of people are likely familiar with the Waldameer version of this attraction, and this one has a lot of similarities to that. Like the Haunted House, this is a darkride that was designed by Bill Tracy.
Skipping over to the other side of the park, we have this Mirror Maze...
Crooked corridor, like the Haunted House... and with fresh paint!
This room is tilted.
Here's an example of one of the whimsical tableaus in this walkthorugh. I really like this one!
We still have a bit of the outdoor section of the Trimper rides to see, as well as the inside of the building with the historic carousel, so stay tuned for that!
I apologize about the two random posts below; I got an error message, yet these two entries somehow still posted. But when I click "edit," the whole posts shows, which I am unwilling to mess with.
There's a good collection of iron rides, with ones like the Tilt-A-Whirl seen here, a Freak Out, and a newer Endeavour (which I did ride and find to be just okay), but the real star of the show is the ride at the left in this picture.
I had been on one of these before, and I really enjoy them. The flipping is so out-of-control, yet it somehow still feels like there's always a method to the madness.
'Z' is for...
...my current favorite flat ride.
One of those every-present SBF spinning coasters - this had been moved since my last visit. This was indirectly one of the results of the removal of the other old funhouse at Trimper's, a small walkthrough called Aladdin's Lamp that was done away with in 2017. I miss it a lot.
Nice looking Rock-N-Roll - didn't ride this one.
The immaculate 1900s carousel - this armored horse is the lead (most elaborately decorated) horse on this machine.
A rare, hand-carved sea dragon jumps out at passerby.
This is a true menagerie carousel, with everything from frogs to storks to lots of horses. It's the heartbeat of Ocean City, and I hope Trimper's keeps it going for generations to come.
Here's a very cool detail, with a meaning that has practically been lost to time.
Surrounding the carousel is a large collection of kiddie rides, with a couple of Hampton rides (without the umbrellas).
There are some really great vintage Mangels kiddie rides in the building as well. This Ferris Wheel appears as if the building had been built around it.
Kiddie Merry-Go-Round - just as elaborately painted as the big version!
Gotta love these Snoopy-themed Sky Fighters. I wonder if Cedar Fair knows about this? ;)
I wonder how old these super-practical "ticket-mailboxes" are?
Very old shooting gallery - the targets are still the type that are activated by beams of light, so Trimper's of course has a sign that reads "no flash photography." (A flash of lights will set ALL the targets off at once.) No one was around, so I did try with my camera, but it was too bright outside for me to get the flash to work.
Above the bumper car ride, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters are manning the wheel!
There are all kind of artistic details if you take the time to look.
Take these photo-op benches, for example.
This train ride is amazing - it has a waterfall, its own music, and animatronic animals. I give Trimper's five stars for this recent addition.
This ticket booth is just for show, but it's really a pleasure to look at.
Bonus: In the nearby Ocean City Life Saving Museum, there's the old Laffin' Sal that was once in the funhouse on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Very cool in itself, and the rest of the museum, though small, is certainly worth a look in itself.
A brief look at Jolly Roger at the Pier is next on our list!
Wow, Ocean City looks so cool! I had heard of it but didn't really know what it was all about. You've sold me on it. One of these days I'm going to Busch Gardens, and I think Ocean City will be worth swinging by.
Jolly Roger at the Pier is a small, underwhelming collection of rides on, well, a pier that juts into the ocean. On this visit, I would just be taking a quick look around the park to take a few pictures, as Trimper's is clearly the winner when it comes to the best-quality park in Ocean City. However, this place deserves some exposure.
You enter the park by walking through a building that houses a Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum on the 2nd floor.
SlingShot - I will do one of these someday!
Ferris Wheel - I've never been on this before, so I might have to take it for a spin next time. I can imagine that the views are quite scenic.
This was one of the worst darkrides ever four years ago, but I had heard that it had somewhat been improved since then, so I decided to give it a second chance. It was certainly better than it used to be, with a fair number of operating tricks and good lighting. Still nowhere near the level of Trimper's Haunted House, but I'd say it's worth a go (if not the price). The way the track winds through the building on multiple levels is reminiscent of a thrill ride.
Pinfari Looping Star - I have the credit, thank you very much, so not for me today!
Looking at the park from the beach, we can see a Power Surge.
There's the Ripley's museum, shark-busting-out-of-wall included!
This was a short installment. Frontier Town, an old roadside attraction, is coming next.
On the way to Frontier Town, I convinced my dad to stop for a cheap coaster credit – the Wacky Worm at Baja Amusements. Isn’t it awesome that Ocean City has THREE Wacky Worms?
From the parking lot, the Worm looked pretty desolate, so I was glad when the ticket booth attendant assured us it was running.
To my utter shock, this Wacky Worm went around four times, the most of the three in Ocean City.
There I am. Do I look wacky?
...and we're out of here!
Right down the road from Baja, Frontier Town is a cool little park themed to the old west that’s celebrating 60 years in 2019. I guess it’s kind of like Knott’s Berry Farm before they started adding all the rides – as far as rides here go, there's not much more than a train and stagecoach. But the real reason people come to Frontier Town is for the western style shows, and there are all kinds of those, with everything from gunfights to the can-can playing out at some point during the day. In fact, when one show ends, another one begins shortly, so that’s the real appeal of Frontier Town.
Entrance - a character greeted us upon arrival. Admission is $14.
A dusty old main street is the location for a lot of the happenings during the day...
...like this cattle drive!
The horse-drawn stagecoach paraded down the boulevard, and Frontier Town was opened.
The park has a nice little train that's probably been here for a long time. It's authentically steam powered.
Check out this horse-driven carousel.
This must be the world’s hardest shooting gallery. Most of the targets flashed on and off in split-second increments, so I assumed that you were only able to hit them when lit. In the end, I was only able to hit the targets that remained on the entire time.
[Insert your own caption here.]
The "Great Western Stampede" was a nice demonstration that culminated with this buckboard race.
Here's the park's "saloon," which also serves as its main food counter. The can-can show hear later in the day was long and loud, but I found it to be pretty funny.
Native American Dancing - they did a good job of identifying what's "fact and fiction" when it comes to native culture.
"The Old Mine" is a very, very small tilt house.
This guy stands just outside the parking lot.
And that's pretty much it for Frontier Town. It was a nice trip back in time when small, roadside attractions like this existed. Sure, they’ve added a waterpark and other attractions since then, but I’m glad that they see value in keeping the western town around. It’s all fueled by extremely corny humor, but if you can get yourself to enjoy that, (and we really all can if we try…) you’ll like Frontier Town.
There's that little waterpark, which understandably gets most of the attention nowadays.
I know this has turned into a mammoth trip report, but I appreciate the kind comments thus far!
Rehoboth Beach’s small Funland amusement park was a place I really wanted to check out, especially after reading a book about it and hearing people rave about its excellent Haunted Mansion darkride. The park is small, covering just about an acre or so, but boy do they pack a lot of punch into what space they have! There are no roller coasters here, but a Paratrooper, Sea Dragon, Zamperla Discovery, an arcade, and a good amount of kiddie rides round the place out nicely. The park is a real, all-American family institution, (90+-year-old family patriarch Al Fasnacht still operates kiddie rides most nights.) and that fact really shows in the place’s pricing: from what I saw, midway games are all $1, and tickets are just $0.40, with the most expensive rides costing only 6 tickets. Two kiddie rides even cost 1 ticket! This seems like a welcome change of pace from most boardwalk parks.
This is the main reason I came here. I hadn't watched any videos of the ride beforehand, so I was going in spoiler-free.
Waiting in the lengthy line for Haunted Mansion, we can see some of Funland's other rides.
Bumper cars... with a floor pick-up system.
How about a Paratrooper sunset shot?
This slideshow of terrified riders builds perfect suspense.
The ride was spectacular, with tons of top-notch, in-house designed stunts, all in full operating condition. These cars use a really cool suspended track that allows them to navigate steep inclines to the building's second floor. One of my favorite moments involved a supposed set of doors on one of the two balconies onto which the ride emerges to provide a brief respite. It's a very cool "fake-out:" you think you're going to go one way, but instead you turn left and burst through what looks to be a wall. Brilliant, and I totally fell for it! Being a darkride fan, I noticed some similarities from one ride in particular: the skull room and snake-in-the-clock were both very similar to Knoebels’ Haunted Mansion. We even got spritzed with water a couple of times! Another one of my favorite stunts was a skeleton spraying a hose… right across the path of the car. Of course, before you’re soaked, the lights shut off, and you escape unscathed. If you're ever remotely in the area, come check this ride out. You will not be disappointed.
I think this is a Discovery; it's called "SuperFlip 360" here.
This Paratrooper runs backwards, which I had heard of but never seen in person before.
Hampton ride - In the background, you can see Al Fasnacht, the owner of the park, who is 90 years old and still works the kiddie rides for an hour or so every night during the summer. What a retirement! Small parks like Funland get even smaller (in a good way) when you know about things like this.
These kiddie fire engines - here since 1962, and perhaps longer - cost only $0.40 a ride!
This carousel is an older model with a newer, Chance-designed rounding board.
The mermaid in the middle of these kiddie boats rocks.
Here's one of two instances during which the Haunted Mansion exits the darkness. This one overlooks the boardwalk. The Giant Skull looks like a Bill Tracy mold, which is certainly probable, as this ride was designed by the company formed by one of the people who worked for him.
Classic Herschell helicopters
Those ticket prices are for real!
I hope you've enjoyed this look around the parks in the area surrounding Ocean City, Maryland. It's certainly a hotbed of activity and thrills that I've been privileged to enjoy throughout my childhood. I hope you enjoyed my second trip report, and if you stuck with me the whole way through, thank you!
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