Published: August 25, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I enjoyed reading this. I visited the original Elitch Gardens when I was around 9 years old, woulda been around 1973-74. My dad had a convention in Denver and my mom and I, along with some other conventioneers' wives and some children, went to Elitch. It was the only amusement park I'd been to other than Palisades, which I don't remember, and the Magic Kingdom. And the Jersey Shore ride piers, but I didn't consider those "parks." Even Great Adventure didn't open until 1974. Elitch was a big deal to me, the first time I ever rode a large wood coaster, Mr. Twister. There was another, too, name escaping me. My mom's friend Sue was brave enough to take me on. You created a monster, Sue!

Regarding the tunnel on Mr. Twister, I guess that was fairly common for rides of a certain era. Knoebels' Phoenix has a lengthy tunnel to start, although I don't know if that was featured in its original location. And less than two weeks ago, I made my first visit to PA's Conneaut Lake Park, where the 1938 Blue Streak coaster features a verrrry long tunnel before the lift hill.

Rob Pastor

Published: August 25, 2013 at 7:05 PM

James: I have to say that this is one of the most interesting articles I've read on TPI. It's refreshing to read an honest accurate account of a park rather than a whitewashed version. One question, I seem to remember a Mind Eraser coaster at Geauga Lake Park Ohio at one time, unless my memory serves me wrong. Could that be a reincarnation of that same coaster?
Andrew Carrieri

Published: August 25, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Interesting post!
My family did Heritage Square back in 2007. In addition to the Alpine Slide, we went into one of the stores where my younger brother and I got to dress up as Cowboys for a family photo. If I remember correctly, they provided the outfits and we changed in a dressing room in the back. It was kind of cool, I guess.
Never really thought of it as an amusement park though, until this post.
James Koehl

Published: August 26, 2013 at 1:03 AM

Thanks for the kind words! Writing this article was great fun- it was like reliving our vacation, but without the expense! Rob, Geauga Lake didn't have a coaster called Mind Eraser that I could find, but they did have a very similar Velkoma coaster called Thunderhawk. It is now at Michigan's Adventure, being moved there when Cedar Fair bought Geauga Lake, closed it and moved many of its attractions to other parks. Mind Eraser was an "ok" ride, but quite rough, especially compared to Raptor at Cedar Point.