(Note: Pictures taken during daylight didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped because the day was insanely overcast. We didn't see the sun for the entire length of our visit. For the director's cut (mostly more pictures), see the blog post: Nicole and Gabe's Great Escape)
On Saturday Nicole, my fiance, and I ventured to Indiana Beach, an amusement park in Monticello, Indiana that takes up an entire peninsula in a lake. Since everything is lakeside, it's the closet thing you'll find to a seaside amusement park in central Indiana. The place is packed both with people and rides, and since it has free admission, all walks of humanity and inhumanity are present. It's also kind of like those ancient castles in Europe, kept in a preserved state of disrepair, but never really getting fully refreshed and restored.
My favorite entrance to the park, over a huge suspension bridge that bounces as you walk. The big wooden coaster is the Hoosier Hurricane, which covers nearly the entire length of the park. It's a fun, if a little rough, coaster that's mostly great for the view.
The rest of the park viewed from the bridge. This lake side is mostly taken up by the coasters. To the left you can see the park's other standard wooden coaster, the Cornball Express, which is a wild little ride that is almost constantly curving about its track.
Not a very pretty picture, but gives a good idea of how packed this place is both with attractions and people. It was the coldest day of the summer so far and just nasty in general, yet you couldn't walk anywhere without bumping into someone.
The Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain, a very bizarre coaster with an elevator for a lift hill. It's one of a kind, with small cars that fly around a wooden track and partially through a mountain. It's kind of like a wild mouse crossed with a mine train, with a whole lot of bone jarring roughness thrown in to the equation. They were running one car, and with it's slow load time/low capacity vehicles, it made for an insanely slow moving line.
Some of the flat rides and slides on the boardwalk. I love how everything is packed together right on the water.
A monster themed shooting gallery that pulls no punches with its theme. For example, the zombie in the back rips off the victim's head, and that monster in front is massive, lunging forward at a shocking speed.
More examples of just how space efficient this place is. There are several water slides, a portable steel coaster, and an ice cream shop all within a little space.
Just to give more of an idea how packed together attractions are at this place.
Nicole, the Coneviore. Run, cones, run! Especially you chocolate dipped waffle cones, you're next!
Love this sky ride, as the only restraint is a flimsy bar that pulls down in front of you, and doesn't lock. Very tempting to drop down and visit the pirates on the roof of the dark ride.
Den of Lost Thieves may not be Pirates of the Caribbean, but it's still fun (if low budget and a little run down like everything else). It's a shooting dark ride, and my score sucked because the gun was firing at a point below where I was aiming. I still beat Nicole, who is a mostly anti-violent hippy type and didn't shoot much of anything.
I don't know what's so special about midway gam... GIANT CRANE GAME.... must obey the clawww! (I'm a crane game addict, it runs in the family)
Look out, he's going to strike! He may have pink flamingos as back up.
Alternative caption: This theming makes Jungle Cruise look like Animal Kingdom.
Some of the random midway games, with Nicole choosing which one to play. Surprisingly most of them were actually relatively winnable, at least the ones we played. I think we ended up with something like 6 or 7 stuffed animals.
The skee ball parlor, a place of beauty. We spent at least 15 bucks just playing. She beat me at first, but her scores didn't do so well after a while. I still maintain the 100 point shot is a trap she needs to avoid.
Nicole's new caterpillar friend, and the last one the balloon popping game had. She was so proud. She also doesn't remember this picture being taken, even though she posed. I think she was a little tired.
These Easter Island/Tiki head guys are completely random and fit no coherent theme, but I love them. I want one of these for my dream backyard. Up above, and band gets ready to play at the park's lounge.
The lights start to come out for the night.
Frankensteinís Castle, a walkthrough haunted fun house that often wins awards for being the best in the country. Also known as the attraction I will never, ever visit. The animatronic barker is pretty cool though, as even removes his own head once in a while.
Didn't try to ring the bell. Not a fan of public embarrassment.
We did eat the supposed "World's Greatest Tacos." They claim to have been featured on the Food Network, though I've yet to find evidence to support that claim. The tacos were good, but the soft shells were kinda weird and very greasy. This place also had longer lines than most of the rides. I guess hype does sell.
Photos of the rides looking absolutely gorgeous at night. The place looks somewhat seedy and rundown during the day, but once the sun sets and the lights come on, it suddenly turns kind of magical. I think the Ferris Wheel is my favorite thing in the entire park, just for how beautiful it looks at night.
The midway at night, viewed from the very fast moving ferris wheel. It's quite breathtaking in person, a sea of lights floating in a black void.
To finish, a couple photos of the fireworks that capped the evening. We didn't even know there were any scheduled, and caught them just as we were crossing the bridge back to the parking lot. I only marginally freaked out when I realized how long I was standing very high up in the air with only a black pit visible on either side.
Overall, we had a great time, even with Indiana Beach's many faults and surly employees. We played a lot of games, ate some greasy food, and lost ourselves for a while. We also saw a lot of people that helped boost our self-esteem in comparison. I really hope we get to visit again before we make our big move to Florida this or next year.
(Additional note, we also rode the new-ish coaster Steel Hawg, but it was not lit enough to get good pictures when we had the camera out. It's a fun, tiny steel coaster with bizarre track elements. The scariest is a half twist that you enter slowly, thus dangling you upside down with no g-forces holding you into the seat for a full second, before finally plunging down a half loop. I don't scream on coasters, and even I let out a yelp.)