Remembering Wildwood’s Dinosaur Beach

Dinosaur Beach Wildwood

Logo purloined from their 1997 website.

There’s been a lot of piers down in Wildwood, NJ over the years. Today, Morey’s Piers has all but dominated the amusement landscape but at one point there were up to seven different amusement piers competing against each other. One of the more notable piers was Hunt’s Pier which featured a number of custom designed dark rides that led some to refer to the park as a mini Disneyland. Rides such as Golden Nugget Mine Ride, Keystone Kops, and Skua grazed the pier along with the Flyer wooden coaster, Log Flume, Rapids ride and others.

Hunt’s Pier was sold in 1985 and went as The New Hunt’s Pier until 1988. It was then bought by Conklin Shows and renamed Conko’s Party Pier, adding in the five looping Kamikaze roller coaster at the back of the pier. The pier closed around 1992 and sat defunct until it was bought in 1995 by Family Kingdom Inc, owners of Steel Pier in Atlantic City. The pier was reopened in 1996 as Dinosaur Beach Pier.

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86′d Rides vol 2: Hell Hole

Hell Hole - Coney Island

Hell Hole | Photobucket – vxxforgif

Back in the 50′s, Rotor rides were the end all thrill ride. Up until that point, there was nothing like it. The concept was simple but ingenious: riders stand in a large barrel and it spins, pinning them to the walls. The floor would then drop out leaving riders stuck to the wall thanks to centrifugal force. The ride was so unique for the time that not only did people pay to ride it, but paid to simply watch people ride it! Rotor was more than just a ride…it was a spectacle.

Eventually, the novelty of Rotor wore off. Newer thrills and smaller counterparts (Chance Rotor, Gravitron) made the older models obsolete. Many were scrapped while others were re-themed to attract a new generation of riders. Several of these Rotors dropped the novel ‘Rotor’ name in favor of a darker, more edgy theme. These Rotor rides were known as Hell Hole.

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February 2014 Jersey Shore Trip Pt.2: Ocean Drive

map2Continued from Part 1.

I exited Wildwood using the Wildwood/Stone Harbor bridge. This is one of several, independently operated toll bridges that connect the barrier islands of New Jersey along a 50 mile road known as Ocean Drive. I rustled up $1.50 in stray quarters hanging around my car’s center console to pay the toll only to find that the toll booth was closed. I’m not complaining.

Stone Harbor and Avalon are the towns located on the barrier island just north of the Wildwoods. There aren’t any amusement parks and little in terms of year round establishments here. I thought Wildwood Crest was desolate, but this place seemed practically devoid of movement. The odd street would have a dumpster and some trucks parked around a house, but I literally saw four cars driving around the whole time there. This is what I love about the shore in the off season. Growing up in northern NJ where congestion is abundant and where the population density is among the highest in the nation, it’s a welcome change to be in place that’s so desolate yet not really in the middle of nowhere.

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February 2014 Jersey Shore Trip Pt.1: Wildwood

Wildwood Satellite ImageOn a relatively mild Saturday in late February, I headed down to the southern shore points of New Jersey to see what was going on, or lack thereof. I usually like to make this trip once a year, using my family’s summer house in Brick as a starting point. From my place in north Jersey, it would be a two and a half hour drive to Wildwood, while it takes an hour and change from Brick. I left for Wildwood at about 11am and arrived shortly after 12pm.

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Olympic Sliding Sports

Olympic RingsAs I write this I’m watching men’s skeleton being broadcast live from the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I have to assume that most theme park fans would love to have a go at one of the three sliding sports featured in the Olympics. I know I would. Even taking my love of riding coasters out of it and there’s still the fact that I loved to sled as a kid. Hell, I’d still go sledding now if I didn’t look like a complete tool doing it! I like to think that the people who took up luge, bobsled or skeleton are ones who feel the same way about sledding…and, you know, I guess it helps to live close to a sliding track.

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