As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a book from Theme Park Press, so I thought I’d share one with you today. This one is a bit different from most, as it’s not primarily Disney-focused. As much as I love Disney, I have to admit this book was refreshing . . .
About the Book
A Coast-to-Coast Tour of Vintage American Theme Parks
In the shadow of Disney and Universal there exists a dying breed of little-known theme parks, brimming with regional charm, authenticity, and the American spirit. Pam Turlow visited 40 of them. This is her road trip.
From Maine to California, if you exit the too-bright interstates and drive down the local traffic roads, or maybe up the dark side of Route 88, you’ll sometimes find up ahead in the distance a shimmering light, a remnant of an America where everything was local, where painted, peeling carousels and cotton candy spun before your eyes was the real magic of Saturday night.
These theme parks, known mostly to the people who live near them and who have been playing in them for generations, captured the imagination of voice actress Pam Turlow, who packed up her husband and went in search of her childhood, and of our childhoods, in such fanciful fantasylands as:
- The Enchanted Forest, built on a hill in rural Oregon, by a man who decided one day that he wanted to run a theme park and sunk his life savings into creating it
- Nelis’ Dutch Village, in Holland (where else?), Michigan, a re-creation so authentic that it’s like a country escaped from Epcot’s World Showcase and ended up here
- Rye Playland, so old it’s a National Historical Landmark, and once so popular during the Depression that visitors really did forget their troubles, but now in peril
- Knoebels, in rural Pennsylvania, a park with its own Haunted Mansion dark ride, wooden coasters, steam trains, and funnel cakes, and no charge to walk inside
- Disneyland, the park that sprouted from an orange grove, where Pam closes her eyes to the glitz and merchandise, and recalls the time when Walt walked Main Street
Come join Pam Turlow on her Cotton Candy Road Trip and experience the tucked-away theme parks where the Ferris wheels still turn, the haunted houses still drip blood, and the brass rings are still there for you to grab, in Mickey Mouse’s shadow.
About the Author
Pam Turlow, by day, is a voice-over artist. She has recorded her voice for many a product and project, including commercials, industrials, audio books, toys, animation, and on the list goes. In addition, she is a life coach, having graduated from the Coaches Training Institute. Pam has studied acting with the National Theatre in London and has spent some time on the boards, especially in musical theatre (favorite role to date: Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at Circle Theatre, a performance which won her Chicago’s “After Dark Award”).
Besides creative writing (which she studied at Dominican University), Pam enjoys travel, Disneyland, dark chocolate, a good wine now and then, her dog Ivy (the dainty beaglette), and most of all, spending time with her lovely and talented husband, Ben Dooley, with whom she shares a home in a cozy suburb of Chicago.
Heidi Says . . .
I love the idea behind this book . . . a journey across the USA, stopping at all the vintage amusement parks along the way. There are actually quite a few of them here in good old PA – we haven’t been to Hershey Park in a while but we’re regulars at Chocolate World, we get to Knoebel’s at least once each summer, we went to visit Idlewild a few years ago, and I’ve got a list of places that I’d like to plan to visit soon (including Del Grosso’s Park and Lakemont Park). Oh, and although it’s not in PA, we visit Gillian’s Wonderland Pier (and the entire OCNJ boardwalk) almost every summer. So, while I was reading this book, I was getting a taste of some of our family’s adventures as well!
I enjoyed reading Pam’s thoughts on the parks and the way she was able to tie various aspects of her visit in with thoughts of her mother. It was fun to “tag along” on her theme park journey. It makes me long to do something similar one day.
Had I written this book, I would have liked a bit more continuity in the chapters. Instead of listing just the name of the park and the city/town and state in which it is located, I would have included exact address and costs (admission, parking, any additional fees, etc.), as well as website address (these are listed in the Appendix). And because it’s a book about VINTAGE parks, I’d include the date it was first opened as well as a brief history of the park and its original owners. Then, I’d lead into a more formatted post, maybe something similar to the style of my recent Florida trip reports (sharing a bit about our time there, and then winding up with our pros and cons of each park). (Other than my blog and websites, I haven’t done layout since my high school yearbook, yet my brain is spinning with all the fun layout options this book could have included.)
And what is really missing from this book – in my opinion – is PICTURES. There are several times throughout the text that Pam makes mention of a certain photo op, yet they pictures aren’t included in the book. In my opinion, they are greatly missed! As far as I’m concerned, there should be at least one picture per park – either of the entrance/logo or the park’s iconic ride – and then one of Pam and her hubby (or friends) enjoying something in the park (ride, snack, etc.)
But even with no pictures and no formatting, I still really enjoyed this book. It was fun to live vicariously through Pam on her journey. I really enjoyed the Appendix with some of her favorites being listed. This was a great way to tie up the book into a nice little package at the end. Now, I’m wondering if we’ll see a follow-up book – maybe A Coast-to-Coast Tour of America’s Aquariums, State Fairs, or even shopping malls. The possibilities are endless!
If you’d like to learn more about The Cotton Candy Road Trip, be sure to head over to Theme Park Press. You’ll find excerpts from two chapters of the book (Silver Dollar City & Storybook Gardens), as well as the complete Table of Contents, and Pam’s Introduction (from the book).
***This post made possible by Theme Park Press.***