Sunday, 24 August 2014

Wild Waves

Take the I-5 south from Seattle and as you approach Tacoma you'll drive alongside this park - the water slides and bright yellow corkscrew coaster making it difficult to miss.

The price of the park is similar to most big parks, with $40 being the magic number that most trend towards. You can often find deals however so do check the leaflets in your hotel if you're staying in the area.

Either the park is getting ready for this year's Halloween or they didn't bother clearing up after last year's. I think it's the former. Cool looking buggy though!

With it being a hot day it was the water park section of the park that had attracted most of the punters, which is great because that wasn't why we were here :)

Located in amongst the trees, at the top of the hill on the right as you enter is a rather good wooden coaster called Timberhawk - Ride of Prey.

With quite a lengthy track and the first to be built by S&S I was a little worried that this was just going to be a prolonged beating. Their other coaster Falken in Denmark was noticeably rough and un-re-rideable. However I needn't had worried, whilst not the most earth shattering coaster in the world this one was quite enjoyable to ride. 

Having the longest queues of the day this was clearly the best ride in the park for the majority of the people who were exploring the amusement park section of the park. Operations of the coaster were really good too, with a couple of trains running the park staff were pushing people through the ride very well indeed. 

A non-white sky coaster contrasting nicely with the yellow corkscrew monster which we'd be riding in a bit.

The park used to be owned by the Six Flags chain before they cast it out of the fold following a financial review in 2007. It was then taken on by PARC but then sold to another company. Whoever was owning it now was doing OK I think. Overall the park was well run and clean and the staff were pretty decent. 

and they were clearly expanding given the large assortment of water slide pieces that were gathering on the hillside.

The carousel is probably the oldest ride in the park having been there since 1906. 

The kangaroo invasion that was taking over China now has a foothold in the US. Be afraid people.

The park has a tiny powered coaster but it had an engineer working on the motor. Tal had a friendly chat to ask if it would open today and the engineer was certain it'd be ready within the hour. This was good news as it's an elusive coaster to attain - even those that have ridden more than anyone else have failed to get this one.

Any park that has an abundance of trees is automatically going to go up in my book. I don't go to a park to burn and I think the extra oxygen can only be a good thing. 

Second coaster was the mine train mouse ride called Klondike Gold Rusher. 

A little bit of a queue here due to the small number of seats on each train (4) but the park really wasn't busy and having an awning over the queue line made it an pleasurable wait experience.

A really nice water splash ride. Whilst I could do with cooling down I didn't want to get drenched. 

A nicely themed paratrooper ride to look like an axe swinging down to chop the trees.

Prior to being owned by Six Flags and the water park being present the park was known as Enchanted Kingdom. I'm guessing this is a stayover from that. I couldn't imagine for one moment that Six Flags would add theming of any kind ;)

Third coaster was another corkscrew differing to Vancouver's in that this had a loop prior to the corkscrew element...oh, and that is was made by Arrow who are notorious for making their rides smash your jaws.

So it was a pleasant surprise that this one ran OK too. Capacity wasn't being challenged today so the operators would send the train out for a second lap immediately on it returning to the station. 

With the good corkscrew surprise we headed back to the little powered coaster to find it operational and the rather excellent ride operator was more than willing to let us ride it as well as giving us plenty of banter as we boarded. 

We finished our day with more rides on the wooden coaster before heading off.

The front right corner of the park has been dug into a large amphitheatre shape overlooking a lake. I'm wondering if they use this as a seating area for a lake show or something. They ought to if they don't. At the moment it only serves as a shortcut between the entrance and Timberhawk.

In American you can have custom plates. I'm guessing we have one more Brit in the park today.

Wild Waves being the biggest park in the Seattle area will be a mandatory visit for coaster enthusiasts visiting the area. Having said that it would be a shame if they used that to have average rides rather than building decent rides to attract business. I guess they have done this to a degree but Timberhawk, as with most wooden coasters is unique. What I liked was how the park was being run, friendly staff and efficient at moving people through the ride - I doubt that's a Six Flags legacy.

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