Waldameer Park: A Historical Landmark and Family-Friendly Amusement Park in Erie, PA
Waldameer Park, located in Erie, Pennsylvania, has been attracting families and tourists for over a century. Originally built as a “trolley ride” park in 1896 by the Erie Electric Motor Company, Waldameer has now evolved into a large amusement park and water world, with over 100 rides, games, and attractions for people of all ages to enjoy. In this article, we will explore the history, attractions, and interesting facts about Waldameer Park, and provide insights into its popularity among tourists.
History of Waldameer Park
The name Waldameer is a German word that means “woods by the sea,” which is fitting since the park is situated at the base of Presque Isle State Park, right on the shores of Lake Erie. Before it became an amusement park, the area was known as Hoffman’s Grove, a popular picnic area. In 1896, the Erie Electric Motor Company purchased the land and created a trolley park, where visitors could take an open-air trolley ride from downtown Erie to the park for just 10 cents. The trolley ride was 4 miles long, and it took about 30 minutes to get to the park.
As the popularity of Waldameer grew, more rides and attractions were added, including a bowling alley, games of skill, and a “penny arcade” with games that flipped cards and played movies as prizes, all for just a penny. The park also featured a banquet and dance hall called Rainbow Gardens, which was built in the early 20th century and is still in operation today.
Attractions at Waldameer Park
Waldameer Park has something for everyone, from thrill rides and roller coasters to water slides and gentle rides for young children. One of the most popular attractions at the park is the Ravine Flyer II, a wooden roller coaster that takes many hills and turns, including an arched trip over an actual street. The park also has the Ravine Flyer III, a smaller roller coaster for children who are at least 40 inches tall.
In addition to the roller coasters, Waldameer has many other rides, including bumper cars, water rides, and gentle rides for young children. The park also has two “dark rides,” indoor attractions that are either walk-through or ride-through. The Pirate’s Cove is a “fun house” type of attraction that visitors walk through, while the Wacky Shack is a ride where visitors sit in small rail cars that move slowly through a dark environment.
Waldameer also has traditional games of skill, such as ring toss, balloon and dart games, and basketball and hoop games, where visitors can win prizes. There is also a video game arcade with modern games to win prizes.
For visitors who get hungry, there are several places to eat throughout the park. The menu features classic amusement park fare such as pizza, burgers, and fresh-cut french fries, as well as sweet snacks like ice cream, cotton candy, and fudge. Waldameer also has gift shops where visitors can buy souvenirs, toys, clothes, or even get their face painted.
Other interesting facts about Waldameer Park
Waldameer’s large wave pool can accommodate up to 1,000 people.
The park has a large picnic area with many pavilions that are used by families, organizations, and businesses for various celebrations.
Waldameer puts on a large fireworks display on different holidays throughout the year, such as Independence Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day.
Visitors do not pay an admission fee to enter the amusement park area of Waldameer, but they must purchase reloadable “Wally Cards”
or season passes to go on the rides. Parking, however, is free. There is an admission fee to enter the Water World section of the park.
Waldameer Park opens in May each year and closes in September for the fall and winter seasons. While the summer months can get very hot in Erie, PA, the city is in the “snow belt” part of the U.S., making it too snowy and cold for outdoor amusement parks in the winter. Despite this, Waldameer has been a summertime attraction for millions of visitors for over a century.
Waldameer Park is a historical landmark and family-friendly amusement park in Erie, PA, that has been entertaining visitors for over 100 years. From its origins as a trolley park to its current status as a large amusement park and water world, Waldameer has evolved to offer a variety of rides, attractions, and games for people of all ages. With its proximity to Presque Isle State Park and Lake Erie, Waldameer continues to attract tourists from near and far, and its popularity shows no signs of waning.
Park History, https://waldameer.com/about/park-history/, retrieved 06/17/2017
Futrell, Jim. Waldameer Park (Images of America). Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2013.
FactFrenzy.com original research.