The day after I went to Kings Island, my flight left from Cincinnati around 7pm. The logical thing to do would have been to just to spend the day at Kings Island, either riding or taking pictures. But that doesn’t get me any closer to one of my coaster goals: ride every wooden coaster in the U.S. As a matter of fact, there was one park that I could get to fairly easily from Kings Island that would let me check off 2 (or 3) wooden coasters from that list: Camden Park! I was pretty excited to get out to the park, given how sketchy the park looked and how it always looks like it’s about to close down. The drive from Mason ended up taking me about 2.5 hours at which point I pulled up to the park and was shocked to see a sign on the ticket booth saying that Big Dipper was closed for refurbishment. My mind immediately started figuring out how I was going to get to the park again to get that elusive wooden coaster credit. But after heading into the park, I took a right and ended up at the first coaster of the day.
Camden is so weird! This coaster is a family wooden coaster that looks like it was built in someone’s backyard. The track gauge is so small and the trains barely fit someone like me. The ride itself was fairly unexceptional. A teensy bit of airtime over some of the hills but otherwise it was just a good first wooden coaster for kids before they work their way up to Big Dipper.
As I walked over to wistfully gaze at Big Dipper, I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise, no closed sign in front of Big Dipper. So I peeked my head in and saw an operator waiting for riders!! My guess is what happened is when the park was allowed to reopen, they posted a sign that said that Big Dipper was closed for the weekend (plus it had some more ride closures due to COVID related parts shortages) and just never bothered to take the sign down. I’ll take it because it meant that I got to get a ride in! And what a ride it was! First let’s start off with some of the immediate stuff: the brakes operate via manpower which is awesome. The ride vehicles are the beautiful NAD models with the awesome Art Deco front and they sketchily have the back row completely rusted out without any seats in them. But I hopped in the furthest back seats for this ride. After the lift, there’s a quick turnaround before the first drop. And wow!! Without any seatbelts, in the back you get completely thrown into the buzz bars. It’s one of the most violent airtime moments I’ve experienced. And it’s without a doubt the defining moment of the ride. The rest of the layout has a couple of small airtime moments but nothing that lives up to the amazingness of the first drop. If you have the opportunity to go to the park, do it because this drop alone is worth the price of admission!
It’s an SBF Visa spinner, what can you say about them 🤷 I do find it kinda funny that I went so long without riding one but ended up having done a bunch of them this year.
Okay, this ride is definitely the weirdest one at Camden! First, is it a coaster or not? I say yes since it does have a gravity powered drop but I can understand it you don’t want to classify it as one. As you would expect from a ghost train at a tiny park, it was filled with cheap cheesy props. All in all a fun, classic theme park ride!
Before I left, I took one more ride in the backseat of Big Dipper and it was just as amazing this time as it was last time!
After riding, I went around and got some pictures and video. After that it was on the road again, heading back to Cincinnati to catch my flight back home! Like I mentioned, Camden is definitely worth making a trip out for. Big Dipper is a legitimately good ride and the other rides are interesting enough. Get out and support your local small parks if you can!