Enchanted Forest is an absolutely beautiful family park tucked away in Salem, Oregon. The place is built on the side of a mountain, with some very steep paths; any parents reading this would do well to forestall visiting until your child no longer requires a buggy (or, in American, a stroller). ts location in deepest Oregon virtually guarantees that only the most hardy of tourists will visit, which is a great pity. Though it is not exactly overburdened with attractions, those it does have are uniformly of high quality.
Case in point is the Ice Mountain Bobsled (#1058), a very unusual roller coaster featuring fully enclosed three car trains. In appearance the cars resemble those found on a Chance Toboggan, though fortunately the ride experience is a great deal more comfortable. Smooth is not a word that could be described to the romp down the side of the mountain, but thrilling is; the layout is interesting and longer than appearances might suggest thanks to a second lift hill at the end of the ride. The only thing that I didn't like was that the ride is practically impossible to photograph, as most of the track is out of sight of the rest of the park.
The other coaster is a hybrid affair that is more log flume than anything else. Big Timber Log Ride (#1059) does have about a four storey coaster drop and ascent before the final splash, however, fitting it into the water coaster category. The park provides reusable ponchos in the ride queue, which we were very grateful for; the final drop would have been positively drenching without them.
In addition to a selection of children's rides, there are two other attractions of interest to older people. The Challenge of Mondor dark ride is an unusual target shooting ride that could well be home spun. The vehicles, which do not appear to be on rails, follow a path which involves some rotation and changes of direction. The journey takes passengers through an interesting mix of high quality scenery and almost empty areas filled with faintly glowing lights. The targets are not that easy to hit, but to be honest I wasn't paying that much attention to them; rather, I was enjoying the unique atmosphere of the ride. We followed this up with the Haunted House, a walkthrough that again mixed assorted high quality scenery with relatively empty areas. On the whole though it was done very well.
18th August 2007
Enchanted Forest has a sign up in their ticket booth advising people that they are not affiliated with the amusement park next door. The sign is arguably superfluous, as the contrast between the two parks could not be more marked. Where the former is beautifully themed and spotlessly clean, the latter is a handful of rides thrown down on tarmac. Most of the attractions look to be solid enough, but the place does have a horribly dangerous looking imitation Skycoaster hanging from a truck mounted crane. As with all such things it probably wouldn't be operating if it didn't have insurance, but nevertheless it'd take a braver man than me to ride it.
Little Ripper (#1060) marked our second Schiff coaster in two days. This particular model was pretty violent, eschewing the airtime of its brother in favour of strong lateral forces, not exactly an ideal in a ride vehicle littered with sharp corners. Ripper (#1061) on the other hand was a fairly good ride, albeit suffering a longer wait than it should thanks to only two operational cars. Defective trains appears to becoming more and more of an issue with older Jet Star models; perhaps there's a business for someone in reconditioning old cars?
Oaks Amusement Park
18th August 2007
Located near downtown Portland, Oaks Amusement Park can best be described as a county fairground with a small section of rides. The number of cars in the car park was bordering on the frightening, but the majority of patrons appeared to be in a field near the park with picnic baskets and the like. The ride area was not busy, with only a short wait for each coaster.
Zoom (#1062) was your typical Miler family coaster with a twist, namely extremely powerful ejector airtime over the last two hills. This was totally unexpected, resulting in me making a totally involuntary grab for the restraint bar, not something I'd have ever expected on a coaster of this size. It was certainly the better of the two coasters, although for some reason there was a much longer queue for the Looping Thunder (#1063). This machine suffered from continuous vibration for the entire course, as well as several of the bone-crushing impacts that make Pinfari rides such a memorable experience.
We also tried the Lewis and Clark Big Adventure dark ride, an extremely low budget affair that tells the famous story after a fashion. The scenery consisted largely of slowly moving cardboard cutouts, without even the remotest pretence of a third dimension. The attraction as a whole could best be summarised as low budget; while it doesn't quite have the cheapest dark ride ever accolade, that being Sponge Bob at Funtown Pier, it's not far off.
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