Our plan for today was to drive south from Ufa (Уфа) to Orenburg (Оренбург), where we hoped to ride the world's only Wild Train 12 at Park Topolya. Unfortunately the weather forecast was once again extremely problematic, leading us to change plans on the basis that it was better to tick off a pathetic credit or two somewhere rather than drive for several hours to look at a closed coaster.
The primary target in our revised plan was City Park Almetyevsk, but we decided to detour along the way to investigate a curiosity I'd spotted on satellite imagery at the Park of Culture and Rest in Leninogorsk. It turned out that I'd found Boomerang, a clone of the family coaster that we'd been unimpressed with at Friendship Park in Vladimir. We would have ridden it against our better judgment for the proverbial tick, but it wasn't to be; there were no operators in sight by 10:15 despite signage indicating that it was open daily from 10:00-20:00. The outside temperature was just six degrees, which was probably why; if we ever go back to the area we'll aim to do so when it's a little warmer.
City Park Almetyevsk
30th August 2019
Almetyevsk is the second city of the Republic of Tatarstan, a federal subject of the Russian Federation best known for its natural resources. The region produces in excess of thirty-six million tonnes of crude oil each year, representing just under one percent of global output in 2018. Pumpjacks line many of the roads, and one cannot drive for long without seeing advertising for Tatneft.
The City Park named after the 60th Anniversary of the Oil of Tatarstan (Городской парк имени 60-летия нефти Татарстана) is a sixteen thousand square metre facility dating from 1958. From 2002-2017 the park was home to Asteroid, a locally built double figure eight coaster of the design that we missed at Tuapse Park, though sadly that ride reached the end of its service life and was dismantled. Its replacement was not an upgrade; the spot is now occupied by Formula Viatti (#2809), a standard model SBF Race Coaster and a duplicate of five other machines around the world, including two in my track record at Gumbuya World and Land of Legends Theme Park. The ride was exactly what we expected it to be; we paid ₽120 (~€1.63) apiece for a four lap cycle.
30th August 2019
Gagarin Park is a 350,000 square metre park in the northern suburbs of Samara. The ride area on the eastern side of the facility, known as Three Bears, is absolutely packed with machines, almost as if the owners went to both SBF and Zamperla and said "one of every kiddie ride you make please". There are a handful of larger attractions in the mix, but they are very much the exception to the rule; those after thrills will definitely need to look elsewhere. We paid ₽160 (~€2.18) apiece for a three lap cycle on the Caterpillar (#2810), and with that done we didn't hang around.
30th August 2019
Maviland (Мавилэнд) is a tiny amusement park in the north-eastern corner of Friendship Park in central Samara. It was set up around the turn of the millennium with the installation of a second hand looping coaster from Japanese manufacturer Togo, and while other rides were added over the years none of them remained on site for long. Today the park features a coaster, a ten metre high giant slide, a fenced-off two person minature top spin, and a boneyard with some abandoned bumper cars. The general level of decay in the place is such that an uninitiated visitor could easily assume that everything had been closed for years. I'm pleased to report that this is not the case; the coaster is very much alive, and better yet, it is a top notch ride.
Astro Comet (#2811) has the same layout as King Cobra and SkyRider, though with a sit down rather than a stand-up train. It consists of a drop, an airtime hill, a descending helix, another airtime hill, a bizarre tilt to the left that makes no sense at all, a turnaround, and two final airtime bumps en route to the station. Our first lap was in the front, which was excellent; the forces in the loop and helix were powerful, the airtime hills worked well, and the tracking was perfect. A second lap in the back was fine, though weaker; the front was definitely the place to be. We decided to go back for a third round in the front seat, much to the amusement of both the ticket seller and operator. The price today was ₽300 (~€4.09) for the first lap, and ₽200 (~€2.72) per repeat.
30th August 2019
Our final stop for the day was at Funky Town (Фанки Таун), a family entertainment center in the Aurora Mall (Аврора Молл) located directly opposite a Vietnamese fast food restaurant with the improbable yet entirely accurate name of Pho-King Good. There was an eighty kilogram weight limit on the Double Coaster but that was just about okay for us. Baby Plane (#2812) cost us ₽180 (~€2.45) per person for a five lap cycle. (The ride's Russian name is Вираж, an aerobatic manouvre that does not translate directly into English.)