Not So Amusing


is so often not like the ad (funny how that goes).  And as strange as this may sound to travelers from afar, there exists a little bit of Coney Island in Maine; it's called Orchard Beach. And while the commercials may show crowds laughing, tossing rings, and bumping in bumper cars, the reality, on this hot midsummer day, was much different.

Palace Playland, as it is called, dates back to 1902 and is one of the last of the "old time" seaside amusement parks in New England and perhaps the country.

To be fair, I know it gets busy at times and the has survived 115 years to date, so maybe it's "got legs" as they say. On this day the lack of lines at the rides didn't bother us at all.

The store where you find out you don't nearly have enough tickets.

In the end, my boys had a great time and isn't that what counts? They certainly didn't worry how the amusement park could afford to stay in business nor, more importantly, maintain the safety of the equipment.  And as a parent, you must suspend a bit of skepticism to even enter any of these types of venues anyway, be it Disneyland or Harry Potter World.

In some ways it reminded me of the last time I went to a circus and how sullen the workers (and the elephants) appeared. That was a year ago which was also a year before Barnum & Bailey announced they were shutting down for good.

What attracted us and entertained us in the past, whether it be circus acts or amusement parks, certainly isn't guaranteed to do so in the 21st century.  So I kind of look at Palace Playland as a slice of amusement park Americana, an endangered species as it were, which may be destined to join the likes hundreds of defunct parks like Savin Rock (West Haven, CT); Palisades Amusement Park (New Jersey) and Palace Amusements in Asbury Park (New Jersey). 

But Palace Playland has outlasted literally hundreds and hundreds similar ventures, so who knows? Meanwhile,  I think I will go back next summer, I just love to see my kids smile.

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