Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enchanted Forest

For The Boy's birthday, we recently visited Enchanted Forest south of Salem. It was really an early birthday present for me as well (wedding two weeks before my birthday, we'll be partied out!). Neither of us had been there since we were little, maybe grade school ages or thereabout. We arrived early to find a jumble of adults and babies in strollers standing outside the entrance. Screaming kids isn't my idea of a good day, but considering the venue... eh, they weren't bad. We paid our exorbitant entrance fee of $10 each plus $0.80/ticket (and most rides take three or four tickets). We could have purchased the ride-any-ride-as-many-times-as-we-want bracelet for $28 each, but we didn't really want to ride most of the rides even once.

Upon entering the so-called enchanted forest, we discovered some moderately well-kept relics like the Wicked Witch's head thingy and Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house. Most of the original attractions could use a thorough dusting and paint job. After realizing that we were going through the park backward, we corrected our path and found the Old English city part of the forest. It's a newer addition, and a spectacular part of the park in my opinion. The architecture is quite good for a theme park, plus the many entrances to the little "shops" are fun for adults (ok, adults who are pretending to be kids). The waterfall room diner thing was way too humid while we were there to sit through the water show, but we tried. Tofteville, the new western town addition, seemed decent. The town seemed a bit unpolished and rough, but I guess that's supposed to be character or something.

We did go on two "rides" while in the park: we both went through the haunted house, and The Boy rode the roller coaster. The haunted house was pretty good. I wasn't so much scared by the house itself as by the screaming kids just up the way from us. Every puff of air or thumping on a wall freaked them out. I'd jump when they screamed, not when something popped out at me. Of course, I've been reading a real book about exorcisms lately, so the whole "evil" thing keeps running around in my head, but that's a whole other story. The Boy finally got to ride the Ice Mountain roller coaster as it had been closed for repairs every time he'd been there previously. Maybe that should have been a hint: it was closed for repairs twenty years ago... that means it had problems twenty years ago. He said he wasn't scared by the twists or turns nearly as much as the clanking and clunking of the warped steel wheels on rusty steel pipes. It's an ooooold coaster. Not sure I'd allow my future kids to ride that unless they massively upgrade it. Not talking about adding spirals or making it a fancy Disney-style theme park ride, just some safety checks and some new cars or at least a paint job.

We walked all over the park, discovered everything new, and felt pretty bored in just over an hour. Of course, we probably could have stayed longer if we rode more of the rides, but rides cost money and didn't seem all that exciting. We left and went to lunch. Happy Birthday lunch!

If you haven't been there, I'd suggest experiencing the park. It's going to be a lot more fun with little kids as they'll take in so much more of the stories and little decorations than adults. Though I'm not sure kids right now even know about the Rabbit Hole or the Three Little Pigs or Little Miss Muffet.

Have pictures, may post some later.


Jeff W said...

I remember going to the Enchanted Forest when I was little. It might be required for people who grew up in Oregon. I remember it being fun and probably a lot bigger than it looks now :p

Skunk said...

I don't care what people say--I LOVE Enchanted Forest and probably always will, right down to the molding nose of the evil witch in the Hansel and Gretle display.

I really need to go back there...