Saturday, May 5, 2018

Darien Lake Tips (Updated)

     My son and I are here at Darien Lake Theme Park on opening day.
The weather is gorgeous and we are having a great time. The weather is gorgeous and we are having a great time.

     Visiting the park is a little different than camping here, but if you think about it you can take advantage of some great amenities from each to make your stays and days better.

     For the coffee drinker, most restaurants offer coffee but you can find the best at Tim Hortons located at the main gate and the other Tim's in the Sweet Tooth Candy Shop. If you go to the main gate for coffee, the muffins there are probably the healthiest and cheapest snack in the park.

     Sweet Tooth also has a variety of favored kettle corn. We tried the cinnamon. It was a tad pricey at $5.99 but by the bottom of the bag, we wanted more.   

     For people just spending the day, sometimes the Camp Shop is you best options for many things. Their sub shop is easily the cheapest place in the park for food. Also, they sell alcohol, cigarettes and batteries at fairly reasonable prices in addition to fresh food items from local farms.

(New tip! At the end of the last year, they added a Tim Hortons to the camp shop. They also sell apple cider in season!)

    My son and I tried the ham sub and meatball sub. Both were excellent and we paid less than $10 each, even with chips and a drink. We had half subs, but a whole wouldn't have cost more than 12 bucks. He really wanted chips.

     Around the corner from the Camp Shop is the camp lounge. It has TVs, sofas, a fireplace, and rocking chairs. They also have electrical plugs and free WiFi. It is fairly spartan, but on a rainy day, it's a great place to wait it out. 

     On really rainy days, it a great place to play games. They have a giant size chess set which is fun and tables so you can bring your own games. I'm tempted to try a pick up game of D&D here, but the weather hasn't been that bad yet.  

     One other handy stop is the coin op laundry. Wonderful if you soaked your clothes and need to dry something quickly.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Darien Lake 2018

Darien Lake has new rides for 2018. It´s my mission to hit every one of them. Here is my list broken down by area.

Lakefront Boardwalk:
The Giant Wheel
Blast Off!
Grand Carousel

Midway Marina:
Silver Bullet
Rock Climbing Wall

Ride of Steel

Darien Square:

Fun Zone:
Bear Valley Bumper Buggies
Tin Lizzy’s
Grand Prix Go Carts

Thunder Road:
Mind Eraser
Corn Popper
Thunder Rapids
Shipwreck Falls
Rolling Thunder

Main Gate:


The Tantrum isn´t on the list, it will not open until May 25th. Also missing from the list is kiddie rides. I´m too tall for many of them. :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Opening Day at Darien Lake

May will be cold and rainy, but that has never stopped us from going to the park opening day. May 5th, 10:30-8 will be the hours. 69 days from today.

The water park opens a few weeks later. We have our season passes and this year we picked the food option. Last year, we spent over 22 days in the park and it seemed to make sense to add in a meal plan. I figured five people dining 22 times a year vs. the $69.99 price tag, that works out be less than 20 bucks a visit. I can't feed a family of five for $20 at McDonalds. We'll see how it goes. 

Today, I am posting some of the nicer images I took over the years. I should create an album for this sort of thing. 

Giant Wheel

The Predator



Monday, May 30, 2016

Fun Pictures at the Buffalo Zoo

Panama Rocks!

Located in Panama NY, this private park is a wonder of New York. The rock formations are millions of years old.

416 million years old to be precise. At that time, America was a part of the Euramerica supercontinent and was rotated 90 degrees so that the north of Canada was facing east and Mexico was in the west. Euramerica was located on the equator and a vast sea covered the continent from Utah in the west to deep into what would become Southern Canada in the east. The formation called Panama Rocks was a shoreline of a rocky island in the southern reaches of this inland sea.
Plants (and fish) dominated the Earth in this era, to the point where plants completely changed the CO2 and O2 levels, resulting in an Ice Age. Euramerica drifted north and westward and the sea dried up. Drifting east over millions of years, great upheavals and earthquakes lifted the shoreline to its current height of 1500+ feet over current sea levels. By the time of dinosaurs, Euramerica was no more. It had broken in two and formed the continents of Europe and North America, with Greenland in the middle.
Within the last 20,000 years, the last ice age ended leaving New York and Panama Rocks in their current state. What a wonder!
In modern times, the park has been in the ownership of several private groups. Approximately 100 years ago, the park was a Honeymoon getaway spot. After a period of inactivity in WWII, the park buildings and environs were renovated and improved by a series of owners. The most recent improvements occurred in 2011.

Rotary Rink - Downtown Buffalo

Rotary Rink in Downtown Buffalo is a wonderful day trip for the kids.

The rink offers skating for free and skate rentals at just $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for children. Skating is causal, but attendants make sure everyone follows the very simple rules - Skate one way, not to fast, don't bump or charge people.

Periodically, the rink closes for the Zamboni. This is a natural break point to go inside and warm up or pop over to Tim Horton's. These pictures were taken in 2013, and we decided on Coffee Culture as a resting spot. Unfortunately, Coffee Culture is no longer located there. It was a beautiful place. 

TGT-1415C-1 Embark 9 Person Tent by HKD International

For Christmas 2012, I received the HKD Global 9 Man Tent. Due to a noticeable lack of information on the web, I had wait until June 2013 to set it up to see what it looked like. UPDATE - it looks like this tent is discontinued. If you have one treat it well. If you need one, try the Embark 8 man tent

It’s great. I couldn’t ask for a better tent, but like all tents, the instruction sheet is poor. The condensed instructions on the inside of the carry bag are handy, but without seeing the assembled product, they are too sparse.

Setup is easy, but does require time and two people. Start by opening the bag and the cardboard box. Do not use a knife, just peel the tape away. Find the envelope with the instruction pamphlet.

The first step is to spread the whole tent out. Remember, you have both a tent and a rain fly. The tent is largely screen mesh, the fly is blue and solid. Put the fly aside for now.

Next, stake the four corners at the metal rings.  There are six rings total, you will skip two of them.

Next, find the A poles. These are long fiberglass poles with 7 sections. Assemble them and slide them diagonally into the sleeves. Next pick up the reddish orange five section B pole and slide it into the sleeve from front to back. All fiberglass poles have sleeves.

There are six plastic elbows, two red and four black. Make sure that the elbows are facing the right way by checking that the nylon strap is not twisted. As a double check, the small fiberglass poles fit into side with smaller internal diameter.

Now you will need some help. Assemble the 6 black steel poles and insert into the elbows. Metal poles do not have sleeves. The stake ring has one or more pins. Place a pin inside of the pole to secure it to the ground.

I found it easier to stand the posts up in the elbows, then work my way around the tent putting the pole on to the pin. Now use the Vecro straps to secure the tent edges to the metal poles.

Now spread out the mesh entryway and slide the last grey fiberglass pole into the sleeve and then the elbows.

Now for the grey steel poles. Insert them into the elbows and then use the remaining pins on the ground. These poles also have Vecro straps. With this step complete, work your way around all of the steel poles and snap the plastic clips together at ground level.

This is the step requires help. Lay out the fly in front of the tent and make sure this logo is furthest from the tent:

Now gather the whole fly together and lift it on to the top of the tent.

When this step is done, again check to make sure the logo is on the front left side of the tent. Next grab the remaining stakes and find the orange tie downs.

Unwind and pull the tie down into a loop using the plastic slider.

Stake them down about 2 or 3 feet from the side of the tent. Location will determine the distance. Once this is complete, use the last two stakes to secure the back and front center ground rings.
Walk around the tent and check the Velcro straps to be sure they didn’t slide on the poles. Also check the orange tie downs for tensions.

The total assembly time was about an hour for the first try. Now that I have done it once, I would expect to do it in about half the time.