Thursday, July 14, 2005
Review: Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury, Connecticut
Quassy Amusement Park is located on Lake Quassapoig in Middlebury, Connecticut. I recently took my children to Quassy for the first time. We went with another family. All the children had a lot of fun (ages 5 to 7.5).
There are many pricing options for different services, and it may be confusing when you first look at them. Not everyone who enters the amusement park (rides) section has to buy a ticket. Therefore parents, grandparents, or anyone not riding rides can enter the park for free. Single ride tickets can be purchased for $2, if you think you may want to go on one or two rides; this may be a good option for you.
There is a separate fee to enter the lake’s sand beach swimming area (with lounge chairs on the beach and float to swim out to).
The regular fee for an all day pass for unlimited rides, the lake and Saturation Station is $17.95 for adults (bargain Monday and Wednesday, adults $14.95, Tuesday and Thursday, bring a canned food item and adult gets in for $14.95), hours are 10am to 8pm. Check the website for pricing before you go as things may change. The children’s entry price is $14.95 which is for kids under the height of 45”' it is not determined by age.
There is also Saturation Station, which is a small water park (see photograph). I believe that every person entering these areas must pay to enter. If you buy only a swim/SS pass, it is $6, for the entire day. The Saturation Station is a lot of fun and includes many water stations for playing with water and being doused with water. There is a 300 gallon bucket that pours its’ full load onto everyone every five minutes or so (as soon as it is full). There are stations for shooting water at other people, a rope climbing section (which is good exercise) and two different water slides. Everyone asks me about the surface on the ground so I will explain here also, it is painted white and seems to be concrete and has a non-slip type texture to it. The Station itself has many different textures. There is a lot of water and common sense is to walk not run (although most kids were running). I went through the whole thing and down the slides and it is fun, even for an adult, although I was the oldest one on The Station! They provide lounge chairs to sit in and it was fun to just sit and watch everyone. Everyone was screaming with laughter and having a blast. I think this was the first time in my life I saw a large group of children all behaving well, laughing, having fun, no bullying, and no one was injured or unhappy in any way!
The day we went was overcast and in the low 70s. This was perfect for walking around and going on rides. I estimated that my children went on about 30 rides, if not 35. The kids had fun in Saturation Station; although the younger kids got cold quickly (the water is not heated). I imagine on a hot day, humid, and/or sunny, the Saturation Station is perfect as the water would be cool enough to cool everyone down when they got too hot in the sun. The kids who are wet the entire time may not feel hot at all!
The park is small and very manageable for parents of young children and/or toddlers and babies in tow. There were plenty of benches to sit and rest on, or to sit and nurse a child. Some were in the shade.
There was a small playground area with ball pit only for children under 45” tall. This was in the shade.
The rides were in a few categories. First there were rides for children aged 2-6 which are the very tame kiddie type rides that you have probably seen at carnivals or fairs, such as boats in water that go in a circle. There is a very tame roller coaster as well, for kiddies. Then there are rides which are modified versions of larger amusement park rides. These are alright for children also aged 2 and up, such as a ride similar to the Viking Ship or Dragon ride, and another similar to the “Tower of Terror” but is a frog hop ride which is very gentle. Then there are the typical carnival type rides that even adults like, such as the Tubant and the Music Express and the Tilt a Wheel. There are a couple of rides in which children less than 45” high must be accompanied by an adult, such as a decent sized (not tiny, not huge) metal roller coaster. There are two rides in which children less than 45” are not allowed on at all, one is the bumper car ride and the other is a water float ride which goes down a tube and gets you all wet (and is in the rides section of the park).
I was thinking that teenagers perhaps would think this is a boring place (not enough thrill rides), especially if a teenager is used to going to a place such as Six Flags. This is perfect for children over 45” who are not yet ready for the super fast rides at a large place such as Six Flags.
We went on a bargain day, on a weekday. The park opens at 11am and we were there at that time. The place had lots of summer camp program kids there. We tried to avoid going to rides in which these camp groups were, as there could be a group of 30 kids in front of you in line. Other rides had no campers and the wait was under 1 minute. The longest wait was for a Titanic slide ride (about 43” height required minimum), because a camp group was in front of us. The camp groups began leaving at 1:30pm and by 2:30pm the last camp group was gone. From that point until we left at 5:30pm, the place was deserted. Many rides were not moving at all due to not having any passengers! This was a great time as the kids were able to ride some rides back to back a few times.
There are a bunch of different options for eating. There is the typical carnival food at the stands, and ice cream and (chemical/sugar) fruit slush drinks. They also allow food to be brought into the park, beach, and picnic areas. They have grills at the picnic area right next to Saturation Station. If you want to grill or have a big tailgate type party, park in the corner of the parking lot right next to that picnic area. There will be just a short walk to the picnic area. A chain link fence divides this area and Saturation Station, so some in your family may want to hang out at the picnic area, in the shade, while others are in Saturation Station.
Except for carload night, it costs $5 to park you vehicle.
There are also bargain nights. Friday night, 5pm to 10pm, is quarter night with rides, popcorn, and soda for a quarter each. Hot dogs are 2 quarters. I was told by a staffer the place is a zoo and she is so harried that she cries each Friday night. I plan to avoid this.
Saturday night is carload night. For $15 (parking included), a carload of people gets admission to unlimited rides (water fee extra) from 5pm to 10pm. This is good for up to 15 people in the carload.
Sunday night is Throwback night for $3 admission, $1 soda, $1 popcorn and $1 fried dough (which is gigantic), for 5pm to 8pm. This is for unlimited rides and does not include admission for the water area.
We had a great time. The kids loved the rides and the Saturation Station. It was much more affordable than going to a carnival and paying $1.75 per ride. The lines, even with campers, were much shorter than any carnival, fair, or amusement park that I have ever been to. The small size of the park was very do-able for young children and for parents as well. There were so many rides for young children! You don’t have to walk a mile to get to the next ride, as with other amusement park rides.
The park was clean. The staff was friendly and spoke clear English. It seemed like a very safe park. At no time did I feel in danger of being pick-pocketed (as I have felt at other amusement parks). I also felt the children were very safe there.
Check a map, you may see that Quassy is closer to you than you realized.
Comparing to Other Area Amusement Parks
In chatting with other parents, they put Lake Compounce on a higher level, having more extreme rides and being larger. After that, for bigger thrills, a larger park, and much more money, is Six Flags, just over the state line, in Massachusetts.
Comparison to Story Land in New Hampshire
I would put Story Land in New Hampshire on a higher level as they had more original/custom created rides and they had a theme. The admission price is larger there as well. Story Land is fantastic for young children; if you can afford to take a trip to New Hampshire and stay overnight (we can’t make it a day trip from Connecticut). Story Land was also gorgeously landscaped and was a wonderful place.