The next stop of this visit to the New England area would be to Edaville Theme Park, located in Carver, Massachusetts. This smaller park was a place of interest for a while as my step-dad had a student whose family was involved in the park (I don’t recall exactly whether it was their parents or an aunt and uncle who owned it), and there was a ride which I had ridden before back at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup that currently sits in the park, but has not been opened. So it would be interesting to see if it would be easy to spot it in the park.
While the park is certainly on the smaller side, the entrance area seems to be inspired by the entrance plazas of larger parks like those found at Disney where it has a main street feel to it and offers shops and places for some food.
Near this main entrance, you'll find a walk though area called Scrooge Village, which offers a look into a model of Victorian London as the setting for the Charles Dickens Classic A Christmas Carol. It may have only been October, but this seemed like more of a regular part of the park, rather than just a special Christmas Season decoration of the park.
The park does have a more themed section that we'll get into a bit further down. In the area near the entrance and Scrooge Village, you'll find what I would call the more general area of the park. This is where you find more of the older style flat rides the park has, along with one of their two operating coasters, Spinning Coaster, which is an SBF Visa Spinner that is really becoming common to parks and FEC's around the country.
One of the biggest influences of this park is the railroad industry. It first opened as Edaville Railroad when Ellis D. Atwood (where the EDA in Edaville comes from) purchased rails from a defunct railway in Maine, and planned to build a five-mile course around a cranberry plantation. Eventually, the amusement rides were added it it grew into Edaville USA, then Edaville Family Theme Park, with the train ride still being a staple of the park. The influence of the railroad industry can still be found with one of the park's largest buildings called Cran Central Junction housing a large model train display along with old railroad signs and photos. The building also houses some smaller children's rides and arcade games.
The railroad influence can be seen even further from the engines on display around the park, and little bits of themeing here and there, like one of their food stands having the name Hobo Eats.
As the park has grown, it evolved into more of a theme park when a couple years ago they added a themed area of the park called Thomas Land, named for the popular Thomas the Tank Engine television show franchise. These Thomas themed areas have become more and more widespread at different parks around the world as the IP seems to be licensed out to various independent parks or smaller chains ever since the Thomas themed areas were removed from Six Flags parks around the country a while back. The kid in me loved seeing this area as I was a HUGE Thomas the Tank Engine fan, and it was neat to see characters I remember from watching it more 20 years ago. This is an IP that fits the park really well because of its emphasis on railroads
The area is very well maintained and still has that new land feel to it. The rides here are generally more geared to the younger kids, but they are available for the whole family to enjoy together.
Continuing the childhood nostalgia, this area is close to the spot where the park reassembled the earlier mentioned Kersplash that used to Operate at the Washington State Fair. From this part of the park, it looked like it was ready to go and could be running, but it was pretty distant from the main part of the park, and this Thomas themed section is closer to it, so it made me wonder if they are trying to make it part of a larger expansion?
One of the features of Thomas Town is a sort of stage area they have at the engine shed which features replicas of a few important engines from the show (I recognized Gordon, James and Percy, but Emily was a new one from the time I had watched it). Here the park presents a short show with the likes of Sir Topham Hat that becomes a meet and greet session for visitors to take pictures with him or the engines.
While Kersplash wasn't available to ride, the park does have a second coaster, and that is the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster. This comes from Zmperla as a Speedy Coaster model that is a family style coaster (perfect for this section of the park) with a few easy dips, a helix and a few additional turns. Unfortunately when I first got into the Thomas Land area, the coaster wasn't open as the maintenance crew was working on one of the cars (it looked like they were repairing something with the lap bar when I caught a look, but didn't bother to ask as I din't want to disrupt them). Since I couldn't ride it right away, I figured I'd scope out a few other rides in the area, and a couple other park attractions.
As mentioned earlier, the railway was one of the first main attractions for the park, and was one of the most popular as well. It was neat though as they have added Thomas as the lead of the train, although I never did think to ask or find out if it was "Thomas" actually pulling the train, or the engine behind him and Thomas was just a car being pushed by the engine. Either way, this will be a big kick for kids who watch Thomas and Friends as they can say they were on a train pulled by him.
The route was changed from the original layout when Ellis first brought the old two-foot gauge rails from Maine, but in it's current form you still circle around a large part of the park, getting some unique views of the park along the way.
Part of the route takes you alongside of Kersplash, and when looking at it from the train, you can tell it isn't quite in operating condition yet with a lack of fencing and in incomplete loading platform. Granted, that could easily be fixed if they were ready to open it up. Hopefully they'll finish it, touch it up with from fresh paint and have it running since it is a unique coaster. I would love to be able to make a return visit down the road and give it another ride for nostalgia's sake.
The park also had a fun little dinosaur walking trail where you could see different dinosaur statues on display, like a more stationary version of the Dinosaurs Alive attractions at Cedar Fair parks in the past.
On the same trail, because of the fall season, they had some Halloween additions to the trail for some spooky fun as you traverse the trail and finding neat ways to repurpose old equipment.
One of the things that really caught my eye on the trail was the pieces of an old roller coaster scattered about as if it had been part of an accident or maybe even torn up by the dinosaurs. They added some characters to it in the seats for the Halloween themeing, and based on the RCDB page for the park, this coaster was one of the original rides of the amusement park that was added to the train ride, but was closed around 1989. Unfortunately, given the condition of the ride, it was pretty obvious it would be a missed credit.
The good news though was that as the time to depart from the park came closer, there was a chance to get another coaster after all as the maintenance crew finished their work on the Troublesome Trucks, and it was reopened. The timing couldn't have been better because if it took much longer, than I would have to skip it since I had to be back in Boston to pick up Phillip from the airport.
And that was the morning and afternoon at Edaville Family Theme Park. I really like this place as it's very charming, and the Thomas Land area is really well done for a smaller local park. It will be neat to see how this park continues to grow into the future as it looks like they've already laid the groundwork to do so if Kersplash's location is of any indication.
With that, it was time to head back to Boston to pick up Phillip so we could make our way to the first park we'd visit together, and one of New England's premier parks.
See More of 2017 Northeast Trip
1: Charlestown Navy Yard / 2: Bunker Hill & Cheers / 3: Funworld Game Center & Topsfield Fair / 4: An Evening in Salem /
5: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library / 6: Edaville Family Theme Park / 7: Six Flags New England / 8: Lake Compounce /
9: Finding Coasters on the Islands of Coney & Long / 10: Taking in More Boston History /
11: Bruins Hockey at the TD Garden / 12: The Last of the Northeast Trip