The last day of the visit to the Southeast started with a nice morning drive through the hills of Northern Alabama into Tennessee and Georgia as the first stop would be to the classic amusement park in the Chattanooga area called Lake Winnepesaukah (the pronunciation is something like “Win-eh-pah-sow-kuh”). A much shorter drive than the one from the previous day to get to North Alabama from the coast, and offered a great opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty along the way at a rest stop in Tennessee along the Tennessee River.
The park (also referred to as Lake Winnie for short), it a traditional style amusement park that surrounds the lake. It’s the kind of park that you won’t find the multi-million dollar, sensory altering experiences of larger theme parks, rather you’ll experience more of the thrills of old on classic amusement rides that have managed to remain a timeless tradition for local residents of the Chattanooga region. From the carousel to the Ferris wheel. There is also a fun train ride that takes you around the park and the lake offering insight into the past of the park.
While there are many favorites that can be found here as they are at other parks, Lake Winnie offers a special charm that others do not with its lakeside setting. The lake also plays a role in one of the most unique rides in the park, which we’ll get to a bit later. You can truly enjoy the views of the lake with a ride upon the Alpine Way sky chairlift style ride that takes you over the lake.
The park does offer three roller coasters to choose from, two of which are of the more standard and highly replicated variety, yet still fun to give a spin. One is the Wacky Worm, which much like the others that have been ridden on these trips, might be a bit more geared to the kids, is still fun for the sake of the shameless credit. The other is Wild Lightnin’. A fairly standard wild mouse coaster that offers tight hairpin turns and a few quick drops for some moments of air.
The real gem of the park, however, is the Cannon Ball. Some musicians will make highly complicated songs that get a lot of fans, but some artists can find ways to make wonderful melodies that are fairly simple, and yet a joy to listen to. Much in a similar way, there are some technological marvels in the roller coaster world that you blow you away, yet some classic coasters with really simple layouts are still just an absolute joy to ride, and in many respects, that is the Cannon Ball. This classic out-and-back wooden coaster comes in a very basic layout, yet the airtime is enjoyable, and the rickety aspect of it gives it that great character for wooden coasters of old, without being too much to feel really rough. It’s a bit harder to see from the main park when the water park is closed as it was on this day, but riding it is really the best way to experience it. Easily one of the best aspects of this visit to the park.
The other true standout of the park is their water ride, the Boat Chute. This ride is certainly built in a way that is unlike more other water rides, and while it certainly shows its age in the way it’s built, it is an experience you’ll be hard pressed to find one like it. The boats are built differently than those of a log ride or more modern splash boat rides, and it was the creation of the park’s founder back in 1927, making it one of the oldest boat rides still in operation in the United States. It starts with a really loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong and dark tunnel, as it seems like you spend several minutes in almost total darkness, and if everyone sits quietly on board, all you will hear is the sounds coming from the ends of the tunnel, or the noise of your boat bumping against the sides as it guides you toward the tunnel exit which goes into the lift that looks like someone just built it in their backyard. The finale is the drop into a trough that has been built into the side of the lake the park surrounds, using the same waters as they are connected. While others seemed to stay relatively dry, I wasn’t as fortunate as I managed to get a good splash out of it, and would be glad that it was a warm day to dry out in.
And after a couple re-rides, it would be time to head back to Atlanta as there was another stop to make for one last coaster of the visit, and I was planning to see a friend before going to the airport for the flight to Philadelphia. Lake Winnie was by far my favorite park for this trip as I really enjoy parks that offer a great setting, and the lake with the forestry certainly did the trick. I also really enjoyed Cannon Ball as it is a great representation of what an older wooden coaster should be like. I will certainly come back to see the park again when the opportunity presents itself.