2005 Summer Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com Some families love the thrills of an amusement park--the scariest roller coasters, the speediest water slides, and the steepest free falls. Others long for the nostalgia of an old-fashioned park, with gentler rides and the gentler prices of yesterday. Two fun-filled family oases in Northwest Connecticut can please both tastes. For thrill-seekers, Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol is the place to be. For a vintage outing and rates that won?t break the family piggy bank, head for Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury. PLEASURES OF THE PAST As Quassy begins its 96th season it promises some welcome old-fashioned pleasures. Families will find a laid-back park with no long lines and rates that remind of a happier time. On Friday night, the rates are just 25 cents per ride and per snack. There is never an admission charge at the park, so parents can come in and watch the kids without paying. Individual tickets for rides are sold for $2 or 12 for $20, another way to save Though nostalgia reigns, the 20-acre park has kept up with the times with recent additions such as the Saturation Station, a water park with more than 30 water elements, such as water cannons, two water slides 60 and 90 feet in length and a huge dumping bucket atop a 30-foot tower that unleashes more than 300 gallons of water onto a rooftop, creating a waterfall of fun for anyone standing nearby. For those craving excitement, the new YoYo super swing ride is a rotating, spinning, soaring experience. But many of the favorites among Quassy's 24 rides are the oldies. It is not unusual to hear a parent along the midway saying, I went on that ride here when I was a kid. Among these classics are the kiddy helicopters, pony carts, Little Dipper roller coaster and the Sky Fighter jets. Lots of adults join the kids on the Quassy Express train, the grand carousel and even the bumper cars. An all-day ride and swim pass good for the sandy beach and swimming in a clean, spring-fed lake is $17.95 ($14.95 for children under 45 inches). Beach passes alone are $6. For more information, phone 1-800-FOR-PARK or see www.quassy.com FROM OLD TO NEW Lake Compounce is actually America's oldest amusement park, but since the present owners, Kennywood, took over the venerable park in 1996, each year seems to bring new thrills and attractions. Together with the State of Connecticut, the company has invested $70 million in rides, attractions and maintenance to make this one of the most outstanding venues in New England, even while keeping some of the charm of yesteryear. This year's addition is Anchor Bay, an 800-foot lazy river with playful features throughout the ride, including an exit from the river down a slide in an inner tube. It will join other water park adventure rides such as Lights Out, a high speed slide in the dark; Saw Mill Plunge, riding a wild log down a spillway, and two aptly named features, Mammoth Falls and Thunder Rapids. On land, the scream machines include the Sky Coaster, New England's biggest free fall ride, a 180-foot plunge at 70 miles per hours. Down Time features a 185-foot tower drop; and The Rotor is a dizzying spin while the floor drops out of the ride. Boulder Dash, one of two roller coasters at the Park, is the only coaster built on a mountainside and was named Best Wooden Coaster last season in the annual Golden Ticket Awards, a poll of amusement park aficionados sponsored by Amusement Today Magazine. The little ones are not forgotten at Lake Compounce. The park boasts an antique carousel, circa 1911, and a section called Circus World with 11 rides for youngest visitors, including a kiddie coaster, plus free entertainment celebrating the 25th anniversary of the park's popular mascot, Garfield the cat. All-day admission, rides and entertainment is $31.95 for adults, $22.95 for juniors. For information, phone 860-583-3300 or see www.lakecompounce.com. For more information on spring scenery and activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the region, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT 06759-0968, 800-663-1273, call 800-663-1273 or "visit Northwest Connectiucut website!"