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Silverwood Amusement Park

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I’m from Ohio; not a fact I usually brag about, but it does come with some perks. For example, Ohio is home to the world’s greatest amusement park. Oh, shut your cheese-hole, Mickey. Disney World doesn’t hold a candle to Cedar Point, and you know it.

I only mention this, because growing up so close to Cedar Point has made me a little snobbish when it comes to theme parks. Before we even arrived at Silverwood, 30 minutes north of Coeur d’Alene, I was scoffing. “Will they have seventeen roller coasters? Heh. Doubt it.”

Idaho Aftershock

To be honest, Silverwood is no Cedar Point. But that’s alright; it’s still the largest amusement park in the Pacific Northwest, with enough rides and entertainment to easily occupy a day.

We visited at the end of the season, when the park was busy transforming itself into Scarywood for Halloween. Normally, Silverwood projects an “Old West” sort of charm, but was busy ratcheting up the fright-factor: cobwebs had been draped atop the old-time general stores, vampires and mummies peered out from windows, and creepy huts were selling inedible monster-food like Dots Ice Cream.

After walking around and taking in the atmosphere, we had to make some tough decisions. We had arrived late in the day, after spending the morning on Kellogg’s gondola, and there was only enough time for two rides. Our first pick was easy. The Aftershock was a crazy-looking coaster which lifts you vertically into the air and then drops with terrifying speed, before sending you into loops and twists, and eventually dirtying your diapers with another vertical climb… which now drops you backwards.

Our second choice, the Timber Terror, was even better. Rickety and wooden, this was one of those old coasters which you’re sure is going to fall apart as you’re hurtling down at Mach Four. Adding to the fun, its cars had been positioned backwards in preparation for Scarywood. This one had our stomachs up in our mouths the whole time. Plus, there was the added fun of torturing children; two young girls were sitting behind us and we never stopped pretending that we were about to vomit on them.

If you’ve had enough of Idaho’s scenic byways, hikes and peaceful landscapes, and could use a good jolt of roller-coaster adrenaline, Silverwood manages to pack quite a lot into its modest size. We had a good time.

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October 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm Comments (2)

The Western Idaho Fair

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With a history stretching back to 1897, the Western Idaho Fair is one of the state’s biggest annual celebrations. Concerts, competitions, rides, games, crazy food and an overabundance of stinking, dusty farm animals occupy the large fairground for a week on the northern end of Boise. We couldn’t resist checking it out, and showed up on the fair’s final day.

Bending Over

We started at a horse show, which we hoped might involve trick riding or barrel racing. But it was more like the Westminster Dog Show for horses. Riders simply walked their steeds around in a circle while a panel of experts them on… something. Their gait? Musculature? I have no idea and apparently wouldn’t make a good horse judge, seeing as how my favorites finished dependably in last place.

The entertainment factor picked up considerably at the next event: the Mountain Boarding Big Air Show. Three extreme dudes put on a death-defying performance, hurtling down a steep ramp and leaping over a truck. We had missed the fair’s concerts earlier in the week, including Styx and Weird Al Yankovich, but this was a decent consolation prize. And I needed it! Because after realizing that we’d lost the opportunity to see Weird Al live, I was practically inconsolable.

We headed deeper into the fair, past stands selling Idaho Tater-Dogs (hot dogs shoved into potatoes) and wound up at a petting zoo. A wide variety of creatures were on-hand, from baby pigs to the giant Brazilian Zebu. I’m not much of an animal-toucher, but enjoy petting zoos because there’s nothing better than watching a toddler with a cup full of food pellets get too close to the goat cage. Curiosity, bravery, glee, terror, anger and disappointment, all in the span of about five seconds.

A giant exhibition hall in the middle of the fairgrounds held the arts and crafts competitions, with photographs, pumpkins and quilts joining ceramics and floral arrangements. And we made sure to tour the various animal halls, where I saw what must be the world’s largest rabbit, and tried to figure out the qualities that make for a blue-ribbon chicken.

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August 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm Comments (0)
Silverwood Amusement Park I'm from Ohio; not a fact I usually brag about, but it does come with some perks. For example, Ohio is home to the world's greatest amusement park. Oh, shut your cheese-hole, Mickey. Disney World doesn't hold a candle to Cedar Point, and you know it.
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