Don't be fooled. Though it looks like a relatively small coaster, the Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park packs some serious thrills. A turnaround through a pitch-black tunnel and ample amounts of "air time" have made this coaster a favorite for many; in fact, The Coaster Critic put it on the list of the top 25 wooden coasters in 2012. Along with Frantic, a new 360-degree spinning ride for the 2015 season, more than 20 thrilling attractions are sprinkled across the park grounds.
Once home to a summer resort, Quassy Amusement Park first began with a picnic area, paddleboats and a carousel. But Quassy really took shape around 1952, when the owners purchased some children's rides. A couple of the rides are still around today, including a boat ride that skims the surface of a circular trough filled with water, and two-seat jet fighters that send flyers up in an aircraft worthy of Flash Gordon. Of course, new kids' attractions have arrived over the decades, including the Frog Hopper, a seating platform that soars up a 16-foot tower and then descends with a series of quick, gentle drops.
Other areas cater to the whole family. The Grand Carousel spins with jumping horses and other animals that have the patience to sit perfectly still.
The largest attraction at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark is Lake Quassapaug, and the park makes great use of its waterfront location. In addition to lounging on the beach, visitors can take a boat tour or charter their own voyages on paddle boats.
Inside tip: When not on rides, park visitors should play a game of Whac-A-Mole or order some ribs at Quassy Restaurant.
Take a virtual ride on the park's star attraction, the Wooden Warrior.
For the past 34 years, Soaring Adventures of America, which boasts an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, has presented earth-bound clients a variety of ways to explore the skies. Their balloon rides take crews of up to four on a peaceful journey to heights as high as 2,000 feet in the air, capped off with a champagne or fruit juice toast. The pilots are FAA commercially certified, and the balloons are inspected for every 100 hours of flight to ensure a safe experience.
Despite its sprawling floor plan measuring 3,000 square feet, Jumpin’ Jeepers still offers unfettered sightlines for parents to keep track of youngsters as they whiz down slides or hoist themselves up the facility's two-story mesh and plastic play structure. Youths develop social skills as they play together, donning whimsical dress-up clothes or crawling through the play structure's maze-like tunnels. Tinier tots can bound about in age-specific areas stocked with scaled-down apparatuses. And guardians relax at the onsite café, which boasts organic snacks and obviously inorganic WiFi.
With two European-inspired quarter-mile courses, Grand Prix New York's sanctuary for speed captures the thrill of karting in the country's largest indoor race complex. Racers rumble and roar over speedways that change elevation six times, careen cars around 14 turns and three elevation changes, and boast a gravitational pull quadruple that of a black hole. Drivers race in championship-caliber gasoline-powered Sodi Karts equipped with race-proven safety-wrap systems and 6.5-horsepower engines that reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Three custom tracks help racers curb repetition, and teen-friendly Brownstone and tyke-friendly Tunnel tracks give mini racers the opportunity to get behind the wheel. Apart from its karting specialty, Grand Prix New York houses a bowling alley, billiards room, arcade, and bounce castle. The onsite restaurant, appropriately named Fuel, serves up an American menu of burgers, sandwiches, and more. Fully enclosed and air-conditioned, Grand Prix New York shelters families from heat waves and summer storms, offering a comfortable arena for healthy competition or proving that six failed driving tests can be a fluke.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
In its massive indoor facility, Funtime Junction has room for laser tag, an arcade, and even a ride that seats children in tiny model helicopters. Youngsters cavort on classic attractions as well: inflatables encourage record jumps, whereas jungle gyms have slides to zoom down and tunnels that kids can explore after sending in a scout party with headlamps. The playground hosts casual visits and birthday parties, which reward guests with pizza, hot dogs, goodie bags, and tokens to use on games.