Upon departing from Chautauqua Choo-Choo Train Station, trains chug past the abundant attractions sprawled throughout the park during four-minute rides. Had the train existed at Midway State Park when it first opened as a trolley park in 1898, its 15-mile-per-hour jaunt would have surveyed a landscape dotted with playing fields, tennis courts, bathhouses, and a dancehall. These days, America's 16th oldest continually operating amusement park shelters the spinning and twirling cars of a Tilt-A-Whirl and other rides. A three-sided, 24-foot climbing wall challenges participants to spite gravity's tyrannical reign before ringing the buzzer at its peak, and guests in the helicopter ride can adjust their height with a bar attached to the aircraft. Elsewhere, youngsters captain a kiddie boat or steer retro-modeled cars past a miniature roadway's street signs. Between rides, visitors can munch on cotton candy while peering out toward the shores of Chautauqua Lake from one of several picnic areas.
Inflated structures and games fill the climate-controlled environs of the numerous BounceU locations that speckle the nation. At each site, staff members closely monitor all activities as little ones traverse obstacle courses and slides. The crew also invites parents to join in on the fun, letting them bounce alongside their kids or make sweeping edicts from atop a bouncy-castle throne. In addition to open sessions, the indoor-play haven sets the stage for the Preschool Playdate program, where instructors lead games and activities. Special events include family-bounce night, which lets parents join in the bouncing or relax in the party room and do grownup things, such as eat marshmallows with a knife and fork.
In theory, a family could visit Fun Fore All once a week for two months and always find something new to do. During one visit, they might putt their way past waterfalls on two 18-hole mini golf courses; during the next, they might race around the go-kart track or use a round of bumper boats to decide who has to pay that month's yacht insurance.
But if those seasonal and year-round attractions aren't enough, Fun Fore All has even more to offer in the form of batting cages, an arcade, and Ballocity?a three-story play area outfitted with 30-plus interactive features, including a four-story slide. For budding rock climbers or anyone looking for a challenge, there's 26-feet of rock to climb, and the Kiddie Rides include Mini Tea Cups, a Happy Swing and the Kiddie Coaster. Guests can stay properly fueled for all this action, too, thanks to a snack bar stocked with sandwiches, pizza, wings, and wraps.
Wildwood Highlands serves an all-ages buffet of adrenaline-filled rides and fun-soaked activities that visitors can access with fistfuls of tickets. For five-minute intervals, go-karts whip through a winding, 1,000-foot course that challenges mini-motorists' reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and familial bonds with each cutoff to the inner rail. Visitors can captain bumper boats through the 5,000-square-foot Wildwood waters, thumping vessels as they pass fountains and circumvent the island. Woody's Den enchants small children with calliope music and magical animals who steer tots toward the spinning slime-bucket ride and old-fashioned train. Two 18-hole miniature-golf courses school putters in the principles of geometry and psyching out competitors with inopportune coughs and cackles.
Wildwood's arcade entices button smashers with more than 70 games that they can play to win tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes such as stuffed animals and action figures. While bouncing from attraction to attraction, thrill seekers can recharge their energy with pizzas, wraps, pretzels, and cotton candy at the snack bar.
During the spring and summer, laughter fills the air at Adventure Zone, where rollicking rides and challenging outdoor games keep spirits high from April to September. Visitors bond over friendly races at the go-kart track, compete for the ownership of plush toys at the center’s arcade, or hone their sporting skills on the miniature-golf course or within the batting cages. The park’s concession stand stocks a range of salty and sweet snacks, which help quell cravings or prevent midrace pizza runs.
More than 50 years ago, Mr. John E. Connelly set his sights on cleaning up Pittsburgh's polluted three rivers and returning them to their former glory as the Steel City's heart and soul. As then-treasurer of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, John was in a prime position to complete his ambition. With the belief that he could get the public engaged and committed to a cleanup, he decided to give the local people access to the rivers via boat tours, knowing the city's characteristic architecture as viewed from the rivers would engender a genuine appreciation for the region's waterways and environment.
After getting his nephew, Captain Jack Goessling, on board, John purchased a 100-passenger fishing boat they would christen the Gateway Clipper, which would later launch from Monongahela Wharf for the first of its many pleasure cruises. Today, with Gateway Clipper Fleet, his dream of engaging locals and visitors in the city's history and waterways thrives with a fleet that has grown to five boats capable of accommodating 2,500 guests. Through the years, the fleet has ferried more than 25 million passengers, treating them to dinner cruises, sightseeing tours, and entertainment jaunts along the clean, blue waters of Pittsburgh's three rivers.