Gurnee Park in Winter

General discussion about Marriott's GREAT AMERICA
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JW65
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Gurnee Park in Winter

Post by JW65 » Sat Jul 23, 2005 10:47 pm

OK, here is a topic I doubt most of you thought about....The park in Gurnee took on a whole different atmosphere during the winter months, especially with the huge snow falls we are famous for in the midwest.

I know that during this time, some of the tradesmen from the park work on projects to get ready for the next busy season. Rides are repaired, buildings are maintained, new rides put together, supplies restocked, etc.

I've always wanted to walk around in the park after a snow storm. It would seem kinda eerie, but yet peaceful to see the rides, buildings and grounds covered in snow. Alone, because all the people are gone. I've driven past the park in the winter and it seems so quiet, dormant, and at rest.

Did anyone ever take pictures of the Gurnee park in the winter time or have access to those kinds of pictures now? Did anyone ever walk the Gurnee park during the winter? If so, what did you think of it? I think it would have been quite a sight.

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Post by steven » Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:03 pm

I don't recall seeing any photos of the Gurnee park in the snow. I have seen photos of other amusement parks in the snow. Kennywood Park near Pittsburgh comes to mind. I imagine that someone out there has photos of the Gurnee park in the snow.

Steven

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:09 am

Are other people interested in knowing what the Gurnee park looked like in winter? I'd be curious to know.

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Gurnee in Winter

Post by dth1971 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:05 pm

If Six Flags kept its theme parks open until Christmas time - in the style of Fright Fest they would call it Holiday Fest.

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Post by JW65 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:08 pm

I wonder if the Santa Clara park ever stayed open until Christmas, since their weather is much warmer than in Gurnee. Maybe Tanya will remember.
Other parks such as Dollywood stay open into the Christmas season, but then again it is warmer down where these parks are located.
Last edited by JW65 on Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Santa Clara open for full year once

Post by ewilson » Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:15 pm

After the summer of 82, the Santa Clara park tried to stay open all year through to the '83 season, weekends only. I remember working an outdoor show that season and it being rained out constantly. Attendace was very low, espacially on the rainy days. It was a total money loser and they never did it again.

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Post by badfingerboogie » Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:56 pm

On one of my "end of the school year" trips to the Santa Clara park, this would have been in June, the whole day was rainy. Sometimes it rained rather hard. It was the only time I did a rainy day there. It definitely was a different experience to go on some of those rides in the rain. I remember going on coasters like the Demon and Grizzly, and that was the first time I had ever gone on coasters in the rain. The rain almost hurt my face as it pounded on my face on the fast coasters. But it was fun. Plus, I still went on all of the water rides too!

Since that was a pre-planned "school" day, I suppose that was one of the few rainy days that had more than enough visitors! :)

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Post by BrianPlencner » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:28 pm

In 2002, the Gurnee park did a "last blast" weekend. The last day of Fright Fest was Sunday, October 27th. But, the park took a gamble, and opened up the weekend after. They were open Friday November 1st, Saturday November 2nd, and Sunday, November 3rd. Parking was free, they had 50% off food, and gifts in the park. I even think admission was discounted as well.

All of the fright fest theming was gone, and some of the rides were closed as they were already put away for the winter.

Friday night, it was maybe 34 degrees outside. All the coasters ran, but it was COLD! Not a lot of people showed up. In fact, they had ONE (1) train running on Raging Bull, and the station was empty. Even though it was as cold as it was, everyone had a blast.

I went back on Sunday, November 3rd. It got so cold the night before that the reflection pool in front of the Columbia FROZE OVER. Now, it was not solid enough to walk on, but it did have ice on it. Here's a picture of the pond.

Image

It got a bit warmer on Sunday, if you consider the upper 30's warm. :)

Needless to say, they have not done that again. I feel the park lost money that weekend. But, it was still fun to ride the coasters in November!
Last edited by BrianPlencner on Sun Sep 18, 2005 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Tanya » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:17 pm

Yes Jw, I posted something about Christmas in a Fort Fun post I think. I worked that holiday in Kids Kingdom. We had Santa Claus set up for photos. We were open New Year's Eve. They played some Top music countdown over the speakers I think. (memory might be going) it was extremely cold that night. I found some pictures my parents took of the Christmas trees around the reflection pond of The Columbia.

How about those heavy blue coats we got to wear when it was cold?

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Post by JW65 » Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:34 pm

Brian and Tanya,

Thanks for all that you remember about cooler months at Great America. Brian, that picture of the pond is very interesting. I've never been to a Fright Fest, probably because of the cooler weather but I might decide to go to one this year. We'll see.

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Post by steven » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:23 pm

Thanks, Brian, for the cool shot of the frozen reflecting pool in front of the Carousel Columbia.

A friend of mine told me about the season that Santa Clara tried to go for year-round operation. Similar to what Ed mentioned, my friend recalled that the winter that year was particularly wet and miserable. They never tried the year-round operation again after that.

Steven

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Post by Tanya » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:17 pm

Santa Clara at Christmas

Image

Image

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Post by JW65 » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:28 pm

Tanya,

Thanks for your picture postings. They are really neat! What a difference in landscape from the palm trees that now line the sides of Columbia. So does the Santa Clara park just sit idle over the winter months now like Gurnee does?

Jeff

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"Happy Holidays" in The Grand Music Hall

Post by keoMGA78 » Sat Jul 30, 2005 12:09 am

In the winter of 1982 in Santa Clara we put up a new show, "Happy Holidays" that brought together the talents of both the Bug's Theater (Theatre Royal) and our Grand Music Hall

It was wonderful working with them. Most came back the next year and performed with us in "Salute to the Stars"

I remember the attendence in the Music Hall being pretty good...maybe the cold weather brought them in? :wink:

Kathy

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steven
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Post by steven » Sat Jul 30, 2005 2:56 pm

JW65 wrote:So does the Santa Clara park just sit idle over the winter months now like Gurnee does?
Yes, it's "idle" as far as park guests are concerned. But it's actually a busy time as lots of refurbishment of rides and other facilities is done during the off season.

Steven

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