One of the last remaining Trolley Parks in the USA, Camden Park hosts a collection of vintage rides and a scattering of more modern attractions, headlined by Big Dipper, a 1958 National Amusement Devices traditional wooden rollercoaster.
|Season||March to October|
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Camden Park is an amusement park on a small piece of land between US-60 and the Ohio River in Huntington, West Virginia. It is one of the few remaining Trolley Parks in the United States - parks which were built at the end of streetcar lines (or at interchanges as in the case of Camden Park) to encourage people to travel at the weekend.
The Camden Interstate Railway Company opened a picnic spot on the site in 1902, but the park sees 1903 as the official founding date as the first ride - a carousel - did not arrive until the following year.
Today, Camden Park's rides include Big Dipper, a National Amusement Devices wooden rollercoaster from 1958; Lil' Dipper, a kiddie woodie also from National Amusement Devices; and Hawnted House, one of only two Pretzel haunted house style dark rides operating in the USA - the other is Devil's Den at Conneaut Lake Park in Pennsylvania.
Many traditional amusement parks have fallen on hard times in recent years, with lots of them being lost and replaced by housing developments, offices or retail stores. Others are still clinging on, lovingly cared for by owners and staff with very small financial resources. Unfortunately, Camden Park doesn't feel very cared for. When I visited in 2016 it felt dirty and rundown, with things that could easily be fixed without any money being spent just left undone. The "B" of the Big Dipper ride sign had fallen off, for example, enticing riders to the much less inviting sounding Ig Dipper rollercoaster. Some might call this classic Americana, but I call it laziness.
Camden Park is a disappointment. With a little time and attention, it could be a lovely park, but at the moment it is a big let down.
Small family wooden rollercoaster
Chairlift across the park
Slow train ride around Camden Park's lake
Flying spin ride
Swinging spinning ride
Classic American Whip ride
18 hole miniature golf course