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Canobie Lake Park

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Canobie Lake Park

The Caterpillar is an example of one of the classic rides featured at Canobie Lake Park.

© Arthur Levine, 2010. Licensed to About.com.
Opened in 1902 (the date is prominently etched into the archway over the main entrance), Canobie Lake Park is one of the few trolley parks remaining in the US. It is one of a handful of family-owned parks as well. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, electric trolley companies often built picnic parks or "pleasure parks" at the end of their lines to generate additional revenue. Many of these parks, including Canobie Lake, evolved into amusement parks. While the trolleys are long gone, Canobie Lake Park is still providing fun and thrills.

Vestiges of the park's early days remain, including the park's signature ride, the Yankee Cannonball. The classic wooden coaster has been operating at Canobie Lake since 1936, and it dates back even earlier to 1930 when it debuted at (the defunct) Lakewood Park in Waterbury, CT. Its lovely carousel was built in 1898 and has been spinning at Canobie since 1906. Other classic rides include the circa-1930's Dodgems (bumper cars) and one of parkdom's few operating Caterpillar rides, a spinning ride with a canopy that covers passengers.

While a strong sense of authentic nostalgia pervades the park, there are plenty of nods to contemporary thrills, including a corkscrew steel coaster, an Xtreme Frisbee pendulum ride, and a small drop tower ride. And while the Yankee Cannonball has an impressive early 20th-Century pedigree, it doesn't skimp on the thrills. Lovingly maintained, the out-and-back woodie delivers many generous pops of airtime and is a stellar piece of living history.

Canobie Lake does not include a water park, but it does offer Castaway Island, a large, interactive water play station with water slides, a tipping bucket, and all kinds of sprayers, water cannons, and other water gizmos. Other water attractions include the Policy Pond log flume and the Boston Tea Party, a Shoot-the-Chutes splashdown ride that sprays an enormous plume of water. Swimming is not allowed in Canobie Lake, but the park does offer a (dry) tour of the lake aboard its pontoon boat.

In its heyday, Canobie Lake's dancehall hosted big bands such as Duke Ellington, Jimmy Dorsey, and Harry James. The entertainment is more modest these days and includes magic shows and stage productions. The park is spotless and the landscaping, including the park's generous canopy of old-growth trees, is lovely. The food is mostly standard park fare (fried clams are a regional exception), and the prices are reasonable.

Location and Phone:

Salem, New Hampshire

(603) 893-3506

Tickets and Admission Policy

Reduced rates for children under 48" and seniors over 60. 3 and under are free. Guests arriving after 5 p.m. pay a reduced rate. Group rates are available. Parking is free. Special offers may be available online at Canobie Lake's official Website.

Directions:

The address is 85 N. Policy Street in Salem, NH. It is approximately 40 minutes from Boston, MA.

I-93 to Exit 2. Right off exit. Left onto North Policy Street to park.

Rides and Highlights:

  • Yankee Cannonball- Classic wooden coaster.
  • Untamed- Steel coaster featuring a 97-degree drop.
  • Boston Tea Party- Shoot-the-Chutes splashdown ride.
  • Castaway Island- Interactive water play station.
  • Xtreme Frisbee- Spinning and swinging pendulum thrill ride
  • Classic rides, including a lovely carousel, Dodgems, and a Caterpillar.

See the Park:

Canobie Lake Park Photo Gallery

New at Canobie Lake Park

New for 2011
Untamed- The first new coaster to debut at the park since the Canobie Corkscrew opened in 1987, Untamed will be a coaster model known as a compact Euro-Fighter. While specifications have not been officially confirmed, it is expected that the ride will feature single 8-passenger cars that will climb about 73 feet straight up a tower and drop around 97 degrees (that's 7 degrees beyond vertical) down the other side. Untamed will reach a top speed of about 44 mph and will likely include three inversions, including an Immelmann loop and a zero-G roll.

New for 2010
Xtreme Frisbee- Spinning and swinging pendulum thrill ride.

Canobie Lake Park Halloween Event:

Official Web Site:

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