never even saw.
At least that's what I thought when I went for my first Fun Zone
From the outside, the Fun Zone just seems old. But once you get into
the spirit of things -- ride the rides, watch the children -- you realize
there is still life in the place that entrepreneur Al Anderson created in
the middle of Washington, Palm and Bay avenues in 1936.
Anderson brought amusement park-style attractions and with them the
young crowds of the springtime Bal Week celebrations. But the area became
rather rundown over the years and, following the 1970s and the rising
popularity of Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, was at one point slated
for demolition. But the landmark Fun Zone was saved, renovated and
remodeled. New shops and eateries, along with the carousel and Ferris
wheel, were added, and it was reopened in 1986.
So what is there today for vacationers and bored local families to do
this summer? Quite a bit, actually.
Opening at 11 a.m., it doesn't take the bayfront block long to start
bustling. There are five amusement park rides without the outrageous
admission fee of a park.
I tried the Scary Dark Ride fun house first. It's not high-tech, with
its iridescent paint warnings on the walls, glow-in-the-dark skeletons
and canned screams and cackles, but it did make me scream once.
The carousel was first class all the way, thanks to the view and my
silver steed, which was in top condition.
Next I tried the Little Drummer Boy ride, which is a close relative to
the spinning teacups. Not knowing my own strength, I cranked the center
wheel until I feared the loss of my eggs Benedict. But the two little
girls in the drum next to me, Ashley McIntyre, 8, and her sister Devon,
5, touted the ride as very fun.
I passed up the bumper cars fearing I'd look like a bully, because the
other drivers at the time were all younger than 10, so instead I went to
watch a small child fly through the air on the Rock 'n Bungee.
This thing is great.
You put on a harness with a bungee at each hip and bounce on a
trampoline -- except their feet never touched the trampoline. Besides