Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Hidden Rides and Themed Attractions of...New Brunswick

One of Canada's Maritime Provinces, New Brunswick is home to the second largest city in the region (Moncton) and has the distinction of being Canada's most bilingual province. Nowhere else in the country are you more likely to find yourself switching in midsentence between English and French than here. The province isn't tiny either, being about as large West Virginia. With only 750,000 residents, however, there's not a ton of demand for amusements.

That doesn't mean that there haven't been attempts throughout history to bring rides to New Brunswick. In the early 1900s, Saint John was home to a selection of attractions at Parc Rockwood. Much, much later on, Crystal Palace Indoor Amusement park opened up, offering the region a place to escape all year round to go on rides. But by 2014, the limitations of the space the park was in had meant it was largely static in offerings, and it was announced to be closing. Its replacement? Good ol' Destination Retail with a Bass Pro Shops. The glass roof is still there to be gawked at, but the rides have up and went, mostly to small parks located elsewhere in the region.

So, what else is left? Well, there's a family entertainment center near Magnetic Hill Zoo called "The Boardwalk". There's mini golf, bumper boats, and a butterfly house to walk around in and, you know, look at butterflies. The owners of Sandspit and Shining Waters in Prince Edward Island also happen to have a water park in operation called Magic Mountain full of modern equipment like funnel slides and big mat racers. And that's pretty close to everything with rides outside of carnivals. But I won't leave you hanging with such a short list. That's not cool of me to do.

And so we head elsewhere, deeper into the state. Miramichi is two hours north of Moncton, and possesses a strange largely self built and well maintained mini golf facility called Maurie's. Video of the sometimes complex holes can be found on their website and on Youtube: the Archimedes Screw hole is probably my favorite, closely followed by the horn-sounding light house. Firefly Forest in the town of Hampton some 20 miles up river from Saint John also has a somewhat unique course with no themed obstacles, but much longer greens than average.

For those interested in history, there's the Village Historique Acadien a further 90 minutes upstate from Miramachi. It's more or less an open-air museum with people in era costumes. This is where I get to mention that always fun and often overlooked fact: ever notice how close sounding "Acadian" and "Cajun"are? Yes, they're the same. Really.

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