Summer’s in full swing here and what better way to spend a beautiful sunny day with the whole family than at Lake Compounce, America’s Oldest Amusement Theme Park located in Bristol, Connecticut. Lake Compounce has been in continuous operation since 1846 and the family-friendly theme and water park is an easy daytrip to travel from surrounding New England states.
Connecticut is also renowned for having the oldest continuously running and operating ferrys in the United States across the Connecticut River, as well as having the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States (The Hartford Courant).
Connecticut Amusement Park
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the park with my whole family. It was so exciting to watch my young granddaughter and grandson “watch the colors go round” and take in the sounds, sights, smells and action on the amusement park rides! As a Connecticut native, I’ve been visiting Lake Compounce since I was a child in the 1950s and still can recall how the park looked at the time. The original wooden roller coaster is still there, looking much the same.
Lake Compounce has been awarded “Best of Connecticut” by readers of Connecticut Magazine for the past 13 years in a row.
The name Lake Compounce originated from John Compound, a Mattatuck Tunxis Native American Chieftain. In 1684, he created a deed that transferred the land known as “Compound’s Lake” to a group of white settlers from Massachusetts.
Lake Compounce became a park in 1846, when the then current owner, Gad Norton, was persuaded by an influential Bristol scientist to conduct “a series of beautiful experiments in electricity.” Well-publicized, the event drew thousands of spectators who witnessed the demonstration amidst the beauty of the woods and water. While the experiments failed in the end, the event did inspire Mr. Norton to open his property to the public. He put a path around the lake, set up picnic tables, allowed public swimming and rowing on the lake, and built a gazebo for lakeside band concerts. Lake Compounce had officially opened to the public.
Amusement Park Rides
The amusement park has certainly changed, as Lake Compounce has invested millions of dollars over the past 14 years in rides. Attractions that have been added including favorites such as Zoomerang Coaster, Boulder Dash, Thunder Rapids Raft Ride, Bumper Cars, plus kid-friendly Circus World Kiddieland for the youngest set.
It was an extremely hot day and the park was very crowded. We first started out in Kiddieland so the grandkids could enjoy the fun. Slugger, who will be three and ‘Lil Moomette who will be five had their first roller coaster ride with Grammy!
The kids also enjoyed the merry-go-round and Caterpillar Train ride! Grampy especially was happy that the Caterpillar Train ride was under a pavilion so we could enjoy the shade while the kids enjoyed the ride.
Although nobody in our party was brave enough to try it, in 2000, the Boulder Dash roller coaster was added, and has been voted one of the World’s Best Wooden Coasters by coaster enthusiasts throughout the world.
We spent some time on the Midway testing our skills at the fast pitch. I was quite surprised to find that soda beverages, such as Pepsi are available free and included in the price of the admission ticket. In 2002, the park began offering free Pepsi and soda to all guests, and continues with this terrific family tradition today.
Connecticut Water Park
Both of my grandchildren, daughters, charming son-in-law and a friend of my youngest daughter brought their bathing suits and enjoyed the refreshing Water Park.
Splash Harbor Water Park was added in 1998, making Lake Compounce
Connecticut’s largest water park. Following the introduction of Splash Harbor, numerous water rides have been added including fantastic water slides, spray fountains, tube slides, a wave pool, a 60-ft. New England Lighthouse, and an 800-foot lazy river known as Anchor Bay.
Every Fall, Lake Compounce is home to the Haunted Graveyard, New England’s largest and scariest Halloween event, featuring six haunted houses and a graveyard linked by a labyrinth of terrifying trails. This year the Haunted Graveyard will benefit the American Diabetes Association.
For More Information Visit the website at: Lake Compounce
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