Enchanted Parks ready to roll

Oh, to be a kid again

About 200 of them from Lakeland Elementary School were treated by Enchanted Village to two hours of rides last Friday as the amusement park staged a media day in advance of its season opening Sunday.

The energized schoolchildren spilled happily out of rides and told reporters which ones were their favorites.

“The bumper cars,” said Jenny Shemereko, a third-grader whose ground-hugging preference was shared by several students.

Others, though, got the biggest charge from higher-flying rides.

Ashley Fite liked The Gambler, a spinning Wild West roulette wheel that lifts passengers up to a 45-degree angle. “It was fast,” she said of the ride that’s one of 10 new attractions this year at Enchanted Village and Wild Waves.

Lavon Anderson was “a little scared” but still liked the Pirate Ship, one of the older rides.

Another of the mainstays, the Wild Thing, was “the best rollercoaster I’ve ever been on,” said fourth-grader Wesley Robinson. He rode it twice, undaunted by the loops that sometimes put passengers upside down.

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village launched its 25th season Sunday under a mostly drippy, cloudy sky that may have held crowds down, even though opening-day patrons paid a reduced admission price if they donated a non-perishable food item for Northwest Harvest. A spokeswoman said it’s park policy not to disclose attendance figures.

Seven of the new rides were operating Sunday, but three weren’t ready. The twisting, turning Octopus, Hook’s Lagoon (with water cannon) and the rider-soaking Lumberjack Falls “splash coaster” will debut in mid-June or later.

The amusement park, open weekdays and weekends, has 40 rides on its 70 acres.

Six Flags Inc., operator of amusement parks in the United States, Europe and Latin America, bought Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in 2000.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and

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