Under the Radar: Lakemont Park
This is the first of a three part mini-series on parks that might not be household names, like the Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks out there. Today we focus on Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Lakemont Park opened in 1894, making it the 8th oldest operating park in the United States. Despite being relatively small, it is home to over 30 rides and attractions, including the world’s oldest operating wooden roller coaster, Leap-the-Dips!
Leap-the-Dips opened in 1902, was closed from 1986 to 1998, and after a restoration campaign, reopened in 1999. It’s great to see that the Altoona community and Lakemont Park put in the time and money to restore this historic ride. The coaster is 1,452 feet long and 42 feet high. It’s highest drop is 9 feet and has a top speed of only 10 mph! I had the chance to visit Lakemont last summer and ride this coaster. It was a wonderful experience to ride something that old! It makes you appreciate where coasters have come and how far technology has come today. Leap-the-Dips is a side-friction coaster; that means it uses side boards to keep the car on track, rather than using up-stop wheels.
Another historic ride at Lakemont is Toboggan. There are only a handful of these compact coasters left in the world. It stands 45 feet tall and has only 450 feet of track. The cars for this ride are tiny and can fit 2 people. Being 6’3″, I had to cram myself into the car to ride this! The ride is pretty rough on the bunny hops at the end and I hit my head on the roof of the car! This Toboggan coaster was manufactured in 1971 by Chance Rides Inc.
Lakemont’s last coaster is Skyliner. It was built at New York’s Roseland Park in 1960 and was moved to Lakemont in 1987. Rumor has it that the blueprints were lost and when it was reassembled, the coaster wasn’t put back together exactly perfect (it sort of felt like it too). Skyliner is a little rough, but fast for its size! Overall, a fun ride! It stands 60 feet tall and has 2,400 feet of track.
Like I said previously, Lakemont Park is very small, you could walk around the entire park in about 5 minutes. It has the county fair feel and usually has very minor crowds. Admission is very cheap (Leap-the-Dips cost an extra $2.50 per ride). This is a great park you could spend a day at getting a lot of rides in! The owners of the park are very nice people and are always around the park talking to visitors. So, if you want your theme park fix without the crowds and wait times of the regional parks, take a trip to Lakemont Park! Below are POV’s I shot while I was at Lakemont last summer.