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Share your stories and photos from trips taken to New England parks and attractions.
Fort Jefferson Fun Park
- Joined: September 4th, 2008, 8:35 pm
I opted to stop by and check out the newly formed Fort Jefferson on my way to Santas Village, also in Jefferson, NH. There was a threat of rain and the park was practically dead, This rain did not scare off crowds at Nearby Santas Village, which was packed.
Over the winter the announcement was made that the park will stop operating as an amusement park. The family that opted to not sell the park as originally planned has instead opted to convert the attraction to an FEC format. Admission is now free and you can either buy an all ride pass or buy tickets to use for the attractions. Prices range from 5 tickets for Go carts and Laser tag, 2 tickets for the water coaster and Gold Rush Kiddy coaster, with all remaining attractions a single ticket.
At first glance nothing has changed outside except for a wrap on the sign that states the new name. A side fence is now left open to let in guests along with the old Exit gift shop which is used as an entrance and ticket sales area. No clue what they are up to with the original entrance, it was closed. I bought a set of 5 tickets for $5. I planned to hit the coaster once or twice and then maybe the carousel which was the only other new addition since my last trip 10 years ago.
I figured Id walk the park a bit and look around. I checked out the food which was reasonably priced but I did not buy. The property is compact with a large central area, a set of buildings, another dirt midway, and a back section. I headed to that back section. Here you find Fort Splash, a small water park area that includes a larger body slide, a short vertical slide, and a spray ground. I only saw people at the vertical slide. There was a storm coming in so the slide was temporarily down. A maintenance worker was working on the large slide. The spray ground has seen better days and really needs an update. One feature was a cactus with a water sprinkler on top.
I look over more of the park checking out the go carts which look to have a nice track layout. I have never ridden them since they were closed on my last trip and at $5 dollars I doubt I ever will. I tried to look at the animals but many were indoors due to the weather and you cant get into any of the buildings. I did eventually get a good look at a few miniature horses.
The problem with this set up is since its now an FEC property, they have auctioned off all their western displays, carriages, & wagons. The old museum buildings are being converted to rentable cabins for the adjoining campground. These gave the attraction character and without it, the property has lost a lot of appeal for me. Other displays were closed off and the only rooms/buildings that werent closed were still set up for the Halloween event.
Despite the change in direction I saw little work on the property. An employee was putting finishing touches on a portable shower to support the on site cabins. The School house was closed so that it can become a cabin. The shooting gallery added a few years ago was removed. Its no longer politically correct after the school shooting, I was told by an employee. Gift shops no longer sell toy guns or anything sporting a weapon. There are no more live skit shows. The small shows were a big part of the attraction for me, and without them the property loses value.
The only positive plans I heard about was the trading post in the center of the park will eventually become an arcade. My guess is they will expand into more buildings. The trading post is a good size shop but a very small space for an arcade.
I rode the Gold Rush coaster which is a larger Miller kiddie coaster. The layout is pretty good but the coaster ran rough and was a bit jumpy. This did not fit previous reports or experiences I have had with coasters form this company. I think it just needs a rehab but thats the same for every attraction at the park. I didnt want to bother riding gain but with a lack of well priced options I found myself wandering trying to figure out what to do. The Water coaster looked fun but I didnt want to get that wet, and who wants to do bumper boats by themselves. Go carts were too expensive. And that carousel was so small I wasnt going to bother riding. I finally settled on a second coaster ride and a tractor pulled wagon ride.
My personal suggestion would be to wait till Halloween and check out the attraction then. You wont get the water park option but you will gain a handful of haunted house attractions. I didnt hate my time at Fort Jefferson but I did find myself feeling like I lost my childhood home. Its not the worst attraction, but it is nothing like it used to be. There are also plenty of other options in the area.
Full report with a 39 image photo gallery: http://photos.newwhalom.com/FJFPreport.html
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