Replica of the Cincinnati amusement park in 1965 to be completed in spring of 2013
Owner Don Oeters has one last section of unused space in his 25,000-square-foot model train display at West Chester’s EnterTRAINment Junction.
To fill the space, he had to decide between building a zoo, a circus or an amusement park.
Despite it being the most expensive of the three, Oeters went with the amusement park. The design is Cincinnati’s Coney Island circa 1965.
“I remember going there in the late ’50s all the way up until it closed (in 1971),” Oeters said. “As a kid you didn’t realize how good of a park it was, but there were only three other parks in the ’60s that were in a suburban area of a big city that had larger attendance than Coney Island.”The new Coney Island exhibit, which is expected to open this spring, is expected to cost more than $100,000 to build. In comparison, Oeters estimated that the zoo or the circus would have cost around $5,000.
One of the bigger features in the Coney Island exhibit, the Shooting Star roller coaster, is already in place and functioning. The roller coaster is almost 40 feet long.
“We are still in the early stages of doing the park. We have lots of rides ahead of us, but having the roller coaster already and seeing kids’ expressions and the enjoyment people are getting out of it – it has been worth it,” said Oeters, who says he rode the Shooting Star 22 times in one day.
The replica, which will cover more than a thousand square feet, also features working rides like the Lost River, a 4-foot tall Ferris wheel, Flying Rockets, Tumblebug and a carousel.
There will also be memorable features from Coney Island such as the front gate entrance way, Lake Como, Moonlite Gardens, the tree-lined Coney mall, picnic areas, Skeeball Arcade, basketball games and the Ohio River Gate with its steamboat landing.
Additional features include the Wild Mouse family coaster, a train ride, a haunted house, the Skyride, the Whip and Cuddle Up.
There will also be a working trolley line with running trolleys bustling along Kellogg Avenue and stopping at Coney’s front gate. The trolleys ran to Coney until 1925, making it one of the few historically inaccurate features of the exhibit.
“This project is truly amazing in both its scope and attention to detail. Seeing the park’s iconic rides actually operating in miniature is just wonderful,” said Vic Nolting, president of Coney Island.
EnterTRAINment Junction has had roughly $11 million poured into it over the course of the 4 1/2 years it has been open. It is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors this year, which would be a record for the venue.