Active Life Lots of chances for summer thrills, chills

Lots of chances for summer thrills, chills

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Nostalgia, the feeling of being a kid again or simply trying something new are all reasons baby boomers are flocking to water slides, coasters, ropes courses and other summer adventures.

There are many opportunities in southern Maine to enjoy a roller coaster ride or cool off on a water slide, and you don’t need the excuse of escorting the kids or grandkids to get a thrill or chill, say park operators.

At Funtown/Splashtown USA in Saco, spokesman Ed Hodgdon said the rides are fun for people of all ages, and said older adults often come to the park to “rekindle the joys of their youth” and to “do something fun.”

He said a number of the rides offer a multi-generational experience, from the teacups to the roller coaster and everything in between. Hodgdon also said with two beer gardens, the park offers adults a chance to relax and simply enjoy the long summer days.

Funtown opened for daily operations on June 11 and Splashtown opened for the season on June 20. In all, the park offers some 45 rides, water slides and pools.

At Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach, co-owner Joel Golder said, “We often see older adults here enjoying themselves.”

He said one of the attractions of the seaside amusement park is for adults to experience the same joys they did as kids and to share that with their families.

Golder said the older adults who visit the park “always seem to gravitate toward the carousel or the Ferris wheel, and occasionally even the roller coaster.”

He said people of all ages also seem to enjoy the water flume ride, and said the park attracts “a lot of multi-generational families.” Golder said one of the benefits of Palace Playland is that it truly does offer something of interest for everyone.

He said one recent day he saw an older woman with a walker having a great time playing Skee-Ball in the arcade.

“The park allows families to spend quality time together,” Golder added.

Palace Playland boasts two roller coasters, a variety of other rides and a midway, arcade games, gift shops and?more, including a variety of food stands offering everything from Chinese to fried dough. The park opened for the season on June 12.

The Aquaboggan Water Park is Maine’s original water park and is located on Route 1 in Saco, across from the Saco Drive-In Theatre. The park opens for the season on June 27.

General Manager Dawn Emerson said the park “definitely” has something to offer older adults and said the wave pool, with the adjacent lounge chairs, is often a favorite spot for adults to cool off and relax on a hot summer day.

Emerson said Aquaboggan also has a lot of green space and no music is piped through the park, so it offers a “truly relaxed atmosphere.”

But that doesn’t mean adults aren’t welcome on the thrilling water slides. Emerson said a couple summers ago, her 70-year-old mother came to the park with some friends and they all went down one of the slides.

“It’s really not just for kids,” she said.

The Monkey Trunks ropes climbing course, with zip lines, is also based in Saco, off Cascade Road. According to its website, “Monkey Trunks offers adventure for young, old and everyone in between.”

Monkey Trunks is open seven days a week from June 27 through Aug. 30.

And, the ultimate test for thrill seekers could well be parasailing high above Saco Bay with OOB Parasail & Jet Ski, which is located at Camp Ellis in Saco.

On its website the company boasts that parasailing is for anyone of any age, from 2 to 92.

“If you can sit, you can parasail. Our trained captains make parasailing so simple that anyone can fly,” the OOB Parasail & Jet Ski website states.

For those who would rather be on the water than above it, the company also offers Jet Skis in one- to four-hour increments. The crafts accommodate one to three people and gas, lifejackets and wet suits are included in the rental fee.

OOB Parasail & Jet Ski also offers “a thrilling, laugh-filled, splashy ride” on its banana boat, which leaves from the beach near The Pier in Old Orchard Beach.

Southern Maine adventures, either active or passive, await at AquabogganEnjoying the water at Aquaboggan.Funtown at nightMonkey TrunksMeeting the ropes challenge at Monkey Trunks.Palace PlaylandPara sailingSplashtown

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