I recently had the opportunity to visit Lake Compounce-New England’s Family Theme Park. Lake Compounce is located in Bristol Conneticut. It is the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America, having its genesis more than 165 years ago in 1846! The park is very family orientated, and features classic, and modern rides for all ages. Since I live in Massachusetts this was roughly 2 hours, and 20 minutes away from my home. We decided to go on a hot, humid Saturday which was probably not the best idea.
When we finally arrived to the park at 11:30 am we parked in their gigantic parking lot. Parking was $7 per vehicle, or $15 for preferred parking. I am not sure what is considered preferred parking because our walking distance was very short, but very rocky fopr strollers. Entrance into the park was typical to that of any amusement park. We had our bags checked, and we chose which direction we wanted to explore first. We decided to explore the regular park first, and then head to the water park later on.
Overall Park Layout
The Amusement park grounds at Lake Compounce were kept very clean, and neat. My only problem was the park layout. I was not too fond of how the water park, and kiddie land did not have distinctive areas. I like when parks have all their water rides in one area, and all their kiddie rides in one area. At one point we were in the water park, but while looking out over the lake ( which was off limit to guests), and we spotted a water raft ride all the way across the park. Maybe it is just me, but I prefer to have all water related rides in the same area.
I really think we actually missed half of the park due to some of its hidden areas that seemed to be somewhere in the woods. Between the heat, and long lines I probably only made it through half the actual park. We definitely should have chosen a cooler day because there is not too much shade in the park. However, I would like to mention that they did have plenty of park benches for sitting scattered around the park, which was great because I had to watch my infant son, and feed him throughout the day.
Park Food & Drink
I have been to many amusement parks on the East Coast, and I really think Lake Compounce had the best food deals. I LOVE how they offer FREE Pepsi, and water at several stations around the park. If people would remember their manners, and not cut in front of you it was have been better-but there are rude people everywhere! They are also VERY generous with their food portions, and prices. We did not break the bank by eating chicken tender meals from the Potato Patch in the park. The food was also VERY yummy, and hot. I wish they had more seating available to actually enjoy your meal though. Finding a shaded picnic area to eat our meals at was difficult, but we finally found a great spot with umbrellas near the performance stage.
Gift & Specialty Shops
We visited the Lake Compounce Candy Shoppe, and were amazed at how cheap the candy was. Parks usually over price items like candy so it was refreshing to see that the prices were similar to that of a local convenience store. The homemade fudge was only $2.99 per quarter lb. plus of you bought 3 you got the third free. We tried the Peanut Butter, Snickers, Mint, and Cookies n’ Cream–this was by far the BEST fudge I have EVER eaten in my entire life–not to mention the cheapest!
I personally was only able to go on one ride due to having to watch my kids. I went on the Flume Ride with my mother, and waited in line for 90 minutes. I have to say that was the best Flume Ride I have ever been on, and in the end I do think it was worth the wait. My husband on the other hand was able to go on several rides including the Boulder Dash Wooden Roller Coaster. He LOVED it, and was shocked at how fast, and bumpy the ride was. I wish I could have went on it, but there is always a next time. My kids had a blast on all of the Kiddie Land Rides. They rode practically everything, and each wanted to stay longer, but unfortunately it was just too hot to stay past 6:30pm.
I didn’t really get to enjoy the Lake Compounce Crocodile Cove Water Park area because there were thousands of people in the area, and I couldn’t even get into the wave pool or other attractions because there was absolutely no room. I really think they should have set it up like Six Flags-where people have to go through a turnstile unit to count the number of guests. I feel as if the water park should have had a separate entrance, and a way to make sure that it doesn’t get too overcrowded!!
Overall, we had a fun day at Lake Compounce. We would probably go again next year on a cool weekday so that we could enjoy the other half of the park that we did not get to visit. We think Lake Compounce is the most reasonable amusement park that we have ever been too, and would totally give it two thumbs up. The food, atmosphere, and rides are worth the trip–your family will have a blast!! The FREE Pepsi all day is also a huge perk that makes me want to bring my three kids back! I couldn’t imagine surviving the day without it!!