Saturday, June 29, 2013

Walking the Boards in Colorful Wildwood, NJ

It used to be that a trip to the Wildwood Boardwalk was the highlight of the summer: the lights, the crowds, the food, the games, and best of all, the rides! As a preschooler in the 1960s I preferred this nautical ride featuring boats that travel in circles. One of the boats at that time even had my name painted on the back, and it's not often that you find boats or anything named 'Margie.' The kiddie boats are still seaworthy and they still have their brass bells even if they no longer have names. I was delighted to see that this ride was still there.

The kiddie rides of the twenty-first century are fancier as you can see by this faux hot-air balloon wheel...

The Balloon Race ride
...and this elephant ride:

I took in one grown-up (sort-of) ride while I was exploring the colors of Wildwood. For a different perspective, I jumped aboard the Venetian Carousel, strapped myself on that painted pony, and snapped photos as we went round and round.

The Boardwalk games look much the same as they did in my childhood. There's no more cigarette wheel like my friend worked at back in college, but instead (I pretended not to see) a wheel with all candy prizes. Some of the prizes are more sophisticated (I saw modern name-brand communication devices at one), but many look much the same as they always have.

And some were decidedly twenty-first century:

I walked the length of the two-mile Boardwalk, taking in the sites while I sipped my fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Curley's Fries Lemonade Presses

I resisted the urge to bring home a free hermit crab in a purchased cage, although at various points in my life I have been known as a hermit crab parent.


All good things must come to an end, and as I reached the North Wildwood end of the Boardwalk I realized that $3 was a small price to pay for a ride to the Wildwood Crest end on the famous Sightseer tram. These tram cars have been in operation on the Boards since 1949, and the originals were built for the 1939 World's Fair! (Did you know that?) Some of the original cars are still in use. 

From aboard the Sightseer: "Watch the tram car, please."
Here's a video I shot from aboard the Sightseer in 2011: