Theme Park Review: Lake Compounce

Published July 28, 2012 by mrsrag

Located at 186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT 06010.  Almost directly across the street from ESPN Studios, which is pretty cool.  Phone: 860 583-3300.


I realize we are South Florida based and many of our reviews are area specific.  However, we do many movie reviews, which are fairly universal and we felt that we should branch out even more, especially since we travel quite a bit.  So, on our recent vacation northward, we made our way to the very quaint Lake Compounce amusement park.   Centrally located, it can be driven to in fairly reasonable time from NY, RI, MA, even NJ or other parts of New England.  Compounce is a combination of water park on one side and standard amusement park on the other.  Getting a locker is a must, because you’ll definitely want to change either out of wet clothes or into your bathing suit at some point.  They’re only $5 (you give them $10 and they give you $5 back when you return the key), which we found out is a real bargain as we just paid $14 at the Rapids (our local water park and a review for another day).  It was a gorgeous summer day and we went with my good friend Bruce, his wife Kris and Bruce’s two daughters.  Ethan and I had been before but it was Maria’s first time.

I had been up in New York visiting family before meeting up with Ross and Ethan in RI.  He told me we’d probably make a trip to Compounce at some point the next week.  I don’t ever remember even hearing about this amusement park, but sure enough after he mentioned the name it seemed I couldn’t escape the t.v. commercials.  They were hard selling their roller coaster, Boulder Dash, voted New England’s #1 wooden coaster.  I found myself quite intrigued and could not wait to explore the whole park.  As soon as we were settled, with our lockers and park maps, we started off toward the kiddie rides.  Warm up time.  The first ride we lined up for was The Wave Swinger, better known at any other theme park as ‘the swings’.  I always forget how much I dislike this ride until I’m up there swinging around, waiting patiently for the damn thing to stop.  Thank goodness we hadn’t eaten beforehand because I would have blown chunks and I think Ross agreed judging by the nauseous glance he gave me toward the end.  We hit a few rides for the kids, one of which I really liked called Drop Zone.  It’s just a very mini replica of the big drop tower called Down Time.  Personally, the 185 foot drop terrifies me, so this kids drop suited me just fine.  We made our way over to the line for Boulder Dash, which impressively moved right along.  We had no idea what kind of a ride awaited us.

OMG, Boulder Dash!  Before I get to the details, a little side story.  My buddy Bruce recently got into a wicked car accident, where his truck was totalled – he’s lucky to be alive.  Subsequently he’s had back pain and found out he has some disc damage.  He had just been cleared to resume somewhat of a normal, active life but with a caveat that another substantial trauma could leave him in a very bad way.  Well we were all in line, when at the last second he decided not to go.  The best decision he’s ever made.  I’m positive we would have ended up in the ER if he had gone, Boulder Dash is a BEAST.  It winds through the hills and the woods, an idyllic setting really, and the first drop is 115 feet and it’s awesome (I LOVE A big drop), but after that it becomes pure mayhem. It says it reaches speeds of 60+ MPH and it feels way up on the plus side.  Between the old school wood, nearly unbearable bumping at ferocious speeds and razor sharp turns, like my honey said, “it felt like we were one loose bolt from disaster.”  My son Ethan (he’s 8 as some of you know) was sitting next to me and he was screaming, blood-curdlers the whole time, or was that me?  It was hard to tell.  At any rate we survived and wobbled our way off, but I don’t think I’ll be taking on Boulder Dash again anytime soon. 

I’m glad we went on.  That being said, I will NEVER be embarking on that coaster again.  I had the worst headache when we finally got off.  Ross’ hair looked like he had stuck his finger in an electrical socket.  And Ethan’s throat was sore.  We decided to find some relief over at the water park, so we ditched our companions and met them later at what Compounce calls ‘Crocodile Cove’.  The park has a clever set up, with lockers located right between the different theme parks.  We stopped at our locker to drop off our dry clothes and picked up our towels before heading over to the wave pool.  They have all the usual favorites; lazy river, twisting water slides and a family raft ride.  There’s a nice area called ‘Clipper Cove’ for smaller children, with a fun pirate ship and smaller slides.  There was one slide I really enjoyed, it was one of the three Tunnel Twister’s – as they’re collectively called.  It was my favorite because it was open, so you don’t get that horrible claustraphobic feeling.  Listen, its no Rapids, but it’s a fairly decent water park considering its attached to a dry park as well.  My only question is why wouldn’t you place the log flume in the water park section?  When we finally made it back over to the dry side, we didn’t stay dry very long.

Good point Maria.  And I may add, the flume was my only real disappointment of the day.  It certainly is no Splash Mountain or Rip Saw Falls – that’s for sure.  All in all Lake Compounce is a great park and a fantastic value.  At $37 for adults, $27 for kids under 4 ft 4 in tall and a mere $19 for gramps and granny, you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal.  If you live close enough, they have an amazing offer of $80 for the entire season!  Compounce is open half of May, most of June and all of July and August with a finale of 5 days in September.  There is something there for all ages, and honestly you should probably spend a couple of days if you want to get to everything.  No matter where you are in the country reading this, you probably go on vacation at some point.  If your travels take you to the northeast, absolutely consider Lake Compounce.  And if you have any huge sports fans in the family, take a tour of the ESPN complex while you’re there.

I had a fantastic time, but I always do with the company I keep.  Lake Compounce is just a great place for the family.  It’s decently priced, there are a variety of rides to fit everyone’s taste and its just small enough to keep track of everybody.  You won’t have a problem running into your group at some point if you happen to diverge from the crowd.  We had some tasty snacks, shared some belly laughs and enjoyed a few really cool attractions.  Of course, we almost lost our lives on Boulder Dash.  Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me.  I won’t be trying that rattling death machine ever again.

Ross’ Rating:  4 Roller Coasters out of 5.

Maria’s Rating:  4 Coasters.







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