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Friday, 10 August 2012

Canobie Lake Park, Salem NH.

In the heart of New England near Salem, New Hampshire, lies Canobie Lake Park a lightly themed, medium sized amusement park with rides for all ages.

For older kids and grown-ups Canobie features 3 Roller Coasters, a Water Coaster, 2 Log Flumes and 2 Extreme Spinners.

Attractions that are fun for the whole family: Boat, Cable Car & Train Rides, the Castaway Island Water Park, a Ferris wheel, various Arcades, a Pirate Ship and a Theatre with daily tribute shows to popular artists.

The littlest ones will enjoy a seemingly endless host of Carousels, Spinner Rides, Track Rides, Bumper Cars and a kiddie-sized coaster dubbed the “Dragon”. This choice of rides for younger kids is why we opted for Canobie instead of “Six Flags over New England”. (That and the 2 hour drive from Boston to Springfield).

On the day we visited only one ride appeared out of service, not bad considering they offer over 85 of them.

We noticed that a lot of effort was made to theme several areas in Canobie, something that you don’t often find in local seasonal theme parks. In particular the South side around the Mine of Lost Souls is themed as the American Frontier and the West side around the Boston Tea Party which has nicely detailed elements of historical coastal New England.

Places to buy food and drink abound, but most are counter-service affairs with small, sometimes shaded, seating areas.

The only exception is Portofino Restaurant which is indoors, air-conditioned and has bay windows overlooking Lake Canobie. Don’t let the name fool you though, the fare at Portofino is not what the name would suggest. The Chicken Parigiana, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Garlic Bread all taste like mass-produced, thaw and heat deals with very little good in the flavor and texture departments. I can’t comment on the Lasagna, but the kids did enjoy their Pizza (hand-tossed according to the blurb), so stick with that if you absolutely have to have your AC fix on a hot day

Pizzas, Hot Dogs and Burgers are pretty much the standard choices around the park with a few exceptions such as:
Minuteman Clams - West side by lake: Seafood
Poncho Cantina - West side: Mexican
Dancing Bear Cantina – South side in the Frontier area.

Out of all the menu options at Canobie I would certainly recommend the Pulled Pork Sandwich, available at the Dancing Bear. It is not quite Kansas City, but still head and shoulders above anything else that we tried.

Due to its central location this attraction is within day-trip range of many major towns in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and can easily be reached via the I-93.

With discount coupons offered with McDonalds Happy Meals, three of us were able to spend the day at Canobie’s for less than a single ticket to Disney (kids three and under as well as parking are always free).


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