Hey there, Park Journey readers!
Happy January! For many of you, that means you're in the middle of long stretch of cold weather and closed amusement parks. Don't worry, we have your fix to hold you over.
Last weekend I ventured north of San Francisco for a fun day-trip filled with coasters and beer! Come with us as we make a quick stop at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and make our first ever visit to Sonoma TrainTown Railroad!
Written by Andrew Cunningham
We started our day with a quick stop at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. They are open year round, so January and February offer great alternatives to visiting in the midst of the summer crowds.
Every major coaster was running today except for the boomerang (yes, even V2!). Joker was about a 3 train wait (one train operation), while the rest of the park was walk-on. I'd say it was a very stress-free visit!
Above you can see the ride closures for the day (it was a bit chilly, so naturally the water rides are going to be down).
Also something to note- the park was in the middle of some minor construction for a "members-only" entrance. Hopefully this will cut down on the time it takes for passholders to get through the front gates on those really crowded days!
I was able to take my first ride on Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth, the parks new-for-2017 ride. I am not a fan of heights, and this things went highhhhhh. It's safe to say I was sufficiently terrified.
And that's all we have from Six Flags!
No noticeable construction has occurred for their new-for-2018 Skywarp, Harley Quinn: Crazy Coaster. We'll make sure to check back as things start to get going on that!
Now to venture into the heart of Wine Country!
About a 30 minute drive northwest of Discovery Kingdom sits Sonoma Traintown Railroad, a charming family park that, yes, does include a coaster credit!
TrainTown has been on my radar to visit for a while now. Aside from their beatufil landscaping and eclectic collection of classic amusement rides, the park famously boasts an elaborate miniature train as its marque attraction.
Admission to the park is free. The train ride costs 6.75 a go, while all the attractions are 2.75 each. For us, a ride on the train plus coaster ran us a whopping $9.50.
The train ride takes you over bridges, through tight tunnels, past various frontier scenes, and into the park's heavily wooded areas. The trip is about four miles long and lasts about 20 minutes. It was really fun and unique!
For our hardcore amusement nerd readers, I would most liken it to a lengthier, more elaborate version of Knoebel's Pioneer Train.
Towards the end of your ride, the train stops at a miniature town called Lakeview, which includes a petting zoo, a fort-themed playground, and a few exhibits. This area is removed from the rest of the park and is only accessible by the train.
Riders get about 10 minutes to stretch their legs and interact with the animals before it's time to jump back on the train and head back to the main park. I met a very friendly alpaca!
Aside from the train, the park has a carousel, ferris wheel, scrambler, some classic flyers, and the coaster. The rides area is situated around a small pond that the train also travels over and around.
The coaster is manufactured by Miler and is dubbed Mine Train. The ride is set back in a wooden area and is a bit larger than your standard Miller kiddie credit. I didn't feel too dirty riding this one
To wrap up our day, we made the quick drive up to Petaluma to visit Lagunitas Brewing Company. We highly suggest visiting if you're a beer fan and find yourself in the area. They sport an amazing outdoor space, great limited release selections, and tasty locally grown food.
Overall, we had a great day! If you ever visit Discovery Kingdom and find yourself with extra time, make sure to take the drive over to Sonoma TrainTown and Lagunitas. As a bonus, if you're heading back to San Francisco, the return drive will bring you across the Golden Gate Bridge!
Anyways, thanks for reading! Happy January and may your off-season be short!