When the weather is as hot as it is now, most people are looking for a nice place to cool down, preferably inside of a beer cave filled with beautiful women and free money. Sadly, that mirage doesn't exist, but there is something almost as nice and only an hour away, that is if you travel North from Utica on Route 12 and hang a right onto Route 28 North into Old Forge. Enchanted Forest/Water Safari, as of now, is open all day, operating from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. until August 12. After that, the hours become shorter, until the park closes its doors for the season on September 3. So, if you’re good for fun make sure you get there quick, because before you know it, it’ll be gone!

Enchanted Forest/Water Safari is located in the heart of Old Forge, a picturesque town situated in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains.


Surprisingly enough, New York's largest water park was not always so, starting off as a park for families with young children. Among the first features were Paul Bunyan, the Paul Bunyan Wood Center and the Storybook Lane Little Houses. After a few years, the Skyline became a feature, along with the daily circus shows. Other features were also made available, including an Indian Village and storybook characters roaming about.


In 1978, under new ownership, land rides were added to a section called "A Step Beyond," and plans were laid for expansion. By 1984, water rides were being built and the park was well on its way to becoming the behemoth of fun you see today, featuring more than 50 rides and attractions, new food choices and all kinds of goodness for the entire family.

To me, the best part of Water Safari will always be the food. Among my favorites are the "Walk-away Taco," the chicken quesadilla and the deep-fried Oreos. Now, for someone like me, if you deep-fry it, I'll shove it in my face. But, these were among the tops as far as Oreos go and if they weren't good enough on their own, if you ask nicely, they'll even pour chocolate syrup and powdered sugar all over them. It's diabetes in a trough, but it's much more exciting than a cup of carrot sticks. The "Walk-away Taco" was also very good. For those of you without a clue what this is, it's basically a bag of Doritos topped with meat, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and all the other taco deliciousness you know and love, but all mixed together and served in the bag. It was pretty solid and definitely made for a good taste test.

As for the rides, I'm not much for water so I steer clear of them like the plague. But for those that are, the park has 32 water rides, including a five story slide that, a few years back, caused my mother to stop talking to me for three days. You can literally go anywhere in this park and have a great time, even if you're not big on a particular type of ride. I was able to stay perfectly dry and enjoy myself the entire time. Except for the Ferris Wheel. I still don’t like them, but I do it for the ones I love.

The park isn't the only option, though, as Calypso's Cove is still right next door and full of great things to do including go carts, batting cages and miniature golf. There's also plenty of places to stay, whether it be the Old Forge Camping Resort down the road, the Water's Edge Inn or one of the many quaint bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the town. A weekend stay could very easily be a cheap and effective vacation for almost any kind of family.


But, once you're done having a blast on the rides and have had your fill of people watching, you can grab a quick bite to eat across the street from the park. The Pied Piper has a great selection of reasonably priced ice cream with all kinds of dips and other treats.

All in all, if you're a fan of water this is the closest park in our area and is an awesome value, especially for all the great stuff in and around the park.

Water Safari has had an excellent run the past 57 years, and if all goes well, it'll be around 57 years from now. That way, I can frighten young women with my overflowing girth and much-too-small lime green mankini.



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