Bell's Amusement Park
WEATHER: Evening, clear skies, low 80s.
ABOUT ME: Male, age 37. Coaster rider since 1977 and fanatic since 1986. I have more than 330 adult coasters on my "track record". I generally prefer wooden coasters to steel because airtime is one of my big criteria. Also, I don't mind a little headbanging on coasters.
RATING SYSTEM: I subscribe to the ubiquitous Griswold scale, which rates coasters and parks on a scale from -3 to +5. Zero indicates a mildly positive rating.
THE PARK: +3
We only had about two hours at Bell's, having just ditched Frontier City, so we really saw little more of Bell's than what can be seen from the entrance plaza. The park itself is entered through a concrete walkway that goes through the structure of Zingo, the park's 1968 John Allen/P.T.C. out-and-back. Due to a special promotion running the weekend we visited, we paid $7 each for a ride-all-you-want wristband and immediately headed for the park's lone coaster, the amazing Zingo.
From what little we saw, Bell's has a log flume, tons of flat rides, bumper boats, and a chair-lift style sky ride much like the one in Comet Hollow at Hersheypark.
Bell's was immaculate, and the place looks like it's been there forever. The place is full of mature trees and has beautifully designed concrete-paver walkways, brick walkway edging and wrought iron rails and fences.
The important thing to note is we had more fun in 90 minutes at Bell's than all day at Frontier City. I desperately want to go back to Bell's, not only for more rides on Zingo but also to see the rest of this great park.
The park was very clean and reasonably well landscaped. I saw people sweeping up, but most of that was just dirt or stuff dropping from the trees--patrons at this park know exactly where trash belongs and it never gets littered in the first place. Most of the park has had a fresh coat of paint this year, with notable exceptions being the Roller Coaster's signage, even thought the station was clearly painted as was the coaster itself.
The park feels like a small park, but one with a tremendous amount of history. This place appears to be Tulsa's playground of choice. The staff and ride ops were friendly, and were having a good time.
We stopped at one of the food stands to get some pop at the end of the night, and I noticed the park has some unusual items for sale, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sure, the usual park fare is on the menu board too, but PB&J? Amazing.
Zingo (1968 John Allen/P.T.C. single out and back) +3
This coaster, outfitted with a single (and very new) 4-car, 3-bench PTC train with individually ratcheting lap bars and seat dividers, absolutely flew around its track. There was endless air time (Knoebel's Phoenix-like air time) in virtually every seat, though the middle two of its cars were far more tame than the front and rear cars.
Out of the station, the train makes a wide 180-degree turn into the lift hill. Coming off the chain, the train makes another wide 180-degree turn and heads into a series of three hills, which are all about air time; the third hill drops you into a tunnel with a phenomenal headchopper on the way in. The top of the fourth hill generates powerful, sustained floatage, and then instead of merely leveling out like most turnarounds, the fourth hill drops a few feet from its highest point, sustaining the air time even longer, but then quickly drops you into your seat. Then, you reach the actual turnaround, which delivers a strong lateral push to the right. I loved the pacing of this particular element--powerful air time, a sudden slammer down into the seat, then a violent lateral to the right. The coaster's personality changes somewhat at this point as it begins its mad dash back to the station--it's all about a series of smaller bunny hills which provide insane always-out-of-your-seat Knoebel's Phoenix-like air time before the train slams into its final 180-degree left turn into the station, with laterals even more powerful than the far turnaround.
The back seat was definitely the best seat in the train.
Bell's ride ops did not physically check lap bars whatsoever during our 20+ rides on Zingo.
The gravity-load station has separate unload and load areas, and there are the requisite Big Ol' Brake Levers. The single ride op rides the train from the top end of the station to the bottom. Riders can pick their own seat, but since there are no individual seat queues, your options are sometimes limited by where you fall in line. Fortunately, the wait for the ride was at most one train, and more often than not we were able to ride every train by zipping down the exit ramp and running around to the entrance again.
The Zingo logo and station are absolutely gorgeous, probably the coolest traditional white-lights-and-red-neon signage I've ever seen (though the Lakemont Skyliner logo is pretty cool too).
The coaster closes at 9 regardless of the hours of the rest of the park, a concession made to placate the neighbors near the coaster. Apparently the park has had serious complaints about noise, even though the park has been there longer than anything else in the area.