Beech Bend is an amusement park, campground, and automobile race track located in Warren County, in the U.S. state of Kentucky, just outside the limits of the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The park takes its name from a bend in Barren River, where beech trees are scattered throughout the area. The area was used for picnics as early as the 1880s. Charles Garvin purchased the park property in the early 1940s, adding amusements, rides, and recreational activities over the years. The first ride was a pony ride, followed by a roller-skating rink, dance hall, bowling center, and swimming pool.
In 2001, this Bowling Green attraction introduced the Looping Star roller coaster, which was 31 feet tall and 1,202 feet long. The Gold Rush Miniature Golf course was added to the park for the 2003 season. In late 2002, construction began on Splash Lagoon water park, which included the existing Olympic-sized swimming and added the Ragin’ Rapids Water Slides and Lotta Wotta Island, a children’s play structure. The water park was originally scheduled to open in 2003. However, its grand opening was postponed, and Splash Lagoon opened on May 22, 2004. By 2005, Beech Bend Park had more than 40 rides, 500 campground spaces with modern amenities, renovated racing facilities, a water park, and large picnic pavilions. The race tracks hosted numerous Corvette racing events (the park is only a few miles away from the General Motors factory that produces the sports car), plus the annual NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. The park opened a Zamperla Twisting Wild Mouse coaster, Zamperla Steamboat ride, and a drop tower called the Shock Drop for the 2005 season.
In November 2004, during the IAAPA trade show in Orlando, Florida, Dallas Jones began discussions with Great Coasters International about constructing a wooden roller coaster at Beech Bend Park. On July 28, 2005, it was announced that the roller coaster would open in 2006, have a height of 96 feet (29 m), an 82-foot (25 m) drop, a maximum speed of 47 miles (76 km) per hour, and that a contest would be held to choose the ride’s name. On October 28, 2005, the park announced that the ride would be called Kentucky Rumbler. The roller coaster opened on May 6, 2006.
In 2009, Beech Bend debuted the Chance Rides Sea Dragon ride purchased from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and was alleged to be his favorite ride. The Looping Star Roller Coaster was removed at the end of the season. In 2010, Beech Bend opened a significant waterpark expansion (wave pool, lazy river, and a water play structure), a Zamperla family tea cups ride, a kids’ quad runner, and a new amphitheater, billed as the largest in Beech Bend’s history and was to open in early May. The expansion was delayed by two months due to the 2010 Tennessee floods, and the water play structure and amphitheater did not open until the 2011 season. The first ride at the park, the Ferris wheel, was standing but not operating the whole season and was removed for the 2011 season.
Address: 798 Beech Bend Park Rd, Bowling Green, KY
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