Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lake Winnepesaukah

If your travels ever happen to take you down I-75, somewhere along the Tennessee/Georgia line, there is a tiny American gem hidden right off of exit 1. It is an amusement park, Lake Winnepesaukah, surrounding a small lake and nestled among the trees.

It is big enough to entertain all ages, but small enough that you could hit all the attractions in one day if you so desired.

My favorite feature of Lake Winnie, as the locals call it, is it's adorably vintage feel, as it was built in 1925 by a couple whose granddaughter still runs the park today. Lake Winnie is complete with a majestic carousel built in 1916, lots of vintage kiddie rides, antique band organs serenading the park and an old wooden roller coaster. Of course, you could not pay me money to ride a rickety old roller coaster, but I do enjoy staring nostalgically at them.

There is also a small building at the end of the boardwalk that houses old photos and memorabilia from Lake Winnie's past. When I saw this picture from 1939, my love for Lake Winnie was cemented for all eternity.
"To Paul Jones - a swell fellow in a swell Park. Lake Winnepesaukah. 1939. Doc & Sonora Carver."
HOLY COW. YOU GUYS. THE REAL LIFE SONORA WEBSTER DID HER HORSE DIVING IN THIS VERY PARK. And, of course, the crowd never knew she was blind. Please tell me someone else out there spent 8,000 hours of their childhood watching Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken over and over again??

Of course, now I'm afraid I have built up your expectations too much and you will be disappointed unless you happen to also love charmingly-vintage amusement parks. Or you're an early 90s Disney movie buff (for my next post, I will be traveling to NYC and discussing Newsies.)

My sister, however, claims that Lake Winnie is smelly and creepy, and I will admit that the only thing I did not find charmingly vintage about Lake Winnie was the general public. I saw one lady wearing an actual bra and actual underwear in the waterpark. And that was one of the classier outfits.
Seriously, why can't people still dress like this at amusement parks??
Charmingly vintage or totally creepy?
You decide.
My four-year-old absolutely loved every minute, especially the waterpark. At 42 inches, he was just tall enough to do some of the "big rides" as well, including the "Oh-Zone!" - one of those rides that hoists you up 14 stories just to drop you straight down. I had a mini-heart attack at the top. Jack hopped off and said, "Wow, that made my bottom come right off the seat!"
The view from the top of the Oh-Zone AKA the place I almost died.
My two youngest were not quite as impressed with Lake Winnie. Elise went with the flow, as usual, but Henry only tolerated a few rides before announcing multiple times, "I WANT GO HOME!" Finally, we found something which completely thrilled them both....

the rental stroller.

Also good for naps.
My mom threw a towel over the top of the stroller and Henry and Elise were happy to play in their "tent" for the rest of the day.

Which left Jack and me free to ride to our hearts' content.

And we did. (Even though I failed to get photographic evidence.)
"Hey, Mom, can you take a picture of us in front of the lazy river?"
"Hey, Mom, can you get a picture of me with Jack on the parachutes?"

"Never mind, Mom, I'm going with a selfie!"
So if you're ever in the area, take a day trip to Lake Winnepesaukah.

And decide for yourself.

(Just know that the diving horses no longer perform. Sadly.)


  1. Haha love that the two little ones only needed that stroller to make them happy. And yes I love the movie Wild Hearts Can't be Broken. I was in love with Jake Ryan. Although that's not his name in that movie. That's his name in 16 Candles. Which I also love. Every time my husband and I watch Burn Notice, I say, "She's in Wild Hearts Can't be Broken. That's a great movie." To which he responds, "I know you already told me that." and I say, "We should watch it." Every time.

    1. I know. They will always be Sonora Webster and Jake Ryan (swoon).

  2. looooooove Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken!

  3. I LOVE Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken!!!

  4. With its natural beauty, friendly people and incredible lakefront Castle Rock Lake is Wisconsin’s premier recreational lake. Nowhere in the Midwest do you have a location that is so convenient to major cities, but still a world apart.