OK, I promise, this trip report segment will
make sense. But we're gonna take a bit of a trip back in time, to an amusement park that no longer exists...Day ??? -- Boblo Island
So, what's this piece of nostalgia doing in a Mexico
trip report thread? Well, it'll all come together at the end. But first, let me ask -- how many TPR members ever made it to Boblo Island?
I'll start with a short history of the place. Boblo Island (officially, geographically, called Bois Blanc Island) is an island located at the southern end of the Detroit River, about 16 miles south of Detroit. The island, which is actually part of Ontario, was home to an amusement park called Boblo Island for the better part of a century -- from 1898 through the park's final season in 1993. Accessible only by ferry, the park was home to a few roller coasters, a decent collection of flat rides, an observation tower, and a laid-back classic park atmosphere.
Before I go into my personal experience with the park, I want to share some pictures I took in 2016 at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum
on Belle Isle in Detroit.
Home to displays and artifacts that help tell the tale of the maritime history of the Great Lakes, the Dossin Museum has some space set aside in remembrance of Boblo Island.
What's happened to Boblo Island since the park's closure in 1993? In recent years, the northern end of the island has been developed into a community of luxury homes. The southern end of the island, home to most of the amusement park, is not in as good of shape. The rides were all sold off, but some buildings still remain, and the park's observation tower even remains standing. I do believe it remains possible to take a ferry to the island from Canada and hike to see the historic lighthouse and block house at the far southern tip of the island, beyond some of the abandoned buildings and old amusement park fixtures.
So, here's where the story becomes personal. I actually did
make a visit to Boblo Island in the late 80s. My family had the date listed as August of 1987, which would have put my age at just over two years old. I'm not sure it wasn't another year or two after that, but I can't say for certain. Either way, I was pretty young, but I do have some recollection of the visit! My family was visiting the park as part of a company outing with my dad, and we made a day of it. I recall the steam ship ride, a ferris wheel, and picnicing in the grassy area near a large roller coaster that looked kind of frightening. Well, "large" to a kid that young, anyway!
Nope, the photography bug hadn't hit me yet at that age, so pictures from my family members will have to do!
The preceding is the only decent picture in this set that includes that white-painted roller coaster -- a Vekoma death-trap looking thing called Screamer
. It operated at Boblo Island from 1985 until the park's closing in 1993. You may be interested to learn that this coaster lives on -- it moved to Playland in Vancouver, got painted red, and took on the name Corkscrew. Apparently, it was featured in the movie Final Destination 3!
Oh, but there was one more big coaster at Boblo Island. The one you saw on the park map. The one featured on the brochures. The one I remembered seeing from the picnic area.
That roller coaster -- a truly legendary ride to me -- was called Sky Streak
...and if you're waiting for this trip report to make sense, well...
An international journey from Canada to Mexico... coming soon, the next segment of this trip report, from Sky Streak's new home as Titan
at Selva Mágica in Guadalajara!