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I live in Manchester, NH and went to Whalom Park twice on school field trips in 7th & 8th grade. My first time there, my friend wanted me to go on Pirate's Den with her but I was a bit reluctant. She told me it was a really fun ride, and coaxed me into going on it with her. As our car was about to go crashing through the doors at the start of the ride, my friend said to me, "Oh, by the way - it's pitch black in here". She knew I was afraid of the dark & never would have gone on the ride if she had told me beforehand! *LOL* This ended up being my favorite ride in the park!! I was sad to hear about the demise of Whalom Park, since I have very fond memories of my trips there. I'm also saddened to learn about the demise of this wonderful ride.
Jennifer Young ~ June 2010
Our Memories of the 'Pirate's Den'
One of Whalom's most popular rides during the 1950's through the 1970's was this 'dark ride' called "The Pirates Den". Much of the ride was designed by Dominic Spadola, well known for his creative artwork at most New England amusement parks. He was a very imaginative painter and sculptor. He also designed Whalom's original Fun House. Unfortunately, right before the opening season of 1981, the Pirate's Den was totally destroyed by fire. Later, several rides took it's place, but none were ever as popular.
The Pirate's Den was my favorite ride as a child when visiting the park. I'd stand in line to go on it repeatedly with different friends. I loved riding through the dark world of the pirates only to pop out through the doors for a quick few seconds to take a glance down to the crowd below so proudly that you were the one to be up there riding on the cart.
Christine Bourgault ~ August 25, 2010
I'll never forget the Pirate's Den. Many years ago, at the young age of 9 or 10, my friend Chris and I decided to go on the ride seperately for the first time, and see if we could find each other in different area's of the ride. Well, on this occasion, half way through the ride, didn't the park have a power failure! The ride came to a complete stop, and all of the lights went out! Luckily I was in the last room of the ride and knew that it was pretty easy to escape...so, I got out of my cart, and since I couldn't see where the exit doors were, decided to push the cart along the track! I did so, and found my way to the big double door which would push open with a bang. I'll never forget the look on the employee's face seeing a little kid pushing the cart out of the ride! Those carts really weighed a ton.
Anonymous ~ August 25, 2010
The Pirate's Den was one of those rides that could scare the pants off a ten-year-old, especially if you were afraid of the dark like I was. After the first ride I cried a bit and was scared - after that it was one of my favorite rides; especially when you came outside for a brief time up on the second level.
Lori Cowee ~ March 7, 2011
This was my favorite ride. When it burned down, a piece of me died, and this park was never the same since. I didn't care much to come back, especially after seeing the replacement ride. What a dissapointment.
Best memory. You know it takes about a minute for someone to enter the ride, then appear up top through the first outlook. My Father and Sister were on that ride that day, Mother and I sitting on park benches, watching the ride cycle through. Their car enters, we wait a minute, looking at the doors out to the first outlook. Nothing. 5 minutes later, nothing. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, we wondered if they were stuck in there (we knew after 5, but we meant stuck-stuck). At 20 minutes, they FINALLY popped out the first outlook! The ride was normal since.
Apperently, the people operating the ride didn't make sure all of the riders were off the ride, before they shut it down for the day. It was shut down, as they were halfway up the big ramp up to that outlook. It took them awhile to notice two people calling out for help, and where they were. How I wish we had the small cameras we do now, the stories, and if the ride survived intil the park's 2000 demise, one guy would've got a super-clear video of every ride in the park in 1999, and would've loved to have seen what mods the Pirate's Den might've had, for old time's sake.
George ~ July 30, 2011