A Winter’s Day at the Beach

A subtitle of this post could be “Googling things so you don’t have to” or “Blurry photos I took at night with my phone.” I have no special knowledge of anything I’m writing about here, but I thought it was interesting enough to spend an hour or so clicking around on Wikipedia after dinner, so I thought I’d share.

On Sunday, Helga and I went to the beach at St. Kilda to check out the Winter festival. I wasn’t planning on joining her on the ice skating rink, but I went along because I hadn’t been to the beach in a while. Yes, you read that correctly – ice skating on the beach in July. It turns out it was $29 to skate, so we just watched the skaters for a bit. It was a far cry from the Frog Pond or Larz Anderson Park, but the disco balls made up for a lot.

Skating under disco balls is very different to skating under the stars.

Also there was no Zamboni. Watching people skate is a lot less fun if there is no Zamboni. My guess is that they are had to come by in Australia. The people I talked to said they went out and swept the snow off the ice every few hours, but that doesn’t help the groves. Skill levels varied, but the best skaters we saw were definitely the roller derby team.

Ok, enough about ice skating. As the northern hemisphere roasts, please remember that it is winter down here and the sun goes down at stupid o’clock. We weren’t at the beach for long when the sun started going down. It was scenic.

St. Kilda beach on a Midwinter’s Eve.

So we did what any normal 20-somethings would do and went to the amusement park a little down the beach. Luna Park turns 100 years old in December and was based on a similar park in Coney Island (the latter burned down in the 1940s). I don’t think the one in New York has an entrance like this one.

It’s a little on the creepy side – even for an amusement park.

Inside, it was like walking into the past. The 100 year old roller coaster is one of two in the world that have a person standing in the middle holding the breaks. Even though it was winter, there were still a number of people there – but not too many that it ruined the time-machine feeling.

A smaller, less sketchy version of Coney Island – all lit up for night.

My favorite ride* was definitely the carousel. I’ve always loved the Flying Horses on Martha’s Vineyard – I’ve ridden them almost every year of my life. It was built in 1876 on Coney Island (that place again!) and moved to Oak Bluffs ten years later. Seeing the carousel at Luna Park reminded me of our annual trips to the Vineyard and riding the carousel.

Under the incandescent bulbs, a carousel becomes a magical place.

This carousel is much younger – it wasn’t built until 1913. It was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, according to a sign on the upper panel of the ride. These horses are a long way from home. What surprised me the most about the evening was when I looked these rides up later, I found that the Philadelphia Toboggan Company still exists! It’s now the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and they are the world leaders in manufacturing cars for wooden roller coasters. History lives on!

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company is still around, but do they still make toboggans?

To round out the evening, we went to go see the penguins on the pier. We saw one poop. Then it walked through its poop. I would have taken a photo, but it was too dark.

*Not that we rode any of them – the ice skating looked cheap compared to the ride prices


~ by Genevieve on July 16, 2012.

3 Responses to “A Winter’s Day at the Beach”

  1. I hate stupid o’clock. I’m sorry it’s that time of year for you 😦

    • We will get the daylight back soon enough. It’s not getting dark until after 5 now, so the days already seem longer. It’s when it rains all day AND the sun goes down early that it gets bad. Besides, the penguins only really come out at night – now I just go see them before dinner rather than after 🙂

  2. I went to Canobie Lake Park for the first time this weekend! I had never been before. They too have a ride from the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters – “The Yankee Cannonball”!

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